Underdog Team Liquid shines at The International

The first official day of Valve’s Dota 2 tournament the International was met with the fanfare one would expect from a $10 million dollar tournament

Image via Team Liquid

The first official day of Valve’s Dota 2 tournament the International was met with the fanfare one would expect from a $10 million dollar tournament. More than 200,000 people tuned in to watch on Twitch, and that number was often matched by those watching in game, breaking the record for concurrent users in the Dota 2 client.

Throughout the day fans got to see the 16 competing teams play 33 games—with three similar days left.

With so many games it’s difficult to keep up with the biggest storylines, so we’ve summarized the three biggest talking points of the day one

How about Team Liquid?

Team Liquid was the talk of the town today.

The team squeezed their way into the tournament through qualifiers yesterday. In the first game, against fellow North American squad Na’Vi.US, the Liquid squad was crushed. Redbull sponsored star Jimmy “Pegasus” Ho gave up three kills in the offlane by five minutes and the rest of the gang played similarly for the remainder of the match, resulting in a shameful shutout to start their tournament run.

Cue a social media frenzy about the merits of the team.

Then, to the surprise of many, the fivesome would bounce back and win the rest of their games for the day in spectacular fashion. Leveling teams like DK, Newbee, and Evil Geniuses, the squad ended their day at 3-1, leaving them tied for second overall. This was not where fans of competitive Dota expected them to be.

Support player Peter “Wayto” Nguyen stole everyone’s heart with the definitive playoff the day. Following a lost fight, the enterprising Nguyen wandered in and stole a Roshan kill and an Aegis from Evil Geniuses. The move solidified Team Liquid’s existing lead and was the stake through the heart for Evil Geniuses.

Fnatic still showed up to play

Just two weeks ago, Fnatic was on the verge of missing out of The International entirely thanks to Adrian “Era” Kryeziu’s anxiety attacks over flying. When Fnatic eventually confirmed that Kryeziu would attendthe event in Seattle, questions of what shape he would be in were in question. Fnatic had been using a standin for over a month.

Well, Fnatic looked just fine. The European squad trounced favorites DK, Newbee, and Na’Vi.EU in convincing fashion. Though they dropped games to Evil Geniuses and Na’Vi.US, finishing 3-2 for the day, the Fnatic lineup looked like they showed up ready to compete in a tournament of this caliber.

To the delight of many, what could have been one of the sadder storylines, a story about a player’s waning health cutting a team’s chances at glory short, of the day was parried.

It is still anyone’s game

After Invictus Gaming’s win at ESL One, which marked the third different winner at a major LAN before the International, we figured The International was anyone’s game.

We were right. But we had no idea how much parity there would really be.

Yesterday was a day of surprises. Last year’s champions, Alliance, went 1-4 for the day. Chinese juggernauts DK were getting pushed around by teams most figured they’d walk over. Team Liquid, who just got in by the skin of their teeth, walked away from day one smelling like roses.

There are still three more days of group play left. Anything can happen, and if the following days are as wild as the first, it’s very likely we’ll see some upsets and surprises when it comes time for elimination.