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Heroes of the Storm Blizzcon 2016: Day 1 Group Stages Recap

Heroes of the Storm Fall Championship Blizzcon Day 1 Recap

Four of twelve teams were eliminated last week with four more on the chopping block before the end of the day leaving a total of four that would go into the semifinals on Saturday November 5th 2016. Both MVP Black and Ballistix faithfully represented Korea by moving onto the semifinals during the group stages, but the region that would attempt to challenge them in the Semis was decided today.

The newest hero on the roster -Samuro- was still banned for the duration of this tournament as he was during the group stages which happened last week.

Group A Elimination Match: Team Dignitas vs. Astral Authority

Day 1 of Blizzcon started off with the Group A elimination matchup between Astral Authority from North America and Team Dignitas from Europe. The stakes could not be higher for either team as a loss here would see them leave the tournament on the first day. Each of the Elimination matches would be a best of three series between the fallen teams from last week’s Group Stages.

Astral Authority is one of the two remaining North American teams in the tournament. They were the first seed and the regional champions from North America twice this year but found themselves in the elimination game after the Taiwanese team Please Buff Arthas (PBA) upset them in a 2-1 last week.

Team Dignitas was the first seed from Europe, but came up against MVP Black in the second group stage last week and were sent to the elimination bracket after a 2-0 loss to the heavily favored Korean team.

Astral Authority went into the match with their eyes set on trying to exploit the perceived weak link in Dignitas’s team: Snitch.

 

Round 1: Tomb of the Spider Queen

Round one on Tomb of the Spider Queen started with Astral Authority drafting Valla, ETC, Aurial, Alarak, and Dehaka, while banning Johanna and Leoric.

To counter Dignitas drafted Malfurion, Muradin, Gul’dan, Falstad, and Tyrael while banning Tychus and Chen.

Heroes of the Storm Blizzcon 2016

 

The heavy dive and gank potential from Astral Authority hoped to capitalize on the weak backline of Dignitas with a series of extremely powerful CC abilities and a global to effectively counter Dignitas’ Falstad.

Dignitals prioritized their tank and healer picking characters that excel at shaping and controlling the fights, hoping to chain together the roots and stuns. Traditionally team Dignitas has leaned heavily on Tyrael to protect their team and turn the tables on an aggressive team with Sanctuary. In addition, Falstad’s Mighty Gust and Gul’dan’s Horrify heroics put Team Dignitas in a position to dictate the momentum of every fight.

The match itself started in an aggressive series of rotations by both teams as they looked for kills, contrary to the typical 4 man rotation that is typical of a Tomb of the Spider Queen match. The heavy frontline comp from either team prevented either team from getting a kill until Astral Authority successfully caught out Tyrael at the four-minute mark before quickly catching Snitch on Falstad forward again and turning that momentum into the first webweaver phase.

The lockdown of Astral Authority continued to be effectively used even going so far as to use Dehaka’s drag to get a second kill on Tyrael by pulling him through a gate in an impressive display of moxie. Perhaps a little overconfident, Dignitas caught out a pair of kills on Astral Authority’s Valla and Dehaka before getting their own Webweaver phase.

Both teams reached level 10 and their heroics at the same time with no major surprises in talent choices except for Astral Authority’s Dehaka which took Adaptation in response to the amount of damage he had been focused by Dignitas.

Dignitas attempted to engage with an aggressive gust, but excellent zoning by Astral Authority’s Dehaka allowed Astral Authority to recover and kill the overextended Tyrael. Astral Authority turned this into another turn in and continued to apply massive pressure on Dignitas’ structures, but without actually getting any forts from two Web Weaver waves.

Dignitas responded by properly engaging and splitting Astral Authority and getting a pair of kills before getting their own second webweaver wave, successfully securing a middle fort and taking a team fight that turned into a three for one trade in favor of Dignitas and made Astral Authority dump all of their gems. Effective use of Mighty Gusts from the Dignitas Falstad allowed Dignitas to dictate the pacing of the fight and get early picks in these team fights. This momentum allowed Dignitas to get a third webweaver wave which allowed them to get the remaining two forts and put heavy pressure on all three keeps.

