The American pro Dota 2 team Evil Geniuses won the game's biggest eSports event ever this past weekend, taking home a cool $US6.6 million as a reward. What's really cool about their victory is how, specifically, they accomplished it. It all came down to one awesome and highly improbable play.
You can watch the pivotal moment, which has been spreading rapidly across YouTube, Twitter, and pretty much any other place that gamers like to hang out over the past two days, in the short clip below. If you don't know much about Dota 2, it will probably look very chaotic and confusing, but don't worry -- stick around and I'll do my best to explain what went down.
OK. So, what did we just see? IGN has a great play-by-play breakdown of the so-called "$US6 million dollar echo slam" that you should check out if you want to know all of the specifics, but I'll give a condensed version.
There's a big and difficult-to-kill NPC monster on the Dota 2 map named Roshan who hangs out at a specific location that is aptly named "Roshan's Pit." Just like the dragon in League of Legends (Roshan is also a dragon), this is a beast that a five-person team tries to kill in-game in order to reap a significant experience and gold reward -- making their heroes ever more powerful for the final push (or pushes) against the enemy team.
There's an important qualifier to killing the dragon, though. Since Roshan is so powerful, you normally need an entire team to gang up on the beast at once. This leaves a team at risk of being ambushed mid-fight. Because of this, a tactful team will normally wait until they can pick off one or more of their opponents -- leaving the enemy team outgunned and therefore less able to successfully fight for a lucrative dragon kill.
The Chinese Dota 2 team CDEC, Evil Geniuses' opponents in this grand finals match, had managed to pick off one EG player and therefore decided it was a good time to go for Roshan. Here you can see them gathering around the pit to attack the dragon:
Even the commentators in the match thought that, at the very best, EG might have had a chance to hold CDEC off from landing a killing blow until their ally respawned and they could actually stand a fighting chance to defeat their opponents. Instead, the four-man EG army rushed valiantly in and destroyed CDEC, leaving only one player alive and taking the dragon for themselves:
How did they get from point A to point GG? There were a number of decisive factors at play in EG's triumphant move. But what it really came down to was a spectacular use of one specific hero's attack.
The big burly character named Earthshaker (seen above in the lead image) has a moved called "Echo Slam" that, as the name implies, slams the ground and deals loads of damage to any enemy caught within its immediate radius. What's more, the damage of Echo Slam amplifies with every additional enemy hero struck by it, meaning a team of five will each receive a lot more damage than they would if only one or two of them was struck.
EG's Earthshaker strode in and deployed Echo Slam at just the right moment, when the entire enemy team felt its impact. See how he blinks into the center of the fray and then immediately triggers the move:
Thanks to a bunch of other abilities cast around the same time window, the CDEC players are all left reeling from a ton of simultaneous damage, stun, and other assorted magical effects. Only one player managed to escape with his life.
EG was already ahead in the game, but what made this play particularly impressive is the fact that it's exceedingly difficult to nail an Echo Slam like this at high-level play. Normally, players of CDEC's calibre have masterful enough positioning and timing to avoid all being caught in its deadly path. After wiping out 4 players in one go, there wasn't any contest left.
The "$US6 million echo slam" began to take off once Dota 2 fans witnessed it over the weekend.
The biggest echo slam EVER #TI5
— Daniel Tack (@dantack) August 9, 2015
— Mary Kish (@MerryKish) August 11, 2015
— Evil Geniuses (@EvilGeniuses) August 10, 2015
GG, Evil Geniuses. That one's definitely going on the fridge.