The International is the conclusion of the season and it’s the final test for every professional Dota 2 player to prove that they are the best in the world. It takes a lot of passion and hard work to be able to compete in a tournament of this caliber. This was made very clear by the kind of games we have been seeing at TI8. Every single team and every single player are performing at a level that we haven’t seen before. TI8 is definitely the most competitive TI we have had yet.
The TI8 broadcast started out with a clip of the pros thanking their fans for their passion towards Dota. Later there was an opening ceremony with beautiful music and all the 18 teams were introduced to the audience. Finally, GabeN himself came up to the dais and welcomed everyone to TI8.
Team Liquid vs. Optic Gaming:
The games started out with the upper bracket BO3 series of Team Liquid vs Optic Gaming. Liquid completely styled on Optic, showing that they are on a totally different level compared to them. Both the games were completely one-sided and no one expected anything different from this series.
PSG.LGD vs Virtus.pro:
The second series was PSG.LGD vs Virtus.pro. This was a much-anticipated match as these two teams are the favorites to win the whole tournament. In game 1, LGD made a bold move and started out the draft with a first pick Drow Ranger. VP was dominating in the early-mid game, winning teamfights and taking all the outer towers. It seemed as if it was in the bag for VP but Somnus on Storm Spirit made some incredible plays that completely turned the match around. Pasha was playing Enigma and Somnus brilliantly baited, and dodged Pasha’s blackhole, winning them a huge teamfight. We all know what happens when you lose a teamfight against a Drow lineup. VP did not have buybacks on their cores and LGD finished the game in one single push. It was pretty disastrous for VP.
In the second game, LGD convincingly beat VP, losing only two towers in the whole game. Ame’s Terrorblade got too farmed at one point and VP had to call GG.
Fnatic vs. Team Serenity:
Next was the deadly BO1 matches of the lower bracket. It is absolutely brutal for any team to play a BO1 elimination. The first match was Fnatic vs Serenity. Serenity managed to pull off one of the biggest upsets of the tournament, eliminating Fnatic from TI8. It seemed like the pressure really got to Fnatic as they made many desperate moves and showed many signs of confusion. Serenity managed to play a calm game and beat them convincingly.
The Battle of SEA: TNC Predator vs Mineski:
The next match was the battle of SEA, TNC Predator vs Mineski. This was one of the most hyped up matches of Day 1. TNC completely dominated the early game, and ended up with a score of 28-8 in their favor by the mid-game. Unfortunately, they were playing against a Spectre lineup and they were unable to finish the game. Inevitably, by the end-game, Spectre became too huge for TNC to handle. Mineski won a few teamfights in the end and just finished the game.
Winstrike vs. Newbee:
Next was Winstrike vs the TI7 runner ups, Newbee. This was a very close and exciting match and went on for about an hour. Winstrike were clearly the underdogs but they managed to beat Newbee with some good plays by nongrata on his clockwerk and Silent’s signature PL. It was a sad moment for Newbee, getting eliminated from the tournament so soon after reaching the grand finals last year.
Vici Gaming vs VGJ.Thunder:
The final match was Vici Gaming vs VGJ.Thunder. Vici drafted a push-intensive lineup with Arc Warden and Nature’s Prophet. Paparazi went for the Necronomicon build on Arc Warden. LaNm was playing his signature Earthshaker and managed to land some game-winning Echo Slams. Although VGJ.Thunder showed some signs of life throughout the match, Vici Gaming outclassed them and eliminated their sister team from TI8.
All-in-all it was an amazing day 1 and I hope to see more top-class Dota as the tournament moves forward.