For the last two weeks my life has revolved around The International and now it’s all over.
Truth be told, The International (TI) started months ago with the qualifiers but the event itself only kicked off with the group stages two weeks ago.
Then on Saturday night it all culminated in a day of finals.
First up was the lower bracket finals with Team Liquid (LFY) and LGD Forever Young (LFY) facing off in a best of three. The hopes of Western Dota hung in the balance as the teams secured a win a piece and then Liquid came out and played some of the best Dota I have ever seen.
After securing the win Liquid went on to face Newbee in a best of five final. With a clean run throughout the Upper Bracket the Chinese super stars were the team to beat and Liquid started the series with fire in their eyes.
For those that have purposefully avoided spoilers about the winner, consider this your warning of spoilers ahead.
Liquid went into game one with aggression. With a Nature’s Prophet picked Newbee had to not only deal with Miracle’s Troll Warlord, the roaming GH Slardar but also a constant push coming from the Dire side of the map.
Game two started off this time with Newbee showing a bit more aggression getting 11 kills on Liquid before 17 minutes had expired. But with an Alchemist topping the net worth charts from minute one Newbee struggled toward the later stage of the game. Eventually Liquid took a second win and the Aegis of Champions was one win away.
The final match was slightly more balanced at the start but the team of Lich, Earthshaker, Juggernaught, Dark Seer and Necrophos proved too hard for Newbee to beat and fell 3 – 0 to Liquid. This is the first time a team has white-washed a TI grand final.
The best TI yet?
I pride myself on having watched every TI since 2013 when Alliance won the largest prize pool ever, well at the time.
Since then the prize pool has grown and the teams have improved year on year but this year was just spectacular.
The teams showed incredible mettle throughout the tournament and Liquid battling it out through the lower bracket to eventually raise the Aegis proved that.
More than that though, this year showed off some amazing talent. Sean “Day9” Plott was an incredible panel host and Alex “Machine” Richardson did a great job backing him up.
Valve put on a great horse and pony show giving players not only a new Dota themed card game, two new heroes and Danil “Dendi” Ishutin versus an OpenAI bot that can best the greatest in the world, but they gave us a tournament that made the last two weeks feel like Christmas.
Liquid wins $10.8 million for placing first while Newbee wins $3.9 million but I’m sure that Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi is just glad to finally have his name on the Aegis.
As for me, I need to try and figure out what to do with my evenings now that there isn’t Dota to watch. I suppose Hearthstone does have a new expansion out…