An Unbelievable International 3 Finale, But Who Took Home The Aegis?
You seriously could not have asked for a better final day of the world’s biggest eSport tournament, Dota 2’s International 3. With the victors in the very first International, Na’Vi, being convincingly knocked down to the Loser Bracket on Saturday, the stage was set for a possible rematch, with only Orange standing in their way. And hell, did Orange put up a fight.
In fact, the three games between Na’Vi and Orange got the night off to an exhilarating start, with Na’Vi dropping the first game in a disappointing manner. Managing to pick it up in the second, Na’Vi were pushed to their limits in the deciding game, turning the tide right at the end to book a spot in the final with the opponents that beat them a decisive 2-0 in the Upper Bracket Final, the Swedish team Alliance.
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These two teams have been set to meet in the tournaments most exciting games since the group stage, and the Grand Final certainly did not disappoint. Alliance quickly took the first game, forcing a GG from Na’Vi within a blistering 16 minutes, making their intentions known early. Na’Vi replied with a little bit of dominance from their side, pushing Alliance to GG within 20 minutes in the following game. Tying that early took the final to a best of three, with the next match arguably being the best of the entire tournament.
In a rather lengthy affair, Na’Vi and Alliance took turns taking over the lead, with team initiations ultimately deciding who controlled the map. Control switched hands various times, but a stunning display from Na’Vi late in the game created the chance for a massive push that resulted in Alliance losing all three racks, forcing a GG shortly after. With momentum like that, many expected Na’Vi to ride it in the fourth game to victory, but Alliance had other plans.
In yet another one-sided game, Alliance utterly dominated Na’Vi into another short game, stealing Wisp and using it extremely effectively. In fact, at this point, the team that had chosen Wisp had ended up winning the game, making Wisp the undisputed MVP of the Grand Final. Alliance showed they weren’t ready to let Na’Vi claim their second International victory that easily, setting up a deciding final fifth game with a ton of momentum behind them.
But hell, I don’t think anyone could have predicted the script for the single game that decidied over $2 million in winnings. Dendi on Templar Assassin, Alliance picking up MVP Wisp and Puck and Puppey grabbing his Enigma, the stage was set for an incredible final. And honestly, it was easily the best game of Dota 2 I have ever seen. Na’Vi kicked things off, picking up a double kill first blood out of a surprising 1v4 fight led by Alliance, giving the giants from Ukraine some early momentum. Alliance quickly evened things up, with kills and towers being traded between the two teams. Dendi then begun taking control with one of his most effective heroes, Templar Assassin, becoming a big problem for Alliance and S4 to deal with. Then came probably the most insane Roshan fight in Dota history, with a lengthy exchange changing the tide of the game and bringing Alliance back from the brink of a snowball defeat.
Beginning with an incredible Dendi triple kill, Na’Vi seemingly had the upper hand, with Templar Assassin sticking behind to deal with the numerous buybacks Alliance were forced to utilise after being nearly wiped out. After some phenomenal play on Alliance’s side, they managed to turn around the entire battle, shutting down a Godlike Dendi and stealing Aegis from a seemingly unstoppable Na’Vi, giving them another chance to bring the game back. The Aegis was not wasted, levelling the playing field for a short time and ensuring Alliance’s survival in the final. Na’Vi still had enough behind them to take the second Roshan uncontested, charging down middle lane to take out the third tier tower and hopefully take racks in one play. However, Alliance took this opportunity to produce some magic of their own.
In some spectacular split pushing, Alliance managed to out-manoeuvre Na’Vi completely, taking middle third tier tower and racks before the team with Aegis, forcing them to retreat and defend. This led to numerous team fights which allowed AdmiralBulldog’s Nature’s Prophet to push the Dire all the way to the throne, with both tier four tours falling in quick succession while Na’Vi was trapped on the other side of the map. Despite their dominance, Na’Vi was now on the back foot and facing defeat, with Alliance already having one hand on the Aegis Trophy. It looked like the game would be decided on the last Roshan fight, which certainly looked the case when the giant respawned, with Na’Vi quickly making their presence known at the pit and shutting down a rogue Crystal Maiden. However, this seemed to be the plan all along, prompting Alliance to rally a full on assault on the throne, leading to a heart-pounding final minute which saw Na’Vi throw everything they possibly could to defend their chances. A Black King Bar activate ultimately allowed team carry Loda to hack away at the throne and seal victory for the Swedish team, bringing the entire auditorium to their feet.
Undeniably, Alliance were certainly deserving victors of The International 3, losing only a total of three games the entire tournament and pulling off the biggest comeback I’ve ever seen in a Dota 2 match throughout these three years of the International. Sadly, Na’Vi suffered a second loss in a row in the Grand Final, displaying some awesome sportsmanship in congratulating their opponents despite missing out on a second Aegis Trophy.
It was an incredible night for Dota fans worldwide and once again proved that The International is certainly the best place to see the worlds best teams battle it out for the biggest prize in eSports. Congratulations to Loda, Akke, EGM, AdmiralBulldog, S4 and everyone else at Alliance, who celebrated their victory by buying a ton of merchandise from the Secret Shop for fans that came out to support them. Deserving victors in the end, bringing the Aegis back to Sweden with them.
Hell, I cannot wait until next year’s International already.