Team Spirit And PSG.LGD Are The TI10 Finalists - How Will It Stack Up?
A full two years since OG were crowned the champions of TI9, the grand final of the 10th International will finally be played today at the Arena Naţională in Bucharest, Romania, in front of an empty stadium. It’s been a long road to this moment, a lot of hardships and adaptation, and a lot of hard work into making this year’s International possible. Now, after all this time, TI10 is on the verge of completion, and we have our two finalists, Team Spirit versus PSG.LGD.
TI is a tournament defined by its narratives, its memories, and the spectacle of that final match. The grand final of a TI is key for looking back on a year, the quality of that match needs to satisfy and needs to bring in something fresh for Dota 2 fans everywhere. It needs its highlights, it needs the passion and the hunger, and above all, at the very least, it needs to be competitive. TI10’s grand final has a lot to prove, but what does it have to deliver on in order to be one of the best TI finals? Where will TI10’s grand final match stand against all the others? Well, to really know, let’s look at what each final had to offer. Each final, their strengths and weaknesses, ranked, to find the perfect crevice where TI10’s final will lie.
9 – TI 4 (3-1) Newbee vs. Vici Gaming
TI4 is The International’s cautionary tale, by far considered the worst TI and worst TI grand final by many. Had the match been better, maybe TI4 is looked back on more fondly, but unfortunately TI4 just had too many things going against it. The finalists, Vici Gaming and Newbee, were obviously the best team in attendance, they earned their spots in the final, but by the end of game 4, the match felt more like a pub game than the finals of TI.
The meta is widely remembered as being completely awful, which team could group up as five quicker and run it down a lane to victory. Only a single game in this grand final was longer than 25 minutes (26), and the final game featured an incredibly anti-climatic 15 minute and eight second gg from the side of Vici Gaming. The worst thing that can happen at your tournament, is the grand final being a huge bore and aggravating fans with how miserable the meta is to watch. Well, there are worse things that can happen, but it definitely wasn’t a good thing.
8 – TI 1 (3-1) NAVI vs. EHOME
Obviously, TI1’s grand final is historic, and NAVI’s original win is looked back fondly by many. However, with it being such a new tournament, the gameplay is not the greatest looking back on it. On a revisit of this final, prepare for a tremendous amount of failed high ground pushes, almost an obnoxious numbers of team fights taken, and Clement "Puppey" Ivanov’s constant Chen spam. “ALL ARE HEALED” might as well be a part of the game’s soundtrack at this point.
It’s really messy and feels more like an ARAM match than the two best teams in Dota. It was certainly a different time, but to say the game hasn’t really aged well is an understatement. Your mileage may vary on a revisit, depending on whether you were there to watch this TI live. However, it seems for most, TI1’s final might not be the gold standard of Dota that you would be looking for. Also, it was only three games, because instead of a best of 5, NAVI started one game up because of the upper bracket advantage. That’s not too exciting now is it?
7 – TI 7 (3-0 Team Liquid vs. Newbee)
Team Liquid are most certainly a great winner for The International. A hugely loveable team, and their claiming of the 7th Aegis of Champions was great for a storied player like Kuro "KuroKy" Salehi Takhasomi. However, the final itself, not so satisfying.
People tend to look back fondly at TI7, but this grand final match is nothing short of a dud. It’s greatest sin is that it simply wasn’t competitive, the first 3-0 in TI history, and it certainly shouldn’t have been. Liquid’s opponent in this final should have been a true challenge to overcome, China as a region was incredibly dominant this TI, and Newbee proved to be the team that outlasted all of them. However, Newbee were completely absent this final, either out drafted or completely outplayed, they did nothing to contest Liquid until the third game. The True Sight for this series was very revealing, showcasing the complete collapse on the side of Newbee, that made for an incredibly sleepy final.
6 – TI 5 (3-1 Evil Geniuses vs. CDEC)
Everybody loves TI5 and Evil Geniuses’ win over CDEC in the final. Syed Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan ascended to Godhood with his performance at this TI, and his status as one of the best midlaners of all time forms here. Even today, SumaiL shines as the star on EG in this game, and it’s clear he’s the best player in every game.
However, as much as we may love EG, this final is a little bit of a mess. CDEC, being a wild card team and making it this far in the tournament was commendable, but they were most certainly outclassed in this match up. EG, with limitless aggression and the most sacrifice heavy supports in the game, just took the team fight again and again, and with SumaiL and his spirit heroes, he broke the ankles of CDEC. Fun for EG fans, but not so fun for a general audience. That $6 million slam is cool and all, but CDEC please, just place wards.