This trend of catching team members out with successful gusts allowed Dignitas to take another team fight that resulted on a wipe of the entire Astral Authority team, level 20, and the North American core.

aadt-game-1

Analyst Comment: Astral Authority had a strong early game that was able to isolate and kill Dignitas team members no matter where they might hide. This advantage became null the moment that Snitch picked up Mighty Gust on Falstad, which not only gave the European team the ability to disengage but was leveraged in such a way that it allowed Dignitas to easily collapse on the spread out Astral Authority team members. Tyrael’s Sanctuary and Holy Ground in the late game just made Dignitas better at isolating and catching out individual targets. Astral Authority will have to prevent Dignitas from getting heroes that can shape the engagements in order to have a chance in the next rounds.

 

Round 2: Towers of Doom

Dignitas drafted Tychus, Muradin, Brightwing, Zeratul, and Gul’dan.while banning Abathur and Chen.

Astral Authority drafted Malfurion, Li Ming, Mediev, Stitches, and Dehaka while banning Illidan and Tyrael.

aadt-draft-2 Heroes of the Storm Blizzcon 2016

 

Astral Authority seemed to prioritize poke with its first two picks, but surprised everybody with what appears to be an attempt at kidnapping the members of Dignitas with the Stitches Mediev combination by using Gorge from Stitches and Mediev’s portals. With Dehaka and Stitches, once again Astral Authority attempted to win by isolating individual targets and while Dignitas did not have Falstad, they still have Emerald Wind, Horrify, and Void Prism which allows them to shape the fights. Ultimately it would come down to execution: use of portals and coordination by Astral Authority to focus a target and Dignitas’s ability to disengage or isolate targets using their own heroic abilities.

The match started with Mediev taking the portal master talent, allowing for better control over the placement of the portals which would be so key to the success of Team Astral Authority.

Astral Authority gave up even contesting a second Shrine at the beginning of the match, but that allowed them to turtle around one and get a first blood on the Dignitas Zeratul. The kills continued as Astral Authority properly used hooks, Malfurion roots, and portals to gain a triple kill on Dignitas, though they still remained behind on core damage 28-32. The third shrine spawned just as both teams gained level ten, which allowed Dignitas to combine Horrify and Void Prison to pick off two members of Astral Authority and the Shrine which put Astral Authority even further behind: 24-32.

Astral Authority began using their combination of the Stitches Gorge and portals to successfully kill the Dignitas Muradin twice, but Dignitas was still able to trade Shrines 19-29.

The fifth alter spawn opened with another Gorge/Portal combination to kill the Dignitas Muradin for a third time and allowed them to get two shrines as a keep changed hands bringing the score closer 16-20 but still in favor of Dignitas.

Dignitas thought they found an advantage when they discovered Astral Authority attempting to get the Dignitas sapper camp and invaded, but quick portal play allowed Astral Authority to trade successfully Gul’dan for Mediev. As the next Shrine spawned Dignitas was able to take a good fight as Astral Authority Gorged Zeratul and pulled him under a tower through a portal, but that left the Astral Authority Dehaka behind and gave up the Shrine making the score 12-20 for Dignitas.

Riding that momentum, Dignitas grabbed the bottom left keep and then the boss when Astral Authority moved to take it back pushing the score 8-20 and giving them a slight experience lead. Finally, Dignitas wiped Astral Authority on the next shrine fight by properly splitting up Astral Authority with Horrify and Void Prism.

With all of Astral Authority dead, there was nobody left to defend their keeps and Dignitas rode a six-cap to victory.

Dignitas moves on 2-0.

Heroes of the Storm Blizzcon 2016: Day 1 Group Stages Recap aadt-game-2

 

Analyst Comment: While the execution of Astral Authority was generally perfect with the Stitches’ Gorge into Portals, this meant that Astral Authority had to devote a massive number of resources into a single kill and required Stitches to evacuate the front line. This usually gave Dignitas time to secure the objectives and kill anybody left behind. In a straight up team fight, the Dignitas heroics allowed them to properly shape the battlefield and isolate team members for proper kills.

 

Group B Elimination Match: Denial eSports vs ZeroPanda

The hopes and dreams of the North American region rests on Denial eSports, a majority of whom is made up of Blizzcon’s previous champions the former Cloud9 team. Up against them was the last hopes of the Chinese region: team ZeroPanda.

Both teams were swept by their previous opponents, Ballistix for Denial and Fanatic for ZeroPanda. Denial appeared to be confident going into the match with the home field advantage.

 

Round 1: Sky Temple

The map chosen by Denial eSports started the draft with ZeroPanda picking up Muradin, Falstad, Zeratul, Kharazim, and Dehaka while banning Illidan and Chen.

