The International Playoffs: Review & Highlights

Posted on October 25, 2022 - Last Updated on October 27, 2022
The International

We’re down to the final four games of the Dota 2 TI11 schedule. Four teams remain after the roller coaster double elimination bracket – Team Liquid, Team Aster, Tundra Esports, and Team Secret.

Liquid aside, the remaining have their sights set on a maiden TI title.

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PSG.LGD slump to their worst TI finish in six years

The upper bracket was a wild ride, the most unprecedented event being the elimination of PSG.LGD. Not long ago, they were Dota 2 TI11 favorites, given their near misses over the years and the caliber of their roster.

But it became evident during the group stage that LGD were not at their peak. They were consistently outperformed, and their third seed finish raised questions regarding their form. Their first opponent in the upper bracket was Team Secret, Group B’s second seed, and they were well and truly punished.

psg.lgd promoted to main event at ti11 dota 2 2022
Image Credit | PSG LGD

The first game was a 23-minute drubbing, the show stolen by Remco ‘Crystallis’ Aret and Michał ‘Nisha’ Jankowski. The pair inflicted 15 kills between them as well as collecting over 25k in gold, and dealing more than 30k damage to champions.PSG, now reeling, tried to pull the tide back in their favor but, despite drawing the game on for 50 minutes, were no match for Crystallis and Nisha once again.

Now unceremoniously knocked to the lower bracket, LGD didn’t have too much trouble shutting down Boom Esports 2-0. Beastcoast, however, turned out to be a much bigger challenge. After dropping the first game, LGD scrambled to take back their lead and close it out in the series decider. But that was as far as their frail legs would carry them. LGD could not get past Team Aster in round four of the lower bracket, and a 0-2 defeat saw them slump to their worst TI placement in six years.

Evil Geniuses fizzle out after dominating the round robin

Evil Geniuses, after an impressive round robin campaign where they finished as the Group A top seed, fizzled out in the most anticlimactic way after two successive playoffs defeats.

They were taken apart by Thunder Awaken 2-0 in the upper bracket, then met a similar fate against Beastcoast in the lower division. It was a disappointing end to what should have been a much more successful campaign.

Team Liquid battle their way through the lower bracket

Their North American rivals Team Liquid, however, have shown far more promise. After a shock at the upper bracket where they had the wind knocked out of them by Team Aster, they clawed their way back into contention, series by series, in the lower bracket. Beating Entity 2-1 got them breathing again, and the confidence booster set them up well against OG too.

Ludwig ‘zai’ Wåhlberg and Lasse ‘MATUMBAMAN’ Urpalainen took eight kills each, while Michael ‘miCKe’ Vu and Samuel ‘Boxi’ Svahn, not to be left behind, claimed seven apiece too. Their 32 total kills were a far cry from OG’s 11.

Liquid were just as impressive in the next game too, OG unable to find answers to their uber-aggression and the final score ending at 39-16. Their next opponents were the fan-favorites Thunder Awaken, who put up a hell of a fight before succumbing 2-1.

team-liquid-international
Image Credit | Valve

Thunder Awaken exceeds expectations

While we’re on the subject, let’s talk about just how good Awaken have been in the tournament. This is only their second ever appearance at Dota 2 TI 2022, and for a team with this little experience to finish within the top six is almost unheard of.

Their success is a testament to the growing emergence of South America in the Dota Circuit, and they’re going to be an exciting team to watch in coming editions of TI. Awaken started off the playoffs with a confident win over Evil Geniuses, but dropped to the lower bracket after a 0-2 loss to Team Secret before Liquid ended their campaign for good.

Dark horse Team Secret dominates, defeats LGD

Team Secret have been the most gratifying team to watch this tournament. They stumbled into the main event after a shaky start at the play-ins, but once they were through, they haven’t looked back. Secret have gone from strength to strength with commanding victories, and their trajectory from underdogs to genuine contenders has been one of the highlights of TI11.

After knocking LGD – the original TI11 favorites – down to the lower bracket 2-0, they meted out the same treatment against Thunder Awaken to book their place in the upper bracket final against Tundra Esports.

Tundra Esports rising steadily to the top

The rise of Tundra Esports was another twist that absolutely nobody saw coming. A 14-4 record saw them top their group and march into the playoffs. After sending the hapless OG down to the lower bracket after a 2-0 sweep in round one, they made quick work of Team Aster as well to advance to bracket finals.

This organization has only recently entered into the Dota circuit, playing their first competitive tournament in early 2021. They’ve been on a steady but distinct rise over the course of the year, and are playing their first ever edition of TI.

Image Credit | ESL

Team Aster are the next big thing on the Dota circuit from China

Aster have always struggled to break out of the shadow of their formidable rivals PSG LGD. There’s no disputing that they have the talent, but they’ve always let themselves down at crunch moments. Now, however, it seems that they’re ready for business. A confident start to the playoffs saw them displace Team Liquid to the lower bracket. But Tundra Esports then put them in a spot of trouble.

The two teams had already met in the final stages of the round robin stage, and their upper bracket fixture was a repeat of that result. Tundra were able to clear them out of the way with an effortless 2-0 win.

Aster weren’t done yet though, and they held their nerve when they came up against PSG LGD in the lower bracket. A series of hard-fought battles between the two Chinese teams ensued, Aster had it all figured out. The 18 kills shared between Du ‘Monet’ Peng and Zeng ‘Ori’ Jiaoyang set them up for a clinical victory in game one. Coincidentally, the pair managed the exact same figures in the second round too, with Ye ‘BoBoKa’ Zhibiao getting in on the action with five to his name as well.

That heartening victory should’ve put all nagging questions to rest. Their upcoming game against Liquid in round five of the lower bracket is effectively a quarterfinal, with the winner needing a consecutive victory in the bracket final to advance to the last stage.

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Nikhil Kalro

Nikhil has been writing on esports for several years after first covering competitive video gaming for ESPN. After its explosion into the mainstream, writing extensively on esports betting was the natural next step, including for major esports publications across the world.

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