The first two days of play in the Pinnacle Cup showed how close all of the teams are, with day two hammering that point home. We still have a long way to go before the playoffs but the picture of who will make it remains incredibly opaque.
Team Spirit vs. Level UP
With both teams coming off of close losses, this match was destined for a three game slugfest. Team Spirit came out of the gate with a strong Magnus + Phantom Assassin lineup but the faster pace was set by Level UP. Normally a Lifestealer doesn’t out-scale a Phantom Assassin but RdO’s performance was clean enough to hold the early momentum for Level UP. Game one seemed to snap Team Spirit back to reality as their game two plan came together in stark contrast. Spirit were able to ride three strong lanes to an early lead and closed out the game in under thirty minutes to force game three. Level UP tried to go back to the Lifestealer in the third game of the set but this time Team Spirit had the answers. Again Spirit dominated early and quickly snowballed their lead into an incredibly fast 22 minute victory to take the series 2-1.
EXTREMUM vs. Brame
With both teams coming off of round one victories, the drafting got a bit experimental in this one. EXTREMUM were able to take game one with relative ease thanks to strong lanes and a great counter pick Wraith King against the Brame Faceless Void. Brame also attempted to run a position four Chaos Knight which we likely won’t see again. Brame came roaring back in game two, grabbing the Wraith King for themselves this time. Adding the magical arsenal of a Shadow Fiend and the spice of a 50 minute Divine Rapier proved to be the right recipe to deal with EXTREMUM’s last pick Phantom Lancer. In game three it felt a bit like Brame got over confident in their ability to make off-meta heroes work. They ended up last picking a Tinker against several counters and were promptly rolled by EXTREMUM’s immensely farmed Medusa. Consistency remains Brame’s Achilles heel while EXTREMUM have impressed early so far.
Vikin.gg vs. Chicken Fighters
In a matchup of relegated tier one teams, Vikin.gg and Chicken Fighters clashed in a series that has happened many times over the last several months. Game one was about as one-sided as it gets with Vikin.gg sweeping the laning stage and taking over the entire map. Though it lasted almost 40 minutes, Vikin.gg seemed to just be padding their stats, eventually closing things out with a 31-7 kill score. Chicken Fighters, true to their name, fought back in game number two. Enabling their stand-in offlaner, Ammar, proved to be the secret sauce as his Timbersaw performance was pivotal. With plenty of space to work with, Chicken Fighters were able to recognize their carry matchup advantage and take the series to a third game. Game three would prove to be one of the most exciting games in the Pinnacle Cup. Two even drafts faced off in a back and forth rollercoaster. Chicken Fighters seized control as the game trended later with their superior map pressure. However, Vikin.gg refused to break under pressure. In the end, Vikin.gg’s superior team fight and elusive cores were able to win a critical fight, regain map control and close out the game with their tier five neutral items.
Team Unique vs. HellRaisers
In a clash between CIS regional rivals, HellRaisers looked to build on their strong start to the Pinnacle Cup. Meanwhile, Team Unique were looking to stabilize after dropping their first series. The entire best-of-three proved to be a fairly calculated series as neither team was able to push the pace very effectively. All three games ended around the 30 minute mark and none reached a combined 40 kills. HellRaisers were able to slowly grind out a win in games one and three to take the series 2-1. Unique’s game two victory came mostly off the back of a perfectly set up Pugna pick that took over the game. HellRaisers now sit at 2-0 while Unique have fallen to 0-2.
Hellbear Smashers vs. PuckChamp
As both teams continue to struggle in their respective DPC leagues, the Pinnacle Cup has been an opportunity for redemption. Game one proved to be a wild one with Medusa and Morphling duking it out for late game supremacy. The Smashers looked to turn things around with a late game Divine Rapier but the PuckChamp Morphling was far too elusive to deal with. The Smashers came back with a vengeance in game two and three. Opting for much more aggressive heroes and a faster pace of play, they stomped the laning stages in both games and led from nearly start to finish. Hellbear Smashers don’t have much to play for in the DPC at this point so they may look to put extra effort into every game played in the Pinnacle Cup. PuckChamp on the other hand now sit at 0-2 and need to find their footing if they hope to make the playoffs.
Watch the Pinnacle Cup - Dota here.