Denial in response drafted Tychus, Malfurion, Li Ming, Xul and Johanna while banning ETC and Jaina.

zpde-draft-1

The melee heavy comp from ZeroPanda certainly hoped to benefit from the Kharazim heals and gave them two global. Denial’s wave clear and lockdown would allow them to keep on top of soaking lanes, but gave them the ability to lockdown and focus a single target immediately.

Denial started with a 4-1 rotation on Sky Temple, leveraging the Xul trait as much as possible in the early game. As the first temple phase began, Denial grabbed the middle temple but ZeroPanda rotated in to contest it and successfully take the temple from them after killing four of Denial’s team members. This gave ZeroPanda most of both temples and gain an early talent lead over their opponents.

ZeroPanda leveraged their global advantage to catch Xul out on a rotation just as the second temple spawned. They already had level 10 as the temple started which forced Denial to remain even further behind in structures. A combination of Mighty Gust and Void Prison from ZeroPanda allowed them to pick up another pair of kills and push their structure and experience lead even further.

Denial finally caught an out of position Zeratul to put a kill on the board, but he returned before the third temple phase began. Still a talent tier down, Denial find themselves in a position where they can’t afford to trade, so they gave up both temples for about half the shots before rotating onto the bottom one.

With a three level lead, ZeroPanda continued to clear lanes and avoid fights and even going so far as grabbing a boss right in front of Denial knowing that they were unable to stop ZeroPanda.

The Fourth temples spawned and Denial managed to catch Falstad out of position. Once they began to contest the middle temple, ZeroPanda decided to contest the shrine, refusing to yield them any advantage. Several brief skirmishes followed, but in the end, four members of Denial went down and ZeroPanda marched on the core advancing 1-0.

zpde-game-1

Analyst Comment: The pacing of this match was completely dictated by ZeroPanda. They never fought without an advantage until the very beginning or the very end. They maximized their soak and building damage using their globals which made the temples they captured extremely powerful. This level of control confounded Denial and made what was probably caution look more like indecision. When a team fight eventually happened, the planned lockdown of Denial to get a pick almost worked, but so many expended resources into a single character who survived mean that ZeroPanda was able to respond with fervent retribution.

 

Round 2: Garden of Terror

Denial started this draft by picking up Muradin, Zeratul, Malfurion, Jaina, and Falstad and banning ETC and Abathur.

ZeroPanda responded by prioritizing Tychus, Tyrael, Dehaka, Greymane, and Uther while banning Illidan and the Lost Vikings.

zpde-draft-2

 

Compared to the previous drafts a lot of new characters were showcased as ZeroPanda displayed confidence in the draft and their plan to a Divine Shield to back up the Greymane play was from an older meta, but would still easily punish Denial if they were not careful.

Denial overextended as they came down on Uther which resulted in an early trade 2 for 1 in favor of ZeroPanda, though which the addition of Falstad to the draft by Denial they were able to stay even with ZeroPanda on experience. Both sides danced around one another for a few minutes as each was reluctant to begin fighting the Garden Terrors for seeds in front of the other. ZeroPanda was successfully able to get a Garden Terror on the first night and began to gather an experienced lead by pushing down walls on the middle and top forts.

This allowed ZeroPanda to pick up their heroics about half a level ahead of Denial, but they were not able to capitalize on their advantage. A team fight post ten resulted in KingCaffeine on Muradin for Denial being unable to escape.

ZeroPanda picked up kills on Muradin and Malfruionon the second night after Denial got their first Garden Terror and an experienced lead began to blossom for ZeroPanda. With this lead ZeroPanda continued to pick up one sided team fights giving them a talent tier and seed count advantage and just like the first round, ZeroPanda dictated the pace of the match.

To make matters worse, ZeroPanda’s Greymane took the Wizened Duelist talent at level 7 and clutch Divine Shields allowed him to continue to build stacks. Finally, Denial completed a wombo combo with a Ring of Frost, Void Prison, and Twilight Dream to kill two of ZeroPanda team members.

During a team fight on the bottom terror, Denial managed to use a Garden Terror to grab mid keep, giving Denial the win condition and lane pressure they so desperately needed. The reprieve was short-lived though, as ZeroPanda got to level 20 a level and a half ahead of Denial. ZeroPanda used their advantage to poke down Denial’s own center keep before backing off to grab camps before the next night phase.

