The International: Million dollar moments


What if a single mouse click made the difference that won you $1 million? When the International first began in 2011 and the million dollar grand prize was announced, that question became more than mere rhetoric for the world's top Dota 2 teams. When it comes down to the heat of the Grand Finals, the course of that final game can be altered in single teamfight, a particular draft pick, or even with a single click. Don't get me wrong, in order to even reach the top, a team must practice and prepare for countless hours and prove themselves through many games, but in anticipation of TI5, let's take a look back through previous Internationals at some of the defining moments that have made champions.


The International 2011


Grand Finals: UkraineNatus Vincere vs ChinaEHOME

Final Score: (3:1)


(Time 37:24)


Dota 2 wasn't even officially released when the first International took place in Cologne, Germany, but from the very beginning, Chinese titans EHOME entered with a strong showing and were highly favored to win. So when our own Natus Vincere team rocketed through the brackets to land in the Grand Finals, they were considered the underdogs.


The series was tied early, but after a narrow late-game victory in Game 3, Na'Vi entered Game 4 with an advantage. Throughout the match, Dendi utilized Puck to great effect, setting up kills and generally wreaking havoc for EHOME during teamfights. But perhaps the game's signature play was Dendi's blind orb up from the Roshan pit, allowing him to land what some call the original Million Dollar Coil on 4 enemy heroes.


(Time: 40:44)


Arguably, however, it was a few minutes later that the real Million Dollar Coil occurred. After a gank on FCB's Doom, Dendi found a 2-man coil on Prophet and Lich, forcing EHOME into a disastrous teamfight that allowed Na'Vi to make a final assault on the Dire throne,  securing them the first ever Aegis of Champions.



The International 2012


Grand Finals: ChinaInvictus Gaming vs. UkraineNatus Vincere

Final Score: 3:1


The second International found Na'Vi defending their title in the Grand Finals, this time against Chinese opponent Invictus Gaming. After trading decisive stomps in Game 1 and 2, the teams were even heading into Game 3. IG is a team that is highly disciplined and methodical in their play, with victories determined on the perfect executions and clear decisionmaking by the whole team together. Game 3 saw a notable standout, with Faith playing a dominating Disruptor. His long-range glimpses caught Na'Vi off-guard, setting up almost every kill, and reversing TPs to make teamfights 5 on 4.


(Time: 33:07)

It all came down to Game 4, where IG showed a methodical dominance, progressively building a greater and greater advantage. Despite that, Na'Vi mounted an impressive defense, prompting IG to play with extreme caution and respect for the defending champs. It was a game that was hard to identify a single defining moment, but Faith's Keeper of the Light pick was a huge factor throughout the game, denying Na'Vi early game pushing potential and causing massive damage in teamfights with his Illuminate. Credit also goes to ChuaN and his Tidehunter not only for executing near-perfect Ravages, but in ensuring that Dendi's Rubick had almost no chance to steal and turn the battle (perhaps fear of The Play was still in the back of his mind). In the end, one last teamfight and a double Ravage ended Na'Vi's 55-minute defense, and IG became the Champions.


(Time: 1:07:09)



The International 2013


Grand Finals: SwedenThe Alliance vs. UkraineNatus Vincere

Final Score: 3:2


Once again, Na'Vi earned a place in the Grand Finals at TI3, facing fellow European powerhouse, Alliance. As the only series to date to go to a full 5 games, TI3 Grand Finals are widely considered the most exciting of any International. So much can be said about the first four games, including the ironic 100% win rate on the Wisp pick, but Game 5 is the one that is forever immortalized in everyone's memory.



Na'Vi started off strong with the hilariously incredible jukes by XBOCT's Alchemist, securing the team first blood and a few early kills despite various attempts on his life by the Chaos Knight/Wisp Combo, with support from both Crystal Maiden and Nature's Prophet.


Once again, however, Puck was the winning hero of the game, this time in the hands of S4. After securing Roshan, Na'Vi committed to a midlane push, while the Alliance's Chaos Knight/Wisp combo pushed bottom and Prophet pushed top. After taking the melee barracks, Na'Vi attempted to return to base to defend, but S4 landed a dream coil on 3, delaying their response.



Again, this is often called a Million Dollar Dream Coil, though in actuality, Puck only cancelled Puppey's TP. Regardless, a few minutes later, S4 made another clutch play as Na'Vi attempted to defend against a final push, interrupting Puppey's TP for a second time, and then throwing down one final coil, catching Dendi as well and ending any chance of defense. Still, the match had the crowd biting their fingernails until that last moment when Alliance claimed the Aegis.



The International 2014


Grand Finals: ChinaNewBee vs. China Vici Gaming

Final Score: 3:1


If TI3 is often considered the most exciting Grand Finals, TI4 is often called the most anti-climactic. (We may be biased, but maybe it's because they needed more Na'Vi?) Chinese teams Newbee and Vici both proved themselves as strong to make it to the Grand Finals, but by the end, it seemed like Vici was relying on similar all-in early 5-man lineups, and Newbee had simply figured out how to counter their strategy.


Newbee displayed more flexible lineups, most notably in Game 3 where Mu played a key role on - guess who? - Puck, again! In a convincing 17 minute game, Mu's nimble plays secured multiple kills for the team while narrowly avoiding death, finishing with a 5/0/5 record.



Perhaps the final decisive moment in Game 4 that won Newbee the Championship happened before the game even began. Newbee secured a very strong aggressive draft including Brewmaster, Doom and Ember Spirit. Meanwhile, Vici ran a very similar draft to the disastrous Game 3 that relied on winning early fights, yet their picks offered little to counter the inevitable early aggression from Newbee. The moment that Vici last-picked Venomancer, even the crowd in the stadium reacted with a moan. Their reaction proved valid  shortly thereafter. Newbee took first blood and dominated every early game fight, forcing Vici into calling "gg" at only 15 minutes.


(Time: 24:10)



The International 2015


Looking forward to The International 2015, which is now just a few weeks away, what might we see in the Grand Finals? For sure, the Natus Vincere squad will be strong contenders, seeking to be the first team ever to win two International championships. As for those defining moments that could win the Aegis, which heroes might turn the tide of the game? At least if history teaches us anything, never count out Puck!


(Article written by Kelli Hoffman)

AuthorRye Date 7 July 2015, 13:28 Views9892 Comments0
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