The first round of the lower bracket for the 2021-2022 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) Winter Tour Regional Finals for North America saw Evil Geniuses (EG) sweep 4 Zoomers 2-0 to keep their tournament hopes alive.
EG midlaner Abed "Abed" Yusop and offlaner Egor "Nightfall" Grigorenko put on back-to-back dominant performances to fuel their team's victory.
EG and 4 Zoomers focused on the laning stage in game one
Both teams' drafts for the first game focused on winning the laning stage as hard as possible.
EG got Abed his signature Storm Spirit and picked Centaur Warrunner for Nightfall with Ogre Magi and Snapfire bringing up the rear. This gave their offlane solid kill potential while keeping their safe lane… well, safe.
4 Zoomers had a similar mindset, taking Troll Warlord, Kunkka, and Dark Seer. All cores known for their laning prowess. However 4 Zoomers took the Position 4 Mirana for Zakari "Zfreek" Freedman to create space around the map, instead of a more laning-focused support.
EG came out on top of the laning stage at the 10-minute mark and a lot of that credit goes to Nightfall crushing the top lane.
This began with a dive on the Guilherme Silva "Costabile" Costábile’s Troll Warlord at the six-minute mark at the tier one tower.
EG focused their resources on shutting down Costabile as much as possible during the early game and managed to get four kills on him by 12 minutes, massively delaying his farm and keeping Troll Warlord out of the game.
Due to winning the early game, the net worth advantage kept increasing for the side of EG. One of the problems 4 Zoomers had to deal with was they simply could not bring down Nightfall’s Centaur Warrunner.
Nightfall had itemized brilliantly by getting an early Vanguard and Hood of Defiance, negating a huge amount of physical and magical damage. Combined with the hero’s natural tankiness, Nightfall was able to always stand in front of the team and prevent 4 Zoomers from taking a fight.
This was demonstrated clearly 18 minutes in the game when Nightfall withstood the damage from three heroes and didn’t even go down to half health.
4 Zoomers did make a small comeback halfway through the game, but they were never able to match the farm on EG. The Zoomers tapped out after 40 minutes to give EG their first win of the series.
Abed led the way with 10 kills and 18 assists against just three deaths while Nightfall pitched in eight kills and 17 assists of his own against four deaths.
Nightfall reminds everyone why Outworld Devourer needs a nerf
With a need to shake things up, 4 Zoomers changed their draft for game two.
They chose Lone Druid for a carry, an unusual pick since that hero is considered unplayable in the pro scene in the current patch.
The Zoomers also took Timbersaw for David "Moo" Hull to provide the team with a strong early game.
Unfortunately, EG took Outworld Devourer with their fourth pick, a hero who bypasses all the defenses of Timbersaw, thus completely neutralizing the hero.
EG’s draft was meant to take over the game early with Jesse "JerAx" Vainikka’s Jakiro and Abed on Puck. It was the perfect strategy against the slow pace that 4 Zoomers wanted to play.
Game two was more one-sided than the previous game, as 4 Zoomer’s strategy relied on Moo to do well and EG countered that by killing him three times before the 10-minute mark. Moo’s net worth was closer to the supports than the other cores by the end of the laning stage.
EG figured that 4 Zoomers wouldn’t want to fight early due to their dual farming cores. By shutting down Moo’s Timbersaw, EG opened up the map and spent the entire game playing on the Radiant side, denying Costabile and Nicolas "Gunnar" Lopez any farm.
EG had vision of the Radiant triangle and farmed the eastern side of the jungle all throughout the midgame.
This allowed them to keep 4 Zoomers in check, as they proved in the 18-minute mark when they secured kills on both Costabile and Gunnar.
The North American giants secured the 2-0 sweep after just 32 minutes of action behind Abed and Nightfall, who combined for 27 kills and 24 assists while only logging one death apiece.
EG will next face Quincy Crew in the lower bracket finals for the chance to challenge TSM FTX in the grand finals.
The Winter Tour Regional Finals will take place across the weekends of 11 to 13 February and 18 to 20 February, with three regions competing in each weekend. It will feature the Top 4 teams of the DPC's six regions competing for their cut of a US$100,000 prize pool and all-important DPC points.
For everything you need to know about the Winter Tour Regional Finals, check here.
Evil Geniuses Roster:
Artour "Arteezy" Babaev
Azel “Abed” L. Yusop
Egor "Nightfall" Grigorenko
Andreas Franck "Cr1t-" Nielsen
Jesse "JerAx" Vainikka
4 Zoomers Roster:
Guilherme Silva "Costabile" Costábile
Nicolas "Gunnar" Lopez
David "Moo" Hull
Zakari William Lee "Zfreek" Freedman
Jacob "Husky" Fifik
Otomo is a long-time gaming enthusiast and caster. He has been playing games since he was 10 and is the biggest Dota 2 fan.