ZeroPanda continued to bully Denial with their talent advantage, as they captured both seeds and camps. ZeroPanda and Denial began fighting around the top terror after both teams got level 20, but ZeroPanda split off a player to grab the garden terror and cave in the Denial team’s core. The lone defending Falstad was unable to burn down the Garden Terror before it caved in their core.

zpde-game-2

 

Analyst Comment: Denial’s reliance on a wombo combo throughout the match was undermined by the ZeroPanda Sanctuary from Tyrael and the Uther Divine Shield. The eventual lead that ZeroPanda was able to eke out from a series of unanswered kills and pressure from the economic use of Garden Terrors gave them the momentum they needed to win in a convincing manner.

 

Group A Decider: Please Buff Arthas (PBA) vs. Team Dignitas

Fresh off the victory against Astral Authority, Dignitas looked to advance through the quarterfinals against Please Buff Arthas (PBA) the Taiwanese team that got beaten 2-0 against MVP Black in the previous round.

 

Round 1: Infernal Shrines

Team Dignitas started the draft with Valla, Malfurion, Muradin, Medivh, and Sonya after banning Tychus and Jaina

PBA prioritized ETC, Kerrigan, Sylvanas, Auriel, and Zagara while banning Gul’dan and Illidan.

dtpba-draft-1

 

Team Dignitas prioritized Medivh after seeing the potential for lockdown between PBA’s ETC, Auriel, and Kerrigan in the small areas that surround the shrines on this map. The comp PBA drafted was almost identical to an earlier comp they drafted against Astral Authority earlier in the tournament on the same map, but when Jaina was banned they drafted Zagara.

Both teams started the map with a quick 4-1 rotation between middle and bottom lanes, but PBA gained a slight experience lead going into the first shrine. The advantage was short lived however as clutch Force of Wills by the Team Dignitas Medivh prevented PBA from being able to lock down anybody. With Sylvannas and Zagara on the shrine, PBA were easily able to secure the first one though the Punisher inflicted only minor damage, even against Sylvannas pushing with it.

At the second shrine each team traded kills early in the fight, but Team Dignitas killed the PBA healer, which meant that PBA could not contest until Auriel came back. Both teams got their ults midway through the Shrine and when the smoke cleared two members of PBA lay dead and Team Dignitas gained the Punisher and bottom fort.

Proper rotation of Heroic abilities resulted in a 3-0 team fight in favor of Team Dignitas just before the third shrine spawned and gave Team Dignitas a talent tier lead and punisher. PBA’s ETC and Zagara pressured other lanes while the punisher threatened top keep to catch up, and were able to use ETC’s Stage Dive to force Team Dignitas off of the top keep, but they let it die unnecessarily to the next minion wave.

Another series of running team fights let Team Dignitas extend their lead in experience and in structures, giving them a three level advantage as the fifth shrine spawned. Team Dignitas secured this Punisher as well and the middle keep. PBA attempted to pursue the retreating Team Dignitas, but Team Dignitas turned on them and successfully wiped the team before going on to crush the core.

dtpba-game-1

 

Analyst Comment: The MVP for this match was the Team Dignitas Medivh who was able to use Force of Will to save anyone who was in trouble of getting focused down, but also used Ley Line Seal to lock down any attempt by the PBA ETC to get into the backline. This gave Team Dignitas the time they needed to reposition and turn on any team members that were caught out. PBA’s drafting of a second specialist was also puzzling, as they were unable to get any true benefit from drafting Zagara in team fights or in lane pressure.

 

Round 2: Battlefield of Eternity

Team Dignitas prioritized Malfurion, ETC, Li-Ming, Alarak, and Falstad while banning Abathur and Sylvannas.

PBA responded with Greymane, Muradin, Rehgar, Tychus and Thrall while banning Valla and Lunara.

dtpba-draft-2

 

PBA’s draft was built around racing the Immortal: securing high damage heroes and banning those they could not get. Team Dignitas, on the other hand, looked ready to fight PBA head on and keep the Mighty Gust from Falstad in reserve to shape the fight like they did earlier against Astral Authority.

Both teams were looking for a fight in the opening moments of the match, but Team Dignitas was able to kill Greymane after an overextension, though PBA traded for an Alarak as the Immortals spawned. This allowed them to secure an Immortal that had nearly three quarters of its shield remaining.

PBA and Team Dignitas kept trading kills in between the Immortal phase, though Team Dignitas began to eke out a half level lead before the next Immortal phase. In the second Immortal phase, though, Team Dignitas lost the immortal but got their Heroic talents mid-fight and then secured four kills. This effectively mitigated any benefit that PBA could have gotten from the immortal.

