The second day of the ESL One Dota 2 Stockholm Major playoffs featured The International 10 (TI10) champions Team Spirit taking on South America's Beastcoast in the first round of the lower bracket.
The winner of the match guaranteed themselves at least US$12,500 and 240 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) points while the loser would home with nothing to show for their time in Stockholm.
While Team Spirit were the heavy favourites going into the match, it was Beastcoast that ended up advancing in an impressive 2-0 victory. The South American squad played a high-tempo playstyle that the TI10 champions had no way of keeping up with, here's how they did it:
Beastcoast goes all-out aggression in game one
From the draft, it was clear what Beastcoast wanted to do in game one.
They picked Pangolier and Batrider for midlaner Jean Pierre "C. smile" Gonzales and offlaner Adrián "Wisper" Céspedes Dobles respectively. Both these heroes are mobile and have low cooldown ultimates that can lock down enemy heroes.
Steven "StingeR" Vargas played the position 5 support Snapfire, who loves pairing up with long disables that allow the hero to fully utilize her Mortimer's Kisses ultimate.
A surprise support Tiny was picked for Elvis "Gōjira" De la Cruz Peña to provide more nuke damage early on.
The whole draft centered on making enough space in the first 15 minutes for Héctor Antonio "K1" Rodríguez's Bloodseeker to come online.
Team Spirits' lineup also featured aggressive heroes but their draft required considerably more teamwork to execute properly.
Yaroslav "Miposhka" Naidenov's Shadow Demon and Miroslaw "Mira" Kolpakov's Grimstroke are two heroes that perform best if they have strong combos to work with.
Grimstroke drafts tend to fall apart if Grimstroke dies before he can get his Soulbind ultimate off or if his teammates can't utilize it.
Knowing that, Spirit went for durable cores that could provide lockdown for the team. Magomed "Collapse" Khalilov's Slardar works well with Grimstroke in the lane, Alexander "TORONTOTOKYO" Khertek picked the mid lane Sand King while Illya "Yatoro" Mulyarchuk would carry the team on Chaos Knight.
The laning stage for both teams went evenly with a lot of kills traded back and forth.
Both teams were ready to take a fight, which led to 12 kills in the first nine minutes of the game. this aggression was on full display at the 12-minute mark as Spirit killed Wisper in the top lane, then teleported bottom to kill him again when he respawned.
In the meantime, Beastcoast also secured a couple of kills themselves.
Both teams tried to play high tempo but Beastcoast had the better draft to do so.
It was easier for the South American squad to find kills with only two heroes whereas Spirit had to stick as four to fully benefit from their Grimstroke pick.
This allowed Beastcoast to farm more efficiently and grow their net worth advantage.
Spirit had another issue, and it had nothing to do with the draft. The Eastern European team looked shaky in game one and their players weren't coordinating as well as they did back in TI10.
Nowhere was this more obvious than during the 31-minute mark, when TORONTOTOKYO started a fight with none of his allies prepared to join him. Beastcoast proceeded to teamwipe the TI10 champions while only losing Stinger.
Beastcoast took a massive advantage after that fight and managed to close out the game six minutes later.
K1 had a beautiful performance on Bloodseeker and ended the game with 18 kills and four assists against three deaths.
Team Spirit crumbles in game two
After winning the first game, Beastcoast decided to run the same playstyle in game two and picked three of the same heroes.
Wisper played Batrider again while his lane partner Gōjira stuck to his Tiny pick. Snapfire was also picked up in game two but this time as a core for C. smile.
Stinger decided to take a page from Spirit's playbook and picked Bane, Miposhka's signature hero. K1 went for another strong laning carry who could fight early in the form of Troll Warlord.
Team Spirit's draft made less sense in game two. TORONTOTOKYO and Collapse went for teamfight-heavy cores in the form of Pangolier and Mars. Both these heroes have done well in the tournament so it made sense to pick them up.
The problem came with their support picks. Miposhka picked Visage as the team's hard support. This was an odd choice, as Visage is almost exclusively played as a core hero in the current metagame and it was also the very first time that Miposhka played Visage in a competitive match.
Mira also had an odd support choice as Monkey King instead of other heroes who combo well with the Mars, such as Phoenix and Dark Willow.
Spirit had picked Mars in their first pick phase and it was odd to see them prioritize Wukong's Command over Supernova and Terrorize.
Beastcoast took full advantage of Spirit's weaker laning stage and managed to get a six-kill advantage at the end of said stage, giving them a sizable lead early on.
Sensing the disadvantage, Spirit tried to take a fight 13 minutes into the game but the lack of synergy between their heroes became obvious, as none of their heroes could deal damage despite Collapse catching two enemies in his Arena of Blood.
Spirit's coordination aside, Gōjira's performance in both games with the support Tiny should make all teams consider this hero in the future, whether as a pick or a ban.
He regularly caught enemies out of position and tossed them to his allies, resulting in their death time. One example was at the 22-minute mark, when Gōjira was able to find both Mira and TORONTOTOKYO and allowed his team to get four kills.
Game two was a one-sided affair as Beastcoast took the lead eight minutes in and never looked back.
The South American squad secured a 33-minute GG call from the TI10 champs and sent them home. The win means Beastcoast currently sit on 850 DPC points and one more victory at the Stockholm Major gets them a ticket to TI11.
While Spirit have been knocked out of the Stockholm Major early, they are still in a good spot in the DPC.
A strong performance in the Summer Tour is all Spirit needs to get their chance to defend the Aegis of Champions at TI11.
Beastcoast Dota 2 roster:
Héctor Antonio "K1" Rodríguez
Jean Pierre "Chris Luck" Gonzales
Adrián "Wisper" Céspedes Dobles
Elvis "Scofield" De la Cruz Peña
Steven "StingeR" Vargas
Team Spirit Dota 2 roster:
Illya "Yatoro" Mulyarchuk
Alexander "TORONTOTOKYO" Khertek
Magomed "Collapse" Khalilov
Miroslaw "Mira" Kolpakov
Yaroslav "Miposhka" Naidenov
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.