No Diggity & Pre TI6
Warning, this is a long post and my mother tongue is not English.
All started when they asked me to join No Diggity back in March this year.
I'll try to keep this as short as possible. I was very stoked when they asked me to join their team back then. They asked me to be a part of their team and their reasons for asking me were the following: they liked my attitude and I had achieved some things in HoN and I seemed like I wanted to make it to the top. Now the comment that surprised me the most was when they said that Zai had told them 'if you want an offlaner similar to my style you should look at KheZu. That comment until now is still in my head. I thank Zai very much and I have the outmost respect for him. I played with him back when he was like 14 and attended his first lan event (Dreamhack 2012) where we ended up placing 3rd. Without Zai I wouldn't be where I'm now.
Time has passed and we got invited to the TI qualifier. We decided thart a bootcamp could be of great help so we all went to Dortmund due to Escape being able to provide a bootcamp for us there. We were only 4 at the bootcamp until the playday for the qualifier since Max (qojqva) had to attend school. I will never forget the TI qualifier. It was a hard and very long qualifier stage and we gave it our all. We got to the point in the qualifier where if we were to win our last remaining match we would instantly qualify for TI. We were scheduled to play the CIS team Vega Squadron, who at that point were already assured to not make it to TI seeing as they had lost too many matches. At the same time Secret had to win vs Empire to turn this situation into a tiebreaker.
We ended up losing our game vs Vega where they seemingly just outplayed us and drafted very well. I remember I played beast and they executed a very nasty lineup consisting off Terrorblade, Winter Wyvern, Shadow Demon/Venge/Dazzle, Dp mid and Mag on an Offlane Slardar. We made a move at the 7 minute mark in the Offlane around my beastmaster. Vega setup to push and we tp'd, their reaction was to run and we should just have let them. I call for us to chase, i get my roar off after approx 5 seconds of chasing and suddenly we get turned around on. Mag comes from behind and gets a 4 man stun, all their heroes use their spells accordingly and 4 off us get cleaned off the map. The game resulted in a loss for us, as they just played better Dota than we did.
At the same time Secret is playing vs Empire. In a game where it seems that Empire is in control. Two or atleast one set of rax advantagr with a super fed Terrorblade being played by Ramzes. I remember Arteezy playing SlaRk and Envy playing Dragon Knight. Im fairly certain Envy built Pike. Alot of fights were happening and suddenly Empire started losing control of the game as they took somebad teamfights where their communication and play between ramzes, Afterlife and the rest didn't seem onpoint. There was a point in the game where Ramzes decided to travel into Secrets base to pressure the T4's as their creeps approached Secrets Base. ( he tried to get a good trade since Secret was roshing) sadly that didnt work and he ended up trading his life for damage on the t4's. His rightplay was to tp top lane, his creepwave was about to hit secrets last TIer2 tower in the only land that still had rax. The game resulted in a loss for Empire being brought down by Rtz's Slark, good ultility play by EE, and stellar play by PLD; Bulba and captain Puppey.
This result put us into a 3 way tie (we hoped there wouldnt be a tiebreaker as we beat both Secret and F5 in the groupstage) with Secret and F5 who surprised many teams and viewers with their performance in the qualifier. But this was not the only thing affected by those 2 game results. Alliance barely squeezed through the groupstage due to Empire losing their game to Secret.
This is important for later and just to put perspective on how much impact one single game can have. So we ended up having a tiebreaker with Secret and F5.
We play F5 first. We end up winning, yet again being one win away from an insta quali for TI. You can imagine once again what we're all experiencing and feeling at this very moment. Everygame is hype ashell and we're in the game with our whole body and soul. The moment has come and we play vs Secret. I remember we got outplayed and Secret slowly took the game and ultimately won the game. At this point we're slightly upset and sad about the loss but still have some hope in F5. I remember we and finally got time to go eat after we played vs Secret so we went to a kebap place and watched the game on the way there. It looked good for F5 at some points with Illidan playing Morphling but Secret clearly was the better team that game and ended up taking the game making them win the Tiebreaker and thus qualifying to TI. At this moment I envy'd them for their feeling of having made it to TI.
This left Alliance, F5, Ad Finem and us to battle it out for the last 2 spots. ( 1 being direct and one being Wildcard)
Moving forward, we were scheduled to play vs AD Finem, my greek comrades, who should never be underestimated. All I remember is the last few minutes of the deciding game. We take a fight at Rosh, we Thug who's playing Stormspirit jump up the cliff below rosh. I blink crush him as Slardar and I just remember screaming so loud that we can kill him! We end up deleting him from thr game and the fight continues and the whole fight ends in a disaster for AF. We take rosb and once again established control of the game. A few minutes later we DID IT, AF called GG and we just jumped up out of joy and hugged each other. I never believed id make it to atleast TI wildcard in under a year of switching from HoN. i didnt even know what to say or do after we won. I just smiled like an idiot for about the entire time till our next game.
Relief, but its still not over as we are scheduled to play our Nemesis, Alliance for the direct invite. I watched alot of their replays in the past and the day before our game. I felt very prepared.
We manage to get one of our best hero combos and a very comfortable lineup.
Void, Invoker, Timber, Wyvern and either Mirana or Rubick.
Alliances lineup in this game is as following;
Loda on TB; Akke and EGM on Venge and Dazzle; S4 on Batrider and Bulldog on his best hero, Mother comes.
We play a very solid early game and Qojqva and Era are managing to get Alot of space on Invo and Timber. Around the 20 minute mark it comes down to a Rosh fight which I ultimately throw by myself. I get Brood q'd and end healbombed in combination with spiders and im too slow to turn around and leap away as Im sticky napalmed by S4head. I die and we end up giving rosh, huge momentum swing cause by a misplay from myself alone.
Time passes, we keep slightly winning fights and finally are turning our adavantage into one set of rax, one set into two. And now we're approaching to close the game at the 70 minute mark on the bot lane. We have Aegis and Cheese and fullslotted safe and mid core heroes. We take a fight in their base and get Megas for it, but in exchange most of us die and Qojqva has no buyback. Alliance gather mid, Loda buys a Divine on his TB and they ramp straight through mid. Alliance close the game as they go straight for the throne and we have no buybacks. We are devastated after this loss. Once again a game that I couldve prevented us from losing. We lose the game due to a bad individuall performance by me and perhaps some team decissions, we didnt enable Era to sell his Lotus for an Octarine for about 30 minutes since we didnt buy it on anyone else; also taking the risk as a team without invo havinb bb, or maybe he bought back during the fight, i dont quite recall. Also Alliance played very well snd in the end deserved to win.
Game 2 we necro wisp them with me playing Void and I opt for a shadowbladr build seeing as their only answer is to splitpush with S4 playing ember. We play well as a team and I get 2 Shadowblade Chronospheres onto S4 followed by a relo with Yap on the IO and Era on Necro. Alliance tap out shortly after and call GG, putting the series to a 1-1. We are giving these games our all. Sadly we end up losing to a very well executed Alliance strat where they play Shadow Shaman, Jugger and Brewmaster trio with an incredible performance by all of them but especially EGM on the Shaman.
Idk how it all ends, but Alliance beat us again and therefore win the series 3:1. which puts us into the Wildcard for TI6. Still a crazy good achievement and a good showing by us in the TI6 qualifier.
Hope you all had a good read.