We all start to feel a little nostalgic as the year comes to a close, and let’s face it 2016 hasn’t been the greatest for the planet. But for esports fans it’s been perhaps the best yet with the industry growing exponentially, more fans, teams and matches than ever before and certainly a moment or five of exceptional competition.
So we celebrate the year that was by looking back at the very best esports moments of 2016, and in this we look at the most exciting moments from Dota 2.
Wings Gaming’s Comeback (And Victory)
As you might expect from the biggest Dota 2 event of the year, 2016’s The International was home to some of the best competition between the world’s biggest teams – and as a result there were some incredible moments to choose from.
Our first is for Wings Gaming’s comeback victory against Digital Chaos, a game whose narrative was as compelling as the play itself.
DC – as a team – shouldn’t really have found itself in the grand finals of The International, with the surprise underdog taking on all comers to find themselves in the running for a huge chunk of TI’s $20 million.
With Wings already two games ahead, DC found itself on the back foot. It needed to pull together to still stay in the running and, well, for the majority of the fourth game it looked like that would be the case.
With a healthy lead, DC could well have managed to pull it back to 2-2, but then this series of strong team fights from Wings helped the team claw back its advantage, never really giving the underdogs a chance to recoup and recovery, chipping away at their base and utilising a good bit of RNG to force DC onto the defensive and – ultimately – come out as victor’s of this year’s The International.
Sccc’s Invoker Play
This one comes via the Autumn League MarsTV showdown between Newbee and Evil Geniuses, the pair of who faced each other twice during the tournament.
The match itself wasn’t the most exciting with Newbee grabbing a strong lead and leveraging that to keep EG at bay as they hung around outside their base.
What impressed was Sccc’s play with Invoker, who took on EG attackers time and time again and strengthened that lead even more.
It wasn’t just that, but the skill that Sccc managed to display with Invoker, predicting opposing abilities and playing them negatively by smart positioning and smooth skill use. It was ultimately embarrassing for EG, who looked unorganised and flawed as a result.
Back to The International with this one, and another narrative to tell as Fnatic battled one of the best Dota 2 teams of the year, Team Liquid.
Fnatic has long been a team that works best when it’s up against it, and no more clear was this seen during this match with one teamfight in particular showing Fnatic at a level that we don’t often get to see.
This fight – which you can see in the clip above – begins with Liquid ahead, rotating around with smoke looking for a fight after a very successful teamfight for Fnatic. Liquid is the first to engage, but Fnatic are quick to counter, decimating the assault and turning the tables of the match quite considerably.
It was at this midpoint that Fnatic manages to build a little more success, and while Liquid continued to keep them at bay for the remainder of the match – never dropping below Fnatic in the gold advantage – but the final minutes from Fnatic really managed to bring them to the forefront of the game, making a mess of Liquid’s defense with considerable ease.
Dota 2 Shanghai
Shanghai perhaps wasn’t the most exciting tournament of 2016, but there were some great pieces of Dota 2 to be spotted.
The Score Esports has compiled some of the best moments from Shanghai, but our favourite is the Invoker play from W33 who proved what it means to play Invoker.
He’s mostly just showing off as he evades practically everything, dealing heavy damage with little assistance from anyone else.
This follows a good two minutes of 1v4 play from W33, who held the defence off long enough to allow Team Secret’s minions to batter the Ancient and achieve that win.
OG’s Clean Sheet
OG is definitely one of the team’s of the last year, coming in as a relative unknown before going on to take control of practically every game it played in, even making history as becoming the first team to have won two Valve Majors.
The team has had a number of outstanding moments over the 2016, but perhaps the biggest example of its dominance of Dota 2 – despite its lacklustre results in The International – is the 24-0 stomping against MVP making history once more with the biggest shutout in competitive Dota 2 history.
Sure, such a match doesn’t have the exciting moments that a tense, close match between two sides might, but there’s a thrill in seeing a team systematically pull apart another.
MVP must’ve been disheartened by such a beating, but for the viewers it was definitely one of the biggest moments of Dota 2 in 2016.