The biggest night of collegiate Dota took Toronto by storm last night! See how a story of underdogs and champions unfolded, and who came out on top to call themselves 2017 champions.
Semi Finals 1: University of Connecticut vs California State University Long Beach
UCONN Picks: Slardar, Ursa, Spirit Breaker, Rubick, Outworld Devourer
CSULB Picks: Tinker, Lifestealer, Centaur Warrunner, Crystal Maiden, Riki
The first thing to note about Long Beach’s roster is that three of their core players were unable to attend the LAN. So honestly, kudos to them for picking up three unfamiliar players and making the best of it. Now, onto the recap:
Right off the bat, UConn went with a really strong all-or-nothing type draft with a very heavy engage team, especially with the Slardar, Ursa, and Spirit Breaker. Their idea was to literally shut down Long Beach’s early farm with the immediate charges and team follow up. This early game aggression right from level 3 was brutal and Long Beach literally could not pick up on the farm they so desperately needed to catch up.
The problem with Long Beach’s draft was that they depended too much on the late game and hoped that Lifestealer and Tinker would be able to get the items they needed, or at least prolong the game enough for the team to stabilize. Unfortunately, that idea was out of the question when UConn secured 10 kills AND a Roshan before 10 minutes.
Quite frankly, this win was surprising as UConn got a relatively easy entrance into the semi-finals because of multiple by’s; however, they definitely stepped up to the plate this round and showed everyone just what they were capable of resulting in a GG just before 25 minutes.
UCONN Picks: Spirit Breaker, Disruptor, Dark Seer, Spectre, Invoker
CSULB Picks: Crystal Maiden, Riki, Troll Warlord, Tidehunter, Tiny
It was honestly a surprise that Long Beach let the Spirit Breaker pass during the drafting phase, enough so that our casters were legitimately yelling in disbelief. But Spirit Breaker wasn’t the problem this time.
Long Beach’s draft seemed solid at first glance: roaming Riki and Crystal Maiden, Crystal Maiden to sustain mana-dependent heroes like Tiny and Tide, Troll to bash skulls in. But they picked spell dependent heroes into a Disruptor, literally the one hero that will ruin team fights.
CSULB definItely learned from their mistakes and took to the roaming early, interrupting UConn’s farm for a short while. Unfortunately, once level 6 hit, the scales started to tip. I don’t think Tidehunter had managed to pull any good ults during the entire game simply because of Glimpse and Static Storm. Not only that, UConn’s Spectre, Spirit Breaker, and Invoker made it impossible for Long Beach to lock anyone down.
Long Beach tried their best to stay in the game, but UConn eventually shut them down and took a clean 2-0.
CSULB player Quan “k0xzik” Nguyen expressed his deep disappointment when his team went 0-2: “It’s kind of embarrassing that we got to semifinals just to lose both games in a row.” He explained that the three replacements on his team were essentially complete strangers, recruiting a few people on campus via Reddit and asking his own roommate to stand in.
It was truly unfortunate that his teammates had trouble with Visa and I genuinely hope to see them come back with a vengeance next year.
UCONN 2 – 0 CSULB
Semi Finals 2: University of California Davis vs University of British Columbia
British Columbia picks: Treeant, Nyx Assassin, Spectre, Zeus, Jakiro
Davis: Dark Seer, Riki, Crystal Maiden, Ursa, Storm Spirit
Both drafts were evenly matched and it came down to a matter of skills. UBC had very sneaky mobile heroes, strong push potential, and great protection for Spectre. Davis had good team fight and pick off potential, and the Crystal Maiden aura was an absolute necessary for the very mana-dependent carries. Based on the draft alone, this game could have gone either way.
In game, Davis was favored to win. They had great engage with the Ursa blink and Storm Spirit, making UBC instinctively back at every engage and losing farm in lane. They had a significant gold and tower lead. Their team coordination was near flawless.This advantage worked until high ground.
The main problem with UBC’s draft during the early game was that they had no guaranteed lockdown to get the kills on Davis, but their high ground defense was like a brick wall: difficult to break through, but not impossible.
