ROG Masters 2017 – Tournament Review
The ROG Masters tournament was a dream come true for tier 2 Dota 2 teams. It was small enough not to get any interest from the top teams, but still big enough to be more than significant for the lesser known teams that were trying to make a name for themselves. With a $235.000 prize pool, the competition was certainly fierce.
ROG Masters hadn’t been included in the Dota Pro Circuit, so it didn’t award teams with qualifying points for the next TI. However, thanks to the large prize pool, it was still a very competitive LAN event. And without a doubt, the Grand Finals offered a thrilling viewing experience to any Dota 2 fan.
Even before the start of the tournament, it was pretty clear that OpTic Gaming and Team Empire would be the 2 definitive favorites to win this competition. It was just a matter of who had the stamina and determination to claim the title.
On the one hand, OpTic Gaming, Peter “ppd” Dager’s new team, was full of world class players. Among them, 1 TI finalist (Martin “Saksa” Sazdov, in 2016 with Digital Chaos) and 1 TI winner (ppd himself, in 2015 with Evil Geniuses).
One the other hand, Team Empire were one of the strongest teams in the CIS region and the 7th-8th place team at The International 2017.
Compared to the rest of the teams present at ROG Masters 2017, these two were simply in a class of their own. So it was obvious that unless they were going to encounter each other along the way, they would end up playing in the Grand Finals.
Throughout the competition, OpTic Gaming defeated WarriorsGaming.Unity once and Penta Sports twice without dropping a single game, while Team Empire beat Execration, Team MAX and WarriorsGaming.Unity (score 2-0 in all 3 matches) in order to reach “the final boss”.
In the Grand Finals, which was a Bo5, Team Empire took the first game after a spectacular comeback (they were playing against Mega Creeps) and it was looking like the much more experienced CIS team would crush ppd’s newly formed roster. But, to everyone’s surprise, the second and third games went to OpTic. Team Empire woke up 4th, so the match was going to be decided in the most dramatic way possible.
In the 5th game of the match, the two teams went head to head for the first 10 minutes but then OpTic Gaming started to outplay their opponents and slowly gained a huge gold lead over the next 35 minutes. They struggled to end the game with this lead, but to no avail. Team Empire managed to bring it back to even during the next 10 minutes, secured one final Roshan and then went on to win the game.