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Unstoppable, unbreakable: Talon Esports secure TI11 spot

02:18 PM September 18, 2022

After a grueling five-game series, Talon Esports emerge victorious and claimed their spot at The International 11. They faced Polaris Esports, a team that has been dominating the lower bracket since being sent down there by Talon themselves. It was a good back-and-forth stomping from each side, with Talon taking the final dub and closing out the series. Here is the story of yesterday’s games.

The North Star shines

Polaris opened the game leading in with John Anthony “Natsumi” Vargas on Pudge, with the rest of the team playing around forcing team fights. Talon Esports, meanwhile, entered the game with Nuengnara “23Savage” Teeramahanon on Morphling, with a team relying on early crowd control and space creation. 

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The first few minutes in the game were in Talon’s favor, with 23Savage picking up an early kill in the bottom lane. However, Marvin “Xavius” Rushton’s Marci started going aggressive after a level 3 power spike and turned the momentum towards Polaris.

Natsumi’s aggressive hooks ensured that team fights would always start in Polaris’ favor, leaving Talon with little time to react to plays. The continuous skirmishes started by Polaris eventually extended their lead, taking game 1 for themselves with a 22-7 score.

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Here, fishy fishy!

Talon entered game 2 with 23Savage on Slark, a hero that’s known to crush a team’s TI dreams. Polaris answered with a Phantom Lancer for Natsumi, despite an Earthshaker already in Talon’s lineup.

Talon played a trilane setup in the top lane to try and suppress Nikko “Force” Bilocura’s Viper, leaving Damien “kpii” Chok’s Undying to deal with Natsumi in the bottom lane.

The second game was a bit slower compared to the first game, with both teams trying to prioritize their carries farming into the late game. Talon Esports, however, slowly kept chipping at Polaris’ towers, trying to create momentum on their side and forcing Natsumi out of hiding.

Polaris tried to stave off a rampaging Slark, but with the Phantom Lancer running with only a Diffusal Blade, it was pretty much mission impossible. Talon secured game 2 when Polaris called “gg” at 38 minutes after a near-full wipe in the mid lane.

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Terror(?) in the trilane

Talon played game 3 around a Terrorblade carry, with the rest of the composition centered around creating space for 23Savage. Natsumi and Polaris Esports led with a Doom carry, with an Enchanter on Xavius for early sustain and poke.

Both Talon and Polaris took the trilane route in the bottom lane, with an Enchantress and Tiny support combo to allow 23Savage to farm safely. However, Force’s Viper laning with Xavius’ Marci and Nico “eyyou” Barcelon’s Oracle proved to be a formidable lane opponent. Even with a Tiny and Enchantress hard initiate combo, Marci’s displacement and Oracle’s sustain kept Polaris’ offlane alive enough to harass an early game Terrorblade lane.

Natsumi’s early level 6 power spike proved to be difficult for Talon Esports, especially with 23Savage’s being unable to catch up on farm and items to be able to impact the game. A final clash in the Radiant side triangle wipes most of Talon Esports and their midlane barracks. Even with three buybacks, Talon called “gg” at 42 minutes after 23Savage dies from his first buyback. Polaris secures game 3 and is now leading 2-1 in a best of 5 series.

Polaris are one win away from claiming their TI11 spot, a step closer to being the first Filipino team to qualify for this year’s The International.

Slark. ‘nuff said.

It seems like Polaris had not learned from game 2 and continued to leave Slark open for 23Savage. They tried to counter a Slark game by picking their own hypercarry, a Luna for Natsumi. 

Force and Xavius’ Undying-Keeper of the Light combo ensures that the early laning phase for 23Savage would not be a walk in the park. Chakra Magic gives Force a chance to spam Decay, healing himself while dealing a huge amount of damage to an early game Slark.

However, as soon as Slark turns level 6, he starts roaming and taking kills in other lanes, quickly farming an earl Aghanim’s Scepter. This would then prove to be difficult for Polaris, as Natsumi’s Luna takes a while to be impactful in the game.

Polaris call “gg” at 38 minutes after a clash inside their base knocks out Luna, leaving the team with no damage to deal against a charging Talon Esports.

Do or die

Polaris finally learned their lesson and banned Slark for game 5, but Talon Esports picks Doom for 23Savage instead. Polaris answers by picking up Pudge for Natsumi and building a lineup centered on team fights. Talon responded by picking champions that focused on disengaging, allowing them to restart team fights on their own terms.

Polaris took the momentum in the early game, racking up Flesh Heap stacks for Natsumi, allowing the carry to scale faster into the late game. Force and Xavius’ Undying-KOTL combo continued to work wonders for the early game, making it harder for 23Savage to farm safely on Doom pre-level 6.

Despite an aggressive lineup, Polaris and Talon take things a little bit slower in the mid-late game, leaving the score to a standstill at 9-9 40 minutes in. Both teams were careful, slowly pushing towers and avoiding team fights that led to unnecessary deaths.

Talon wins an extended team fight in the bottom lane, destroying Polaris’ barracks in the process and spawning mega creeps. Polaris make the wrong decision to dive into a fleeing Talon Esports. With Pudge down fresh from a buyback, Polaris are left with no options to defend against a full-stack Talon Esports with a Cheese and an Aegis, and are forced to call “gg” at 49 minutes, giving the final win to Talon Esports.

Talon Esports secure the SEA Qualifier slot for TI11 after being virtually undefeated in the tournament. Polaris Esports will have to fight for their lives in the upcoming Last Chance Qualifiers if they wish to enter The International 11 in Singapore.

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TAGS: 23savage, dota 2, natsumi, Polaris Esports, sea qualifiers, Talon Esports, ti11
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