The end of the year is here, the perfect moment to recount the most special moments of the season. Here are our 2019 Dota 2 highlights.
Vici Gaming Minor into Major Champions run
Vici Gaming started the season pre TI9 with two top eight finishes at the first two Majors. They were on a declining trajectory when they couldn’t even qualify for DreamLeague Season 11, the third Major of the Dota Pro Circuit. Internal conflicts had them re-evaluate the line-up, but as they say, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. In Vici Gaming’s case, the qualifiers failure awakened the beast within, and at the end of March 2019, VG made a historical run by winning the StarLadder ImbaTV Minor to qualify for the DreamLeague Major and claim the trophy there as well. For their story of redemption to be complete, on June 30, they’ve also claimed the EPICENTER 2019, the last Major of the season trophy, consolidating their position among the top tier teams.
Miracle one-shots Roshan
VG’s adversaries in the EPICENTER grand finals were Team Liquid, a fierce opponent. The battle went in an epic fashion up to the fifth game. Forty minutes into the third game, VG had a 15k gold advantage and were leading on the kill board 27 to 12. However, the high ground push was nearly impossible due to an Arc Warden played on a godly level by Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi, who went for the cooldown reduction and the Spark Wraith extra damage talents. A lucky Arcane rune allowed him to stack about 30 Spark Wraiths to get the first-ever and the only one-shot Roshan kill in the Dota 2 history.
Although Team Liquid lost the grand finals 2-3 to Vici Gaming, Miracle received the tournament’s MVP prize.
Capitalist loses it during insane TI9 match
Great plays have always defined The International, but this year, one game, in particular, had Austin “Capitalist” Walsh going absolutely nuts with his play-by-play casting. Team Secret versus Mineski elimination series gave Secret fans a heart attack. The European team secured the first game victory in a close base. Game two has definitely put Nikolay “Nikobaby” Nikolov in the spotlight as one of the best Faceless Void players. And his spot on Chronosphere to defend the throne should bring all the play-by-play casting awards to Capitalist.
A new milestone for SA Dota
TI9 marked Nikobaby’s true breakout, but at the same time it brought a new milestone for the South America Dota. Infamous’ top 8 finish silenced all the non-believers and washed away a lot of the negative comments that surrounded the SA scene ever since Valve has added a special qualifier slot for this region. Now playing under the Beastcoast banner, the five SA players who reached top 8 at TI9 in the Infamous jerseys are true heroes of their region, and their story will hopefully play a big role in the evolution of the SA Dota scene.
First time ever two-time TI champions
This year’s The International was special in many ways. It once again featured record breaking prize pool, it was for the first time ever held in China and it brought the first-ever team to successfully defend the Aegis of Champions.
Ever since 2012, The International awaited at least a player to become a two-time winner. OG is not only the first team to have achieved just that, but they are the first to become back-to-back champions and to have done it with the same roster.
IceFrog raises the memes to another level
Father of Dota 2 and the big brain behind all the game updates, IceFrog is the most mysterious figure. He never revealed his true identity, he barely interacts with the community besides the patch notes, but he is probably the most beloved person by the Dota 2 fans. He has a Twitter account since 2008 and 96.8K flowers, but he posted exactly 13 times. The first time when he tweeted something was in December 2016 to congratulate OG for their Boston Major victory. Actually 5 of his 13 Twitter posts are from December 2016. The rest are occasional patch updates. The only teams who got to be congratulated by the Dota 2 Lord for their TI victories are Team Liquid in 2017 and again OG in 2018.
When OG repeated the achievement in 2019, IceFrog decided to just re-tweet his post from August 26, 2018.