The International 10 is a mere 30 days away, and with it, a decade of history. Over the last ten years, the International has been a yearly collection of the best Dota teams on the planet. With such a great collection of talent on a yearly basis, the International’s history is littered with some of the best shows of teamwork in esports. Let’s take a look back at some of the best moments in The International history.
5. The Stomp – The International 2019 Grand Finals – Team Liquid vs OG
The first moment to look back on is an entire game – game two of The International 9 Grand Finals. Whomever won the Grand Finals would be the first two-time International champion. On one side, Team Liquid led by veteran Kuro “Kuroky”Takhasomi. A team that plays Dota like a group of soldiers. They work in unison, playing textbook, front to back Dota better than any other team. They had found their way around the meta of that International, and it seemed almost impossible for any team to play the same style and beat them out.
On the other side are OG – the previous TI winners and one of the most chaotic teams in the game’s history. OG played anything but conventional Dota, Willing to push the boundaries. The clash between these two teams was the immovable object vs the unstoppable force.
On this day, the unstoppable force was OG.
Even though there were two more games after this one – to any spectator this game was a complete dismantling of all the things Liquid stood for. OG had no need for lanes or organized teamfights. All they needed was the aggression and chaos they were so well known for. Anathan “Ana” Pham’s Ember Spirit and Topias “ Topson” Taavitsainen’s Monkey King broke the Liquid formation that held strong throughout the tournament. The domination shown in this game was a perfect encapsulation of OG’s last two years at The International. Chaotic, yet connected. A magic that has yet to be captured again as OG looks to vie for their third International title this year.
4. The 5 man Echo Slam – TI5 Grand Finals, EG vs CDEC
For years, The highest level of Dota seemed to be reserved for the Europeans and Chinese teams. All the way up to The International 4, there had never been a North American team that had gotten further than top 8. The EG roster that attended The International 5 would change that narrative.
The International 2015 was chock full of surprises. On one side, an incredibly strong Evil Geniuses team that had been consistent throughout the year. On the other, the Dark Horse LGD.CDEC, who had made it all the way to the finals despite being the B team to favorites, LGD gaming. If Evil Geniuses were to take the Title, they would be the first North American to win The International – cementing their moment in history.
Rarely does a single play ever determine the outcome of a series. Most Dota games involve several small, calculated decisions that lead into one team winning. However, with a two to one lead in the Grand Finals, Evil Geniuses’ Sahil “Universe” Arora performed a single, game changing play known as the 6 million dollar echo slam.
CDEC entered the Roshan pit without respecting the teamfight ability of Evil Geniuses. An Ice Vortex reveals three CDEC members. Universe pops his Soul Ring and blindly blinks into the pit with his Earthshaker’s Echo Slam – hitting all the members of CDEC.
“Whenever you make a huge play and the crowd screams, it gets your adrenaline pumping. It was a great moment man.” said Universe in an interview with womboxcombo
While some survive, the fight was the final nail in the coffin for this series. Evil Geniuses would go on to win The International and take home the first title for North America.
3. Million Dollar Dream Coil – TI3 Grand Finals Game 5, NaVi vs Alliance
For the first three years that the International existed, Na’Vi was present in the Grand Finals every year. From 2011-2013 Na’Vi was uncontested as the best team in the west, maybe even the world. During the 2013 season, Na’Vi won every tournament before and after the International. However, they lost to Alliance in one of the best series in Dota history.
Alliance were almost undefeated entering The International 2013, and it was predicted that these two juggernauts would meet each other in the finals. The Dota metagame was going through several changes at that point, due to Alliance’s style of play. They had an understanding of how to move around dangerous parts of the map better than anyone else at the time. Even during the Grand Finals, Na’Vi were still catching up to Alliance’s style of play. In the final fifth game, Alliance were able to secure the Chaos Knight and Io combo that had gotten them so far. While Na’Vi had Templar Assassin and Alchemist, both very strong heroes in that patch.
While Na’Vi had a great lead in the game, Alliance slowly clawed their way back into the game. Split pushing with their Io Relocate and Nature’s Prophet Teleports. Na’Vi makes a tough decision to go for Roshan while Alliance continues to run down the other lanes. Na’Vi believe they can make it back with their teleport scrolls, but Gustav “s4” Magnusson had other plans. He hexes one teleport, and Dream Coils two other Na’Vi members to keep them from going back. All the while, the Alliance team besieges Na’Vi’s base. One person, one play to win one of the greatest finals that Dota has ever seen.
2. The Mega Creep Comeback – The International 2016 Winners Finals game two, EG vs EHOME
This is one of the only entries on this list that is not a Grand Finals at The International. This entry was chosen because this game encompasses everything exciting about Dota as a game. A late game 70 minute banger that involved buying multiple Dagons. The only time that this strategy is viable throughout the history of Dota.
By 45 minutes, it seemed that the game was in EHOME’s hands, they besieged EG’s base for what seemed like forever. The next 30 minutes for EG was trying to claw back into the game by any means possible. This involved Universe hitting some amazing chronosphere engagements, Clinton “Fear” Loomis using Axe’s Berserker’s Call to it’s full capacity and a Dagon buy from Ludwig “Zai” Aghren. EG slowly found pickoffs, using an Etheral blade and two Dagons to eliminate EHOME members off of the map. Despite losing all three of their barracks, and facing mega creeps, EG were able to force a comeback. One of the only Mega Creep comebacks in Dota history.
1. The Play – The International 2012, Winners Semifinals game two, iG vs Na’Vi
A moment so famous that it has come to be known as “the play”. If the first international put esports on the map with its 1 million dollar prize pool, this play cemented Dota in the pantheon of esports. “the play” is one of those moments where everything comes together. The way the play is called by the casters, the individual plays that each player makes in a tense situation and the roaring crowd in Seattle’s Key Arena.
IG makes a smoke play with their amazing teamfight composition of Naga Siren, Dark Seer and Tidehunter, while Na’Vi push their tier two tower. Chen “Zhou” Yao activates his ultimate, Song of the Siren and sings the entire Na’Vi to sleep. Jiang “YYF” Cen Vacuums all Na’Vi members in a small area. A smile spreads across Wong “Chuan” Hock Chuan as he knows Zeng “Faith” Hongda is prepared to Ravage over the entire Na’Vi team. However, what seemed to be a won fight was turned around by Na’Vi.
Dmitry “LightofHeaven” Kupriyanov was able to get off an instant Black King Bar and turn the fight by hitting a three man Black Hole. Danil “Dendi” Ishutin Force Staffs himself out of the Ravage and steals it the moment it is cast. A combination of Black Hole and stolen Ravage decimates the entire iG lineup, turning a fight that seemed like a sure win for iG to a sure win for Na’Vi. Cementing one of, if not the greatest plays in Dota history.