Yesterday was the grand final of the 2018 Dota 2 International, the biggest esports tournament in the world, which had a prize pool this year of nearly $US25.5 million ($34.8 million). In an underdog story nobody thought possible, the $US11.2 million ($15.3 million) title was won by a scrappy team that only came together in June. And for the first time, one of the winners was Australian.
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OG might have been favourites heading into Valve's Dota 2 Major hosted in Kiev, but they certainly didn't look it by game five of the grand finals. Arguably the more talented team, and certainly the more experienced, it wasn't until a fateful team fight in the 39th minute of the final match that the European squad re-discovered their inner champions.
You see Australians take the world stage in video games all the time. We're a big force in Call of Duty. Two of the bigger teams in North American Counter-Strike are actually made up of Australians. And while Australia hasn't quite made it to the world stage in League of Legends -- the Wildcard tournament aside -- the local community is one of the strongest in the country.
But Dota 2 isn't. Despite having an exceptionally good track record in the first Dota and faded titles like Heroes of Newerth, Australia's presence is Dota 2 is very, very small. But one player has managed to breakout of the muck after he was picked up by one of the world's biggest teams.