Remembering THE PLAY
It was August, 2012. Our guys were preparing for the biggest phenomenon in eSports, The International Dota 2 Championships. Natus Vincere were the defending champions and a crowd favourite to win the title again.
The format of the game was fairly simple: 16 participating teams, 14 of whom were invited, while the remaining two had to fight their way up through the qualifiers, one from the East and one from the West.
Born to Win's legendary Dota 2 roster was focused on the ultimate prize: the Aegis of Champions. The boys had practised hard, fully aware that other teams would also be readying with their own tricks up their sleeves.
To the Main Event:
All participating teams were trying their best to advance to the next stage, and for our boys, even more so. One match, however, will forever be remembered as having one of the best moments in Dota 2 history, a moment where the true magic of a game as beautiful as Dota 2 was witnessed by scores of gamers across the world. It was the moment when we realised that Dota 2 is more than just a game – it is a symphony. Yes, we are referring to The Play. For a few, The Play was just considered as another display of good teamwork and gameplay, but for others, it was the moment that defined why we play Dota 2. Nothing was planned, yet in an instant, The Play was born.
Dendi's Gangnam Style
The Wrap Around Gank:
It was Game 2 of the Winner's Bracket Semi-finals. Things were pretty even, and Invictus Gaming decided to shift the balance in their favour with a gank. Using a Smoke of Deceit, iG thought they had caught Na`Vi on the backfoot and could easily wipe them out with their powerful ultimates. Naga Siren, played by Chen "Zhou" Yao, used her ultimate ability, Song of the Siren, to set up the gank, sprinting forward with the help of a Surge from Jiang "YYF" Cen's Dark Seer. iG's entire linup wrapped aro und through the river, ready to decimate Na`Vi with their huge teamfight potential, including Tidehunter ( Zeng "Faith" Hongda) with Ravage, Puck ( Luo "Ferrari_430" Feichi) with Dream Coil, and Lina ( Wong Hock "ChuaN" Chuan) with Laguna Blade.
Everyone thought that iG would pull the gank off successfully and secure a firm grip on the match. However, our guys had other plans. Despite having only milliseconds to react with their own spells and items, they managed to turn things around and win the fight.
"The Play" - Multicam Edition
This is where it began: after the Song of the Siren ended, Dmitriy "LighTofHeaveN" Kupriyanov activated his BKB while Alexander "XBOCT" Dashkevich used Blade Fury on his Juggernaut. This item and ability, respectively, made the heroes immune to most magical abilities and damage, thus creating time for the follow-up ability by LighTofHeaveN, the Black Hole, which managed to catch 4 out of 5 of iG's heroes. Danil "Dendi" Ishutin followed up with a beautiful Ravage stolen from the Tidehunter with Rubick’s ultimate, Spell Steal. What initially looed like a disaster for Na`Vi became a full team wipe against iG, turning the tide of the game.
From footage released from the player booths, we could see Dendi going wild during the teamfight. His expression summed up exactly how big this play was. We could also see LighTofHeaveN smiling and enjoying the moment. Although our boys eventually lost to iG in the grand finals, this display of absolute skill and teamwork will long be remembered. At least for some time after that, no other team's performance came close to The Play. For us, however, it will forever be remembered as the best display of skill and teamwork.