While some teams have already ensured they'll take home millions of dollars in prize money before the 2015 International Dota 2 Championships (or TI5) grand finals have even begun, even more are going home after day three — including the final former International champion remaining in the main event.
Day three began in the lower bracket as newcomers Complexity Gaming faced off against Russian team Virtus Pro. The series swung back and forth wildly, as both teams began games with strong leads only to ultimately fold in late game turnarounds. The stress proved to be too much for one Virtus Pro player in game two: the match was paused after an "incident" in VP's isolation booth that saw both teams escorted briefly away, with a garbage can from VP's booth allegedly in tow. Still, Virtus Pro were once again able to overcome previous inconsistent play to eliminate Complexity from the tournament, advancing in the lower bracket.
Next, tournament favorites Team Secret were fighting to remain in TI5 after a stunning upset in the upper bracket at the hands of eHome on day one. Standing in Secret's way were Chinese team and 2013 International champions Invictus Gaming, who had clawed their way out of a best-of-one elimination match Monday night to keep their International hopes alive. IG opened strong with a convincing but tense game one victory against Secret.
However, Team Secret's hero draft for game two seems to have almost singlehandedly swung the TI5 metagame, as Secret carry player Artour "Arteezy" Babaev used the hero Luna to humble IG in the next two games. This sent IG home, eliminating the final TI champion remaining at TI5 and setting Secret up to play Virtus Pro on day four in another lower bracket elimination match.
The third match of the day saw two of the most dominant teams of TI5's group stages go head to head, with Chinese team LGD facing off in the upper bracket against CDEC, a team that until late 2014 served as a sort of minor league offshoot of LGD. Continuing their surprise rampage through TI5 after being forced to play for a wild card berth at the tournament, CDEC rolled over their former counterparts, sending CDEC to the lower bracket to face either Virtus Pro or Team secret, based on the winner of their match on Thursday.
Day three closed with an upper bracket match between the appointed home team favorites Evil Geniuses facing off against Chinese team eHome, as chants of "USA" roared across the arena against equally loud chants of "eHome." EG fans were quickly hushed as eHome crushed the American team in game one. But the loudest cheers of the tournament quickly followed as EG picked the notorious, potentially-game breaking hero Techies, as played by Kurtis "Aui 2000" Ling, who just weeks ago started a petition asking Dota 2 developer Valve to remove the hero from the game.
Ling displayed exactly how powerful that hero can be as Evil Geniuses relied on guerilla tactics to shut out eHome in game two. A revitalized Evil Geniuses squad went on to convincingly send eHome to the lower bracket with a win in game three, securing a minimum third place finish in TI5 for the team and a prize of at least $2,185,594. Evil Geniuses will face CDEC in the upper bracket finals on day five. The loser of that match will face the winner of the lower bracket, which will determine Saturday's grand final.
You can find more information on where to watch TI5 here, and you can learn more about watching competitive Dota 2 in our video below: