Digital Chaos are heading to The International 2016 Grand Finals to play Wings Gaming, following their shocking 2-1 win over Evil Geniuses in the Lower Bracket Finals.
The match between the two NA squads was one of the most exciting yet at TI, with both teams dogging each other’s lanes and trading close teamfights right up to the final minutes of Game 3. Ultimately EG went down in a heartbreaking loss, and head home from the event in third place with a $2.1 million prize.
w33's Mirana and MiSeRy's Naga Siren proved pivotal to DC's Game 1 win, providing the initiation for DC to win every teamfight in the game. w33's early Aghanim's Sceptre acquisition helped to take EG apart in the early and mid game, with EG struggling to advance further than DC's Tier 1 towers. Though EG had four barracks up, they called GG in 35 minutes when it became clear that they had no chance at winning the game.
Game 2 saw DC pick the 105th hero at TI6, choosing Jakiro for w33 in the mid lane against SumaiL's Medusa. DC got off to a strong start, securing plenty of farm for Resolut1on's Slark, but DC could not capitalize on their early game advantage as SumaiL evaded gank attempts and caught up in farm. They lost in 43 minutes, after an impressive Aegis steal by Fear lead to a definitive teamfight for EG.
But it was the deciding game of the series that will go down in TI history. Though DC had the stronger early game, EG took a commanding lead in the mid game, spearheaded by Fear’s Terrorblade. So DC did what any respectable team does when they’re behind in a key competitive match: they ratted. With a Resolut1on Slark and w33 Ursa, no less.
However, with Fear carrying EG — and with saksa’s Shadow Demon constantly shutting down his illusions with Disruption — EG were unable to stop Slark from darting around the map securing pickoffs and drawing out the game, all while Moo’s Beastmaster pressured EG’s barracks.
In the final minutes of the game, EG led an all-out assault on DC’s base, pushing through DC’s mid barracks and their Tier 4 towers, forcing buybacks on w33 and MiSeRy’s Kunkka. With Moo in EG’s base taking down structures, ppd’s squad knew they were gambling everything on that final fight — if they didn’t take down DC’s Ancient, they were out of time.
Yet Resolut1on’s Slark, incredibly, survived multiple collapses with just a sliver of health, retreating and reinitiating several times until Fear’s support had been eliminated. All alone in DC’s base, Fear turned on the Ancient, trying to burst it down with his illusions, but he wasn’t able to withstand the combined might of DC. Meanwhile, Moo had razed EG’s remaining four barracks and secured Mega Creeps.
After spending their buybacks, EG still had four heroes up to defend their base from DC’s final return push. They stalled out as long as they could for SumaiL’s Brewmaster to respawn, letting their Tier 4s fall, but even with all five heroes they still couldn’t kill Resolut1on before he focused down their Ancient. In fact, the second and last time Resolut1on fell in that game was at 28:50, meaning he managed to evade death for the final 20 minutes of the game.
EG came remarkably close to defending their title at TI6, defeating Newbee and EHOME in the Upper Bracket but losing to Wings in the Upper Bracket Finals and DC in the Lower Bracket Finals. Despite a last-minute roster change in June that forced them through the Open Qualifiers, EG have performed well beyond expectations at TI6, showing the same composure, drafting decisions and in-game skill that won them TI5.
Unfortunately, all that wasn’t enough to stop DC, the underdog squad made up of castoffs from Team Secret, the now-defunct Team Archon and the old Digital Chaos. No one expected DC to go anywhere near this far at TI, but the NA squad with a medley of European and CIS players have defied even the most bold analysts’ predictions to make it to the Grand Finals, taking convincing victories over LGD Gaming, TNC Gaming, EHOME and Fnatic along the way.
As a Top 2 team, DC are guaranteed at least $3.4 million in winnings from TI. But DC have one last challenge to face: Wings Gaming, who knocked them out of the Upper Bracket 2-1 on the first day of the main event. The NA squad will have momentum on their side this time, but they’ll still need figure out Wings’ unpredictable drafting and all-out aggression if they want to go home TI champions.
Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.