After 4 days of play, Optic Gaming were crowned the champions of Starladder ImbaTV Season 5 Invitational taking a 3-1 victory over VG.J Thunder. And much to the disappointment of fans of Chinese Dota, VG.J Thunder finished second in yet another DPC event, making it their 3rd second place finish with Chinese teams having placed 2nd in 10 events in 17 events with only 2 wins to their name.
Thunder started the day strong, with a clinical 2-0 over Vega Squadron, who by the looks of things seem to have picked up their first DPC points for the season. The Chinese overpowered the CIS squad on the back of some solid play coming out of both Sylar and Freeze in the series.
Meanwhile, in the other matchup, Fnatic conceded the series 2-1 to Optic and their inability to adapt as the series progressed was the main cause for their loss. Their experiment to put Adam on the 4 and DJ on the 5, doesn’t seem to have worked as both players looked out of place in all of Fnatic’s games. This, in turn, ended up exposing their cores a but too much, something which Optic capitalized on. Pajkatt, 33 and Zai all had a good series as Fnatic were unable to repeat Mineski’s performance at the Starladder Minor.
By now it was clear, that Optic’s game plan involved a powerful mid-game, that crippled the enemy and took the game away from them in one swift blow. All their wins had come before the 35-minute mark and the 2 games that they had conceded were indeed ones which went late. Thunder took advantage of this in game 1, picking up TB for Sylar and ensuring that the other 2 cores were tanky and could survive the mid-game. Despite Optic pulling out ahead in the mid-game, the composition of their heroes, allowed VG.J to come back once TB hit critical mass and take the game.
In games 2 and 3, VG.J’s reliance on DP complicated things, as they were unable to fight frequently, which meant that again Optic came out on top in the mid-game engagements. Just like much of the tournament, Optic grouped up and just ploughed through enemy lines in the mid-game, something which VG.J were unable to deal with.
In the final game of the series, VG.J again went for the late game strat with a Sniper pick, but PPD was well prepared for this as they never allowed the hero the start he needs. Despite sacrificing their own lanes, they picked up 3 kills on the Sniper before the 11-minute mark, effectively shutting him down. The Sniper was unable to join the teamfights when Optic group up and his recovery was slow and ineffective. Optic had their sights on the objectives and were able to take down Roshan and start threatening high ground soon enough. Key pickoffs on the Pugna and the Sniper meant that VG.J had no high ground defence and could only watch as their base crumbled before they called the gg.
Only took me 10 years to win my first lan, hope it won't be another 10 for the second ...!! ;D— Per Olsson Lille (@PajkattDota) April 15, 2018
Known for being one of the best captains and drafters out there, PPD showed just why he has earned himself the tag, using his players with great tact to achieve his goals. 33 especially was very instrumental for Optic as CCnC played the sacrificial role time and again to allow his team the execution required. Optic were clearly the best team of the tournament, and with performances like these, can still make it to TI.