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Dota 2

TI12: Team Spirit Crush Gaimin Gladiators to Claim Second Title

Patrick Bonifacio

They’ve done it — Team Spirit have bagged a second world title at The International 12 (TI12). The CIS-based squad have therefore placed themselves in the same conversation as the great OG, as both organizations now have two trophies each to their names.

TI12 Team Spirit

via Team Spirit

TI12 Team Spirit

via Team Spirit

This result proves once and for all that Team Spirit’s victory over LGD Gaming at TI10 was no fluke just because there wasn’t a crowd present then. No, even with the pressure of playing in front of a live audience, bearing down on them, their skill, experience, and sheer confidence shone  through anyway.

And what an absolute shellacking, too. Faced with the prospect of having to play for the Aegis of Champions against the best team during the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season, they simply went into the building with one goal in mind: destroy their rivals. Gaimin Gladiators fought all the way from the lower bracket to get to the Grand Finals — certainly an impressive feat — only for them to run into the brick wall that was Team Spirit.

Game 1: Miposhka, aka Agent M

The arena was simply buzzing with energy at the start of the Grand Final match, as many expected that it would be an evenly-fought contest. Team Spirit had shown up to TI12 completely ready to take on all comers, while Gaimin Gladiators had dominated all their competition throughout the year. Two titans were about to clash on Dota 2’s biggest stage.

Instead, what transpired was the complete opposite. Team Spirit began their dismantling of Gaimin Gladiators with Game 1, thanks in no small part to the Treant Protector play of team captain Yaroslav “Miposhka” Naidenov. The grizzled veteran fancied himself a man of espionage, sneaking behind enemy lines and gathering valuable intel on Gaimin’s movements.

The rest of his team made great use of the information, by corralling Gaimin Gladiators’ heroes into unfavorable positions. This allowed Miposhka to very easily initiate with Overgrowth at one point in the mid game, followed by  the Dream Coil  from Denis “Larl” Sigitov’s Puck. The resulting teamfight nearly wiped Gaimin off the face of the earth, giving Spirit a huge lead to play with.

And from there, it was honestly just a matter of time before Team Spirit closed things out. Ilya “Yatoro” Mulyarchuk’s Weaver was simply too big to contain, as the best carry player in the world dealt killing blow after killing blow without hesitation. He honestly looked like a man possessed in Game 1, brazenly diving headfirst into enemy territory just to see how much more damage he could dish out.

Game 2: Yatoro Explodes as Faceless Void

The second map was a bit more of a balanced affair — at least for the first 35 minutes. Both teams traded kills back and forth as they put their respective drafts to work, with things going well particularly for Gaimin and their Nature’s Prophet-based lineup. The triple Major champions certainly didn’t make it easy for Team Spirit to get out of the laning phase, as they kept the pressure on as much as possible.

But things would break wide open for Team Spirit past the 35 minute mark. Armed with Manta Style, Mjollnir, Skadi, and heaps of extra damage from Magomed “Collapse” Khalilov’s signature Magnus, Yatoro said enough was enough and put the game to rest with some spectacular Chronosphere plays as Faceless Void.

The kind of damage output he had at hand was just completely disgusting, to be perfectly honest. Not even Anton “Dyrachyo” Shrekdov’s Morphling stood a chance against Yatoro’s mace, which carried Team Spirit past the finish line in style. Yatoro even scored a rampage for his troubles, as if Gaimin didn’t already know how much he was destroying them.

Game 3: The 6 Percent Game

With a 2-0 lead firmly in hand, Team Spirit was just one game away from winning the Aegis of Champions once again. For Gaimin Gladiators, it was their last chance at survival, so they pulled out all the stops from the draft all the way to the game itself. They even managed to get their hands on Ancient Apparition, a hotly-contested hero throughout the tournament and one that directly countered a lot of the popular tanky cores at TI12.

Dyrachyo also got to play Spectre, with whom he set the tempo of the early game very well. A 10-minute Blade Mail followed by an 18-minute Manta Style meant that he was able to just jump on Team Spirit’s supports if they ever showed themselves on the map. This led to a very healthy lead for Gaimin Gladiators going into the midgame — one that the Dota Plus prediction engine said would constitute a 94 percent chance of victory for them.

We guess that no one told Dota Plus to never calculate the odds for Team Spirit. Despite staring down the barrel of a 10,000 gold lead for Gaimin Gladiators, the former International champions just wouldn’t quit. Fueled by the sheer chaos caused by Collapse’s Spirit Breaker, Team Spirit rallied to get back into the game, controlling Gaimin’s heroes just long enough for Yatoro and Larl to clean things up.

Larl was especially important in the follow-through, blinking every which way as Dazzle — making us think that he was actually playing Tinker instead. His damage output combined with the rest of his squad was more than enough to swing things firmly back in their favor, and Gaimin looked like they had no idea how they let the victory slip away.

Thus, with a mere six percent chance of winning, Team Spirit sealed the deal once and for all, defeating the three-time Major winners in astonishing fashion. This cements their place in Dota history as one of the greatest squads of all time, and it doesn’t look like they’re interested in stopping from here.