After one of the most intense and captivating tournaments in Dota 2 history, the team that finished equal last in the previous Major came from a game down in the finals of this year's International to win the biggest prize pool in the history of video games.
The first three games of The International -- Valve's annual festival for professional Dota 2 -- were tight affairs, but in the fourth set China's Wings Gaming wrote themselves into the history books by trouncing Digital Chaos (DC) to collect a pay cheque just shy of $12 million ($US9,139,002). It's an effort all the more impressive for the fact that Wings was knocked out in the first round at the Manila Dota 2 Major only two months ago.
Fans had already been treated to some stellar matches, but there was added spice in the finals with Wings and Digital Chaos. The two teams met in the first round of the upper bracket, with Wings sending DC packing 2-1. DC then battled their way through the entirety of the lower bracket, knocking out the fans and bookies' favourites along the way.
That momentum carried through to the first match. Wings built a team around Silencer, Pudge, Slardar, Storm Spirit and Io, and despite dropping the first kill they began to gain a foothold in the game with some adept teamwork and swift rotations. (The match starts after 1:20:00, but you can rewind to just before that if you want to catch the pre-game discussion.)
The match was fairly even until the 22nd minute, when Wings made an ill-fated attempt at attacking Roshan. They quickly lost two heroes for their trouble, and the three remaining players were caught stranded shortly thereafter.
It turned the course of the match, and it would prove to be the only major misstep Wings would make for the rest of the series. Wings would continually eek out a small advantage at the beginning of the match, only to continually press that home. DC would occasionally get a couple of kills or look like they were capable of recovering, but the damage incurred was often too great.
The entire series was a fantastic back and forth, which is apt considering the amount of money that was on the line. DC didn't do too badly out of the tournament though -- they walked home with just over $4.47 million, adding to the almost $60,000 they picked up from the Manila Major in June.