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Chinese juggernauts PSG.LGD continue to dominate their region, as they claimed the championship of the 2021-2022 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) Spring Tour Regional Finals for China with a 3-0 sweep over Team Aster in the grand finals on Sunday (8 May).
PSG.LGD began their campaign in the Regional Finals with a 2-0 sweep over Royal Never Give Up (RNG) but then got swept themselves in their first meeting of the tournament with Team Aster in the upper bracket finals.
PSG.LGD bounced back by taking down Xtreme Gaming, 2-1, in the lower bracket finals to force a rematch with Team Aster in the grand finals.
Here's how PSG.LGD exacted their vengeance on Team Aster through a 3-0 sweep that gave them the Regional Finals title.
Ame starts strong in game one
The opening picks of the grand finals for PSG.LGD were a Shadow Shaman for Zhao "XinQ" Zixing and Monkey King for Wang "Ame" Chunyu.
Shadow Shaman has risen in popularity as a support thanks to the buffs the hero received in the 7.31 patch while Monkey King is a mobile carry who can join the team for early engagements.
Team captain Zhang "y`" Yiping played Omniknight and had the difficult task of dispelling enemy stuns, keeping allies alive, and protecting the team from physical damage.
Offlaner Zhang "Faith_bian" Ruida would create chaos on Brewmaster while Malaysian superstar midlaner Cheng "NothingToSay" Jin Xiang would dish out all the magical damage the team needed on Leshrac.
Aster's draft in the first game mirrored their opponents. Yu "Siamese.C" Yajun played the position 5 Abaddon, a hero designed to save allies with his Aphotic Shield.
Offlaner Lin "Xxs" Jing would focus on controlling enemies using Mars while the team's second support, Ye "BoBoKa" Zhibiao, was in charge of providing burst damage on Hoodwink.
It wasn't a perfect mirror draft by Aster, as they opted to go for a tanky Dragon Knight for their midlaner Zeng "Ori" Jiaoyang instead of a damage-dealing core. Carry player Du "Monet" Peng rounded out the lineup with Faceless Void.
With both teams having similar drafts, it came down to execution and who could take the lead early on.
It was an even laning stage between the two squads until NothingToSay rotated to the top lane and secured a Double Kill for himself at the seven-minute mark.
PSG.LGD managed to build a slight lead in the early game but Aster struck back at the 14-minute mark with a Triple Kill for the team, evening out the kill score and preventing their opponents from snowballing.
Neither team was able to pull ahead in game one, so it all came down to who could secure the Aegis of the Immortal.
Aster started the 23-minute Roshan fight by taking out y` but a quick buyback by him, along with some clutch plays by Ame, allowed PSG.LGD to teamwipe Aster and claim the Aegis.
After a disastrous teamfight at the Roshan pit, Aster lost map control and had no way of finding pickoffs against PSG.LGD's heroes.
Aster would tap out just 10 minutes after the Aegis was claimed. Ame was the star of game one, getting 14 kills without being killed once.
Faith_bian unveils the offlane Phoenix in game two
Over the years, heroes in Dota 2 have become more flexible in their roles.
Nowadays it's rare to find a hero who can only play one role and be absolutely incapable of playing any of the other four.
Long-time core heroes such as Pugna and Monkey King are regularly played as supports while Keeper of the Light is picked for midlaners nowadays after a decade of being a support hero.
In game two of the series, PSG.LGD's offlaner Faith_bian showcased the offlane Phoenix. It has been years since Phoenix has been picked as a core, as the hero is considered fairly item independent due to the strength of its Supernova ultimate.
Faith_bian began to snowball in game two at around the seven-minute mark, as he secured a solo kill on Siamese.C the moment he hit level six and put a point in his ultimate.
Similar to game one of the series, both teams were unable to take a significant lead over the other.
It was a better showing for Aster in game two, as they took the first Aegis of the game and kept up with PSG.LGD's pace up until 30 minutes in the game.
