New Contenders Will Hoist The Aegis of Champions
In the two years since their historic win at TI8, and the following first successful defence of the Aegis in Dota 2 history at TI9, OG have been eliminated from the International. Finding themselves victim to the same scrappy underdog story that permeated their narrative in their first run, the two-time defending champions will be denied their dream of a third TI win. It is a Valve game, after all.
One of the most iconic teams in all of esports have met their match, a group of young underdogs from the Eastern European region, with players who have never played at an International before. Team Spirit’s run so far at TI10 has been inspiring, not only are they good, but they’re fun to watch. They’ve certainly been an unexpected treat at this TI, and as the conclusion of the tournament looms ahead, it looks to be completely possible for them to land in the endgame.
As TI has progressed, it’s been an incredible journey of truly tight competition and exciting games, the stakes of the tournament will do that for you. Out of all the matches, there have been a few standout teams that have made it through TI, and who have fully put on a spectacle for the viewers, and whose style of Dota have just made TI10 a treat to watch. Here are some of the highlight games of the past few days, that truly encapsulate the best of TI.
TEAM SPIRIT VS VIRTUS.PRO
Brother vs. brother, CIS vs. CIS, or rookies vs. rookies, whatever you want to call it, this was one of those few high stakes matches where the narrative just runs through with pressure. Both Sprit and Virtus.Pro were looking to become the first CIS team to breach top four of the International since TI3, and both with teams filled with players who have never played at TI before.
This is a tight game between the two, a solid 2-1 series where the core players of each team shined in the spotlight. Alexander "TORONTOTOKYO" Khertek and Illya "Yatoro" Mulyarchuk, were the true stars of Team Spirit in the game against OG, and here it was their performances on and Invoker and Tiny respectively in games 1 and 3 that showcased their power. It’s just crisp synergy from the players of Team Spirit that truly is the core behind this team. There’s a strong youthful underdog energy to them, something that has carried teams far and beyond before. The best Dota will always outlast in the end, and Team Spirit has certainly proved they have what it takes.
PSG.LGD vs. T1
It’s certainly been a long road from the iteration that was so close to the Aegis at TI8, but once again we find ourselves looking to PSG.LGD as the favourites to take the tournament. Quite simply, they’ve been dominant, they look unstoppable. They’ve lost two games so far in the entire tournament, one of them happening here against T1.
SEA as a region is scrappy in a little out there when it comes to a collective approach to Dota, but the key thing there has always been just how lovable the players and teams have been. For T1, the heart and soul of the team has always been offlaner and captain Carlo "Kuku" Palad. It’s Kuku’s brightness in the face of adversity that makes him a hero in the eyes of many, and it’s what makes their game 2 win against LGD so fun to watch.
It felt like there was a chance for the upset to happen, that we were about to watch some true magic taking place, but of course, LGD just proved to be too versatile, too much to handle in games 1 and 3. They’re just too good, they’re a team who has had barely any resistance on their path to the final, and it’s looking like no opponent in the finals can compare to that. However, for one brief moment, we got to see LGD bleed, and it was Kuku’s T1 underdogs that were able to do it, and it made the tournament just a little bit brighter for a period of time.
TEAM SPIRIT vs. OG
This was the highlight of TI10 so far. Defending champions OG, after being embarrassed by Team Secret and knocked to the lower bracket, recuperated with a 2-0 win against Quincy Crew. They seemed to be crafting a comeback narrative with a loser’s run flair, a new story for OG to write on their way to a third Aegis. However, things fell awry when they met Team Spirit.
Putting on the highlights of the tournament, it was TORONTOTOKYO’s disrespectful “ez game” mid-team fight that was the reaper death seal at OG’s TI dreams. Fight after fight, Team Spirit showcased that in times like these, it’s the youthful vibrato and disregard for the norm that can triumph experience and veteran mentality. Think about it, this is a team of players who have never been to TI, practically pub stomping the two-time defending champions filled with the game’s greatest legends. Just two years ago, OG were the greatest team on the planet, and now a couple of pub stars and regional upstarts have broken their ankles at the TI mainstage and did it with the devil-may-care attitude that used to be OG’s moniker.