The Best Plays From Team Spirit’s TI10 Run

With The International 10 crowning Team Spirit as the greatest Dota 2 team in the world, it’s yet another underdog story that follows the likes of Team Liquid’s TI7 lower bracket run and OG’s miracle TI8 run. The team composed of Yatoro, TORONTOTOKYO, Collapse, Mira, and Miposhka were barely on the radar of most fans yet made an incredible comeback after getting knocked down to the lower bracket. There were plenty of incredible moments from Team Spirit throughout their week at Romania including Collapse’s clutch Magnus plays, TORONTOTOKYO all chatting “ez game”, their humble beginnings in a room without toilet paper, and Yatoro’s enormous hero pool. The first International for every member except Miposhka, the Russian squad showed incredible resilience and teamwork on the main stage and have cemented themselves as one of the greatest Cinderella stories in Dota 2 history. Dominating team after team, Spirit’s unbelievable run gave way to these incredible plays on their way to secure the Aegis of Champions and the $18 million grand prize.

1. Collapse’s Magnus Horn Toss + Skewer Combo

Collapse’s Magnus was absolutely the story of TI10 as countless teams fell to the stunning combo of Horn Toss together with Skewer. Collapse’s Magnus was a critical component of Team Spirit’s drafts and he often favored tempo builds like Mekansm and Aether Lens over the traditional build with Helm of the Dominator. As seen countless times on the main stage, Collapse was able to reposition enemy cores into his team without risking his own death and effectively allowing them to take what would’ve been a disadvantageous fight otherwise.

The biggest play from Collapse was during their BO3 against OG when he caught out Sumail’s Tiny and skewered him all the way into Team Spirit’s fountain. The highest level of Dota was on full display here from the freshly placed sentry ward catching a glimpse of Sumail under Silver Edge to Collapse’s patient Horn Toss + Skewer to the control from Winter Wyvern to Sumail’s lightning-fast reflexes to buy a Ghost Scepter and swap it in while being stunned. Nevertheless, this was all the Collapse show as the flashy play allowed Team Spirit to turn the game around and gain momentum in the series.

Collapse’s Horn Toss + Skewer play happened several more times throughout this game and I wouldn’t be surprised if OG have nightmares about it. Team Spirit is always perfectly in sync and the incredible teleport bait from Yatoro while they’re smoked to instantly force Sumail and Ceb to move is just the perfect way to top off another Collapse combo. There were more than a few games where Team Spirit was able to regain their momentum off the back of Collapse’s Magnus and there’s no doubt that he was the MVP of the tournament. Beyond the incredible plays, Collapse forced teams to pick their poison as his Mars (6w-2L when Collapse plays it versus 7W-28L from other TI players) needed to be first phase banned every game. Collapse’s Magnus will go down in history like S4’s Dream Coil or Universe’s Echo Slam but he did these insane plays every time the enemy team let Magnus through. Even PSG.LGD’s unbeatable Tiny and Lycan combo in game 5 of the grand finals proved to be no match for Team Spirit’s tempo control and Collapse’s Magnus plays.

2. TORONTOTOKYO’s High Ground Gambit

If you watched this clip without context, you’d probably be unimpressed. After all, it looks like TORONTOTOKYO throwing away his life for an Aegis kill that resulted in Team Spirit’s rax being taken. They managed to eventually take the game but despite what you might think, TORONTOTOKYO forcing a fight there was crucial to turning the game back in their favor. For full context, Team Spirit has a net worth lead of around 13k at this point in the game having secured an early advantage and taking the top rax of Virtus Pro. However, with Virtus Pro taking an Aegis on Nightfall’s Luna, Team Spirit is forced to take a fight at their base which would likely result in at least two lanes of rax if not the entire game. 

At this point, TORONTOTOKYO makes a decision to stand on his high ground with Silver Edge on Lina to try and get rid of the Aegis. However, he has no buyback for the upcoming fight and in every conceivable way, this play is a bad one as he trades his life for a mere Aegis. It’s essentially a gambit on TORONTOTOKYO’s part to bait Virtus Pro into thinking that he has buyback with how confidently he’s playing. Imagine that. Millions of dollars on the line with a potential top 4 finish at TI and he makes a play that most veterans wouldn’t even risk in their pubs. It’s such a high-stakes gamble and if Virtus Pro call you out on your bluff, you might effectively lose your team TI. The sheer audacity of TORONTOTOKYO making that gambit was enough to scare Virtus Pro into backing off immediately after the fight breaks out and play defensively once Lina’s respawn timer comes to a close. 

The other brilliant part of this play was that TORONTOTOKYO perfectly positioned himself in the jungle to minimize the potential objectives Virtus Pro could take once they killed him. With zero help from his teammates apart from the Global Silence to cancel the Fiend’s Grip, you can see that his team is only going to smoke and run in if he manages to take Luna’s first life. With Collapse running in and dooming Luna on her second life, you can see how terrified Virtus Pro are of a buyback as they immediately retreat onto their high ground to try and keep Nightfall alive. Either way, TORONTOTOKYO knows he doesn’t have buyback and forcing Virtus Pro to retreat into their side of the map while he respawns minimizes the damage to a single lane of rax. You can see how hesitant they are walking high ground initially because there’s no way this Lina just did that without buyback right? It’s mind-boggling how reckless this is but with Team Spirit’s backs against the wall, this was the play that completely saved their lower bracket run. 

