Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Epic Dota 2 Rivalries: Unforgettable Showdowns That Defined Competitive Gaming


Alongside League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2 is often considered the third part of a holy trinity in esports. Since 2011, it’s been at the forefront of the competitive gaming scene, with the inaugural edition The International setting the tone for what was to come.

While it might not command the same audiences as League of Legends, one thing that Dota 2 can lay claim to is that many of the same teams that started in 2011 are still going strong. This has been great news for fans, with audiences having years to get behind their favorite rosters and chart their highs and lows over the years. It’s also created more than a few fierce rivalries. Read on as we explore some of the greatest showdowns in the history of Dota 2.

Alliance Take on NaVi

We’ll start by heading back to the third edition of The International. If you were following the Dota Pro Circuit back then, the Grand Final of the 2013 tournament probably lives rent-free in your mind. It was Alliance and NaVi that had made it to the final stages of the competition, with the rosters of both teams considered some of the best on the planet.

Each side took a different approach to play. While NaVi took an aggressive stance, Alliance opted for a split-push approach. By the fifth game, NaVi was in a good place and it looked like they might walk away with the trophy. Their big mistake? They’d become far too reliant on teleports. Alliance took advantage of this, blocking them at every available opportunity. In the end, NaVi could do nothing to turn the game in their favor, with Alliance ultimately becoming The International’s 2013 champions.

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Vici Gaming Gives Team Secret a Run for Their Money

In 2015, Team Secret was considered one of the best Dota 2 teams around, with a stellar lineup that’s never really been matched. However, Chinese team Vici Gaming would show them why you should never count out the competition at the Dota 2 Asia Championships. While the Secret squad dominated for most of the game, Vici made a seemingly impossible comeback to take the win. It was probably this result that created a longstanding rivalry between the two teams, with Team Secret and Vici Gaming last coming together at The International: Last Chance Qualifier in 2022.

OG Emerge Victorious and Defeat Evil Geniuses

Dota 2 fans around the world were on the edge of their seat in 2018 when OG and Evil Geniuses were pitted against each other in the upper bracket stages of The International. What makes this match-up so interesting is that the captain of Evil Geniuses, Tal ‘Fly’ Aizik, had been part of the OG roster only a matter of months before. Despite an admirable effort from both sides, it was OG that would emerge as the winner. After seeing off Evil Geniuses, they ultimately went on to win the overall tournament.

Evil Geniuses Turn It Around at the Last Minute

Two years before their fateful match against OG, Evil Geniuses were still considered one of the strongest Dota 2 teams playing in the upper tiers. By the time of The International in 2016, the team had placed in the top three of every major event they’d participated in that year. However, they would face some stiff competition from the Chinese roster, EHOME, in the upper bracket semi-finals of TI 6.

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Up until the final moments, it looked like this game could go in either direction. At one point, Evil Geniuses looked ready to throw in the towel and give the win to EHOME, but a last-minute defensive worked like a charm. As comebacks go, this one’s pretty legendary, with Evil Geniuses going on to finish in third place.

Team Liquid Ruin PSG.LGD’s Chance of Tournament Glory

In 2018, PSG.LGD delivered an incredible performance, with the Chinese team ending up in second place, despite starting in the lower bracket. However, they failed to achieve a similar result in 2019 thanks to the intervention of Team Liquid. Many fans had PSG.LGD pegged as favorites as overall winners, but Team Liquid showed them just what a great defense can do. Their strategy worked and kept their rivals from securing more than a third-place finish, with Team Liquid ultimately ending up as runners-up behind the eventual TI9 champions, OG.

PSG.LGD are unlikely to forget these defeats anytime in a hurry, while 2023 runners-up, Gaimin Gladiators, will also be looking to outdo TI champions Team Spirit after a humiliating defeat in the most recent Grand Final. Do either of these teams have a shot at future glory? Find the latest tournament fixtures, results, and more at 1337pro.

Stuart Wagner
Stuart Wagner
"Professional coffee fan. Total beer nerd. Hardcore reader. Alcohol fanatic. Evil twitter buff. Friendly tv scholar."

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