We so excite! It’s the first day of the playoffs in The International and it promises an entire day of salivating matches!
Zenith are up against North-American powerhouses compLexity Gaming in the first round of the winners’ bracket matches. They took down teams like EHOME and defending champions Na`Vi in the group stages and the guys are not going to make the mistake of underestimating them.
iceiceice on his notes again.
xFreedom showing off his DotA 2 trading cards. You jelly?
He’s pretty happy with his QoP card.
If the card had a caption, it would read ‘I GOT RAVAGE!’.
Team Zenith, ready to roll.
The five of them were pretty focused on strategy discussion, even on the bus trip to downtown Seattle. Yet, their focus was shattered upon arrival at the Benaroya Hall. Everyone was pretty much overwhelmed by Valve’s set up at the event venue.
Yes, there’s a lounge ONLY for players.
Aaaand this is how it looks like.
Just in case you thought this was the venue for PAX.
A sneak preview of a little project Valve started.
LighTofHeaveN taking a nap. xy- and xFreedom trying to deny him of any.
What’s a lounge if you don’t have large TVs to watch DotA 2 on?
iceiceice trying to regen some hp as well.
Media/video control station in the Benaroya Hall.
View from the entrance of the Benaroya Hall. Impressive and a little intimidating, no?
Player booths on the main stage.
Individual team balconies overlooking the main stage.
The prize that all the teams are fighting for.
Life-sized replicas – Vanguard, Demon Edge, Butterfly.
Team flags on the balconies.
Zenith went on to lose the first game against compLexity. coL played like beasts. The guys felt that they over-planned and over-anticipated in the first game but coL played an amazing game. Their team fights were well-coordinated and built their team around a morbidly obese Naga Siren. With our hearts in our mouths, we sat there holding our breaths as we watched from the Zenith balcony. And bounce back they did. In spectacular fashion. Zenith stomped coL over the next two games with superb Morphling and Invoker play from hyhy and iceiceice respectively.
Electric atmosphere in Seattle!
It was a great atmosphere at the event hall. The crowd, at a point, started chanting ‘USA USA USA’, going into a frenzy as coL dominated game 1. But kudos to the fans in the audience, they gave credit where credit was due – their yelling reaching a fever pitch every time xFreedom landed an Ice Blast or when iceiceice decimates a hero with a sunstrike. It was/is a great experience, especially since it was my first taste of The International live. This is where you’d want to be if you’re into DotA 2. Watching it online is one thing – being here is an entirely unique experience.
Signing off right now to let you enjoy the rest of the photos and some of the videos from the Zenith balcony. Can’t wait for day 2 to start! Zenith fighting!
Zenith’s poster boy. Sporting Razer’s new Kraken headphones.
Full view of team flags on the respective balconies.
The secret shop! Make sure you have enough inventory space!
The man himself! Gabe Newell in the house!
Zenith waits for the stage match in a holding room.
Last minute discussions before going on stage vs coL.
The Zenith booth. Also proof of iceiceice playing without pants.
Both teams readying up in the booths.
Team profile/picture. Looks so dashing on the big screen.
Solo shot of our inspirational captain/poster boy.
Post-match interview a la ESPN-style. hyhy tells you how gosu Zenith is.
xy- has his own post-match interview – but in Chinese, with LGD’s Anderson.
xFreedom looking morose as usual and Loda looking relaxed after the coL win.
Artistic shot of xy- being interviewed by a talent photographer (ahem… me).
A very bad photo but a must to post. This is Pajkatt attempting a sunstrike on iceiceice (complete with sound effects) after the coL matches.
iceiceice chatting with coL after the match, talking about plays and drafts employed by each team.
Players are now spectators as Na`Vi dukes it out with DK.
A shot of the analysts table.
Collectible DotA 2 cards! Now property of Team Zenith! You jelly??
Team banners outside main hall at Benaroya.
At the end of the day (for us, at least), we met with many fans who greeted the players as they walked out of the event hall to head back to the Hyatt. The players happily obliged with requests for pictures and autographs. Here are some of them. Give us a holler if it’s your picture that ends up on this post. Oh and…. protip #1) hyhy doesn’t do autographs, but he will gladly take a photo with you and #2) feel free to approach any Zenith players for pictures. They don’t bite. Most of the time.
It’s Sheever! She wants Loda’s signature!
And iceiceice’s too.
Finally! Someone appreciates the Zenith ward bitch.
More love for xFreedom! Give him more love, he performs better that way…
Who wouldn’t want a picture with hyhy?!
Definitely the man of the hour with huge Morphling plays against coL.
A shot of Team Zenith with a fan. We had to take this twice because he forgot to save the picture on his phone the first time!
iceiceice trying to mess up the opposition.
And after a long day, Zenith are home free!
If you like the updates you see here, follow us on our Facebook page as well as our Twitter page. Shall leave you with this video of the awesome/supportive/appreciative/insane crowd at Benaroya. Peace!