5 – TI 2 (3-1 Invictus Gaming vs. NAVI)
TI2 seems like a forgotten tournament, there’s not a lot of talk about it when looking back on the best of the tournaments. However, on a revisit, TI2 is a surprising delight. The first-time defending champions make a grand finals appearance, and the build-up of having to fight for their claim to the aegis makes a great backdrop to the match up.
However, the TI2 grand final is simply put the Luo "Ferrari_430" Feichi show. This man’s Templar Assassin is legend to Dota fans, and visiting this final teaches you why almost immediately. He absolutely destroys Na'Vi, every game, without fail. How this hero got through the draft each time is baffling, because this is one of the best hero performances at a TI that has ever been seen. Everyone else on IG plays incredibly well. Na'Vi, of course they’re fan favourites, everyone loves them, but wow do IG put on a clinic. The defending champions put on a good fight, but the drafts from IG completely enabled them to taking fights and the games at their own pace.
4 – TI 9 (3-1 OG vs. Team Liquid)
The first-ever TI champions versus TI champions, and the second-ever attempt at a grand finals Aegis attempt, left a little more to be desired. What makes TI9’s admittedly stompy gameplay good, was just the fact that OG were an absolute joy to watch. There was something about the way they played Dota that made them choke holding Team Liquid and slamming them from the top rope, actually sort of a fun experience. It was their most innovative strategy, the carry IO, that was the most boring to watch in the series, but every other game provided high octane excitement and ludicrously fast play.
Team Liquid put on a great effort, but of course, as the True Sight showed, their draft was just too stubborn for the incredibly versatile and bloodthirsty OG. “Tide/TA gives you everything… except the win”. OG stomping their way to a second Aegis was one of the most unique moments in Dota history, and it made for an interesting final if anything.
3 – TI 6 (3-1 Wings Gaming vs. DC)
TI6’s grand final might be the saddest of all the TI’s. On one hand, you have the lovable Wings, a truly iconic team with one of the deepest hero pools of any team. They played anything and everything and completely broke the ankles of any team that tried to go against them. On the other hand, you have DC, this group of misfits, these underdogs with an impressive lower bracket run, that captured the hearts of fans everywhere. They featured the scene’s most lovable outcasts who were able to come together and make it all the way from qualifiers to grand final. Regardless of the outcome, watching one of these teams lose was going to hurt.
DC put on a great showing against Wings. They took a game off and played their hearts out every game. Most importantly, it wasn’t a stomp, it was just that Wings were simply the better team. They were too good at everything, and they did too much, you just very simply could not draft against them. Watching Wings win feels good since they play such great Dota, but watching DC come so close to having an incredible Cinderella story, but fall short is a little too much to take.
2 – TI 3 (3-2 Alliance vs. Na'Vi)
For a long time TI3 was considered the best grand final. Before TI8, it was the only best of 5 series, it featured majorly popular teams during that era of Dota, and the game 5 is perhaps one of the most hype finishers in all of Dota 2. It certainly has a lot going for it narratively and it’s easy to see why people love it so much, especially if this was their first TI experience or if they were there for the time.
However, Dota is at its best when everything is viable, and everything can work, the only difference is in execution. But in the TI3 grand final, quite literally any team that ran IO won the game. Obviously, it’s more complicated than that, but it is crazy how IO was just the tournament favorite and how both teams were able to capitalise on what the hero has to show. But TI3 offers two incredibly hungry teams, fighting tooth and nail to prove themselves as the best team in the world. It’s got moment after moment of great gameplay and truly iconic moments (s4 Puck anyone?) It’s truly a heartbreaking loss for one of Dota’s best teams of all time, but it’s a great send off to the legends Na'Vi.
1 – TI 8 (3-2 OG vs. PSG.LGD)
It’s no contest as to what’s the best grand final in the history of TI. It’s OG’s Cinderella story win over PSG.LGD at TI8, that takes the cake. This is in fact one of the best matches in all of esports arguably. It’s this incredible back and forth between these two incredible teams, that all culminates in this treasure trove of a game 4, that was some of the best Dota of all time. The Axe call, the item sell for buyback, the backdoor mega creeps, Tusk saves, and more, everything comes together in this TI.
Nothing tops this grand final. Every time on a rewatch, it’s hype, it’s fun to watch, and even beyond OG, it’s just two very good teams going the distance in the ultimate battle of juggernauts.