The third Immortal started with a talent tier advantage for Team Dignitas, though Alarak was picked off quickly a solid Iceblock by the Team Dignitas Malfurion allowed Team Dignitas to turn the fight and kill the entire PBA team. This allowed Team Dignitas to gain an extremely strong Immortal which pushed up the bottom lane, crushing the PBA Fort, Keep, and Core.

Team Dignitas sweeps their opponent for the second time tonight.

dtpba-game-2

 

Analyst Comment: While both teams played aggressively throughout the match, Team Dignitas capitalized on several over extensions to gain an experienced lead. This became especially useful as a perfectly timed Iceblock by Malfurion and an aggressive Might Gust by Falstad allowed them to wipe the entire PBA team, giving them the momentum they needed to soundly defeat their opponents.

Group B Decider: ZeroPanda v Fnatic

Coming off of the night’s earlier victory ZeroPanda looked ready to win and they were in the position to prove that they could overcome the European team Fnatic, which they lost 0-2 to earlier in the bracket.

 

Round 1: Braxis Holdout

Fnatic drafted ETC first before taking, Jaina, Zagara, Rexxar and Tyrande after banning Tassadar and Zeratul

ZeroPanda started the draft by taking Malfurion before moving onto Falstad, Li Ming, and then a double warrior Johanna and Chen while banning Valla and Alarak.

zpfn-draft-1

 

Each team drafted a solo-laner (Chen/Rexxar) to take the off lane on this map. The commentators seemed surprised but this was a pretty typical draft since the map entered rotation during the Machines of War event this fall. Wave clear and lane control cannot be understated for this map, though, and Fnatic has no shortage of it.

Rather than the typical 1-4 split that is typical on this map, the both teams split 2-3 with ZeroPanda placing Chen and Falstad top lane. Fnatic spent the time roaming with a majority of their team looking for lockdown between ETC, Tyrande, and Jaina. They were able to successfully get two kills early on and grab both beacons.

The first zerg swarm went to Fnatic with a 100%-0 split, which cost ZeroPanda their bottom fort and gave Fnatic a half level lead.

A swift rotation by Fnatic allowed them to lockdown Falstad and get the top fort and their heroic talents. The rapidly eroding position of ZeroPanda continued to worsen as they had no positions to fall back to and could not contest the beacons. Fnatic gained a second 100% zerg swarm.

A confident Fnatic marched at the head of a massive zerg swarm into the ZeroPanda Keep, but as the horde thinned out ZeroPanda successfully gusted two Fnatic players into the still very active keep, killing them. This not only saved the ZeroPanda keep but gave them the experience they needed to catch back up.

Another successful aggressive Mighty Gust allowed ZeroPanda to secure two kills and their first strong beacon which summoned a zerg wave that pushed to Fnatic’s top keep. Two members of ZeroPanda ended up in Fnatic’s Maw, but the Jaina missed her Ring of Frost on the combo and they mostly escaped unharmed.

By the next Beacon became active, the experience actually shifted in favor of ZeroPanda and they were able to fight more toe to toe with Fnatic. Both teams circled the map looking for an advantage over the other. Finally, Fnatic marched across the map and finished off top keep which started a team fight.

Unnoticed was that ZeroPanda captured both beacons at the start of the fight, and while the team fight went on and eventually left four members of team ZeroPanda dead the Zerg wave that they had spawned destroyed the Fnatic core right before their eyes.

zpfn-game-1

 

Analyst Comment: Despite massive gains made by Fnatic in the early game, the late game belonged to ZeroPanda. Attempts to lockdown and kill Johanna that worked earlier were not successful later and ZeroPanda was able to turn the tables on engagements that used up so many cooldowns on the side of Fnatic.

 

Round 2: Dragon Shire

ZeroPanda grabbed Muradin, Falstad, Dehaka, Li Ming, and Rehgar while banning Illidan and Zeratul.

Fnatic countered by once again prioritizing ETC before moving on to Valla, Malfurion, Tyrael, and Tychus after banning Tassadar and Chen Stormstout.

zpfn-draft-2

 

The global presence from the ZeroPanda draft was unsurprising since Dragon Shire is a map that requires so much rotation and they used a similar setup against Astral Authority earlier in the night on Sky Temple. Once again, Fnatic looked to win by leveraging damage and lockdown against ZeroPanda.

ZeroPanda used those global to get a DK within the first two minutes of the match, which gave them a slight experience lead but more importantly gave momentum to the Chinese team. They used that momentum and global to pick up kills on the Fnatic Tychus and Tyrael.

Despite several deaths by Fnatic, the European team managed to mostly keep up with ZeroPanda on soak and they began to trade kills more effectively as both teams neared ten.

