by Staff Writer in
eSports Betting News

At The International 2023, Dota 2’s most formidable forces collided in an epic showdown, as Team Spirit utterly dominated Gaimin Gladiators in a one-sided grand final, securing a 3-0 sweep.

This commanding victory not only denied Gaimin Gladiators their dream of a perfect season but also elevated Team Spirit to a unique position as only the second team in history to clinch two TI titles.

While Team Spirit faced a sluggish start to the year, they progressively molded themselves into championship contenders with significant victories at Riyadh Masters 2023 and DreamHack DreamLeague Season 21.

They carried this momentum into The International 2023, where they nearly swept through the tournament undefeated.

Throughout their time in Seattle, they dropped only two games, with one loss each to and Team Liquid.

This impressive record of 19-2 secured them a 90.5 percent win rate for TI12, surpassing the previous TI winners and setting a new record.

In the grand finals, Team Spirit set the tone even before the draft began, as Illya “Yatoro” Mulyarchuk made a bold sacrifice by shaving his head, a move believed to invoke a “bald buff.”

This superstitious act seemed to work wonders as Yatoro’s exceptional performance on Weaver in the first game propelled Spirit to a resounding victory.

The second game was closely contested, but Yatoro’s Faceless Void, a hero rarely seen throughout TI12, unleashed his full potential, including multiple Chronosphere lockdowns and a Rampage, solidifying his status as the only player to achieve more than one Rampage during a TI Main Event.

In the third game, Gaimin Gladiators initially appeared to have the upper hand with Quinn “Quinn” Callahan’s Pangolier and Marcus “Ace” Hoelgaard’s Brewmaster.

However, Team Spirit defied the odds, with Yatoro’s refusal to accept defeat and Magomed “Collapse” Khalilov’s game-changing Spirit Breaker leading to a dramatic turnaround.

In the blink of an eye, Team Spirit launched a relentless series of aggressive pushes and picks that secured their TI victory.

With this triumph, Team Spirit joined the exclusive ranks of Dota 2 organizations that have won a second Aegis, following in the footsteps of OG.

Yatoro, Collapse, Myroslav “Mira” Kolpakov, and Yaroslav “Misposhka” Naidenov also cemented their legacy as the only players to secure a second TI victory, with Denis “Larl” Sigitov as the newcomer, who wasn’t involved in their first win at TI10.

Despite their TI12 victory, Team Spirit’s prize money of US$1,414,763 was notably lower than their record-breaking earnings of US$18.2 million at TI10.

This reflects the changing financial landscape in the esports world, as their winnings were partially offset by a US$5 million victory at Riyadh Masters.

Gaimin Gladiators’ loss perpetuated the so-called “TI curse”, as no team has ever won a DPC Major and then gone on to win TI.

Their defeat marked their first finals loss of the year, securing them second place and US$377,214 in prize money.

They now face a period of reflection and preparation for the 2024 season, which will not feature a Dota Pro Circuit.

While Team Spirit’s victory was a momentous achievement, TI12 was not without its concerns.

The prize pool for the event stagnated at US$3,143,593, raising questions about the declining enthusiasm for Dota 2.

Valve’s controversial changes to the TI12 Compendium, which excluded cosmetic items, contributed to a drop in community contributions, potentially signaling a waning interest in the game.

As the professional Dota 2 scene faces shifting dynamics and diminishing prize pools, there is growing uncertainty about its future.

While third-party circuits are set to return in 2024, the persistent financial decline casts a shadow over the professional Dota 2 community, leaving stakeholders and fans alike to contemplate what lies ahead.

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