Former professional player Sakray writes a G-League preview piece for Gamefy.
Bans picks analysis
After a long break between the G-League round of 8 and the upcoming finals, the two finals teams shouldn’t have much variation in previous patterns when it comes to bans and picks. Add this to the fact that overall, there haven’t been much new in terms of metagame development, so it’s safe to assume they’ll be fighting for similar bans and picks here.
In terms of the first two bans, iG should likely focus on stopping LGD.int’s favored jungle and roaming heroes (such as Chen), and it’s also very possible they use a ban on God’s Dark Seer or Shadow Fiend. As for LGD.int’s bans, even though iG is versatile to the point of it being impossible to ban everything for them, but it is still possible to see that iG relies heavily on heroes which use Blink Dagger, so Batrider or Brewmaster are good choices here.
For the first three picks, apart from fighting over core carries such as Lone Druid, Lifestealer, Anti-mage, etc, there will also be decisive picks revolving around core teamfight heroes such as LGD.int’s Chen and Enchantress, iG’s Batrider or Magnus. Also relevant here are hard support picks or solo mids, in order to solidify a basic core strategy.
As for the last three bans and last two picks, undoubtedly these will involve banning the opponents supports once a team has gotten their own supports, or the same with carries, followed by filler picks that complement the rest of the early picks. Additionally, if any team has a secret weapon or special tactics, this is when it will appear.
iG: Brewmaster, Lone Druid, Rubick, Bounty Hunter, Lina
LGD.int: Dark Seer, Enchantress, Night Stalker, Luna, Shadow Demon
Head to head analysis
Zhou vs Pajkatt
From farming mechanics, to item builds, to late game experience, long-time carry Zhou fully exhibits the right to claim “number 1 carry”. After resolving previous issues in farm allocation, iG has managed to give Zhou plenty of room, and Zhou has indeed acquitted himself nicely. In comparison, Pajkatt, while perhaps not lacking in mechanics and skill, still has a long way to go before reaching the same level.
430 vs GOD
In terms of individual ability, the two solo mids of their respective teams are perhaps the closest. God, on the same level as players like Dendi, performed brilliantly in earlier competition, with excellent laning and last hitting, deadly ganking and dictation of tempo, good item usage and choices. So when faced with various solo mid greats, God absolutely does not lose out. If you need something to look forward to, then this matchup between God and 430 is it.
YYF vs Brax
Whereever YYF is, that is his home field. In the 3 role, Brax still has much room for growth, and this matchup is not only a winning opportunity for him, but also a chance to learn and develop. Hopefully this cheerful, optimistic fellow can keep it up, and ultimately learn those traits that are signature of YYF — calm, collected, patient, efficient, and able to take on the role of being a team’s “generator” in making things happen.
ChuaN vs Misery
In carefully watching iG’s replays, you will notice that no matter in terms of finding kills in lane, to teleporting to help countergank, to teamfight participation, to positioning, there is nothing to complain about in ChuaN’s play. He embodies a nearly ideal 4 position in his support-gank role. Apart from maybe a little bit of a liking for stealing kills, that is. As for Misery, he’s got a unique understanding of jungling, and if he gets Chen or Enchantress, there’s potential for him to create some problems for ChuaN and Faith.
Faith vs 1437
Zhou is iG’s eyes, 430 is iG’s hands, YYF is iG’s heart, ChuaN is iG’s blood, Faith is iG’s brains. To be able to play support in such a star-studded team and not fall by the wayside, Faith’s ability can only be described as unfathomably deep. 1437 performed decently in previous competition, but his performances were more linked to Misery’s than anything else. If he can successfully fulfill his own role while injecting more personal flavor into it, he can perhaps bring more life to LGD.int’s play.
Overall playstyle analysis
iG did not drop a single match in the earlier stages. Even though against LGD they met a certain degree of resistance, they ultimately showed their superior decision making ability. The “top three” of old has recently seen iG pulling ahead and away in all aspects, from bans and picks, to individual performances, to teamfights, and even as far as seeing superior creativity in cracking late0game stalemates. iG has indeed become the current world number 1 Dota2 team; the greatest impression this iG team gives is that they are un-beatable. Their playstyle is very efficient and clean: they rely on excellent individual skill to ensure laning goes well, then once key early items are farmed out, they rely on ChuaN and Faith’s roaming to make things happen and create space. Once they’ve achieved a certain advantage, they group up and take towers, always decisive in their decisions at this stage. If the opponent reacts less than perfectly, iG often takes kills in addition to towers, and they snowball out of control. If the oppponent defends effectively, iG quickly makes the decision to adapt. iG is rarely seen to be playing from behind, because they simply rarely fall behind in the early game. In all this, perhaps the best chance to find a hole in iG’s play is to go on all-out offense against them from the start.
LGD.int has not been together for long, yet have gone this far in G-League. Even though they’ve had tough challenges, their progress here is not an accident. Their strength comes from their fast learning; every mistake, defeat, or even spectacular performance from an opponent is something they learn from and absorb. Like a talented but unpolished fighter, their raw talent is enough to defeat many a master.
LGD.int favors jungling and then dual roaming. They tend to use an early Smoke gank in mid to help God open things up, and then shift into a trilane, utilizing controlled jungle creeps to harass the opposing carry’s growth. God will use all this to snowball while controlling runes. If not dealt with properly, teams find themselves in a cycle of teamfights against LGD.int with no space to farm and grow properly, and LGD.int will group up after their carry has core items out, utilizing the solo mid and carry’s earlier advantages to win fights. If LGD.int’s early game roaming and God’s growth can be countered, then LGD.int falters like a car without gas. If LGD.int wants to expand beyond this singular strategic mindset, then they not only need more from the 3 4 5 positions, they also need to show that Western creativity. Without trying, how to know it will not work?
iG 3 — 0.5 LGD.int
Looking at it from various angles, iG will ultimately win by relatively large margins. LGD.int’s 0.5 comes from the possibility of things such as God outplaying 430, or their potential at dominating teamfights. Worth looking forward to, either way, is the fact that both teams like to attack, and so no matter what happens, the matchup should be exciting for viewers!