North American Dota 2 team Digital Chaos claimed their first premier tournament win Sunday, surviving a grueling five-game series to take first place at ESL One Genting.
TI6 runner-up Digital Chaos' road to first place began with a semifinal match vs. Russia's Virtus.pro, a roster that came out of nowhere after TI6 to dominate The Summit 6 last year. The first game of the series was close, but Digital Chaos managed to shut down Ilya "Lil" Ilyuk's Chen by only letting his team take three towers. Digital Chaos took control of the map and eventually overwhelmed Virtus.pro with their farm advantage.
In Game 2, Digital Chaos decided to show off a few unique tools in their arsenal. They picked Chaos Knight for Roman "Resolut1on" Fominok, and Aliwi "w33" Omar purchased Vanguard and Mjollnir on Invoker. w33 turned his Invoker into a right-clicking frontliner instead of relying entirely on his spells, but still providing a powerful dispel with Tornado. That was all Digital Chaos would need as the Game 2 win clinched the team a grand final appearance.
In a battle of two Chinese teams, TI6 champion Wings Gaming took on Newbee in the other semifinal to decide who would meet Digital Chaos in the grand finals. Newbee got off to an explosive start, spearheaded by Song "Sccc" Chun's Templar Assassin. Joined by a Lifestealer and supported by Slardar's Corrosive Haze, Newbee executed a classic minus armor strategy extremely well. As a result, Wings became overwhelmed shortly after their lanes broke down, losing the game while securing just four total kills. Staring a series loss in the face, Wings appeared to be teetering on the edge throughout the first 20 minutes of Game 2. However multiple teamfight wins led by Zhou "bLink" Yang's Necrophos helped Wings rally, giving way to Chu "shadow" Zeyu's Morphling to take control of the late game.
The impressive comeback set the stage for a winner-take-all Game 3. Wings broke out the Broodmother for Zhang "Faith_bian" Ruida as a response to Newbee going for the Drow Ranger, and as a result, Newbee had a rough time in mid-game fights, losing either their Drow Ranger or Medusa, forcing them to run. Although they took considerable losses, Newbee did a great job keeping up in farm and defending their base, helping to extend the game. Damien "kpii" Chok's Clockwerk was the lynchpin of Newbee's late-game fighting. His constant Hookshots and Power Cogs allowed his teammates to inflict maximum damage in fights. Newbee was able to repel all of Wings' attempts to break their base, holding out for an hour and coming back from a net worth deficit of almost 20,000 gold until Sccc's Medusa was impossible to deal with.
Newbee seemed to carry their momentum from the semifinals into the best-of-five grand finals, as the Chinese team ran away with the first game, closing out with a thorough win. The loss didn't seem to deter Digital Chaos, however, as the squad went straight for the Keeper of the Light/Naga Siren combination to kick off Game 2. This classic strategy has delivered many wins over the years, and when Resolut1on finished a 15-minute Radiance it looked like the game was in the bag. Newbee managed to hold on for almost 53 minutes though, defending their base with excellent Dark Seer combination plays. However, Digital Chaos was finally able to grind Newbee down under the sheer weight of Resolut1on's net worth lead in the end, evening up the series.
In Game 3, Newbee managed to get Underlord for kpii, helping give the group a commanding advantage in teamfights. Even if Newbee got caught by Digital Chaos' Dark Seer combo, they were able to withstand the initial burst and win the fight. Newbee only gave up five kills in Game 3, with both uuu9 and sccc not dying a single time en route to the win. It was DC 1-2 Newbee.
Newbee went for the exact same opener, Luna and Underlord, in Game 4 - if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Digital Chaos responded with a blast from the past, picking Leshrac for w33 in the middle lane. This huge source of magic damage was just what Digital Chaos needed to handle Newbee's Underlord. In addition to w33, Resolut1on's Slark got out of control. With only Dragon Tail and Pit of Malice to worry about, Resolut1on was free to move around in fights and pick off supports. Digital Chaos took Game 4 in a convincing 29-minute win, taking the series to a full five games.
With the tournament on the line, Digital Chaos jumped out to a great start, relying on their incredibly mobile lineup to keep two steps ahead of Newbee during the early portion of the match. Flanked with three solid Infest carriers in Queen of Pain, Centaur Warrunner and Mirana, Resolut1on's Lifestealer made the game extremely difficult for uuu9's Luna. By 25 minutes, the top three heroes by net worth were all Digital Chaos.' Six minutes later, Newbee conceded the game, ending the series with a final score of 3-2 Digital Chaos.
Digital Chaos leaves Malaysia with $125,000 in prize money and the first premier tournament title of 2017 under their belts, which is a great start to the new year after a third-fourth finish at the Boston Major. Another win or top finish at the Dota Pit Season 5 finals later in January would put Digital Chaos in prime position to receive an invite to Valve's upcoming Kiev Major in April.