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Starladder i-League Finals: Na’Vi vs Vici Gaming R.

While only Vici bears the name “Reborn”, these are both two teams making their reappearance in the grand scene, and they offered quite a thrilling grand final series. Despite the 3-1 in favour of Vici, all games were played on almost equal footing, with no clear winner until the very end.

Game 1

Na’ViVG.R
EnchantressGyrocopter
Faceless VoidLion
Death ProphetQueen of Pain
Earth SpiritEarthshaker
Nature's ProphetBeastmaster

Na’vi had a better early game, shutting down the Gyrocopter pretty effectively, winning most skirmishes and gaining map control. However, during an unsuccessful Roshan attempt, they lost both the fight and the Aegis to the enemy, which evened the difference in net worth. After that, and despite the large number of team fights, no team could gain a clear advantage. Na’vi had a slight edge in winning fights, while VG had Roshan on their side of the river.

The Chinese decided they had enough, claimed the Aegis for their very farmed Gyro and went for the Throne. Na’vi threw bodies at them, and after a hardcore Spartan defense, VG were pushed back; not only that, Gyrocopter had made a questionable buyback and was unable to prevent Na’vi from getting two sides of rax. The ending of this epic game was marked by a 3-man Chronosphere, which resulted in Na’Vi’s final push and victory.

It won’t do this game much honour to discuss what decided the outcome; it was pure epicness all over the place, especially near the finale. Suffice to say though, perhaps that hasty buyback from Gyrocopter cost his team a lot.

Game 2

Na’viVG.R
PuckGyrocopter
Bounty HunterLion
InvokerWindranger
EnchantressChen
LycanLone Druid

This one was a bit more straightforward. Gyrocopter had a great game from the start, participating in almost every kill early on and getting items fast. Lone Druid had his Midas+Radiance pretty early, and was ready to start eating towers. Na’Vi kept up with pickoffs, Track Gold and Dendi’s amazing Sun Strikes.

I believe Game 2 came down to the drafts. While both teams played equally well, Lycan is not a great Hero for direct clashes, he’s more of a pusher. From a point onward, it was plainly obvious he couldn’t face Gyro+Lone Druid head on. He didn’t have the space to split push, either, as even with him there, the fights weren’t easy for his team. Na’vi fought well, but when it came down to the mid-late game clashes, their carry just didn’t cut it. Slowly and steadily, VG pushed their way into the enemy base.

Game 3

Na’ViVG.R
Nature's ProphetGyrocopter
OracleWitch Doctor
WindrangerQueen of Pain
ChenBounty Hunter
Faceless VoidBatrider

Despite Queen of Pain having a really hard time in the mid lane and Na’vi getting a bit more pickoffs, VG Heroes topped the CS chart and quickly took advantage of it. Queen more than made up for her weak early game, getting kill after kill and reaching Beyond Godlike pretty quickly.

While Faceless Void had some good Chronospheres, there just wasn’t enough damage on top of it for Na’Vi to fight back. In team fights, they could just kill the supports, at best; Track gold didn’t make it easier for them, either. Even later on, when Nature’s Prophet and Windranger got some damage items, it was too little too late, compared to yet another beast Gyrocopter. The weakness of Na’Vi’s lineup showed, and VG grabbed the arguably easiest win of the 4 matches.

Game 4

Na’ViVG.R
BatriderJuggernaut
Earth SpiritVengeful Spirit
Queen of PainPuck
Witch DoctorEnchantress
GyrocopterNight Stalker

The early game here was more or less even. Juggernaught topped the net worth by far, followed however by 3 Na’Vi Heroes. Puck was picked off a bit too many times at mid, but Night Stalker applied a lot of pressure around the map to make up for it. Juggernaught went for a greedy farming build, investing a few of his skills points in stats and getting Battle Fury first. Perhaps because of that, Na’Vi had the upper hand if only by a very small amount in team fights.

Kills, however, don’t mean that much in Dota and VG had the Dire Roshan advantage for the 4th game in a row, plus the vision advantage from Night Stalker. From a point onward, Na’Vi’s minimap was pitch black and they were very hesitant in striding too far from their base. But, things don’t always go so smooth, and after Na’Vi convincingly winning a team fight and claiming Aegis and Cheese, they decided to get a Divine Rapier on Gyrocopter and walk down mid.

Perhaps in theory, that was the correct choice; Na’Vi were never going to win the vision/pickoff game, and claiming another Roshan wouldn’t be easy. The execution was heartbreaking for their fans though, to say the least, as Gyrocopter died twice and lost the Rapier to Juggernaught. After that, there was nothing stopping the Chinese from getting Mega Creeps and claiming the cup.

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