Since its open beta release in 2011, Dota 2 has been one of the giants of the esports scene.
Over the past ten years, Dota 2 has awarded the most prize money out of any esport, and has made legends out of teams like OG, Alliance, and Natus Vincere.
Here’s a look back at the ten best Dota 2 games of the past decade.
No Tidehunter vs Evil Geniuses — DreamHack Winter Grand Finals Game 1 (2012)
Before Alliance became one of the most formidable European teams in Dota 2, they were called No Tidehunter, and featured a young Jacky “Eternal Envy” Mao.
Early in the tournament, No Tidehunter was known for their “rush Roshan” strategy, where they’d run straight to the Rosh Pit and kill Roshan to gain a level advantage, along with a quick Aegis of the Immortal pickup.
But in this game, since they knew their opponents would be ready for this strategy, they decided to send Eternal Envy into the Rosh Pit with his Nature’s Prophet to die. They successfully baited Evil Geniuses’ heroes into killing two of their heroes and secured the First Blood advantage.
This also spawned one of the most famous lines by longtime caster Toby “TobiWan” Dawson in Dota 2’s history: “No one has ever done that in the history of Dota!”
Natus Vincere vs Alliance — The International 2013 Grand Finals Game 5 (2013)
The best and most entertaining Grand Finals match in TI history saw Na’Vi and Alliance face-off at TI3 with US$1.4 million on the line — the biggest esports first-place prize at the time.
The match was filled with incredible teamwork and individual plays that had fans on the edges of their seats.
In game 5, Alliance had already claimed the Mega Creep advantage by demolishing Na’Vi’s base, but the Radiant team took control of the game and slowly began their comeback.
At the 43-minute mark, Alliance decided to Relocate to the top lane. In response, Na’Vi tried to teleport back and defend their base but Gustav “S4” Magnusson was able to prevent this by casting his Dream Coil on Dendi’s Templar Assassin.
Team DK vs Speed Gaming International — MLG Championship Columbus Grand Finals Game 1 (2013)
The first game between Speed Gaming International and Team DK at the MLG Championship Columbus was a long, drawn-out 85-minute game that featured an up and coming squad of international talents, against one of the strongest teams assembled in Dota 2 history.
Team DK included legendary Chinese player Xu “Burning” Zhilei, Orange’s star player Chai Yee “Mushi” Fung, Singapore’s best player Daryl “iceiceice” Xiang, fan-favorite support player Zhang “LaNm” Zhicheng, and EHOME’s former middle lane start Lei “MMY!” Zengrong.
The young Speed Gaming squad consisting of Jacky “Eternal Envy” Mao, Artour “Arteezy” Babaev, Wehsing “SingSing” Yuen, Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling, and Johan “pieliedie” Astrom, were on the verge of upsetting the tournament favorites but LaNm jumped in and dropped two Echo Slams on three of Speed Gaming’s heroes.
Cloud9 vs Alliance — ESL One Frankfurt Quarterfinals Game 2 (2014)
This Quarterfinals match between Cloud 9 and Alliance will go down in history as one of the biggest comebacks of all time thanks to Alliance’s Henrik “AdmiralBulldog” Ahnberg infamous Rat Doto strategy.
Cloud9 took control of the game early, and were firmly in control. But they were unable to finish off Alliance thanks to AdmiralBulldog “ratting” all over the map. While Cloud9 did their best to take down AdmiralBulldog’s Nature’s Prophet he remained a thorn in their side that they were just unable to deal with.
Eventually, Cloud9 decided to charge down the middle lane in an all-in attempt to finish the game.
But by the time they started taking down the Radiant Ancient, three Alliance heroes had already respawned and were able to stall the game.
Cloud9 desperately attempted to finish the game with a Faceless Void Chronosphere ultimate, but Alliance were able to defend and take them down. With no buybacks on the Cloud9 side, Alliance immediately teleported into the Dire base and clutched out the game.
Team Secret vs Vici Gaming — Dota 2 Asia Championships 2015 Upper Bracket Quarterfinals Game 1 (2015)
This star-studded match saw some of the best minds in Dota clash, with Kuro “KuroKy” Takhasomi, Clement “Puppey” Ivanov, Artour “Arteezy” Babaev, and Ludwig “zai” Wahlberg all on the Team Secret.
Meanwhile, Vici Gaming had its own amazing stack of great players: Xie “Super” Junhao, Xu, fy” Linsen, and their own foreign player Dominik “Black^” Reitmeier.
In game 1, Arteezy’s Tiny and KuroKy’s Io were able to claim the Mega Creep advantage, despite VG doubling Team Secret’s kill count.
The Dire team almost fell victim to another Rat Doto strategy, but VG managed to pick off Team Secret’s key heroes and defend their Dire Throne. This propelled them into pushing straight through the Radiant base and finishing the game.
The final moments of the game were absolutely insane — there was even an unclaimed Divine Rapier by the middle lane that was completely forgotten amidst the chaos.
