The VS Gaming DotA2 Masters LAN Cup (19-21 May 2017)

This past weekend saw the culmination of the VS Gaming (previously known as Telkom DGL) Masters LAN Cup for Dota 2.

The studio LAN event saw eight teams battling it out over a double elimination bracket for their share of R110,000. The teams in the event were made up of the top six Masters teams and two qualifying wildcard teams in Mythic Gaming and Veneration E-Sports.

The two wildcards found the going tough and were bundled out of the tournament in the first round of the loser’s bracket. That left the remaining six Masters teams to fight for the top slot. In the end, it was the familiar names of Energy eSports, White Rabbit Gaming and xTc standing on day three with the bulk of the payout to play for.

White Rabbit Gaming reached the grand final without really breaking a sweat, while Energy and xTc had to face off in the loser’s bracket final to earn a second bite at the WRG team. In the end, it was xTc that proved their smack talk matched their game talk when they secured their spot in the best of five grand final.

Anyone that was expecting an underdog upset were to be disappointed however, as the 2016 Masters Champions proved their pedigree with a comprehensive 3-0 win in the grand final to take home R44,000 and the momentum into this weekend’s Mega8 finals.

Final standings:

You can catch a few highlights videos here, while the VoDs from the weekend are available on the VS Gaming YouTube channel. Photos from the event are also available: Day 1 and Day 2.

Fixture Summary

The tournament format was the classic (non-Swiss) double elimination bracket where upper bracket matches were played as a Best of Three (Bo3) and the lower bracket matches were Best of One (Bo1) until the lower bracket final (which was a Bo3). The grand final was a Best of Five (Bo5), with the upper bracket team starting with a one match advantage over the lower bracket team. You can see the entire tournament bracket here.

White Rabbit Gaming 2 – 0 Mythic Gaming (WB Round 1)

The opening fixture of the tournament saw reigning DGL Masters champions WRG take on wildcard newcomers mG. WRG were huge favorites going into this matchup, while mG had considerable fan support behind them as they were complete underdogs going into this tournament. Few were surprised by the WRG 2 – 0 victory over the newcomers. WRG took only 25 minutes to despatch mG to the lower bracket in either game, but mG emerged from the engagement with some impressive plays. In Game 1 mG stood toe to toe with WRG for the first 15 minutes, equal on kills and only slightly behind the champions in gold and experience net worth.

Energy eSports 2 – 0 Aperture Gaming (WB Round 1)

The first game in this fixture would come to typify the eN approach to the entire tournament, with early aggression and focused rotations in the laning phase catapulting eN to victory within 19 minutes. Game 2 was a significantly more drawn out affair, in which both teams played extremely well. Ultimately eN would emerge victorious here as well, particularly due to the amount of space eN made for Dreamy (aka Momo, aka oDu) who played a savage Troll Warlord (15/2/12).

eXdee Gaming 2 – 0 Veneration Esports (WB Round 1)

One of the most tightly contested fixtures in the upper bracket, due in part to the xD roster swap (the old squad moved to Bravado Gaming) and a run of decent form for VNR. Both of these games in this series took longer than 40 minutes and were significantly closer than the scores reflect. Ultimately the combination of Hunter/Fury in xD, along with some really strong performances by Rock Lee, Jappa, and TKC, secured a 2 – 0 sweep over VNR. For VNR it would be a difficult series loss, with the players struggling to find any real teamwork throughout.

xTc Gaming 2 – 0 Pulse Gaming (WB Round 1)

We predicted that xTc Gaming would finish in the top 3 at this tournament in our preview article last week. The first match in the series reflected that well, with xTc looking the dominant team. Game 2 was a slightly different affair, with PLT managing to almost push the game to 40 minutes and chink the xTc armour. Ultimately xTc were able to reassert their dominance in this series and earned a 2 – 0 clean sweep over PLT. Depi and Adastam both looked really strong in the series and prospects looked good for the team going into the next round of the upper bracket.

Aperture Gaming 1 – 0 Mythic Gaming (LB Round 1)

The first team to be eliminated were mG, who suffered an expected loss to ApG in the lower bracket. Both sides appeared to have plans to advance through the lower bracket, but ApG’s early aggression proved to completely catch mG unawares. ApG steamrolled mG in a brutal 25 minute match in which mG could do little to contest the result. mG are the first team to be eliminated, ending 7th/8th.

Pulse Gaming 1 – 0 Veneration Esports (LB Round 1)

This fixture clocks in as the longest in the entire tournament at 1 hour and 12 minutes. Both sides were desperate to advance, with the entire match fiercely contested from start to finish. A few critical errors from VNR, with the help of some huge crits from the Smacka Phantom Assassin, would give PLT the slight edge over VNR here. VNR are the second team to be eliminated, ending 7th/8th.

