Manila Major Grand Finals: OG vs Liquid

courtesy of twitter.com

The fabled Manila Major has come to a conclusion, with this year’s new powerhouse OG claiming the title with a 3-1 in the best of five series.

Game 1

OG Liquid
Lifestealer Ursa Warrior
Lich Disruptor
Earth Spirit Riki
Alchemist Timbersaw
Beastmaster Slardar

Liquid established their advantage from the start and held on to it to the very end. Their picks completely countered OG’s and their execution was nearly perfect. This patch’s bread-and-butter Lifestealer+Alchemist+Beastmaster may be powerful, however the Ursa+Slardar+Timbersaw really punishes melee, tanky Strength carries who need to be in the middle of a fight.

Ursa is one of the few Heroes that can manfight a Lifestealer; that resulted in the gollum having a lot less farm than he should have, with no Armlet 12 minutes into the game. Alchemist also had a rough time in the middle lane. He still topped the net worth for some time because, well, he’s Alchemist, but only by a small amount. Once the team fights and ganks begun, OG’s Heroes just couldn’t fight back. Lifestealer’s Rage means nothing against Amplify Damage and an Ursa. Same goes for Alchemist, plus he had to deal with Timber’s pure damage burst as well. Add to that the great initiation from the Slardar+Disruptor combo,as well as a Riki applying pressure to the map constantly, and you’ve got a Timbersaw who eventually got more farm than Alchemist.

Game 2

Liquid OG
Slardar Faceless Void
Beastmaster Phoenix
Dragon Knight Earth Spirit
Disruptor Juggernaut
Lycan Dark Seer

Liquid opt to go for a scary mid-game push and pickoffs lineup, even with a greedy Beastmaster woods, while OG choose a more traditional five-man deathball.

The early game was a bit smoother than in Game 1. Mid lane was crushed by Miracle’s Juggernaught and his teams ganks, leaving Dragon Knight a bit underfarmed. Dark Seer didn’t manage to pressure Lycan as much as we’d expect, with the latter managing to actually have the highest net worth early on.

OG had a slight advantage in gold, but nothing game-winning; Liquid generally avoided clashing five on five, until, what else, the Rosh pit fights. OG got both Roshans and succesful team fights at those points, which quickly established their advantage. They also managed to avoid getting picked off, besides a single time, which could quickly result in a lot of buildings falling, against a Lycan+Dragon Knight+Beastmaster combo. To the point where a team fight couldn’t be avoided, OG got the upper hand easily.

Perhaps Liquid could’ve forfeited the Roshan fights completely and continued to split push.

Game 3

Liquid OG
Slardar Sven
Dragon Knight Lion
Vengeful Spirit Phoenix
Earth Spirit Juggernaut
Lycan Faceless Void

A few familiar faces in this one. Good mid game push and pickoffs versus a Chronosphere+Supernova team fight. OG went for a Sven whose +20 armor from Warcry really did a number on Liquid’s damage output.

Juggernaught once again had a better time laning against Dragon Knight; other than that, the lanes went pretty much as expected.

Instead of going for the standard trendy Helm of the Dominator into ancient farming, Sven picked up a quick Armlet, resulting in a very early Roshan from OG. Taking advantage of the Aegis and superior team fight, they found the early kills and towers. In what would seem an easy win, Liquid managed a very well executed team fight, with four deaths on the side of OG, out of which two had to buyback and protect their buildings. This instance evened the scales a bit, stopping Juggernaught’s heavy snowballing and tossing him lower on the net worth chart.

And that still wasn’t enough to stop OG’s wombo combo. Especially with Sven’s +20 armor buff, Liquid’s physical attack lineup could barely deal any damage. Once again, I feel Liquid tried to force the issue against a stronger five on five team. Lycan is a Hero who excels at split pushing and taking down towers quickly, but can’t really join the fight’s early on. OG took advantage of that and took their objectives and the game pretty convincingly.

Game 4

Liquid OG
Slardar Wraith King
Enchantress Phoenix
Lone Druid Elder Titan
Disruptor Templar Assassin
Weaver Batrider

This was arguably the most interesting match of the series to watch. Both teams had a pretty equal laning stage, and the net worth chart swang back and forth a few times throughout the game.

Pickoffs and skirmishes happened around the map, with no-one getting a clear upper hand. Liquid had an early Radiance on Lone Druid, while OG had, once again, the Roshan advantage. In the end, in was perhaps those Roshan fights and the superior late game from the OG lineup that decided the winner.

At first glance, Liquid’s late game isn’t that bad; however, Lone Druid is a Hero that actually falls off late game, and a position 4 Enchantress with just Aghanim’s can’t really act as a core. Weaver is good late game, but nothing more. On the other side, we have a lineup with huge physical burst damage, which paired with a Batrider Lasso, results in very dead targets. Wraith King is a beast late game. Despite having great damage, he also has 2 lives and provides his whole team with lifesteal. Templar Assassin normally falls off as well, but paired with the Elder Titan’s Natural Order, the result is very negative armor values.

What I’d like to point out is that after that many patches, the Dire Roshan advantage is still pretty game deciding. All four wins in these finals were on Dire. It’s definitely not easy to balance, but it’s still there.

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