Team Liquid are the champions of The International 2017. The European squad completed one of the most impressive tournament performances in Dota 2 history with a dominant victory over Newbee in the TI7 grand finals, taking home the Aegis of Champions as well as the $10,809,040 first-place prize.
While Liquid had looked formidable throughout the event, their championship-sealing match was arguably their most dominant of the event.
Liquid seemingly rattled Newbee early in Game 1, with heavy early aggression leading to a 30-minute beatdown that saw the TI4-winning organization struggle for even a moral victory. That distress seemed to continue into Game 2. Despite taking the lead in the early goings, Newbee was unable to pull the trigger as things progressed, opening the door for Liquid to roar back, and advance to 2-0 in the best-of-three series.
Newbee came out swinging in Game 3, racking up a sizable advantage in gold and experience for the first 30 minutes of the game. A botched teamfight at the Roshan pit, however, saw Liquid even things out, and start taking objectives. With their base exposed, Newbee was forced into a heavily defensive position, giving complete control back to Liquid. They capitalized on that in a big way, converting pick-offs into barracks and barracks into a 3-0 sweep in the finals.
With that, Liquid capped off an absolutely amazing run at TI7 in storybook fashion. After suffering a harsh defeat from Invictus Gaming in the first day of the main event, they worked their way through a murderer’s row of opponents in the losers bracket, knocking off Team Secret, Team Empire, Virtus.Pro, LGD Gaming and LGD.Forever Young along the way.
It was also a perfect moment for Liquid captain Kuro "KuroKy" Salehi Takhasomi. After attending all six other International tournaments, the veteran captured the Aegis of Champions, and posted his first top finish in a Valve-sponsored event, in dramatic fashion.
Of course, Dota 2 has no real off-season. As such, look for Liquid to get right back on the horse in time for one of the upcoming major tournaments.
Most Entertaining Series Ever?
The biggest story of TI7 is, of course, Team Liquid’s first-place finish, but that might not go down as the most memorable part of the tournament for those who watched. That’s because Liquid’s Saturday morning match with LGD.Forever Young was one of the most entertaining series in Dota 2 history.
All three games delivered in their own unique way, with the one constant being incredible back-and-forth action. Liquid, obviously, took the victory but LFY looked so strong at every step that the outcome was unclear until the ancient was being toppled in the final round.
While this wasn’t the headlining series of the day, it’s the one that will likely live on in the hearts of fans.
Prepare for Massive Roster Shake-Ups
One of the best parts of TI7 has been the parity between teams. Underdogs knocking out presumptive elites has been a norm throughout the tournament and that has made for a whole lot of exciting Dota 2.
Unfortunately, while it would be nice to see the competitive scene remain intact as-is, that’s almost certainly not going to be the case. The high of The International is inevitably followed by the low of the season-ending roster shuffles and that is going to turn into a lot of heartache for players and fans alike.
TI6 runners-up Planet Odd (at the time, Digital Chaos) have already disbanded. Other high-end teams that fell short of an invitation to TI7 like Team Faceless, Mousesports and CompLexity Gaming could do the same. Teams that made their way to Seattle but fizzled like Cloud9, Fnatic and Hellraisers might not be far behind.
Of course, there’s more than a little bit of fun to be had from this. The original OG formed as a supergroup in the aftermath of TI5. Still, it’s anyone’s guess what Dota 2 will look like after the dust settles.
What Lies Ahead
As mentioned, Dota 2 has no real off-season. While TI7 is done, and while free agency looms, the 2017-2018 competitive season starts soon. As discussed by Team Secret’s Matt Bailey, things start back up in late September or early October, with three tournaments sporting a total $1.6 million on the line.
These events, hosted by Starladder, PGL and ESL, mark the beginning of a new season format that will see the competitive Dota 2 scene radically change. Instead of arbitrary invitations being used to determine invitations to huge Valve-sponsored events, TI8 invitations will be determined by teams acquiring points from approved “Major” or “Minor” tournaments. That will give fans a lot to watch, and will give players a whole lot of opportunities to take home cash.
Yes, with TI7 done, everyone in the Dota 2 community deserves a bit of rest. But keep frosty and try not to get a case of whiplash when things start back up this Autumn.