Boston Major - Round of 16
This was a mix of matches, with some of the expectations that we had coming true and other match-ups resulting in more unlikely successes. As many predicted it was Virtus.Pro and Evil Geniuses to make their way further into the tournament, the former beating IG Vitality 2-0 and the latter also winning 2-0 against Wings Gaming. It was a tough call between Complexity and WG.Unity, but it was the lesser known Malaysian WarriorsGaming side that came out on top with its 2-0 victory, thanks to two of the quickest wins in the tournament. OG obviously won its game against MVP Phoenix, the former rivals failing to stand up against its competitors strength and lost 2-0 to OG. Digital Chaos proved its determination with a pair of smooth games against Team Faceless to make it to the quarterfinals, while Team NP - the underdog - also managed to make it in one of two round of 16 series' to end 2-1. Though Newbee looked strong in its first game against Ad Finem, it was the Greek side that ultimately pushed through for a 2-1 victory with great ease. Lastly there was the dual-LGD match-up, which saw LGD Gaming face its rival team LGD ForeverYoung, the latter surprising everyone when it came out ahead after a long 50-minute game before pushing on for a 2-0 sweep to send it into the quarterfinals.
Boston Major - Quarterfinals
With the wheat picked from the chaff, the quarterfinals is where the Boston Major really kicked off. First up was Virtus.Pro and Evil Geniuses, a game that really could have gone any way. The first game was a dominating showing from Evil Geniuses, who managed to capitalise on its early lead and push on for a win in only 19 minutes - the quickest of the tournament. The second was the complete opposite, however, and while EG would ultimately go on to win - and head into the semifinals - it was a lengthy 53 minute game of back and forth between the two sides. Then came WG.Unity up against OG, where the former had a weaker opening game of the series that led to it losing a game after 56 minutes of banging its head against a confident WarriorsGaming. OG pushed on though, and in two 35 minute games it managed to recover and claim its two victories to head on to the semis. Team NP's strong showing in the round of 16, however, came to an end against one of the favourites of the tournament, Digital Chaos. DC had its 2-0 sweep over within an hour, both games proving why the once upon a time underdog has become such an exciting team to watch and support. Lastly came Ad Finem against LGD ForeverYoung, and while few had anticipated ForeverYoung to push on in the tournament it did at least put up a fight against the up-and-comers that are Ad Finem. The series ended 2-1 to Ad Finem who lost the second game before holding LGD back long enough in the third game of the series to push through to its second victory around the 45 minute mark.
Boston Major - Semifinals (OG vs Evil Geniuses)
Evil Geniuses had done well to make it this far into the tournament, beating both Wings Gaming and Virtus.Pro - both of which had every right to make it further into the competition - it was a tough ask for it to take on OG. OG had once again been proving its strength as a team - after a lacklustre couple of months and a disappointing showing at The International 2016 - EG was going to have difficulty putting an end to that confidence. An early lead by OG in the first game had proven difficult for Evil Geniuses to recover from, giving OG the opportunities to pick its own battles with EG constantly looking like it was on the defensive. It was a mid-point teamfight that gave four kills to OG that really decided the match, however, giving them the strength to take the game into its collective hands. The game ended shortly after, within the 29th minute, making OG look like it was set on getting its third victory. The second game saw EG repeat its tact against Virtus.Pro to win its 19-minute game early in the competition, and it worked to an extent. With this comp EG was able to score a few wayward kills to boost its early chances, but OG wasn't about to let the game go so easily. Despite those kills OG maintained a gold lead thanks to a strong laning phase, and this kept EG on the back foot. This gave OG the opportunity to risk a few fights, and it picked the right opportunities to do so - ultimately chipping away at EG's initial strength before claiming the second game with relative ease.
Boston Major - Semifinals (Digital Chaos vs Ad Finem)
In what was perhaps the most exciting - and surprising - series of the tournament, the match against would-be challengers Digital Chaos and underdogs Ad Finem gave a number of high-octane moments for viewers. Many had expected Digital Chaos to take the series since the team had proven itself as a strong competitor since its achievements in The Intentional 2016 and since, but in fact the opposite happened. A totally different Ad Finem showed up to the semifinals, and where it had previously struggled against other opponents - claiming only 2-1 victories rather than the many 2-0 sweeps we had seen elsewhere - here it was a new team. Though the first game would roll on for a healthy 40 minutes, many of the plays from Ad Finem showed a team that deserved to be in the knockout stage of the Boston Major, constantly adding pressure to DC that - eventually - they could not bear any further. The second game was a swifter affair, with Ad Finem claiming its second victory within 28 minutes thanks to strong Timbermaw play from Madara. It was the early lead that AF secured - thanks mostly to its mobility around the map - that gave the team the strength to claim the semifinal match as its owning, surprisingly knocking Digital Chaos out where many had assumed a safe victory for the American side.
Boston Major - Grand Finals (OG vs Ad Finem)
It was perhaps foolish to expect Ad Finem to go all the way against a team who had already proven itself as the strongest team at the Boston Major. OG had an impeccable group stage and despite a slight falter in the quarterfinals it had rarely seemed like a team unable to go all the way for a third Major victory. But as the underdog and fresh from an exciting and dominating showing in the semis, Ad Finem seemed ready to challenge the proven competitor. Sadly this wasn't allowed to happen. Ad Finem struggled in its first two games to get a hold of any sort of advantage. It had a couple of picks from within the early game, but OG never let up and prevented any gold advantage from switching over to the Greek side. Ad Finem managed to hold back OG in both cases, however, proving the team's strength before it ultimately lost the first game in 43 minutes and the second in only 35. The second was a tense battle between the two, however. While Ad Finem managed to get a pleasant start to the match, OG never gave them the room to move with those few opportunities it managed to claim. By the mid-game it seemed as though OG was going to claim its third and final victory of the series, but around the mid-point of the game Ad Finem managed to find victory in many of the teamfights. Strong successes and great teamplay brought Ad Finem back in the game, enough to stretch the game out an additional 40 minutes, rife with teamfights flicking between OG and Ad Finem in an tough war of attrition. It was scrappy play from both sides, but after 80 minutes of play Ad Finem managed to force its way into OG's base to claim its first game of the series. Despite the confidence Ad Finem had earned from its victory, it just wasn't enough. It continued to pressure OG in teamfights, but never found the right opportunities and struggled to claim the advantages it needed if it was to continue to compete for the Major. The game ultimately ended in under 40-minutes, with OG claiming the third game of the series, giving it the grand final victory and its third Major win. Ad Finem, despite its loss, has proven its strength. We had predicted that the Greek underdogs would be one of the new teams to watch this Dota 2 season, and it seems that we've been proven right. It might not have earned the first-place victory it clearly craved, but to come second - to OG no less - is a feat few underdogs can achieve so ably. These will be ones to watch this season.