The Dota Pit Season 5 finals in Split, Croatia, began Friday, featuring eight teams competing for a $135,345 prize pool and a chance to impress heading into the Kiev Major in April.
The first series of the day began with Elements Pro Gaming vs. Virtus.pro. After being delayed over two hours, the entire series didn't even last one more hour as Virtus.pro took two convincing wins. This should come as little surprise to anyone who has followed Virtus.pro since the team was reformed after The International 6.
Elements Pro put up a decent fight in Game 2 when they fell back on comfort picks, but Virtus.pro was clearly the better team.
The second series Friday was much more exciting. Despite only being invited to replace Newbee, Invictus Gaming put on quite a show versus Boston Major champions OG. Invictus did a nice job supporting Xu "BurNIng" Zhilei's Lifestealer and Ou "Op" Peng's Ember Spirit in Game 1. Both BurNIng and Op kept themselves ahead of OG in net worth despite losing early fights. Later in the game, Invictus' Lin "Xxs" Jing's Slardar became the true MVP. His mobility let him quickly kill OG's Warlock, the only major obstacle in Invictus' path to victory.
OG put its foot down in Game 2, picking Dazzle and Sven to counter Invictus' Lifestealer and Slardar. The bonus armor from Dazzle's Weave and Sven's Warcry made getting kills almost impossible for Invictus. OG's two melee core heroes made it difficult for them to push up Invictus' high ground, but after almost 49 minutes they managed to force their way into the base.
Game 3 was another close contest. OG's lineup, featuring Terrorblade and Brewmaster, gave them incredible power spikes every two minutes when both Metamorphosis and Primal Split were off cooldown. Although Invictus held out at first, the game soon turned into a repeat of Game 2. Once OG got inside the Invictus base, the game was over.
With the loss, Invictus Gaming found themselves in the lower bracket. Facing off against Elements Pro, the surprise invites entered the series as clear favorites, and they didn't disappoint. After taking control of the early game, the path to victory was easy for iG. Elements Pro became the first team eliminated from the Dota Pit Season 5 finals, while iG's run continues through the dangerous best-of-one lower bracket.
The final series of the day saw Virtus.pro challenge OG in the upper bracket. Game 1 of the series was a clash between two fighting and pushing lineups. The two teams were extremely close for the first 20 minutes of the game, but as soon as OG's Johan "n0tail" Sundstein's Terrorblade made it into the Virtus.pro base with Metamorphosis up, OG claimed the advantage. Virtus.pro put on an incredible defense with Luna and Invoker, holding on for 20 minutes with only a single barrack remaining, but the OG lead was too much in the end.
In Game 2, Virtus.pro went for a Drow Ranger lineup, but V.p's Roman "Ramzes" Kushnarev died five times in the first 10 minutes. Virtus.pro did well enough in their other lanes, but they went into the mid-game at a definite disadvantage. OG took a much more aggressive lead this time. With Gustav "s4" Magnusson on Legion Commander, every successful skirmish further increased the OG lead.
This was a disappointing showing from Virtus.pro, who drops to the lower bracket to face iG. OG secured the quick route to the winner's final, where they will get to wait and watch while their opponent is decided tomorrow.