OG wins Manila Major

Esports Asia News
OG have taken down Team Liquid in a 3-1 Grand Finals series at The Manila Major, making them the first full roster to win two Valve Majors. Team Liquid, despite being the clear favorites to win the event, head home with another second-place finish. To get to the Grand Finals, OG managed to win their way through the Upper Bracket at Manila, breezing through Na`Vi and MVP Phoenix without dropping a game or even giving up a death on mid laner Miracle-. Newbee finally challenged them in the first game of the Upper Bracket Final, but after a quick stomp at the hands of the Chinese squad, OG rallied for a 2-1 victory. Liquid, meanwhile, had to fight tooth and nail through the Lower Bracket, having been dropped down by MVP Phoenix in the first round. Yet despite playing through twice as many best-of-threes as OG, Liquid didn’t drop a game in the Lower Bracket all the way up to their own Lower Bracket Final against Newbee — a series they also won 2-1, to knock Newbee out of the event. Both Grand Finalists looked evenly matched, and team Liquid’s first phase Riki pick in Game 1 got a massive cheer out of the packed crowd at The Mall of Asia Arena. The series got off to a quick start, with seven kills in the first seven minutes, and Liquid taking the early lead. The draft for Liquid in Game 1 was all about vision. Not only did they have observer wards placed at key points, allowing them to execute successful smoke gank after smoke gank, but the combination of KuroKy’s Riki and MinD_ContRoL’s Slardar provided vision for JerAx’s Disruptor to get off ridiculous long-range Glimpses. FATA’s Timbersaw dealt out pure damage to cut through both Miracle-‘s Lifestealer and N0tail’s Alchemist, and MATUMBAMAN’s Ursa followed up to ruin anyone unfortunate enough to be caught in a Smoke Screen or Kinetic Field. Liquid’s deep aggression and Glimpse ganks shut down N0tail’s Alch hard, and at the 34-minute mark they took a full team wipe to set OG back 10 kills to 31. After a few brave attempts to defend their Ancient, OG had to type GG. Like the first game, Game 2 was largely decided by the draft, but this time in OG’s favor. Taking a Void and Juggernaut in the second round of picks convinced Liquid that OG’s offlane and safe lane were locked down, and they didn’t attempt to block a Dark Seer final pick — revealing OG’s plan to run Void as safe carry for N0tail and Jugg as mid for Miracle-. Backed up by Earth Spirit and Phoenix, OG’s aggressive early comp shut down Liquid’s more typical pushing trio of Lycan, Beastmaster and Dragon Knight hard. OG found nine kills in four minutes, thanks to Fly and Cr1t constantly setting up with Rolling Boulder initiation and Sunray. From there it was a snowball to victory at the 36-minute mark. It was in Game 3 that Fly proved his real drafting prowess. This time OG took a quick Void and Jugg, showing a composition that looked a lot like Game 2, and Liquid once again answered with a Lycan, but this time grabbed an Earth Spirit and mixed things up with a Vengeful Spirit to protect their cores from Chronosphere. But OG switching things up again with their final pick, taking a Sven this time for N0tail and swapping Moon onto their now-offlane Void. Liquid were left with no answer for Sven, who proved key to OG’s victory. Cr1t’s Lion took a quick Blink Dagger to dance around Liquid in fights, and by the 33 minute mark, the game was swinging farther and farther to OG’s side. Liquid started taking heavier casualties in fights as N0tail continued to snowball. OG’s coordination looked flawless, and while Liquid were taking towers when they could, and kiting hard against OG’s three melee cores, they couldn’t retake the lead. With an Eye of Skadi and an Aegis on Miracle-‘s Jugg, all OG had to do to take Game 3 was siege high ground until N0tail found an opening to dive in and lay waste to Liquid. In Game 4, OG again surprised with their last pick, taking a hero that hadn’t been picked for the entire tournament (and incidentally increasing Manila’s unique heroes played count to 95) — Wraith King. Liquid changed things up too, taking a safelane Weaver for MATUMBAMAN and Lone Druid for FATA. Liquid took the early tower lead while N0tail’s level 1 Reincarnation was on cooldown, but OG kept up in farm. Once FATA’s Spirit Bear had a Radiance, Liquid wiped OG in the bottom lane (minus a deny on Miracle-‘s TA by a rogue Satyr Tormenter). Liquid seemed to have the lead, but all it took to swing things back to even was an Aegis secured when Liquid were out of position, unable to contest. With a Monkey King Bar on N0tail’s Wraith King, the Radiance miss chance from FATA was no longer a factor for one of OG’s main damage dealers. Another Aegis secured at 40 minutes allowed OG to pull ahead, but they still only had a 4k net worth lead; for the majority of the game, neither team was able to build a lead exceeding 5k. But that small lead was enough for OG to assault high ground, and that was when Liquid ran out of steam. OG had perfect control with stomps from Cr1t’s Elder Titan, Flaming Lasso from MoonMeander’s Batrider and even just Miracle-‘s Templar Assassin blinking in to two-shot Liquid’s supports. Once both MATUMBAMAN and FATA were dead and couldn’t buy back, Liquid called the game and OG became The Manila Major champions. OG have been a force to be reckoned with in Europe since their formation as Monkey Business in the post-TI5 roster lock period. They won both The Frankfurt Major and DreamLeague Season 4 back to back, and have been Top 4 in five tournaments since then. Along with Liquid, they are one of a handful of European teams that escaped the post-Shanghai roster shuffle unscathed. For Liquid, who lost to Secret in the Grand Finals at The Shanghai Major earlier this spring, taking silver once again is surely a disappointment. But with the team coordination and individual skill they showed throughout Manila, it’s unlikely this is their last Grand Final.

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