Starladder i-League: Virtus Pro vs Alliance

The Sweds have had their ups and downs perhaps more than any other lineup we’ve seen. In this series, they showed their good selves and they emerged victorious pretty convincingly with 2-0.

Game 1

    VP Alliance
Sven Juggernaut
Zeus Queen of Pain
Nature's Prophet Beastmaster
Winter Wyvern Shadow Demon
Oracle Chen

VP had the superior mid-late game lineup here. Sven can destroy your whole team with a few items, Zeus is a nuker that progresses really well throughout the game, and Nature’s Prophe’s split pushing can prove to be too much. Alliance, on the other hand, had an edge in lane control and taking towers early. Queen of Pain can give Zeus a really hard time during the lane, and so it happened; paired with a courier snipe, Zeus didn’t have his bottle for some time and fell behind.

Alliance needed to act fast. 10 more minutes to VP’s Heroes would mean they could easily clear creep waves, to stop the enemy push and keep farming. Juggernaught isn’t the best option to deal with Sven, and Queen of Pain falls off pretty quickly if she doesn’t snowball. Execution-wise, snowball was the correct word for this game, as Alliance won every fight, took every tower they needed, secured Roshan and went high ground.

VP needed some more time and it perhaps would’ve been a totally different game, but they just didn’t have the space for it.

Game 2

   VP Alliance
Sven Gyrocopter
Zeus Juggernaut
Dark Seer Beastmaster
Oracle Shadow Shaman
Earth Spirit Chen

While the picks were a bit similar, this game was quite different. Alliance went for an irregular Juggernaught solo mid. With Dark Seer and Earth Spirit on their side, Virtus Pro had more powerful team fighting potential than the first game. While Alliance were ahead most of the time, they didn’t have the clear dominance of Game 1. VP realized that and stuck together to force a team fight; and perhaps that was their big mistake.

VP roamed around as 5 for way too long, and allowed Alliance to do what they do best: split their team, farm and push around the map. After establishing map control, the Sweds took a few Roshans and pushed their way in slowly and steadily. After taking mid racks and overextending a bit, VP took advantage of their team fight strength and pushed back, making Alliance feel threatened for the first time in the series. With a few buybacks however, and Sven getting kited way too much by Beastmaster and his Refresher Orb pickup, Alliance pushed VP back.

With a smoke gank, Alliance took advantage of their enemy’s bad positioning despite getting scouted by Zeus’ ult, which resulted in an easy team fight and the rest of VP’s high ground.

I believe VP felt too pressured to use their superior team fight. It’s a very common mistake for teams to stay as 5 for too long and fall behind in gold and EXP. Stacking like that is most effective when they’re able to get towers quickly. If they’d chilled out a bit and farmed a bit more, they could’ve probably forced a Game 3.

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