For the past seven years, Dota 2 has time-and-again been able to deliver some of the most memorable and exciting matches esports has to offer. There is just something palpable about the excitement in a good game of Dota 2. In the games, often exceeding an hour in length, a single misstep can end up costing the winning side everything.
The stakes are also no higher than Dota 2. The game’s world finals, The International, offers the largest prize pools in esports. A player’s entire life could be transformed in just one day, or they could go home simply thinking of what could have been.
So get yourself ready for a trip down memory lane, as we take a look at five of the greatest games in Dota 2 history.
Alliance vs. Na`Vi The International 3 grand finals, Game 5
Most Dota 2 fans are expected to know about the grand finals of The International 3, and it’s for a good reason. The entire grand final-set is the only final in the tournament’s history to go to a decisive fifth game—and as both teams got more and more desperate in their attempts to end the game, Gustav “s4” Magnusson provided us some with one of the game’s most iconic esports moments.
Evil Geniuses vs. Team Secret, StarLadder X grand finals, Game 5
The concluding game of the StarLadder X grand finals featured one of the most stacked lists of competitors in a single game of Dota 2. Secret, who were attending their second LAN event since their inception, had dominated the field at the event up until the grand final—and with a roster of legendary names like Clement “Puppey” Ivanov, Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi, and Johan “n0tail” Sundstein, looked to be securing their first LAN title under the Secret name.
Starting out with a one-game-advantage after reaching the grand finals through the upper bracket, Secret only needed to win two games to win the event. Evil Geniuses were, however, able to bring it to a fifth deciding game—and after a nearly 60-minute-long battle, overcame the tournament favorites to win the entire event.
Alliance vs. Cloud9 ESL One Frankfurt 2014 quarterfinals, Game 2
Although Cloud9 were never able to take home a major tournament victory during their most successful period in 2014, the roster remained one of the most popular in the game’s competitive circuit. Led by Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao, the team would either win or lose games in the most spectacular of fashions, and Cloud9’s game against Alliance in the ESL One Frankfurt 2014 quarterfinals is no exception.
Cloud9 were consistently denied from enjoying any of the success they accrued throughout the game, as Alliance’s Henrik “AdmiralBulldog” Ahnberg pulled off one his most impressive performances on Nature’s Prophet in his entire career. Unable to deal with the offlaner’s splitpushing, Cloud9’s attempted at a counter-attack against Alliance’s base. But that ultimately proved unsuccessful and ended with Alliance eliminating the team from the event.
Evil Geniuses vs. EHOME The International 6, upper bracket semifinals, Game 1
Before The International 7, Evil Geniuses made it to three straight top three placements at Dota 2’s flagship event. But the team’s victory in the upper bracket semifinals of The International 6 is definitely one of their most memorable and impressive wins at the tournament series.
In a back-and-forth game, Evil Geniuses appeared to be on the verge of conceding the first game of the series to Chinese opponents EHOME. Having brought down all of the North American team’s barracks and with waves of mega creeps moving towards their opponent’s base, a last-minute defense by Evil Geniuses bought them a brief moment of respite.
With only a few seconds of breathing room, Evil Geniuses made a last-ditch effort to end the game, and started an extended fight inside of EHOME’s base. Miraculously, the North Americans wiped out all of EHOME’s heroes off the map. With the Dire Ancient exposed, Evil Geniuses exited the first game of the series as victors in one of the most memorable comeback victories in Dota 2 history, and proceeded to win the series in two straight games.
Speed Gaming vs. Team DK, MLG Columbus grand final, Game 3
In late 2013, five asian superstars joined forces and created one of the most celebrated lineups in Dota 2. Known as Team DK, the roster fielded veterans like Xu “BurNIng” Zhilei, Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung, and Lei “MMY!” Zengrong. The team had already experienced tremendous success in the Chinese WPC Ace League, winning 30 out of 36 games against China’s most established Dota 2 rosters. This was enough to make DK one of the favorites at MLG Columbus 2013, and the team was unsurprisingly able to reach the grand finals.
But despite fielding what many would consider to be the best roster in Asia, DK were snubbed in the finals by Speed Gaming, a precursor to Cloud9’s first Dota 2 roster. The squad featured only four of their permanent players (Pittner “bOne7” Armand was unable to attend due to visa issues,) and instead played the event with a young Artour “Arteezy” Babaev. Although this was the Canadian’s international LAN debut, Speed Gaming’s daring draft in the final game paid off, causing one of the largest upsets in Dota 2 history.