PSG.LGD has emerged as a strong force representing Chinese hopes as we approach the final few events before TI8, The biweekly patch updates have constantly changed the game. The Chinese teams seem to be adapting to the new changes quicker and more efficiently than others.
PSG.LGD’s performance has peaked just in time for The International. If they continue their current projectile, they are a strong contender for the upcoming International. As we have seen in the past, peaking at the right opportune moment is sometimes more important than your history of good performances.
A difficult Group Stage
Coming close on the heels of a Major win at EPICENTER XL, PSG.LGD was off to a very slow start at MDL Changsha. The tough BO2 Group stage matches meant that they had little room for error. Despite this, PSG.LGD lost some crucial matches to their Chinese counterparts. Indeed they lost 0-2 to both VGJ.Storm as well as Vici Gaming and moved to the lower bracket in the Playoffs.
The Group stage saw LGD try different things and constantly reinvent their gameplay. The aggressive Ame didn’t show any signs of taming down his performance. The high-risk high reward gameplay often resulted in the team caught out of position and losing timings on crucial items and levels. It was a group stage where things did not matter as much. Since PSG.LGD’s group included Vega Squadron, undoubtedly the weakest team in the Group, LGD were almost assured of moving past the group stage.
However, their positioning did matter, but they only managed a 4th rank in the Group stage. PSG.LGD in the playoffs was quite different from the Group stage. There is a clear thinking and precision in their decision-making process in the Playoffs.
The breeze through the Playoffs
PSG.LGD was able to breeze through the playoffs. At the end of the tournament, where they won the Grand finals 3-0 over VGJ.Storm, PSG.LGD had just one loss in the playoffs. It was a 60 min+ game against TNC Predator. Their journey to the finals included victories over IG.Vitality, TNC.Predator, Team Secret, Newbee as well as Vici Gaming.
IT’S DONE ! We are officially qualified for the most prestigious DotA2 tournament of the year ! 🔥#THEINTERNATIONAL8 here we come !
📅 15th August – 25th August
📍 Vancouver, Canada 🇨🇦
— PSG eSports (@PSGeSports) May 19, 2018
The Chinese team has been adapting to the new meta and we see it in their drafts. They have a clear indication of the heroes they are going to pick and can adapt their veto according to the opponent’s draft. The team has two superstars on their roster. Maybe and Ame both have had their chances at glory ( and seized it without fault). However, they are also ready to step down and support the other core whenever necessary. For the most part, it does seem that Maybe takes a step back to allow Ame to perform to his optimal level.
The Chinese player who has been at the receiving end of Dota 2 Fans in the region, due to his differences over a popular player is slowly becoming a fan favorite. Ame’s aggressive playstyle and his early game farm are predictable, but there is little the opponents have been able to do to stop him. Despite the script of the entire game being known to both teams beforehand, there is little any opponent can do to stop the PSG.LGD juggernaut. Ame has several heroes in his game such as Phantom Lancer and Juggernaut. He has also played the Terrorblade back when it was a strong pick in the meta. The team’s ability to adapt their hero choices while keeping the core of their gameplay similar is what makes it a very threatening roster.
Perfect Item choices to counter the opponents’ draft
A game of Dota 2 is often decided in the draft itself. It is difficult to fully counter a good draft. However, PSG.LGD has shown us how good itemization and movement throughout the map can mean a victory despite the hero draft.
In their second game against VGJ.Storm in the finals, PSG.LGD’s item choices were the focus. Maybe’s Ember spirit went forth with a very unique and different item choice in Eul’s Scepter. The item is a very cheap and quick way to avoid the Death Prophet silence in the opponent lineup. The death prophet which was picked as a direct counter to Ember spirit suddenly seems less threatening once you see the Eul’s scepter.
2 more majors to go & we have locked in 1/2 of the direct teams to #TI8# who will be the last 4 to avoid qualifiers? pic.twitter.com/ens4v3CMkj
— Toby Dawson (@TobiWanDOTA) May 20, 2018
However, going a defensive item often means that you have to sacrifice your farm. But Maybe had already thought about this situation and built the Maelstrom before buying the Eul’s scepter. The combination of the Maelstrom and the Eul’s scepter essentially provided the right amount of escape and flash farming that Ember required in that particular game.
Later in the game, Ame’s Gyrocopter opted to go the extremely tank route with the +200 HP talent. He then proceeded to buy the Heaven’s Halberd, an item which provides you with HP as well as a counter to slark. Slark’s Dark Pact cannot dispel the Heaven’s Halberd disarm. Slark found himself unable to secure the basic pick-offs that we expect in the mid-game. He was directly countered several times and his effectiveness throughout the game felt really low.
Proper itemization by the PSG.LGD squad ensured that they could directly counter Slark. If they had not gone through with these items, they would have found themselves in a disadvantageous position against Death Prophet and later, the Slark. Instead, they turned the game in their favor with the correct item choices and a display of their versatility.
Currently Number 2, can they become Number 1?
PSG.LGD has climbed up to the second position in the DPC rankings. They are sitting at 6321 points to Virtus.Pro’s 8097 points. There are still two more events remaining in the current season. While Valve had promised another replacement for the Galaxy Battle Major, they have not yet announced anything.
PSG LGD are the Grand Champions of the MDL Changsha Major — Two back to back Major wins. Three back to back Major Grand Finals. A slot at TI8 secured. $400,000 in the bag along with 750 DPC Points. Congratulations.
— Wykrhm Reddy (@wykrhm) May 20, 2018
Obtaining the number 1 position in the DPC rankings does not provide any benefits. It is just a mental block that certain teams would like to overcome. PSG.LGD has a very strong in-game performance and we do not see them trying to get a better positioning in the ranks. While they have the potential to easily win the remaining two Majors, the win itself is not a big deal for the team. They will want to remain abreast of the changes coming in the Dota 2 scene with the biweekly patch updates.
TI8 is still quite some time away and the meta can change heavily between now and then. Peaking during TI8 is very crucial for the teams and PSG.LGD seems to be on the right path for the same. Whether they can become the top position in the DPC rankings or not, depends on their performance against Virtus Pro in the upcoming Majors. With PSG.LGD attainting second position, the Virtus Pro-LGD matches will be closely watched as it rightfully showcases the best of Dota 2.