3. Miposhka’s Perfect Lion Stun

Position 5 Dota players are often the most underappreciated on the big stage because their plays aren’t going to be super flashy. However, Team Spirit’s Miposhka proved that being reliable with warding and positioning is more than enough to help secure a TI. A lot of casters talked about Miposhka’s brilliant vision game and warding but they almost always missed his perfect positioning in a teamfight. 
In their series against Team Secret, Miposhka landed a frame perfect, full-range Lion stun on Matumbaman’s Juggernaut coming out of Omnislash. Nobody on the English cast even noticed it because it was such a small play in the grand scheme of the teamfight but it meant that Juggernaut couldn’t get his spin off. The literal millisecond Juggernaut finishes his last Omnislash, Miposhka is there to ensure he’s controlled. It reminded me of Sumail’s incredible Mirana arrow against EHOME’s Juggernaut at TI6. Although Miposhka didn’t get to play Lion that much during TI10 since Mira played it as well, he was an absolute beast with his control and positioning whenever he got the chance. The observers didn’t even catch a glimpse of the Lion because he was so far away ground casting the stun. 

4. Yatoro’s Three Rampages on the Main Stage

Before TI10, there were only five players to ever get a rampage on the main stage and Yatoro managed to do it three times in a single TI. That’s an impressive feat for any core player and the fact that he did it on three different heroes is absolutely insane. During the main event, Yatoro played so many different heroes across multiple series that production literally ran out of space in their infographic (He ended TI10 with 14 heroes across 20 games with a later Naga pick).  

Of the three rampages, Yatoro’s Morphling in the first game on the main stage of TI10 against IG was the definitive moment for the Team Spirit squad. They were heavily behind an IG team that was running them dogged with Leshrac, IO, and Monkey King giving them constant pickoff potential. Yatoro was forced to buyback but instead of playing it safe, immediately finished his Skadi and found a timely double damage rune in the river. Team Spirit took a risky fight with a 5-man smoke but it succeeded as Yatoro got a rampage and they instantly ended the game. Their refusal to back down in nerve-wracking circumstances and playing to win was the story of their TI10 run. For a kid who’s only 18 years old at his first International, Yatoro looked absolutely in his element. This was the moment when everyone started looking at Team Spirit as a real dark horse contender. 

5. Team Spirit Dodging Smoke Ganks

One of the most impressive things about Team Spirit was their ability to read map movements perfectly and predict smoke ganks from the opposing team. There were countless times where Yatoro in particular would dodge smokes so well it seemed like he had map hacks on. The amount of times that Team Spirit was able to avoid key teamfights from enemies meant that they had freedom to choose when they wanted to engage. 

This smoke gank dodge in the early stages of the grand finals against PSG.LGD was crucial in securing their late game potential. As you can see, PSG.LGD purposely smoke XinQ, NothingToSay, and y’ to ensure more farm on Ame and hopefully connect with Faith_Bian pushing out a lane. With the limited vision on the side of Team Spirit and the understanding that Terrorblade will likely put off Sunder given how far behind he is, they attempt to find him. The instant read from Yatoro and Collapse teleporting away is incredible and although the players can’t see it, the audience knows how close it was to a pickoff. 

It’s these early map reads that give Team Spirit enough time to make their Terrorblade an actual threat in the later stages of the game. If Yatoro is caught out during early rotations, the disastrous fight that PSG.LGD take at minute 19 could turn out very differently and change the outcome of the game. Of course, this wasn’t the only time that Team Spirit was able to predict enemy movements perfectly. Yatoro in particular had an unparalleled game sense that allowed him to push his farming capabilities to the max even when Team Spirit was in dire straits.  

6. TORONTOTOKYO’s Great Escape

This escape on TORONTOTOKYO’s Leshrac was absolutely crazy with how well he used his spells, items, and neutral items to stay alive just long enough for Miposhka to get him out. The immediate reaction from Miposhka relocating in with Collapse and Mira’s Shadow Shaman trying to be distracting shows how much trust Team Spirit have in one another to escape unwinnable situations. There’s no doubt that TORONTOTOKYO is in a bad position and a lot of teams might just let him die in that scenario but Team Spirit understand that saving their mid would be worth the potential tradeoff of supports. So long as Collapse doesn’t die (and he won’t because he’s a Tidehunter), this is a risky but insanely valuable play for their next defense. If TORONTOTOKYO dies, then Team Spirit are in big trouble but this kind of risk is exactly how the team was playing to win during the entirety of TI10. 

7. Mira’s 4-Man Scatterblast 

Mira might not be as flashy as some of the 4 players at TI10 but he was absolutely clutch in moments when Team Spirit needed him. During the third game in their Virtus Pro series, Mira’s Blink Dagger on Snapfire proved to be incredible for his positioning as he secured a 4-man Scatterblast with Virtus Pro retreating. The slows set up a massive Tiny stun and toss combo from Yatoro and with no buyback on Invoker or Bane, secured them a victory in the series. This play shows how coordinated Team Spirit are in teamfights and how they’re always ready to pounce at the first sign of weakness. You can see the moment where both teams seemed ready to back off temporarily before Mira makes the call and Yatoro instinctively turns around to follow-up his support. The incredible team chemistry on display from Team Spirit was beautiful to watch and there was never a moment of hesitation once they committed. 

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I turned my incoherent ramblings on music, anime, and video games into an entire blog.

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