OG vs MVP Phoenix — Manila Major Upper Bracket Semifinals Game 2 (2016)
OG started their amazing 2016 DPC season run by claiming the Manila Major event. The team dropped only two games throughout the entire event, defeating highly acclaimed teams like Natus Vincere, Newbee, and Team Liquid.
Their most impressive win at the tournament happened during game two of their match against MVP Phoenix, as OG were able to pull off a flawless victory against the Korean squad by finishing the game with a score of 24-0.
Ad Finem vs OG — Boston Major Grand Finals Game 3 (2016)
Ad Finem had an amazing lower bracket run during the Boston Major. No one expected them to make it all the way to the grand finals, but they exceeded all expectations.
But in the grand finals, they faced European powerhouse team OG.
After OG won the first two games, the outcome of the third game seemed inevitable.
Ad Finem opened up with their hyper-aggressive playstyle but were continuously countered by OG.
At the 79-minute mark, Ad Finem’s position 4 player Verros “Maybe Next Time” Apostolos decided to Shadow Blade into OG’s base and take down the Dire team’s Throne. It was one of the most daring individual plays in Dota 2 history.
Team Liquid vs Virtus.pro — The International 2017 Lower Bracket Quarterfinals Game 1 (2017)
Team Liquid’s first game against Virtus.pro will go down in history as one of the best Dota 2 contests ever. The marathon game lasted well over 100 minutes with neither team able to secure an advantage.
At the 100-minute mark of the game, VP was forced to defend their remaining Melee Barracks. Team Liquid continued to throw distraction plays to give Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen’s Lycan a chance to claim Mega Creeps.
Team Liquid claimed the Mega Creep advantage, but it cost them two heroes who no longer had buybacks. This forced VP to go with an all-in push towards the Dire base. Team Liquid refused to face the CIS team head-on, so MATUMBAMAN decided to pick up a Divine Rapier in an attempt to clean out the Radiant base. Instead, he was taken down by VP, who quickly teleported into the Dire base.
It was a 3v5 battle to see which team would take the upper hand in the match. Kuro “KuroKy” Takhasomi, Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi, and MATUMBAMAN put together a spectacular defensive hold that eliminated multiple VP heroes to finish the game in an unbelievable manner.
OG vs PSG.LGD — The International 2018 Grand Finals Game 4 (2018)
OG’s TI8 performance is arguably the best TI run in the tournament’s history. The team battled through the grueling European regional qualifiers to get into TI8.
They managed to make it into the upper bracket after placing fourth in their group. On their way to the grand finals, they faced the Evil Geniuses squad, which included former teammates who had left them in the middle of the DPC season and forced the squad to rebuild their roster. OG’s third game against EG could’ve easily made the list, but their game four slobber-knocker contest against PSG.LGD was even better.
With their tournament lives on the line and PSG.LGD taking a slight 7,000 gold lead edge, Anathan “Ana” Pham’s position 1 Phantom Lancer was caught right by the Dire Secret Shop. Ana knew that he was going to be taken down, so he immediately made a heads-up play, and sold his Ring of Aquila and Talisman of Evasion to make sure he would have enough for a buyback.
With Ana down, PSG.LGD decided to push into the Dire’s top lane. This gave OG the opportunity to eliminate both Wang “Ame” Chunyu and Lu “Somnus” Yao.
At the 61-minute mark, OG met PSG.LGD at the center of the map and faced them head-on. OG quickly lost three of their heroes, leaving Ana in a 1v4.
This setup one of Dota 2’s most iconic plays in history, where Sébastien “Ceb” Debs swooped in and caught PSG.LGD off-guard with a Blink-Berserker’s Call that kept OG’s tournament hopes alive. This play also gifted them the opportunity to play a fifth and final game, which they would eventually win to win their first TI.
Mineski vs Team Secret — The International 2019 Lower Bracket Games 1 and 2 (2019)
The most memorable match at TI9 saw Team Secret and Mineski clash in the second round of the lower bracket. Mineski was well on their way to a game one upset against Team Secret. They had a 25,000 gold lead after taking down Yeik “MidOne” Zheng’s Meepo.
Ludwig “zai” Wahlberg quickly jumped in the center of Mineki’s heroes and caught them with his Ravage ultimate. At the same time, MidOne bought back and locked down Kam “Moon” Seng’s Alchemist, twice.
After taking down four of Mineski’s heroes, Team Secret charged down the middle lane to end the game, which resulted in securing them the biggest comeback of the entire TI9 tournament.
In the following game, it was then Mineski’s turn to pull off an unbelievable 3v5 defensive of their own as Moon, Niko “Nikobaby” Nikolov, and Damien “kpii” Chok were able to best Team Secret’s attempt at a game-ending push.
Team Secret tried to stall the game as much as possible, but Mineski went straight for the Dire Throne and pulled off the upset.
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