After a fast 23-minute victory over Scythe.SG in the first match of the best of three winners bracket finals, Na`Vi looked as if they would repeat the feat and steamroll Scythe.SG yet again in the second match, cruising straight into the grand finals of the International Dota 2 tournament at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany.
While Na`Vi did eventually win the second match to take the series 2-0, they had to fight Scythe.SG for it tooth and nail in what must be the most nerve-wrecking, nail-biting, get-you-on-the-edge-of-the-seat Dota match ever. Too many cliches? Perhaps, but those phrases would accurately describe what many Dota fans, Scythe.SG and Na`Vi supporters alike, must have felt throughout the 52-minute second game.
The first match of the series will be memorable only for how Scythe.SG was schooled by Na`Vi, being defeated in a record 23 minutes with only seven kills against Na`Vi’s 34. Scythe.SG were outplayed and arguably outpicked, with their hero line up simply having no answer against Na`Vi’s Night Stalker (Artstyle.Darer).
In the second match, Scythe.SG opted for a gank-and-push strategy. iceiceice’s Nature’s Prophet was the key to this strategy in destroying Na`Vi’s towers, while Scythe.SG’s solid team work succeeded in killing Na`Vi’s heroes early on, keeping Na`Vi permanently on the back foot for almost the entire match. The strategy looked like it was working, with Na`Vi not being able to down a single one of Scythe.SG’s towers until the 42 minute mark.
However, with both teams even on the kill count throughout the game, it was only a matter of time before Na`Vi’s end-game carry heroes started becoming a serious problem. Scythe.SG could not push against Na`Vi fast enough and with their by-now stronger heroes, all it took was two strong pushes by Na`Vi in the last ten minutes of the game to destroy Scythe.SG’s throne, ending the game.
Despite the defeat, Scythe.SG succeeded in doing what other teams at this tournament could not so far: exposing a potentially fatal flaw in Na`Vi’s seemingly flawless game and almost handing them their first defeat of the tournament.
Scythe.SG will face EHOME or MYM tomorrow afternoon at 4pm (
Singapore time Valve time) in the finals of the losers bracket. If they win, they will face Na`Vi again for a shot at the US$1 million (S$1.2 million) grand prize. If they lose, they will walk away from the competition placed third, receiving US$150,000 (S$180,000) in prize money.
While it is hard to say if Scythe.SG will be able to make it beyond third place, what is clear is that Scythe.SG really needs to work on their hero picks. This match against Na`Vi made this much obvious: While it could be said that Scythe.SG was outpicked and, more crucially, outplayed in the first match of the series, the same could not be true of the second match, where Scythe.SG really put their best form on display; their only downfall was not having a proper carry or end-game hero to counter Na`Vi’s own end-game picks.
Fix that, and with a bit of luck, perhaps we will see an even greater history in the making tomorrow.