As you may or may not know, the teams that will face off on Monday in the upper and lower brackets for TI5 have been decided now that the group stage is over. As for what I think the outcome will be I can’t really say, first of all because there have been numerous upsets to what people expected already this tournament but also because I think the ones that I can actually predict are fairly obvious. Today I wanted to share my thoughts on the “double elimination” tournaments are run and to try and unpick why Virtus.Pro are not in the upper bracket.
For those of you who don’t know, the TI5 group stages were run by randomly allocating each team to one of two groups. Each group had 8 teams and so each team would play two matches against every other team in their group in a round robin style of play. 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw and none for a loss. The four teams in each group with the most point will advance to the upper bracket and those with the least will go to the loser’s bracket. In the upper bracket, if you lose your Best of 3 game (Bo3) then you get put down to a loser’s bracket to play a match. However, any match lost in the loser’s bracket puts you out of the competition.
I think this way of running tournaments is incredibly entertaining, and quite fair for the teams. Those who have played well consistently throughout the tournament get rewarded, and don’t get punished for having a bad day if they were previously playing well. It gives good teams who mess up another chance. Of course, it’s still a competition, and you can’t give people infinite chances, and I think the pressure of the loser’s bracket at TI5 is enough to bring out the best teams, revealing whether they crack under pressure or go on to succeed.
However, when your favourite team gets put into the loser’s bracket, it can be somewhat irksome. A part of me doesn’t mind too much that VP are in the loser’s bracket as I am not at all certain that they would beat most of the teams in the winner’s bracket. 6 of the 8 teams in the upper bracket have an 80% chance of beating VP. I think my optimistic YOLO goal of 4th for VP can now be considered ridiculous. I think VP play well under pressure but I am not sure how far that will take them this time around.
Their match against EHOME yesterday was painful to watch. They needed a draw and that was all, but they lost 0-2. I only saw the first match but Illidan Stormrage, playing his patented Anti-Mage, seemed to play almost without a brain. He is known for having an incredibly aggressive playstyle but he’s also known as being one of the best, if not the best, farmers in the CIS scene, and yesterday he did not show it. This obviously isn’t the end, not by a long shot. Illidan was clearly having a bad day, and he definitely played a lot better in the tiebreaker match against Team Empire, but he just didn’t seem to play like he usually did.
I think it’s also worth, at this point, expressing my dislike for carry-Lina. I think a position 4 support Lina is really powerful. All she needs is a Eul’s scepter to really start doing damage, but if you expect Lina to be your first or 2nd position then the only benefit you get from that is a very quick Aghanim’s Scepter. As a pos. 4 she can get her most important item by, hopefully, 15 minutes. Then she can hone in on level 11 to get her upgraded ultimate ability and then she can either keep giving way to her more farm-heavy carries or she can transition into more of a carry role. Position 3.5 if you will. Support Lina’s can be tricky too though, as her main asset is burst damage rather than controlling your enemies or keeping your team alive.
I think that, on Monday, we will see a very different Virtus.Pro. It seemed to me that, come the group stages, they had changed their playstyle quite a bit. Hopefully now they will start playing like the old Virtus.Pro that I remember. Ultimately though, I think Virtus.Pro have been fairly treated. Allegedly their group was the harder of the two but I personally don’t see it. I think both groups were evenly matched, and when you see CDEC and Complexity in the top 4 of their groups you have to wonder how important the perception of these “giants” like Secret and EG really are. I like both their attitudes; they go into each game with the same head. They do their homework on the teams and they go in ready to play their best dota. I would like to see them do well because they really deserve it.