How Team Liquid swept The International 2017 Grand Finals for the $10.8M prize

How Team Liquid swept The International 2017 Grand Finals for the $10.8M prize

Photo Credit: The International 2017

In Dota 2, there are no seasons, no relegations and no league tiers. Teams instead have their eyes on the biggest event of the year—and in esports: The International. After months of preparation, eighteen teams qualified for a grueling week-and-a-half event, but only one could emerge with the $10.8 million crowd-funded top prize.

This year, two curses were upheld: the East-West flip-flop curse, and the ‘no repeat winner’ curse. None other could do so with such persuasiveness and prowess as Team Liquid, the winner of this year’s Championship.

Team Liquid has sponsored champions in games such as Starcraft, League of Legends and more, but none of the organization’s Dota 2 iterations have come this far in official Valve events. Formerly, Liquid’s Dota squad was American, but this European one took the crown in a more volatile and profitable environment.

The current roster had varying success throughout the pre-championship season. They performed well in the grand Russian event Epicenter, but failed to do as well in the Dota 2 Asian Championships. Still, their victory was foreshadowed in their victory at DreamLeague Season 7’s Atlanta finals, where they took first over other international teams.

To claim the Aegis of Champions today, they had to fight through a pool that kept the world at the edge of their seats. Four out of the six top teams were Chinese, and the other two were Liquid itself and Virtus.Pro, regional rivals. Their final battle was against Newbee, and it was certainly a show.

Photo Credit: The International 2017

Newbee originally entered the tournament as one of the Chinese favorites to win, given its consistent, strong presence throughout the competitive season. However, anything goes at TI, and LGD and LFY quickly rose to the top of their groups during the off-stage matches. LFY specifically went undefeated until the last day, though at that point they had already secured the top Upper Bracket slot for the main event.

But Newbee came back with a vengeance during the main event when they met LFY during the Upper Bracket Finals, which determined the first Grand Finalist. The match was an explosive back-and-forth between the two Chinese teams, during which Newbee showed absolutely spectacular teamfights and took the spot.

The next day, the scraps of LFY were left to Team Liquid for the taking in the lower bracket finals. Essentially, if Liquid could take down LFY, the slayer of the group stage and upper bracket, it seemed they would have a chance against Newbee. After all, LFY took down Newbee 2-0 in the group stage, and the upper bracket 2-1 Newbee victory was hard-fought. With exciting plays and unusual strategies by Liquid to take down the Chinese dark horse, Liquid eventually took the series 2-1 before the Grand Final later that day.