It all came down to the pivotal second Aegis fight at the 31-minute mark. Aster almost managed to take down Faith_bian, bringing the Supernova down to one hit but were ultimately unable to do so, costing them the fight, the Aegis, and ultimately the game.
For people interested in playing Phoenix in the offlane, here's how Faith_bian built the hero.
First, he purchased an early Spirit Vessel to add more damage over time to his arsenal. His offlane build for Phoenix saw him maxing Fire Spirits at level seven, with two points in Icarus Dive early, which just received an extra five damage buff to each level.
Faith_bian started putting points in Sun Ray at level eight and had the spell maxed out by level 11, skipping the first Talent choice.
The reason Sun Ray needed to be maxed by level 11 is due to the early purchase of Phoenix' Aghanim's Shard upgrade, one of the best in the game.
Faith_bian aimed to get a late-game Refresher Orb but the game ended before he was able to purchase the item.
XinQ shines with Shadow Shaman in game three
Game three of the series saw both teams come in with specific strategies they wanted to execute.
For PSG.LGD, it was to use the Shadow Shaman on XinQ to secure Roshan while Faith_bian's Underlord provided the team with global map presence.
Aster, on the other hand, doubled down on teamfight with the support Brewmaster for BoBoKa.
The team needed a lot of space made, as they went for a dual farming core lineup of Lifestealer and Templar Assasin for Monet and Ori, respectively. The only issue with the draft was the lack of stuns, an issue PSG.LGD was able to take advantage of.
It was a familiar script in game three. Both teams had a solid laning phase with a slight advantage going to Aster.
But due to Ori getting picked off several times, Aster was unable to take a lead in the game, resulting in both teams instead being neck and neck with each other.
For the third game in a row, it all came down to which team can secure the second Aegis of the game, and that was when both teams displayed the strength of their draft.
XinQ's Serpent Wards and mass disables proved to be a nightmare for Aster's two farmed cores, as both of them were Shackled and unable to fight, relinquishing the Aegis to PSG.LGD
PSG.LGD's victory at the 28-minute mark was a devastating blow to Aster, as both Monet and Ori used their buybacks and had nothing to show for it.
The economical damage from that misstep allowed PSG.LGD to get further and further ahead until they took the game in 40 minutes.
With PSG.LGD's victory, they now sit comfortably at the top of the DPC leaderboard with 1400 points, pretty much guaranteeing them a spot at The International 11 (TI11). It would be the organisation's 10th appearance at TI in a row.
It's a different story for Aster, as they currently hold 640 DPC points, not nearly enough to secure a ticket to this year's TI.
They will need to do well in the final Tour of the season if they wish to attend their second TI.
Chinese teams play Regional Finals after missing out on Stockholm Major
Chinese teams were forced to play in the Spring Tour Regional Finals after it was revealed that the region's four representatives for the upcoming ESL One Stockholm Major will be unable to attend the tournament.
Perfect World Esports, the organiser of the DPC's Chinese regional league, did not explicitly state the reason why the Chinese teams could not attend the tournament.
However, the announcement came amid recent lockdowns and travel restrictions in China caused by a rise of COVID-19 cases.
Chinese Dota 2 teams aren't the only ones that have been unable to compete internationally due to the lockdowns and travel restrictions in the country.
RNG's League of Legends team has been forced to compete in the game's upcoming 2022 Mid-Season Invitational in South Korea remotely as the travel restrictions in China have prevented them from participating in the event in-person.
1. Wang "Ame" Chunyu
2. Cheng "NothingToSay" Jin Xiang
3. Zhang "Faith_bian" Ruida
4. Zhao "XinQ" Zixing
5. Zhang "y`" Yiping
Team Aster roster:
1. Du "Monet" Peng
2. Zeng "Ori" Jiaoyang
3. Lin "Xxs" Jing
4. Ye "BoBoKa" Zhibiao
5. Yu "Siamese.C" Yajun
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.