Being the first teams to compete on the biggest stage in esports is a big ask for anyone, but Invictus Gaming and Team Spirit delivered a thrilling opener at The International 10 today. IG continued their dominance by the end of the 2-1 series, including a record-breaking performance by FlyFly in game three.
The Chinese Dota 2 team were one of several squads that walked through the group stage and qualified for the main event’s upper bracket with little trouble. But Spirit were on a hot streak and ready to prove that they belonged in the contender conversation.
Things didn’t start well for Spirit, though. Kaka got first blood at TI10 and iG started to run away with the opening game. The Eastern European squad had to play on their back foot for most of the game, but they never gave iG too much on their pushes and didn’t settle for just staying on the defensive.
Led by Magomed “Collapse” Khalilov’s playmaking Mars and the veteran Miposhka, Spirit made multiple risky plays, pushing any advantage they could get after holding off iG in the high ground. That led to Yataro getting a Rampage and Spirit pushing in to kill Aster’s Aegis while still technically being behind.
Carrying that momentum into game two, Spirit held a lead for the first 18 minutes. But then, iG took a big teamfight that included Thiay “JT-” Jun Wen using the Pig Pole on himself to escape certain death, baiting Spirit and finishing the job.
Losing that fight was the downfall of Spirit despite TORONTOTOKYO and the team’s best efforts. One more lost teamfight led to iG evening up the series at 1-1. And after game two, Spirit didn’t hold a meaningful lead again.
Some early picks in game three led to Spirit hanging with iG until FlyFly’s Spectre came online and proceeded to shred the EEU team alongside Emo’s Storm Spirit. It’s a testament to the strength of Spirit’s defense that they lasted as long as they did, holding off iG for 40 minutes despite the Chinese team racking up 49 kills to Spirit’s seven in the final 36 minutes.
FlyFly’s performance in game three broke the all-time TI record for KDA without a death, going 22/0/27.
With this win, iG have secured a top-six finish at TI for the first time since TI7 and will play Team Secret in the next round to decide who will move on to the winners bracket finals.
Spirit’s hopes aren’t dead yet, either. They’ll play Fnatic in the second round of the lower bracket in an attempt to continue to push the organization’s first run at The International as far as possible.