YatoroGod? More like YatoroGOAT...
OG isn’t alone anymore as Team Spirit has become the second two-time The International champions, winning TI12 by defeating Gaimin Gladiators 3-0.
Superstition long reigned over professional Dota 2. For a long while, China and the rest of the world were believed to alternate TI championships. Then it became impossible for a player to win The International twice. Both of those superstitions were shattered by OG and propelled the team to “greatest team of all time” status.
While there’s always been a debate about whether the team fits the bill Team Spirit’s resume is quickly becoming comparable. With multiple prominent tournament victories to its name and now two The International championships on the mantel, the team has rapidly built up a GOAT resume.
Team Spirit dominates Gaimin Gladiators to win TI12 finals
Team Spirit opened the series in dominant fashion. A frantic early game saw both teams scrambling and rotating all over the map but the mid-game gave way to a snowballing Illya “Yatoro” Mulyarchuk. Gaimin Gladiators had no answer to his farmed Weaver and the rest of Spirit’s highly mobile lineup of heroes, allowing Spirit to siege its way to victory in 33 minutes.
The early goings of game two were more methodical but as soon as Spirit mid laner Denis “Larl” Sigitov felt he had the edge with his Pangolier, Spirit went on the offensive. Gaimin Gladiators was able to respond and leveraged the lineup’s mid-game prowess to force a temporary stalemate. Spirit’s team composition out-scaled Gaimin and once the late game rolled around, the difference between the two lineups in terms of their team-fighting prowess became stark with Spirit taking high ground and advancing to match point.
Gaimin seemed to right the ship in game three. The game started with a frantic laning phase and had a net worth lead in the mid-game with Anton “dyrachyo” Shkredov’s Spectre looming on the horizon. Team Spirit managed to bridge the gap thanks to Magomed “Collapse” Khalilov’s Spirit Breaker bowling across the map.
A smoke initiation led to a huge team fight victory over Gaimin, despite the European team investing multiple buybacks. This saw Spirit immediately get an enormous 20,000 net worth lead and saw them pivoting towards the kill. Spirit took one lane of barracks, then pivoted to Roshan. A teamfight secured diebacks and finished with the 3-0 series victory that secured Team Spirit the TI12 championship.
Is Team Spirit the greatest Dota 2 team of all time?
Team Spirit is arguably the greatest Dota 2 team ever after winning The International 2023.
While Dota 2 esports fans often latch onto prize pool winnings as the sole metric of success in the game, Team Spirit’s actual credentials are comparable to those of OG at this point. The team has now won two The International championships, a major championship, and the 2023 Riyadh Masters title. This is accompanied by strong showings in a number of other events, including Dota Pro Circuit leagues.
Though OG undeniably ranks among the best in Dota 2 history, no iteration of the team actually enjoyed consistent success. Though it won the $3 million Valve-sponsored majors and later won The International twice, everything outside of those five tournaments is shaky.
An argument can be made about whether Team Spirit winning TI12 pushes the squad above OG, but Team Secret is arguably the real team to beat. Secret is yet to win The International, but the team has been consistently successful for longer and still has multiple strong placements at TI.
Either way, the Dota 2 pro scene is in a holding pattern until December. The next season technically begins with ESL One Kuala Lumpur. The scene is currently waiting to see what happens to the Dota 2 pro scene as a whole, with Valve washing its hands of the Dota Pro Circuit but not yet announcing what things will look like moving forward.