At a surprising streak of 3-0 against the former Shanghai majors runner-up Liquid, Wings Gaming takes the ESL One Manila trophy home as their first ever win in an international DotA tournament.
The underdog team, composed of Chinese nationals Chu Zeyu (Shadow~), Zhou Yang (Zy.cn / 跳刀跳刀丶), Zhang Ruida (Zrd / Faith bian), Zhang Yiping (Innocence / y`), and Li Peng (iceice) have been playing for only a year, with their only achievement being their win against Team Secret in WCA.
Today, however, they moved swiftly from qualifiers, beating out compLexity and Fnatic to ultimately advance to the grand finals against Liquid.
Here is a quick recap of what happened during the three games:
Game started good for Wings with them getting first blood and later trading the Batrider for two bot, while the Bounty Hunter got the courier mid. From then on things slowly, but surely started falling apart forTeam Liquid. Wings dominated the early game and slowed down to get some extra farm on the Phantom Lancer. Liquid used this alongside a lucky pickoff on the Bounty Hunter, to take a quick Rosh and attempted to get back into the game. The Aegis went to Adrian 'Fata' Trinks, who traded his two lives to create enough space for Kuro 'KuroKy' Salehi Takhasomi to get a kill on Shadow’s PL. This set Wings back even more on their farm and so they slowed down the game even further. Liquid pressured the bot T3 and got it, but at the cost of their own top T3 and Melee Rax, including giving some kills to Wings on their way out.
Next Rosh was the key to this match. Liquid attempted to get it twice, the second time ending in a disaster for them with wings getting three kills and the Aegis for PL. With all that advantage they pressured and took bot T3 along with Melee Rax and the slow siege mid started. With Bounty Hunter’s vision and the tactics of sending PL illusions, coupled with a Mana Leak from KotL, Enigma didn’t have mana or opportunity to initiate. After the T3 dropped, it was time for a desperate move, Jesse 'JerAx' Vainikka aggressive swap started the last fight of the game. Both teams lost heroes and Wings saw that they can end the game so they bought back on PL, KotL and Batrider. With Black Hole used to get the PL and Liquid were running out of damage. Enigma died back, Fata dropped and Liquid called the GG for game one.
Game two stared a lot better for Liquid with PL evading jungle invasion and JerAx successfully rotating top to get the first blood on Beastmaster. The Earth Spirit rotations weren’t as fruitful as the first one, but third time is the charm and saving Tidehunter bot, Liquid get a kill on Slark, while the bear and Enigma drop in the jungle. Both PL and Lone Druid were on top with the farm, but over all Wings had the early game lead. Tidehunter dropped bot, but bought enough time for Enigma to rotate for the counter kill, but Kuro narrowly missed the first Black Hole of the game and Slark survives by the skin of his teeth.
Wings started pushing their advantage, by taking the T1 top and forcing rotations for the T2. A fight broke out mid, with Liquid getting a pickoff and using Enigma as bate for Wings to over commit. The Ravage came out and Wings were on the run, losing three, but a good Sun Strike claimed the Lone Druid making it an even trade. With the Ravage down Wings pressed for T3 top and keeping mid pushed getting both towers. Liquid kept slowing the game down, waiting for mistakes and capitalizing on them when they happen, forcing a buyback from Wings to secure Rosh. After pressuring mid and top, Liquid find the opening they needed burning all of Shadow’s mana he was forced to use his Aegis, but the Black Hole was waiting for him. It was interrupted by a fissure, but Wings were already in a really bad position, resulting in a triple kill for the Phantom Lancer. Wings were relentless though, they kept on pushing and throwing heroes at the mid Rax till it went down 33min leaving the score 25 to 19 in their favor.
Wings lost their shaker, but didn’t stop their push, over committing on the Tidehunter only to get a Ravage just as the Invoker BKB ran out. This let Liquid take a four kills and force the buyback on Invoker so that Wings can at least secure the next Rosh. Liquid pushed T2 bot, but ended up in a bad fight mid, expending the ravage and the Black Hole, but only getting Slark down. Shortly after the bot lane was gone and even the Refresher on Tidehunter wasn’t enough to hold back the last push so Liquid called GG for game two.
Game three started with a bloodbath at the bot rune resulting in 1-3 score for Wings before the first minute of the game, with first blood going to Team Liquid. It continued in the same fashion with kills going bot and mid, Wings taking a lot, but then ended up giving up three kills mid and the score goes to 7-6 at 5min for Liquid. They took the charge and ramped up the aggression rotating the doom and using the Specter ult, solidifying their dominance in the early game. It doesn’t end and Liquid use their ults one after the other depending which is off cooldown, with all five being incredibly strong, getting kill after kill with a score of 24-13 at 23min. They finally misstep after diving T3 bot to kill Tusk and drop three on the way out losing the gem, their T2 mid and giving a lot of gold to Wings. Despite all the commotion, Alchemist was still on top of the farming chart with two times more net worth than the second place Outworld Devourer.
Next big fight also went the way of Wings as they killed three and got Rosh out of that, along with a ton of track gold. With that advantage Wings decided it was time for all in. They fought Liquid in front of their base, then dove in all the way to the ancient getting four kills with only Matumbaman surviving. Wings weren’t done, they regrouped and went for it again, getting three kills, but this time focusing on getting some objectives - both bot and mid. Last push began top with a big fight ending bad for Liquid. They lost top rax too, but they wouldn’t just give up. With buybacks and their base on the line the fight went on and on, but in the end it wasn’t enough. Liquid call the GG and Wings Gaming took ESL One Manila Grand Finals 3-0.
photo from esportonlinebetting.com