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The Final Hour

As of now, the 4 teams that will compete at our LAN finals have been decided. University of Connecticut, University of California Davis, University of British Columbia, and California State University Long Beach will travel to Toronto to compete for the lion’s share of $50,000. The LAN finals will take place May 12th to 14th, and one team will be crowned champion. Before we can talk about what is to come, let us take a look back at the series played in the round of 8.

Series 1: Rochester Institute of Technology vs University of Connecticut

This series had everything you could possibly want from a quarterfinal series; an epic game with throws back and forth, a god-like Invoker performance where one player put the team on his back and basically 1v5’d the enemy team at times, and solid drafting throughout. Both teams brought the noise and gave it everything they had, but only one team could advance further. Rochester played very well and had standout performances from several of their players, but Connecticut played that much better with all of their players playing exceptionally. This first quarterfinal series set expectations high for the rest of the round of 8, and the series that followed it did not disappoint.

Watch the minimap during this clip. What a god.

Series 2: University of California Davis vs Cornell University

In the second series of the round of 8, veteran squads UC Davis and Cornell battled it out. Cornell made it to the LAN finals last season but was defeated by University of Michigan in the semi-finals, while UC Davis fell in the round of 16, so both teams were hungry to prove themselves this time around. UC Davis appeared to be the stronger team throughout, but there were cracks in their play that Cornell was able to take advantage of. Cornell also took advantage of the CSL style of Dota where everything is chaos and an advantage doesn’t actually matter, taking UC Davis for a ride. Ultimately this chaotic style led to Cornell’s downfall in the final game of the series where they played very sloppy. UC Davis took the final game and the series on the back of their superior execution and team coordination.

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/135503826

My favorite part of CSL Dota is the pure chaos Dota that some teams “execute” beautifully.

Series 3: University of Toronto vs University of British Columbia

The third series of the round of 8 was between Toronto and UBC to determine who would be the Canadian representative at the LAN finals. Toronto was expected by many to be more than a match for UBC but that just wasn’t the case. What should have been the closest most contested series of the quarterfinals, turned out to be UBC doing what UBC is known to do: crush their lanes, see their enemies driven before them, and hear the lamentations of their foes fans. In short, this series was a slaughter. UBC will definitely be the team to beat at the LAN finals, but since they’re the only Canadian team left, I’ll be cheering for them throughout.

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/135692613

UBC has this annoying habit of making their foes seem bad at Dota.

Series 4: Georgia Institute of Technology vs California State University Long Beach

The fourth and final series of the round of 8 was played yesterday between Georgia Tech and CSULB. While drafting is and always will be one of the most important things to pay attention to in any series, this game was decided largely by drafts. In game 1, Georgia Tech last picked Sniper in response to Wraith King which is a terrible matchup for the monarch, leaving CSULB hamstrung in most engagements. In both games 2 and 3, CSULB went for ambiguous drafts, leaving their position 1 and 2 picks for last, yet not giving away any information about what the lanes might be which made the draft very difficult for Georgia Tech. Draft aside, CSULB played very well throughout the series and might have been able to win more decisively if the game 1 draft went better.

 

I cannot praise CSULB’s drafting enough, so here is @TheWonderCow doing it for me.

With a little over 3 weeks until the LAN finals, a lot can change both about the game and the condition of the teams. The Kiev Major happens at the end of April and a patch will likely follow it, I just hope it doesn’t change much and it doesn’t get released either the day before or during our finals like it did last year. Three weeks is also a lot of time for the teams to be “on break” so who knows what condition teams will be in when they finally get to Toronto. One thing for sure is that the LAN finals will be incredibly hype. Will UBC claim the championship two times in a row? Will UConn, the only east coast representative, settle the debate over which coast is the best coast? Will we have a California showdown in the finals between UC Davis and CSULB? We’re just going to have to wait and see!

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