Screengrab via Valve (CC-BY)
TI6 will go down in history for being one of the most upset-filled tournaments in all of esports, with the final itself consisting of two of the biggest underdogs at the $20.7 million event. Both Wings and Digital Chaos’ run to the grand finals was incredible, yet completely opposite.
Wings, who were laughed straight out of the Manila Major in last place, showed little to no difficulty in completely dismantling their opponents throughout the upper bracket; thrashing teams like Digital Chaos, MVP Phoenix, and Evil Geniuses, before once again disposing of Digital Chaos in the grand finals.
The European-American roster, meanwhile, had to suffer their way through the lower bracket, making a tremendous run straight through five teams in their path to the grand final, resulting in Digital Chaos playing the most games throughout the entire tournament. Their run culminated in a victory against last year’s champions Evil Geniuses in the lower bracket finals.
Just one hour after defeating the TI5 champions, Digital Chaos entered the stage alongside Wings, to do battle for the grand total prize of $9.1 million dollars. The biggest prize pool in the history of esports was on the line, and no matter who won, the winner would be a gathering of misfits few experts or fans even considered contenders.
Already in the first game the two teams showed us that they had come prepared for their opponents, with niche picks in Pudge for Wings and a midlane Skywrath mage for Digital Chaos entering the field. The opponents fought constantly, but after neutralizing the threat of Wings’ Pudge, Digital Chaos rolled over their Chinese counterparts and secured the first game of the series.
This had also been the case in their previous encounter in the upper bracket. Wings’ Pudge pick had almost zero effect and saw the game eventually go to the Digital Chaos side. Aside from the games where it was obvious that Wings simply experimented with their drafts, no teams were able to withstand them, and this was what eventually happened in the grand finals.
No matter the draft, Wings seemed to always find a way to make it work. Through incredible itemization and movements in teamfights, the Chinese team took the fight to Digital Chaos. While the North American team didn’t simply roll over in the remaining games, they all seemed to eventually go the way of Wings. It was all over in game four.
Never before has the field been more evenly matched in Dota 2. Heading into the event, one could have easily made the case that Wings were destined to fall short of the grand finals. It would have been the reasonable call to make, given their lacklustre results in the past. But just like Wings own playstyle is seemingly shaped around breaking convention, so too did they shatter the perception surrounding them as they became the International 6 champions and took home a grand total of $9.1 million dollars.