Biggest Upset of AEF History


Team Captain Fox.Jesus after the match:
“I always give the boys a pep talk and I said ‘all I wanna do is take a game off them’ I picked whatever they wanted to play and we were just all focused on winning 1 game. We just took it from there.”

Thursday 1st March 2018, 8:30 pm AEDT marked the beginning of one of the greatest upsets in Australian Dota 2 history, between the league leaders Pecado Drop and the then bottom of the ladder team Fox Gaming. What unfolded in the next 4 hours of play mesmerized all viewers and our casting team.

Going into this match, it was thought by most that Pecado Drop, after a dominant 2-0 victory last week, where they defeated the 2-time AEF champions Natural 9, were clearly the best team in the league. Pecado, a newly formed team of experienced Australian veterans were, on paper and from recent form, the superior team. Fox on the other hand has been in the AEF league since the beginning, but had always struggled near the bottom of Division 1, being relegated to Division 2 for one season as well. As the tournament organisers, we remember the days when Fox could barely field a team of 5, forcing their team manager KillerRoo to play. No doubt, at the start of the night Pecado were expected to win 2-0 and walk away with 3 points, putting them on 12 points and guaranteeing them a spot at the main event on April 7th. Fox with only 2 points coming in, were seen by most as a team whose chances of qualifying for the main event were already over.

A loss to Pecado meant that with only 3 rounds to go, there was virtually no chance they could make the top 4. Though our casters were joking prior to the series start about the ‘what if’ of Fox being the least likely team to break Pecado’s streak, what we saw in the following 4 hours was some of the most unreal, amazing and highest standards of Australian Dota in memory.

Game 1 began with Fox losing the laning phase. They lost map control for most of the mid game and by the 27-minute mark, they were 6000 networth behind. At this point, Pecado decided to go for a Tier 3 high ground push hoping to end the game early. Perhaps this was the turning point, where they underestimated their opponents and potentially cost themselves the game. The push inflicted minimal damage to the base and Pecado lost 4 heroes, halving their lead instantly.

For the remainder of the match, the overall networth lead remained fairly even, however the Terrorblade of Fox.Inpu7 was leading the hero networth. At the 43-minute mark, Fox decided to go for a push. They hammered down mid lane and easily took the mid Tier 3 tower and both barracks with little resistance. Perhaps Pecado understood that Terrorblade could not be stopped at this stage and didn’t contest. But what happened next was truly surprising. With no regard for safety Fox immediately turned their sights to the bottom tower and barracks. Upon seeing this, Pecado reacted, realising that losing two sets of barracks with no contest was not an option. They threw their heroes in and were wiped by an excellent Magnus reverse polarity, immediately losing 4 heroes and forced to commit buybacks. However, since not every hero had buyback, Fox still had the hero advantage and with the Terrorblade still in Metamorphosis, they won the fight convincingly and ended the game. Everyone was in shock, in a single moment Game 1 was over and Fox were leading the series 1-0.

In Game 2, the Terrorblade was again picked by Fox. Pecado however, had picked a good split push lineup with Tinker and Nature’s Prophet. Pecado again won the laning phase and this time were more convincing in the mid game. By the 35-minute mark, Pecado were up 17000 networth! It seemed like this time, it was going to be a comfortable win for the league leaders. Yet again, Fox Gaming didn’t agree. They had lost their mid barracks in a push, but killed some heroes in return to reduce the deficit. But over the next 20 minutes, team fight after team fight, Fox Gaming refused to lie down and die, each time killing 1-2 heroes more than their opponents and gradually reducing the lead down to only 4000 networth. They even went for a push of their own and destroyed Pecado’s mid barracks! Having learnt from their mistakes in Game 1, the experienced Pecado team resorted to split pushing or “rat” Dota, to try and finish the game. Again, the farmed Terrorblade was the key to Fox Gaming pushing into Pecado’s base, destroying both Tier 4 towers and bringing down the throne to 50%. However, Pecado in response rallied back at base and killed the Terrorblade. By this time, the Tinker and Nature’s Prophet had complete control of the side lanes and Fox were always under pressure trying to stop their barracks from falling. Eventually with persistence, Pecado destroyed all the remaining barracks forcing Mega Creeps. One last desperate push from the Terrorblade just wasn’t enough to end the game, despite his purchase of the dreaded Divine Rapier, and Pecado Drop had equalised the series 1-1.

Game 3 saw a very different matchup overall for both sides. Pecado opted to go for a Chaos Knight and Alchemist with a Tinker mid while Fox went for a gank heavy lineup with Storm Spirit, Spirit Breaker and a Sven carry. The laning phase again went to Pecado and by the 27-minute mark, Pecado had gained a 17000 networth lead, just like in Game 2. Yet again, it seemed like Pecado had gained the better of their “lesser” opponents and should close the game and series out comfortably. However, that lead only allowed them to destroy the mid tier 3 tower. Again, Fox Gaming refusing to quit, continuing to gank and fight, slowly eating away at Pecado’s lead. By the 40-minute mark, the lead had reduced to only 5000. This was not a team “throwing” their lead away, this was truly a methodical and intelligent comeback by an inspired team playing from behind. They made good decisions and plays repeatedly, slowly clawing their way back. By this stage, Fox had gained enough confidence to besiege Pecado’s base. What followed can be seen on the linked video clip of the final push. Once again, it only took one push from Fox to end the game.

In the context of the tournament, this opens the draw up completely. Pecado are still league leaders on 10 points, but only 2 points clear of the 2-time champions Natural 9. Fox Gaming have earned themselves 2 points tonight, bringing them up to 4 points with a chance of now qualifying for the main event on the 7th April.

MVP for this series was Fox.Inpu7.

Honourable mentions go to Fox.Reverie, Fox.Lon and Pecado.Fury for outstanding individual plays.

Written by: Elliot Yung

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