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Top
Dota 2

TI10 MVP: Our Picks for the Best at Every Position

Patrick Bonifacio

With the way it ended, it’s almost hard to believe that The International 10 (TI10) is actually done and dusted. In true TI fashion, the whole tournament was a rollercoaster. The results of the main event, in particular, were shocking, where the fabled “TI magic” worked the kind of wonders that truly make it one of the very best esports events every year.

TI10 MVP Aegis lift shot

This edition of The International brought out the best from both veterans of the game and new blood youngsters alike. (Photo by Valve)

But now that it’s over, it’s time to talk about the players that made the event so special, particularly towards the end when the stakes were at their highest. These players showed the Dota 2 world just what they’re capable of even as the pressure builds to a boiling point.

They are exemplary professionals and embody what it means to be truly good at the game. These are our TI10 MVPs at every position.

Safe Lane/Carry: Yatoro

The young upstart himself Illya “Yatoro” Mulyarchuk has turned himself into a Dota 2 sensation almost overnight. The 18-year old displayed poise and confidence well beyond his years in Bucharest. At times, he even looked like he was more experienced than some of the true veterans of the game present at the event.

For example, his performance versus back-to-back champions OG was solid proof of his self-assuredness despite this being his first-ever appearance at The International. He carried himself (pun intended) with such faith and conviction when most others faltered under the immense pressure that TI brings. His reward? The Aegis of Champions, and $18.2 million for him and the rest of Team Spirit.

And we haven’t even started talking about his crazy versatility at the main event. He played 14 different heroes at the carry position over 20 games at the Arena Națională, when other teams were sticking to the usual picks like Luna, Tiny, and Medusa. He even played his signature Phantom Assassin at times, in a metagame where she was mostly seen as not that strong. This kid truly prioritized enjoying the game as much as playing to win, and really settled into a massive comfort zone towards the end of the tournament.

It’s not a stretch to say that Yatoro is ushering in a new era for carry players everywhere with his gameplay at TI10. In situations where many of his peers would otherwise get caught out of position or fall to a gank attempt, Yatoro’s otherworldly instincts told him where to go in order to dodge his opponents’ movements. Moreover, he now holds the record for the highest number of rampages at The International main event, something that the average carry player in your server could only dream of.

The kind of game sense that he showed throughout the main event will be studied by his contemporaries in the months to come, and may have a profound effect on how carry players go about their pub matches in the future. And at such a young age, Yatoro has plenty of time to continue inspiring others moving forward.

Make no mistake: Yatoro is no longer a rising star, but one that is now firmly entrenched in Dota 2 history.

TI10 MVP at Mid: NothingToSay

Although PSG.LGD Gaming eventually lost the grand finals, there is little doubt that the talent on the roster is still transcendent. Every single player on the team, from the carry to the hard support, is at the height of their powers.

Cheng “NothingToSay” Jin Xiang is one such player at the solo mid position. If you want to talk about the most impactful players at TI10, this man is right there at the top. Deep hero pool? Check. Incredible mechanical skill and game sense? Check. The kind of consistency you need to get to the grand finals of The International? You bet.

TI10 MVP NothingToSay

Despite missing out on his first world title by a thin margin, NothingToSay still stood out among the rest of his peers at TI10. (Photo by Valve)

The best example of all of these strengths coming together? Game 4 of the grand finals, where Team Spirit allowed him to pick his signature Tinker. There was little that the Russian team could do to stop him from wreaking havoc upon them. NothingToSay had them by the throat the entire time, even when Alexander “TORONTOTOKYO” Khertek tried for the counterplay with his Quas-Wex Invoker build.

Many including us believed that NothingToSay was undisputably the best mid laner in the world going into TI10. Perhaps the only other player to come close was Evil Geniuses’ Azel “Abed” Yusop, another extremely talented mid laner from Southeast Asia. The difference between them in the end was that NothingToSay made it to the grand finals, while Abed and the rest of EG drowned in 9th-12th place.

It’s just unfortunate that he and his team couldn’t put it all together in Game 5 versus Team Spirit. Though NothingToSay contributed plenty towards LGD’s comeback efforts after being down 2-0, it wasn’t enough in the end. Nevertheless, his performance at TI10 silences any remaining doubters — not that there were many still left over after the amazing year NothingToSay had.

TI10 MVP at Offlane: Collapse

There was simply no other choice for us in this position. Magomed “Collapse” Khalilov may very well even be our MVP for the whole tournament, if Yatoro didn’t make such a compelling case as well. Collapse is undoubtedly the second coming of Turtoi “Ar1se” Ionut, one of the best Magnus players to ever play the game.

