Look back at Team Spirit’s miracle run at TI10 and LGD’s massive letdown

Luck. It was the only word quoted from Team Spirit’s coach, Airat “Silent” Gaziev during the pre-match interview outside of his team’s booth. Little did the young team of prodigies knew, they were about to win the International 10 (Ti10) and bag over $18 million.

Spirit win TI10 Aegis

Team Spirit

Smells like Team Spirit!

For the entirety of Ti10, Team Spirit seemingly looked like the underdog in every match they play. They took down every foreseeable favorite in the tournament, namely team OG, Virtus.pro, Invictus Gaming, Team Secret, and the gargantuan of them all, PSG.LGD.

It was a David and Goliath story every single time, at least that was what it was depicted for the masses. However, turns out Team Spirit’s strength and performance didn’t come overnight as various parties shared how fearsome Team Spirit was in the scrims.

With that in mind, it doesn’t take away any credit from TS being the dark horses heading into Ti10. Because performance aside, it was their mentality that truly made them shine throughout the lower bracket. In every postgame interview, Team Spirit players shared that they don’t care about the money, and it was more about how much they enjoyed playing with each other.

In the end, even real recognized real.

Team Spirit’s Drafts

One key factor to Team Spirit’s success is their vast hero pool. Most notably Illya “Yatoro” Mulyarchuk, and his selection of 14 different picks during TI10. Even in the the first grand final match, Team Spirit pulled out a Naga Siren carry pick, which effectively crippled PSG.LGD’s team composition. It was a pick so out of the blue that PSG.LGD was left dumbfounded because they did not have a counter against it.

In fact, Team Spirit played fifty-eight types of heroes, with Yatoro playing fourteen throughout Ti10. Hence, it became relatively difficult for not just PSG.LGD, but their opponents to have any leverage by banning his hero pool.

Yatoro aside, the other star of the show was Magomed “Collapse” Khalilov, famed for his Magnus during their entire bracket run. He was consistently getting pickoffs, one-by-one, regardless of where opponents players were playing. A quick Horn Toss (Magnus’ Aghanim’s Shard ability) into a Skewer was all that it takes to kill any enemy hero.

In fact, they showed their Magnus strat as early as the first series in the bracket, yet no opponent really tried to remove the hero from the equation against them for the entire event. Both OG, Secret and PSG.LGD fell to the same 2 ability combo.

Here is Yatoro of @Team__Spirit‘s final breakdown of 14 Heroes played across 20 Main Event matches of The International 2021! #TI10

(And yes, we did have to readjust the layout to fit them all. 🙌🔥) pic.twitter.com/hbHbcb6FqO

— The International (@dota2ti) October 17, 2021

The Other Side of Ti10 Story: PSG.LGD

After forcing a clutching game 5, PSG.LGD seemed like they regained their momentum and perhaps figured Team Spirit out. They did not ban Collapse’s Magnus and Team Spirit continued to punish that decision by banning Rubick too.

Even so, PSG.LGD was confident of their Tiny plus Lycan’s Wolf Bite combo that they first-picked all carry heroes, including Kunkka. Unfortunately, securing Tiny and Lycan so early only allowed Team Spirit to counter-pick with reliable support heroes. They already beat the same combo earlier in the day against Team Secret, and throughout Game 5 they did it once again.

Cheng “NothingToSay” Jin Xiang on Kunkka was always disabled by a Bane’s Fiend Grip. Team Spirit survived the midgame snowball period by PSG.LGD, and there was nothing else to stop the exponential advantage heading into late game. PSG.LGD’s plan to capitalize on stomping midgame failed, and Team Spirit could already see a glimpse of TI10 victory every time they catch PSG.LGD players off-guard.

Yet, saying PSG.LGD players were careless is inaccurate because Collapse did not care how deep PSG.LGD players stayed in their base. He did not hesitate from pulling off his cheap combo, which crushed PSG.LGD’s full teamfight capability.

Backlash from PSG.LGD fans

While it’s all fame and glory for Team Spirit as the International 10 Champions, PSG.LGD despite being the first runner-up, had to face the wrath of haters on social media. The comments were distasteful as they fired at PSG.LGD’s coach, Zhang “xiao8” Ning for not banning Magnus. Comments called xiao8 arrogant and underestimated Team Spirit’s trademark heroes.

It was a shame that eventually, Zhao “XinQ” Zixing, the PSG.LGD support player had to comment personally on each comment. XinQ defended xiao8 as a reliable coach, for having suggested Undying in game 3, where their team was at the brim of elimination. Instead, the justification to not ban Magnus was duly because they knew Collapse has a much wider hero pool than what the viewers perceived. He could play Mars, Tidehunter and Doom well too.

Hence, having to counter a Magnus’ Skewer combo was the safer decision over letting him have other utility heroes. Another blame was that PSG.LGD’s cocky attitude cost them the Aegis of Champions. To which XinQ disputed it by saying they weren’t cocky but admits that they didn’t perform as intended.

Amidst the angry fans across PSG.LGD’s social media page, there is good news to be shared. PSG.LGD plans to play another year to deliver yet another run at the International 11. It’s certainly reassuring news for PSG.LGD fans, as this team does have the potential to become a TI Champion.

On the contrary, we can expect the post-TI10 roster shuffle to have already begun. Several prominent powerhouses to keep an eye out for updates are, of course, Evil Geniuses, OG, Alliance, Nigma, etc.