Neslyn A. November 29, 2019
The Dota 2 world was stunned on Thursday as Chinese juggernaut PSG.LGD was swiftly eliminated from the open qualifiers of the DreamLeague Season 13 major by For the Dream sister team FTD.Apollo.
The huge upset happened in a best-of-one game and completely kills off the organization’s chances of competing in the second major of the season.
The game began with FTD.Apollo opting for a tri lane bottom to babysit its Venomancer carry. Facing heavy disables from a Lich and Rubick, Yang "Chalice"' Shenyi had a rough laning phase, giving FTD.Apollo first blood. FTD.Apollo continued to prey upon Chalice, and there was seemingly nothing that Xu "fy" Linsen could do to help.
The aggressive playstyle of FTD.Apollo paid off past the laning phase. The FTD.Apollo supports made good rotations, and actually forced PSG.LGD mid Lu "Somnus" Yao into the jungle out of fear of ganks.
PSG.LGD tried to avoid the early aggression of FTD.Apollo but were forced to face them head-on when the team began grouping up. In just 15 minutes, FTD.Apollo racked up an 8,000 net worth advantage. Things were so skewed that the team began killing PSG.LGD under their own towers and inside their jungle.
FTD.Apollo successfully controlled the map and dictated the game’s tempo. However, PSG.LGD will not back down without a fight. Wang "Ame" Chunyu’s slowly turned into a threat, which allowed PSG.LGD to win some crucial team fights. That wasn’t enough to put FTD.Apollo on its back foot, though.
A bloodbath in the middle lane wiped out PSG.LGD and left FTD.Apollo with most of its players at low health. Somnus bought back and returned to the fray with Ember Spirit’s Fire Remnants and scored a kill, but wasn’t able to get more. FTD.Apollo used this opportunity to break highground and kill Roshan.
A smoke play from FTD.Apollo sealed the deal. The team caught Ame’s Razor in the jungle and killed him, removing him from the game for two full minutes without buyback.
PSG.LGD fought to the last, but couldn’t do much without Ame. FTD.Apollo wiped PSG.LGD before Razor came back online and had the buybacks to push the Ancient and force a GG call.
PSG.LGD missing DreamLeague Season 13 hurts TI10 chances
The loss is a legitimate stunner for Dota 2 fans, as PSG.LGD stands as one of the most formidable teams in the game. The team faced a long road towards qualifying for the DreamLeague Season 13 major, but was still one of the favorites to earn a spot in the event. Seeing them fall short of the regional qualifiers would have been a surprise under any circumstances, but having them lose to an academy team is another matter entirely.
What led to the loss has sparked some debate about the state of Dota 2. PSG.LGD fans defended the team and said that the Outlanders Update did not sit well with the team. The game is certainly more RNG-heavy than it used to be, but other strong teams like Nigma and Team Secret were also forced into open qualifiers and weren’t immediately wiped out.
The win over PSG.LGD wasn’t the start of any sort of Cinderella story, either. FTD.Apollo lost in the next round to Blaze, another unheralded team
The failure to qualify for DreamLeague Season 13 sidelines PSG.LGD for two of the five majors of the season. Though the team will still likely be able to qualify for The International 2020 with just one strong showing at a major, they only have three chances left to do so.