With an Aegis now in his possession, Collapse is probably now the best Magnus player of all time. This guy’s impact on the last few days of the TI10 main event cannot be understated. We can go on and on about how the Horn Toss-Skewer combo is broken (which it honestly is), but it’s another thing altogether to consistently pull it off against the best teams in the world at The International.

Whether or not Collapse’s breakout performance was a result of IceFrog forgetting to tune Magnus to an acceptable level is irrelevant. What’s obvious is how much trust he had to have in himself and his team in order to complete the flashy plays he is now known for.

And besides, Collapse went far and beyond with the combo in question. Not only did he stick the play almost every time he went for it, but the number of times he did it totally blind was just frightening to say the least. It’s almost as if he had Gems of True Sight built into his eyes.

Collapse was 100 percent feeling himself at TI10, to the point where LGD had to focus their drafting on dealing with his Magnus. Just look at how they had to pick Rubick for themselves in Game 3 just to remove Collapse from the picture. And as LGD opted not to ban Magnus in the final game, Collapse showed them yet again why even the strongest team on paper needs to respect his signature hero.

If there’s still any doubt in your mind about his influence, just check out Magnus’ pick rate on Dotabuff. Pub players everywhere want to be the next Collapse, which speaks volumes about how much he deserves the title of TI10 MVP.

Soft Support: XinQ

Aside from Wang “Ame” Chunyu, it’s hard to imagine anyone else on LGD that wanted to win TI10 more than Zhao “XinQ” Zixing. XinQ has been playing for a long time now, having started his career in 2014 with TongFu’s academy squad.

The man has been grinding for the better part of seven years, and only now has he even been within sniffing distance of the Aegis of Champions. While it’s true that he did attend TI8 with Team Serenity, their 12th place run was pretty forgettable at the time.

TI10 MVP XinQ

XinQ had one heck of a breakout season this year, and continued to prove himself at TI10. (Photo by WePlay)

To say that he was the glue that held LGD together this year would be an understatement. With the god of soft support Xu “fy” Linsen and the rest of Elephant currently languishing towards the bottom of the Chinese Dota food chain, XinQ stepped up as the position 4 player to beat this season. His skill and understanding of the game was evident everywhere he went, culminating in LGD’s clean 3-0 sweep against EG at the AniMajor.

At TI10, his performance as Rubick in Game 3 of the grand finals best exemplifies just how important he is to this LGD roster. With his insane reaction speeds and razor sharp focus on what he had to do, XinQ singlehandedly made Collapse look like a fool despite having his hands on Magnus.

It’s a shame that he will have to wait at least another year to get his hands on the Aegis. But with reports of LGD sticking together as five for the next Dota Pro Circuit season, there may be plenty of hope for XinQ yet.

Hard Support: Miposhka

They say that a captain goes down with the ship, but in the case of Yaroslav “Miposhka” Naidenov, he didn’t have to worry about the ship sinking at all. The confident captain of Team Spirit led his crew on their maiden International voyage almost flawlessly.

While many attributed the overall tranquil aura surrounding Team Spirit to coach Airat “Silent” Gaziev (which we think is very much justified, of course), that all goes out the window after the conclusion of each game’s drafting phase. At that point, only the five players representing the team in-game are allowed to be in the booth; no coaches permitted.

From there, it was crystal clear that Miposhka’s vast experience competing at the highest level of Dota 2 came into play. Despite Team Spirit’s average age is lower than that of other squads in the field, they carried themselves with aplomb in the most pressure-packed tournament of the season. Whatever he said to his boys in order to calm them down after LGD start to come back in the grand finals, it worked to absolute perfection.

And this is to say nothing about his skill in-game, even. Miposhka is a huge reason Bane won 14 out of the 16 games it appeared in at the main event. His ability to find key pickoffs and make the right, game-defining plays consistently throughout the tournament helped Team Spirit get as far as they did, even though they weren’t exactly tournament favorites.

What a time for him to accomplish so much, as well. Miposhka began his career with Yellow Submarine in 2014, and only really got his first taste of tier 1 Dota in the CIS region after joining Team Empire in 2016. He and the rest of Empire placed quite well on average during that season, but had to settle for eighth place at TI7. From there, he went back to tier 2 CIS Dota, and would not really get back to the same level until 2021.

Grinding it out for so long doesn’t always pan out for every player. But not only did Miposhka finally succeed in the big leagues this time — but he also served a huge role in helping his team get there. He is the latest poster boy for those working hard at living the Dota 2 dream, especially in his home region where things haven’t quite been as good as they were several years in the past.