Unfortunately, Davis couldn’t play the patience card at this point and started making rushed and desperate plays. If Storm Spirit engaged alone to bait ults and buybacks, that would have been their win; however, the team tried rushing in with the pesky ball of lightning. This massive group-up in the small high ground pathway was the perfect area for a Nyx stun, Jakiro Ice Path and Macropyre, Spectre’s ult with ALL of her clones’ Radiance aura, and all of Zeus’s own annoying electricity. Had Davis learned their mistake the first time around, they could have used Storm Spirit as the main bait to play to their advantage.
Zingle mentioned that it was a “poke-and-reset” during his #AskZinglextweets, but the game looked more like “all-or-nothing” to me. Some few of the same fights (and results) later, UBC managed to make it across the river to jab at Davis’s high ground, but made no real progress.
It was honestly surprising that Davis threw in the towel early, calling GG 50 minutes in when no one was able to break high ground anyways.
Davis: Axe, Jakiro, Juggernaut, Vengeful Spirit, Shadow Shaman
UCB: Spectre, Zeus, Warlock, Monkey King, Enigma
Davis revealed their desperate desire for an early push win with their line up. With Jakiro’s Liquid Fire, Venge’s damage aura, and Shaman’s snake wards, Davis had high hopes for quick push into high ground before the UBC carries could get online. Unfortunately, they ignored UBC’s global combo potential.
Davis had little victories with their pushes, but UBC shut them down mid-game. Davis couldn’t escape the Zeus and Spectre ult even if they wanted to, nor could they deal with Monkey King’s constant roaming. The constant push into high ground didn’t quite help either when they knew UBC had very team fight heavy heroes defending.
A few team wipes later, UBC claimed their second victory: UBC 2 – 0 UC Davis
UBC: Axe, Monkey King, Invoker, Troll Warlord, Silencer
UCONN: Crystal Maiden, Slardar, Phoenix, Lina, Anti-Mage
This was by far the most gripping game during the entire tournament. This is an absolute must watch.
Anything could have happened with the drafts: they both had fantastic engage and disengage. UBC had a great mix of damage and utility, especially that Silencer to interrupt UConn’s spell dependent heroes. UConn looked squishy at first glance, but they might have had the stronger depending on their build.
UBC maintained superb control of lanes, letting Troll own his own while Monkey continued his lane-by-lane rotations. UConn’s response and rotation was on-point, but they made the mistake of pulling Anti-Mage out of his farm early for team fights. Anti-Mage learned his lesson quickly and prioritized his farm while the team did their best to manage fights.
UConn’s response to UBC’s 11k gold advantage was near professional. They remained incredibly patient and took smart kills and objectives, slowly closing the gold advantage gap. Literally the only problem was Crystal Maiden’s solo roaming to ward, or as Toffees said: “A tombstone accompanies every ward.”
UConn picked up an 8k lead 40 minutes in and looked like they had the game in the bag. Unfortunately, they lost patience towards the end, pushing Anti-Mage to break the racks alone when he needed to run to safety. That fatal 120 seconds death counter with no buyback was literally the only reason UBC was able to push down mid and take their win.
UBC: Magnus, Riki, Lifestealer, Crystal Maiden, Dragon Knight
UCONN: Axe, Earth Spirit, Spectre, Invoker, Disruptor
Sadly, there isn’t much to say this game.
UBC abandoned slow tactical plays and rushed UConn mercilessly. They shut down all of UConn’s farm and took advantage of their hefty draft, utilizing their strong defenses and bursty offense.
The problem here was that UConn picked up a super slow and farm dependent carry while UBC went with relatively basic-stand-alone type heroes, which allowed them to roam earlier and pick up kills quicker. When Spectre got behind, it was too difficult for UConn to pick up their pace. There was no way for UConn to get back into the game at this rate, and it was a quick 2-0 victory for the defending champions, University of British Columbia.
To all the CSL players who were unable to make the LAN due to Visa problems: it was truly unfortunate that things did not work out. But I do believe this was a great opportunity for our dedicated players to experience professional gaming life and learn some of the ins and outs of necessary travel.
Aside from the issues, we had some great games and all of our semi-finalists that fought their way to Toronto deserved to be the top 4 college teams in North America. Another huge congratulations to University of British Columbia for defending their champion title for the second year in a row. It will be sad to see most of the main roster go, but we hope to see some fresh blood to pick up UBC’s legacy.
Now, who’s ready to steal the title next year?