White Rabbit Gaming 2 – 1 Energy eSports (WB Round 2)

The first real test for WRG at the tournament came in the form of eN in the second round. Many held eN as the sole contenders to upset WRG dominance in the local scene, and eN didn’t disappoint. They sported a particularly unusual first game draft that caught WRG completely unawares, where Dreamy on Death Prophet in the safe lane and a mid lane Chosen1 Templar Assassin, absolutely steamrolled WRG to earn a game 1 victory. Game 2 and 3 WRG realigned themselves and drafted well, ensuring they’d not be surprised by eN again. With drafts more evenly matched, WRG looked stronger and were able to convincingly emerge victorious with a 2 – 1 result against eN.

xTc Gaming 2 – 0 eXdee Gaming (WB Round 2)

This series established xTc as a concise and clinical top 3 contender at the tournament, with the entire xTc team displaying cohesion and excellent communication throughout. In both games it felt like xD were doing a great deal well, but xTc had an answer for everything that xD threw at them. In particular Adastam on Ursa looked particularly scary in Game 1, and Depi played superbly throughout both games as well. A huge shoutout has to be made to DotA and Die, who played particularly well on heroes he probably hasn’t played since 2015. His map presence throughout the tournament was superb, and he was always where he needed to be to help turn fights to xTc’s advantage. xD also deserve a shoutout here, as they played well but ultimately couldn’t turn the tides on xTc, who ultimately won the series 2 – 0.

Aperture Gaming 1 – 0 eXdee Gaming (LB Round 2)

After a 30 minute interval, xD had to play a scary looking ApG in the lower bracket. ApG were at this point being touted as the lower bracket specialists, and didn’t disappoint in this fixture. OMalley released the river first, absolutely dominating Hunter in lane and opening the floodgates to an ApG route of xD. While the match lasted 39 minutes, the result was rarely in doubt. eXdee Gaming are the third team eliminated, ending 5th/6th.

Energy eSports 1 – 0 Pulse Gaming (LB Round 2)

If you had to sum up this fixture, you could only probably say that it looked over very early on thanks to some of the usual eN lane dominance and aggression. PLT did well to hang on, in the hopes that their Arc Warden pick would come online, but this ultimately proved an impossible task for Aghanim who showed flashes of how well the PLT draft could have worked given more time. PLT are the fourth team eliminated, ending 5th/6th.

Energy eSports 1 – 0 Aperture Gaming (LB Round 3)

Thus eN and ApG met each other, as many predicted would be the case. Both teams had established themselves as highly aggressive teams and the fixture looked set to be a close one. The eN draft looked particularly menacing, with Dreamy on Death Prophet, Chelsea on Legion Commander, and Chosen1 on on Templar Assassin. ApG in turn picked up an acg Shadow Fiend, Toyota Corolla on Vengeful Spirit, and OMalley on Underlord. The match lasted a little under 44 minutes with eN dominating large portions of the match. Yet ApG at multiple stages looked able to turn the fixture on its head. This was ultimately not to be, with eN forcing ApG mistakes in the late game which combined with the sheer amount of base push eN had drafted proved to be their undoing. ApG are eliminated and take fourth place.

White Rabbit Gaming 2 – 0 xTc Gaming (WB Final)

WRG and xTc met in the upper bracket final, where many expected WRG to dominate. Yet, after the earlier dropped match to eN, xTc would fancy a chance at an upset here. The series was, to put it bluntly, a bit of a stomp with Game 1 lasting on 32 minutes and Game 2 just 25 minutes. WRG absolutely dominated xTc straight out of the gates, both in the draft phase and by shutting down Adastam superbly in both matches. xTc move to the lower bracket to face a particularly fierce eN, who many now fancied to take the lower bracket final.

xTc Gaming 2 – 0 Energy eSports (LB Final)

After the previous series xTc had some time to regroup in order to face off against rivals eN. In contrast, eN looked fairly confident and were no doubt already looking past xTc, towards the grand final. This turned out to be their undoing, as a reinvigorated xTc showed why they’re one of the top teams in the country. In both games xTc drafted well and managed to ensure both their cores found ample farm and enjoyed ample space on the map to apply pressure to eN. In contrast, eN appeared to buckle under the early pressure from xTc in Game 1 and quickly fell off the pace. In Game 2 eN looked significantly stronger, but they were never able to really contest the space that xTc created for Adastam and Depi. xTc emerged victorious after their 2 – 0 sweep of eN, who take 3rd place. xTc emerge from the lower brackets to once again face the rampant rabbits.

White Rabbit Gaming 3 – 0 xTc Gaming (Grand Final)

Thanks to being the upper bracket victors, WRG go into the Bo5 Grand Final a match ahead, needing only two wins to secure the series and top spot. Conversely, xTc would need to win three games in order to take the series and top spot. WRG appeared confident, while xTc showed signs of fatigue in the booths. WRG started off with a highly unpredictable draft, mirroring their short sleeves and scarves dress sense (Eds: Dennis summed it up well). xTc were caught completely unaware and looked outclassed throughout the grand finals. WRG in both games were dominant from start to finish, seeing off xTc and wrapping up the tournament victory with the 3 – 0 series victory. Wp to everyone, and particularly to a very strong WRG squad. WRG finish in 1st place, while xTc earn a well deserved 2nd.

VS Masters Cup Grand Final Montage

A massive congratulations to our 2017 Dota 2 #VSMasters Cup champions White Rabbit Gaming. Relive the moment with them.

Posted by VS Gaming on Sunday, 21 May 2017

Looking to participate in the remaining Masters Cups and Finals for Dota 2, CS: GO and FIFA 17? Then time is running out with the last chance to participate in the wildcard qualifiers.

Zombie Dredd & @SargonDotA2

Photos via VS Gaming.