This weekend saw the conclusion of the world’s largest esports event, The International Dota 2 Championships. With an absolutely massive prize pool of $34 million to play for, 18 teams gathered in Shanghai, China, to take part in the ultimate battle for supremacy in esports.
OG, the winners of the tournament, took home a massive $15 million for winning the competition over Team Liquid in the grand finals. OG make history as they are not only the first team to win two TI finals but also the first-ever back-to-back winners, as they took home the Aegis in 2018 too. It’s no surprise that all of the OG team are now the highest esports earners in the world, with Johan ‘N0tail’ Sundstein, the highest esports earner in the world.
In fact, the top 12 esports earners in the world are all Dota 2 players, with the top 50 earners being mostly Dota 2, and just four of those players making their millions from Fortnite, and one of them in CS:GO.
In the group stages, where two groups of nine battled it out, one team was eliminated from each group. The top four in each group made their way into the upper brackets, giving them a buffer of one match loss before falling into the lower bracket. The other 4 teams in each group, started off in the lower bracket, which is where all the action began.
OG progressed all the way in the upper bracket, beating Newbee, Evil Geniuses and PSG.LGD, who they met in the upper bracket final. The Cinderella story though was from Team Liquid. They progressed all the way from the lower bracket, beating every single team 2-0, until meeting PSG.LDG in the lower bracket final, beating them 2-1, to meet OG in the grand final.
Team Liquid actually took the first game in the grand final, putting the pressure back on OG. Miracle, from Team Liquid, showed dominance with his Templar Assassin, dominating the middle lane, and most of the game afterwards. Liquid finished up the first game in under 50 minutes with a scoreline of 33-24.
OG rallied hard for the next game, putting Liquid in a really horrible position. Topson and ana with Monkey King and Ember Spirit respectively, had massive amounts of movement around the entire map, not allowing Liquid to do much throughout the game. The mobility of the two kept Liquid in their half of the map, and sometimes, huddled in their base, waiting for the attack. OG won the game 40-11
The third game saw another OG win with ana’s Faceless Void and JerAx’s Tiny proving too much to handle in the early and mid-stages of the game, while Topson’s Pugna finished with a top score of 17 kills for just 3 deaths. In the third game, Liquid lost all of their lanes and OG asserted their dominance yet again.
The series ended with the last game, where OG took the entire series 3-1. The crowd went wild as OG picked up a carry Io for ana, who didn’t add a lot of kills to the scoreline but brought a lot of assists. The strategy threw Liquid completely, and they were unable to get off the ground with OG’s final strat. The final game lasted just 24 minutes and saw OG with a big gold and XP lead, and after they took the first barracks in mid lane, pushed on to deliver the killing blow to the throne.
OG and its team members will now have the Aegis inscribed with their names, yet again, making history in the 15 years that Dota 2 has been around. It’s an amazing feat considering that players like Topias ‘Topson’ Taavitsainen before the last TI in 2018, was considered just a semi-pro and had won less than $20,000 throughout his career.
Right before the final game of The International 9, Valve showed fans a video encapsulating the pride and joy of The International as a series and with it, announced that the next International in 2020 will be featured in Stockholm, Sweden. What this means for most of the world, perhaps apart from US fans, is that the games will be shown in a more accommodating time zone, so gamers won’t have to be up at 3am to start catching the games.
Valve also used The International as a setting for announcing the next two heroes that are to be introduced into the game. Day four held the announced of the new hero known as Snapfire. While there is little detail known about the hero, a lot of people are speculating that based on her skills, it could be something of support. The character is depicted as an elderly grandmother type, who hands out cookies to other players, perhaps giving them some type of different strengths or abilities. She also rides around on what looks like a form of Toothless dragon, but located purely on the ground, as in, some type of lizard. In the video, Timbersaw calls her “auntie”, which would be something applicable to the lore, and she also does a rapid-fire attack from the ground at Batrider.
The second hero announced at TI, was the fourth spirit. The Void Spirit has been one that has been speculated on for many years, and he joins his three spirit brothers, the Ember, Earth and Storm spirits.
There was only a teaser trailer for the Void Spirit which indicates that this hero will be introduced into the game at a much later date. It also means that nobody knows anything about its skills or abilities as of yet, but the TI panel speculated that based on the character’s weapon, it might be a carry hero.
Given the fact that Storm and Ember are largely middle heroes, but both core heroes, with Earth spirit being something of a support hero, it could fit in that Void Spirit could be added as a hard carry, along with Ember, but more focused on farming in the safe lane. Speculations also mentioning that he could be an off-laner as no other spirit has filled that role as of yet. This could make the dream to play with a team of spirits, including the Vengeful Spirit, come true.