An unanswered kill by ZeroPanda against the Fnatic Tyrael finally let the Chinese team secure the Dragon Knight and take the bottom fort, giving them a talent tier advantage. The globals from ZeroPanda allowed them to chip away at Fnatic’s defenses.

In the ensuing team fight that was forced by Fnatic, they were able to get a double kill against their opponents which Fnatic was able to use to pick up the first DK of the game. The structural damage Fnatic was able to inflict caught them up both structurally and in experience to team ZeroPanda.

Both teams reached level 20 at roughly the same time just before the shrines became active again. Apprehension between the players was obvious as either team realized that the next death would probably end the game.

Fnatic marched into the bottom lane to threaten the ZeroPanda keep, and the teams faced one another without willing to commit. Finally, Fnatic poked down the bottom Keep and provoked ZeroPanda into attacking Fnatic, resulting in a double kill against Dehaka and Falstad. Fnatic secured the Dragon Knight off of this victory, two more kills, and then quickly moved on to the core to tie up the series 1-1.

zpfn-game-2

 

Analyst Comment: ZeroPanda’s initial use of globals to rotate quickly at the beginning of the match gave them the advantage in the early game, securing both kills and Dragon Knights. As the match progressed into late game, Fnatic came together as a team to place a massive zone of control over the bottom lane to threaten the keep, secure the bottom shrine, and keep the Chinese team fixed in place which effectively nullified their global advantage. While the final fight was a close one, the lockdown by Fnatic’s ETC allowed them to get the advantage and take the match.

 

Round 3: Cursed Hollow

Zero Panda started off by drafting Muradin, Brightwing, Abathur, Tyrael, and Tychus while banning Illidan and Dehaka.

Fnatic countered by once again prioritizing ETC and then getting Falstad, Li Ming, Malfurion, and Stitches after banning Zeratul and Medivh.

zpfn-draft-3

 

A surprising draft for both teams, Cursed Hollow is a really strong map for Abathur and Tyrael though both heroes really shine in the late game.

First tribute went to Fnatic due to an extremely lethargic rotation by Zero Panda. The second tribute saw a standoff that went on for nearly a minute before a successful Stitches hook pulled Tyrael to his doom. As ZeroPanda retreated, Fnatic caught them out in the open and killed another two team members, giving them level ten just before the tribute spawned.

ZeroPanda successfully traded one for one at the third tribute but were able to secure it without challenge from Fnatic. An attempted gank by Gorge by Fnatic at the fourth tribute was thwarted by a combination of ZeroPanda’s Sanctuary and the cloned Tychus that was able to chunk down the double warrior comp from Fnatic.

Another Gorge gank attempt was thwarted by a properly timed Avatar from the intended victim: Muradin. The attack occurred just as the fifth tribute spawned and with a number of Heroic abilities already used, Fnatic was unable to contest. Worse, they had ignored a pushing boss in the bottom lane to go for the gank. The curse cost Fnatic all three of their forts and severely pushed their lanes in.

The sixth tribute was advantageous for Zero Panda and Fnatic gave it up without much trouble, but the ensuing team fight saw a one for one trade between the two teams. Zero Panda was able to secure the seventh tribute so when it went into the 8th, both teams were at the curse tribute.

For the 8th tribute, Fnatic attempted to catch the ZeroPanda Brightwing with a long range Stitches hook which was thwarted by the rapid Iceblock response from ZeroPanda’s Brightwing. The team fight devolved from there with Fnatic standing on top of ZeroPanda’s Sanctification in a small alley, resulting in the deaths of four of their team members for one of Fnatics. The subsequent curse and boss capture lead to the two keeps though ZeroPanda chose not to end, instead going for the safer decision of settling for camps and keeps.

A team fight before the 9th tribute finally let Fnatic successfully conduct a Gorge gank on the ZeroPanda Tyrael which let Fnatic gain the final curse and boss. Fnatic then turned their sights on the ZeroPanda players and landed a successful Mosh Pit to keep the Chinese team from defending their core against the boss.

The boss took the game and Fnatic advanced onto the semi-finals 2-1.

zpfn-game-3

 

Analyst Comment: The attempts by Fnatic to capitalize on the Stitches Gorge was a failure throughout the match. Fortunately for them, they were able to hold on until it did work at the end of the game which is the strength of Stitches’ playmaking: it only has to work once. The late game nature of the bosses on Cursed Hollow gave Fnatic what they needed most: a win condition.

 

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