The biggest tournament in the history of esports has now concluded, with the prize pool coming in at just over 34 million dollars. It was one of the wildest events we’ve seen, with some strong finishes and crazy, back and forth games coming from our own teams in attendance. All of our teams were in attendance with Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses, PSG.LGD, and Alliance claiming direct invites through the DPC rankings. Last, but certainly not least, was Na’Vi with an incredible showing in the CIS qualifiers.
Team Liquid, struggled for most of the year, not even playing a proper DPC event until the penultimate Major of the season. Despite their dominance in recent years, a last minute roster change left the community stunned. Liquid looked to prove themselves once more and become the first team to win TI twice along with Sumail on Evil Geniuses. Along with Team Liquid and EG, PSG.LGD stood among the favourites of the tournament, especially now that the Aegis was on home soil. Na’Vi had struggled to find an identity throughout the year, and it wasn’t until the TI9 CIS qualifiers that they found it. Much like their rivals Alliance, Na’Vi looked for a return to form, to finally show that Na’Vi were back. All of these teams were hungry for a win, all of them had the drive, all of them had the skill. Sadly only one could claim the Aegis of Champions.
The group stage began and so did the toughest tournament of the year. Na’Vi opened strong, holding onto the 2nd and 3rd places in the group until the final day, where they dropped down to the lower half of the group. Na’Vi were unable to keep their momentum up and were eventually passed by EG. The North American squad’s group stage was essentially the opposite of Na’Vi’s, with EG struggling early but eventually claiming 3rd in the group. In the other group we saw PSG.LGD put on an absolute clinic. Refusing to drop a series, PSG.LGD easily claimed first place in the group, including a 2-0 of favorites Team Secret. The heroes of China played calm, consistent Dota and proved themselves to be a class above their competition. Meanwhile we saw Liquid struggle a surprising amount. Having only played one tournament with their new player, w33, Liquid seemed to be testing out a large variety of strategies, trying to find something that suited them. Unfortunately this lead to Liquid ending up near the bottom of the table, left without finding what they were searching for. Alliance rounds out our teams with arguably the most tragic performance of the group stage. Despite only losing one match and earning draws against nearly every other team, Alliance spent the end of almost every day in fifth place, just short of earning a trip to the upper bracket. They ended up one point short of tying for third place, even with draws against powerhouses like PSG.LGD.
Sadly this group stage meant that we saw Alliance, Team Liquid, and Na’Vi in the dreaded lower bracket Best of 1’s. As we’ve seen in the past, these matches are absolutely brutal and it doesn’t matter if you’ve won a TI before or looked like the strongest team all year, you can still lose a best of 1 to anyone. This is what we saw with Na’Vi and Alliance. Na’Vi was eliminated by Mineski in an hour-long slugfest while Alliance fell prey to a last-second misclick which caused them to last pick Gyrocopter instead of banning it. Their dreams were cut short early, but we are likely to see great things from them this coming year with the rosters sticking together. Thankfully Liquid managed to stave off the dangers of the Best of 1 by taking down Fnatic. While the threat of elimination would still loom over them, Liquid would at least have full bo3 matches.
In the upper bracket we saw EG take down the DPC titans Team Secret 2-1. It was an absolutely wild series with some of the most entertaining games we’ve seen all year (seen below). On the other side of the upper bracket, PSG.LGD continued playing extremely clinical Dota. They 2-0’d Virtus.Pro in absolutely dominating fashion, looking like the same unstoppable beasts they were at TI8. They continued this domination in their next match, cleaning up Vici Gaming to re-establish their position as Best in China. At the same time, EG’s upper bracket dreams were cut short by OG, mirroring their matchup from last year. This loss would lead to another tough matchup. EG found themselves facing off against their brothers-in-blue, Liquid. Kuroky & Co. had gone on a tear through the lower bracket, earning a 5-0 game score against Fnatic, TNC, and RNG. As is tradition, two Monster teams were once again forced to face off in an elimination match, and in the end Liquid came out victorious 2-0. They ended up continuing this undefeated streak in the next match by knocking out Team Secret 2-0. Liquid extended the record for longest undefeated streak at the main stage to a staggering 9-0.
Returning to the upper bracket, there was a bit of déjà vu with PSG.LGD once again facing off against reigning champions OG in the upper bracket finals. History would repeat itself with PSG.LGD falling to OG 1-2 in a series of wild games. PSG.LGD finally fell to the lower bracket where they would meet Liquid. PSG.LGD finally ended Liquid’s undefeated streak, taking game 1 in convincing fashion. Liquid returned with a vengeance though using the devastating wombo combo of Dark Seer, Sven, and Elder Titan in game 2. This game is highly recommended for a fun watch. Liquid finished out the series 2-1 and became the first team to ever reach the grand finals after starting in the lower bracket.
Liquid would end up falling to OG in the finals by a 3-1 scoreline after an epic finish to a Game 1 win, however they still made some records in the process. Kuroky became the first player to play over 200 TI matches and has now tied Puppey for most TI finals appearances. Congratulations to OG who would become the first two-time champions in the history of Dota 2 — it was truly an incredible day of Dota.