The DOTA 2 International 2016 Group Stage has seen some huge, game-turning plays and amazing comebacks, but one of the most discussed moments was more unconventional. It wasn't a huge play like the now iconic Six Million Dollar Echo Slam. It wasn't a gank. It didn't even involve any fighting. It involved a Gem, a Blink Dagger and probably some intense humming of the Mission Impossible theme.
Video via Dota 2 Bridge
On Day One of the Group Stage on Thursday, reigning Frankfurt and Manilla Major champions OG were leading 1-0 against fellow European team Alliance. OG's lineup in Game Two included Cr1t- as Riki, a character who could go invisible, and Miracle- as Tiny, who had purchased an item that also let him go invisible. Alliance had s4 playing as Mirana, a character whose ultimate ability let her and her entire team go invisible as well. The abundance of invisibility meant that players could pass each other like ships in the night, rather than stabbing each other like proper heroes.
This made the Gem of True Sight an important item in this game. For those uninitiated in the ways of DOTA, the Gem allows its holder to see any invisible units within a radius around them, like Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense. However, if its holder is killed the Gem is dropped, and anyone can pick it up and use it - even enemy players. The Gem is a hotly contested item, as once anybody on your team buys it there is a 10 minute cooldown before your team can purchase another. So, if you manage to grab a Gem from the enemy team, it's common practice to leave it safely inside your base.
At around 27 minutes into the second game, OG's n0tail, playing as Naga Siren, purchased a Gem. Then, in turn of events worthy of a Loony Tunes cartoon, he died within a minute and immediately dropped it. Though teammate Cr1t- tried to secure it, Alliance's AdmiralBulldog was holding a second Gem of his own, rendering Cr1t-'s invisibility useless and enabling Alliance to violently shove him off this mortal coil too. Alliance took OG's Gem and sent it to their own base for safekeeping, putting Alliance in possession of two Gems while OG was unable to purchase another for nine more minutes.
This is when OG's Moon decided to pull a one-man Ocean's Eleven. He was playing Axe, a big red melee tank not known for his subtlety. (The fact that he is named 'Axe' and carries a giant axe tells you everything you need to know.) However, nearing 31 minutes into the game, Moon hid in the trees near Alliance's base while Alliance was elsewhere, then used a Blink Dagger to teleport sneakily forward blink by blink into the trees inside the base. When finally close enough, he grabbed a Smoke of Deceit from the enemy shop to render himself invisible, blinked right into the enemy Fountain, snatched the Gem from its steps and used a Town Portal Scroll to teleport back home with the loot, pinging excitedly all the way.
This was an incredibly ballsy move by Moon, particularly as he didn't know where all the enemy heroes were. Had any of them stumbled across him, it would have broken his invisibility and the Fountain would have immediately attacked, guaranteeing Moon's death. OG went on to win the match, and are in the lead at 11 wins to three losses going into the Main Stage. Alliance is third at eight wins and six losses.
Video via NoobFromUA
Back in 2014, then-C9 player Aui_2000 died in a similar play with a Bounty Hunter, stealing the enemy Tinker's items from under his nose and effectively winning Aui_2000's team the game. (Funnily, Xcalibur, the Tinker from whom Aui_2000 stole the items, joined OG as a substitute this March.) Though the items Aui_2000 snatched were worth considerably more gold than a Gem, his play took place in a casual game, while Moon pulled it off during the biggest DOTA 2 tournament in the world - and escaped with his life. If these are the kind of plays we're seeing in the Group Stage, I can't wait to see what players are going to be trying on the Main Stage.
The DOTA 2 International's Main Stage will begin Tuesday August 9 at 3:00AM AEST.