With the biggest esports tournament in history less than a month away, fans were treated to an enticing preview this weekend. Hosted in a World Cup stadium and boasting over $200,000 in prizes, the ESL One Dota 2 championship was a major tournament in its own right.
In front of 10,000 live in Fraknfurt’s Commerzbank Arena, and 100,000 more watching from home, former International champions Invictus Gaming put on a display that few imagined possible. In the final match, Invictus Gaming tore American squad Evil Geniuses to shreds, taking the game to 22 to 0 before the Americans threw in the towel.
They walked away with just over $90,000.
Invictus Gaming’s win, particularly the bloodbath in the final game, leaves Dota 2 fans in a unique position. There’s now no clear favorite for Valve’s $10 million tournament next month.
In 2013, Swedish team Alliance won every major offline event they participated in, except one, before winning the International. This year, the last three major offline events have had three different winners, one of those champions being Evil Geniuses who, despite making it to the finals of EMS One and taking it to the final game, will remember last night’s painful loss as they make their way to the International next month.
Invictus Gaming’s win, along with strong performances from fellow Chinese Team DK earlier in the year, also means that this year’s International should see the China versus the world rivalry renewed with new vigor.
The International, which will July 18-21 in a sold-out Key Arena in Seattle, will see eight teams, chiseled down from twenty, fight to be apart of esports history. And it’s anybody’s game.
Screengrab via ESL.tv