Weekend Gaming – The International 6, Grand Finals

The International 2016 has certainly captured our attention this past week. Dota2’s annual championship continues to be so captivating, so exciting, so distracting that the prospect of any other types of personal gaming or Twitch streaming on our part is simply a non-factor.

And with the finals coming up today, well… let’s just say that I am still sitting on this newly acquired mound of AGEOD games courtesy of BundleStars. I’ve got bigger business to attend to…

TI6 logo

As do Wings Gaming! Now nested comfortably in the final position, their progression through the upper bracket looks like it was an easy coast, easily crushing several old dogs of the professional Dota scene.

All that remains is for Digital Chaos and Evil Geniuses to face off. The winner of this series moves on to oppose Wings in the final. DC’s performance has been especially impressive when you consider the work they’ve done to get to where they are now. EG has likewise had quite the slog. The group stage was less than favorable, but their time in the upper bracket showed some redeeming qualities. This series does promise to be bombastic as both teams are still very strong and have scary midlaners.

Whichever of these two teams moves on, the Grand Final of TI6 will still be awesome, heightened by the fact that it is also a bitter rematch as both teams at one point were booted down to the lower bracket by Wings. Good stuff!

Personally, I don’t really give a rat’s patoot who wins between DC and EG. They both are directly responsible for eliminating EHOME. And since I root for EHOME, I therefore can only hope that Wings will shut down either one of these ‘Murican teams in the Grand Final.

But let us set aside petty squabbles and incessant pouting about my favorite team totally hitting a wall and playing like a bunch of scrubs after what was easily one of the greatest matches in the history Dota. Let us instead focus on some of the highlights of a competition that clearly year-after-year only improves in performances and production.

EHOME vs. EG

Collectively amongst the ButtonMashing group, we are all STILL coming down from game 1 of EHOME vs. EG. That was three days ago. This is an example of ‘real’ Dota. See, when casuals que up for a pub match, the tendency is to play selfishly, to break down the whole team aspect of the game. But, as illustrated by EG, when a team can keep their heads on straight, get creative with itemization, react accordingly, and coordinate, then some awesome Dota tends to blossom from that.

Fnatic’s climb through the brackets

Taking us all by surprise, Fnatic fought and scrapped their way through the muck. They went down swinging. Plus, midone’s persistent Juggernaut pick and eventual dominance takes Sir Tony ButtonMasher to his happy place.

Elder Titan and Shadow Demon and Sand King

I am absolutely tickled — TICKLED — by how often Elder Titan was drafted. The same goes for Shadow Demon. Sand King’s caustic finale was the bane of so many melee cores through the tournament. These heroes, when played competently, will do so much for the team. And often are the unsung heroes. Such is the life of an offlaner and support.

New Dota2 Heroes, Monkey King and Underlord

After the DC victory last night, all fans were treated with a striking live performance including Taiko drumming and cavorting sword-wielders. Indeed. Monkey King, wielding his very own MKB, made his presence known to an unsuspecting crowd. An excitement still riding high on the revealing of yet another hero, Underlord, only the day before. Dota is unstoppable.

The Production of TI6

Lastly, for what it is worth, I just want to give a quick commend to all the cast and crew responsible for broadcasting this year’s The International. I am not an esports advocate in any sense of the word, but the professionalism shown in the casting and production this year has been phenomenal – aside from the muppets segment on day one (wtf was that?), and, perhaps, @SirActionSlacks even allowed to be on the premises let alone hold a microphone and squawk into a camera. Purge’s play post-game analysis was always informative. ReDeYe, the true veteran he is, maintained a great pace at the panel. And commentators like Draskyl and OD, gave an extra dimension of excitement and immersion. This is far from a comprehensive list, all the more illustrating that The International is becoming quite the force of nature.

Good stuff, all around. And what’s better, the winner of the Grand Final walks away with a handsome $9 million. Well done, Dota community. Well done.

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