Southeast Asian juggernauts BOOM Esports claimed the GAMERS GALAXY: Dota 2 Invitational Series Dubai 2022 after they outlasted Western Europe's Tundra Esports 3-2 in the grand finals on Sunday (6 March).
BOOM started the tournament's playoffs in the upper bracket after a dominant group stage run. However, the Southeast Asian squad were knocked down to the lower bracket after a 2-1 loss to Tundra, who then swept Nigma Galaxy to secure the first spot in the grand finals.
BOOM then scored back-to-back sweeps over Team Secret and The International 10 (TI10) champions Team Spirit to face Nigma Galaxy in the lower bracket finals.
After a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Nigma Galaxy, the champions of the Southeast Asian Winter Tour Regional Finals earned their right to a rematch with Tundra in the grand finals.
Tundra started the series strong and took game one, but BOOM were quick to equalize with a game two victory. The Western European squad then took a commanding 2-1 series lead after a dominant performance in game three.
With their backs against the wall, BOOM won the do-or-die game four then carried their momentum to the game five decider to claim the championship.
BOOM also took the tournament's grand prize of AED400,000 (or over US$109,000) while Tundra settled for second place and with AED200,000 (or over US$54,000) in consolation.
Here's how the action in the grand finals went down:
In the first game, Tundra went for a sustain-heavy lineup, with Jingjun "Sneyking" Wu on Io and Leon "Nine" Kirilin on a mid Legion Commander.
Legion Commander isn’t often seen in the midlane, but the hero does well against her counterpart in this particular game, Ember Spirit, as she can shrug off Searing Chains and her high health pool makes her difficult to bring down.
With two saves on the team, Oliver "skiter" Lepko on Gyrocopter could also play as aggressively as he wanted.
BOOM had an elusive set of heroes with Erin Jasper "Yopaj" Ferrer on the aforementioned Ember Spirit and Timothy "Tims" Randrup taking Dark Willow. Saieful "Fbz" Ilham on Mars provided a good combo with Dark Willow’s Terrorize to win team fights.
BOOM’s draft would have to snowball to win the game, as their heroes lacked burst damage later on to bring down a Gyrocopter with multiple saves.
The early game proved the strength of Tundra’s draft, as three members of BOOM rotated mid to kill Nine. Yet with one usage of Press The Attack! and a timely teleport from Sneyking, Nine turned the fight around and got a kill on Yopaj instead.
BOOM were unable to get a footing in the game, securing only eight kills in 32 minutes. After multiple losing multiple team fights in a row, the Southeast Asian squad tapped out and Tundra took the opening game of the series.
Game two had a nice surprise for viewers, as Kuro "KuroKy" Salehi Takhasomi and Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan were invited to cast the match alongside two-timeTI champion Johan "N0tail" Sundstein.
With three TI winners and four championships between them on the broadcast, it was a fountain of Dota 2 knowledge and fans watching the game were able to learn how the best of the best think during a match.
As for the draft, BOOM went all out on teamfights with Souliya "JaCkky" Khoomphetsavong on Faceless Void, Yopaj on Invoker, and Tims on a support Tidehunter. Team captain Andrei "skem" Ong was tasked with providing vision on Weaver.
Tundra went for a similar idea to game one, giving Sneyking Abaddon to sustain his allies and taking Gyrocopter again for skiter. Tundra would rely on Nine's Void Spirit and Neta "33" Shapira's Sand King to make space for their allies.
The laning stage went fairly even for both sides. However, Tundra had to pull ahead early in order to win the game — as their team fight paled in comparison to BOOM and their only chance to take the game was by out farming their opponents.
BOOM knew they were unmatched in teamfights, so they all held hands the entire game and protected JaCkky as he farmed.
It was a risky strategy to divert all the farm to their carry and have the other cores suffer, but that gambit also kept Tundra from getting pickoffs.
The pivotal fight in the game came at the 22-minute mark, when BOOM managed to get all the Tundra cores and the Aegis to firmly take control of the game and force the GG call 10 minutes later.
Game three saw BOOM take a page from Tundra's book and draft a sustain-heavy lineup for themselves. JaCkky played Juggernaut while Tims provided even more heals with Io. Yopaj on Kunkka would buff his team with his Ghost Ship ultimate, which reduces all damage taken by 40%.
Tundra had a brilliant answer to BOOM’s draft. Noticing that all the damage from the SEA team was physical, Tundra took Timbersaw for Nine in the mid lane as their last pick. Nine also completely shut down Yopaj in the mid lane and then proceeded to take over the enemy’s side of the map.
BOOM Esports’ best fight was 22 minutes in the game when they brought down 33 and Sneyking. It looked like BOOM would turn the game around, but then Nine showed up and brought down four enemy heroes, sparing only JaCkky.
After that fight, Tundra didn’t allow BOOM to get a single kill for the rest of the game. Nine played incredibly and ended the match with 13 kills and eight assists against two deaths.
Game four was the shortest game of the series, as Tundra drafted a fast push lineup in order to win the match as quickly as possible, with 33 on Broodmother and Sneyking on Death Prophet.
BOOM took a more balanced lineup, with Yopaj on Templar Assassin, Fbz on Sand King for teamfight, and the first Bristleback pick of the tournament for JaCkky.
BOOM relied on JaCkky to tank up for the team while Yopaj did all the damage. It was a good plan as Tundra didn’t have any Break abilities for Bristleback, nor the burst damage to bring him down quickly.
The early Broodmother pick by Tundra was also punished heavily, as all the cores from BOOM could bring down spiderlings relatively quickly.
The Bristleback proved his worth in game four, being unkillable and charging headfirst into fights while the rest of BOOM killed Tundra’s heroes.
When JaCkky went high ground 27 minutes in the game, there was simply nothing that could stop him and Tundra called in less than a minute later.
With the two teams evenly matched, a game five was inevitable and that’s what Dota 2 fans got.
Tundra ran a standard draft in the final game with a carry Juggernaut and Disruptor, Shadow Demon as supports. What was surprising was the Jakiro pick for Nine in the mid lane.
It’s likely that the Jakiro pick was to counter Yopaj’s Templar Assassin. Jakiro’s multiple damage-over-time spells are perfect for removing Refraction charges.
Meanwhile, JaCkky played Razor, a solid counter to Juggernaut’s sustained damage, while fbz provided teamfight control with Brewmaster.
BOOM’s stronger lanes allowed them to take a small net worth advantage early in the game.
But it wasn’t enough for them to take over the map, as Tundra had multiple strong teamfight abilities to keep them at bay.
Tundra’s strong teamfight also made BOOM cautious, allowing the former's cores to farm while the latter stuck closer together to avoid getting picked off.
Tundra managed to grab the networth lead for the first time 22 minutes in the game.
However, it was a short-lived advantage as BOOM turned a death on their carry into four kills for their team, with Yopaj reminding the world why he is one of the best midlaners in the world.
After winning that team fight, BOOM took control of the map and never engaged Tundra unless they had an Aegis on their side.
The Southeast Asian giants slowly grew their gold advantage and forced Tundra to tap out 46 minutes into the match, the longest and closest game of the grand final.
BOOM Esports roster:
Souliya "JaCkky" Khoomphetsavong
Erin Jasper "Yopaj" Ferrer
Saieful "Fbz" Ilham
Timothy "Tims" Randrup
Andrei "skem" Ong
Tundra Esports roster:
Oliver "Skiter" Lepko
Leon "Nine" Kirilin
Neta "33" Shapira
Martin "Saksa" Sazdov
Jingjun "Sneyking" Wu
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.