The OpTic Gaming DOTA 2 team had a rough run at Beyond the Summit’s DOTA Summit 9. After placing in the middle of the pack during the group stages, OpTic dropped in the first round of the play-offs to Fnatic. The Southeast Asia-based team ran through the lower bracket to make it to the grand finals and face Evil Geniuses. The latter team ultimately won the tournament in a 3-0 stomp.

These results may be disheartening for fans of OpTic DOTA; The International 8 may seem like an uphill battle now. The past three Internationals have been won by a team that won their previous event, each of them within a month of TI. However, in 2014, Newbee had been on a two-month non-winning streak before they took first place at TI4. Hope is not lost for the Green Wall, and certainly this loss will motivate the OpTic players to make the most out of their boot camp time. There’s still two and a half weeks to make adjustments, to learn from these losses and step it up for the biggest tournament of the year.

Despite the disappointing results, casters at the Summit had positive things to say, particularly about Neta “33” Shapira. During OpTic’s second game versus Fnatic in the group stage, Kyle Freedman said, “It doesn’t matter how OpTic does at TI, I think 33 has got an argument for MVP of the whole season.” Adding to the accolades, Russian caster Vitalii “V1lat” Volochai called 33, “the most improved player of the year” and “a player to watch at TI.” A strong off-laner has proven critical at past TIs, as captain Peter “ppd” Dager, who also captained the TI5-winning Evil Geniuses roster, knows firsthand (see: the TI5 6 Million Dollar Echo Slam).

Summit 9 Non-Game Highlights

There were plenty of highlights for fans to enjoy in addition to the OpTic games. Quinn “CCNC” Callahan treated fans by showing up to cast several games on the BTS couch, including during the group stage: game two of Evil Geniuses versus VGJ.Storm and game one of Evil Geniuses versus paiN Gaming; and the playoffs: game one of Evil Geniuses versus VGJ.Storm in the winners’ final, and game two of Evil Geniuses versus Fnatic in the grand finals. Both of the playoff games were quick wins for Evil Geniuses, the first ending at 16:33 and the second at 25:31, the two fastest playoff games. Evil Geniuses was involved in six of the seven games that ended in less than thirty minutes across the entire tournament.

Ppd and Zai participated in BTS’ “Arts and Crafts” segment, creating wool-and-crayon interpretations of the other members of the team. Be sure to watch the linked video to see all of their creations and determine how successful they were at capturing the essence of their teammates.

What’s the next step?

Valve released patch 7.19 immediately following the end of the Summit 9. The patch is on the smaller side compared to many that have been released so far in 2018. Valve tweaked 29 heroes, including the top 10 most contested (picked and/or banned) heroes at the Summit. Particularly notable, OpTic’s most picked hero at the event, Templar Assassin, received a small nerf to her trap damage. OpTic will certainly be looking closely at the changes to determine how viable these heroes are moving forward.

OpTic Gaming will spend the next two weeks boot camping in preparation for The International 8. 17 teams will compete with OpTic in Vancouver, Canada for the Aegis of the Immortal and the winners’ share of more than US$22.5 million. The group stage will run from August 15-18th, with the playoffs on the main stage at the Rogers Arena from August 20-25th.

With the Summit 9 over, preparation for The International 8 begins. Start the countdown, Vancouver: the Green Wall is coming!