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The Plays: Dota 2’s Greatest Hits

Throughout the history of Dota 2, there have been many great triumphs and devastating losses. But amidst the many years of history, there are a few moments that stand out from the rest. These are Dota 2’s greatest hits.

It’s a Disaster

It was The International 2015. The prize pool was $16.8 million, and the competitors were Evil Geniuses and CDEC. It was the fourth game of the grand finals, with the score favoring EG at 2-1. If CDEC could win this game, they would have a shot at the Aegis. Otherwise, they were going home empty-handed. Luckily for them, it looked like they could win it. After taking down EG’s Syed Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan, CDEC moved in on Roshan. With EG down a player, it was unlikely they could contest it- until they did.

Peter “ppd” Dager, on Ancient Apparition, hit the pit with an Ice Vortex/Ice Blast combo. With CDEC so closely grouped, they all got hit. Chen “Xz” Zezhi died instantly, and the rest were set up for what came next. Saahil “Universe” Arora, on Earthshaker, hit CDEC with his Echo Slam, shattering their lead and three more of their players. In the iconic words of Toby “Tobiwan” Dawson: “It’s a disaster!” While Sun “Agressif” Zheng may have escaped the slam, he alone was not enough to save CDEC’s lead. Evil Geniuses took game four and with it the Aegis.

[Related: What Makes Dota 2 So Successful]

Fountain Hook

Two years earlier, at The International 2013, two players from Natus Vincere pulled off an unlikely and controversial comeback. In the upper bracket Semi-Finals, Na’Vi faced off against Tongfu, and after two games the score was tied 1-1. The third game would be the one to decide the winner, so Na’Vi looked to end it early. They picked Pudge and Chen, hoping to crush Tongfu early and run away with the game. Instead, the opposite happened. Tongfu came out of the gate swinging, winning fight after fight and crushing Na’Vi’s hopes for victory.

Except two players from Na’Vi decided to try something unorthodox. Danil “Dendi” Ishutin and Clement “Puppey” Ivanov had originally picked Pudge and Chen respectively to secure an early lead. However, there was another use for their heroes. At that time, Chen could teleport allied heroes, and Puppey used this ability to bring Dendi to his team’s fountain. Dendi would wait until the teleport had almost completed, and then hook one of Tongfu’s players. The resulting interaction pulled the unlucky player all the way to Na’Vi’s fountain, spelling certain death for them. This was the Fountain Hook, and it was what Na’Vi rode to victory over Tongfu. With Dendi constantly poaching their best heroes, Tongfu quickly lost their lead, and Na’Vi took game 3.

Not everyone was happy with this outcome, of course. Fans are still divided to this day on whether the Fountain Hook counts as bug abuse or not. To their credit, Tongfu took it well. They accepted their loss and their place in one of the most memorable moments in Dota history.

The Play

Of course, when Dota 2’s greatest hits, “The Play” inevitably comes up. It is arguably the greatest of all Dota plays, as shown by its lofty title. It again involves Na’Vi, this time against Invictus Gaming at The International 2. At 17 minutes, Na’Vi had a moderate lead and were all pushing down bot lane together. Invictus sought to use this as an opportunity to make a comeback.

They all wrapped around behind Na’Vi to ambush them, coming up from the river while under Smoke of Deceit. Chen “Zhou” Yao lead the charge as Naga Siren, using his ultimate to put all of Na’Vi’s heroes to sleep. Invictus moved in, grouping up to pounce on Na’Vi the moment they woke up. Jiang “YYF” Cen then used his Vacuum to bunch up Na’Vi’s heroes, leading Invictus to tightly gather around them. This was the fatal mistake.

A split second after the sleep ended, Zhen “Faith” Hongda, as Tidehunter, used his ultimate on Na’Vi. But that split second was all they needed to turn things around. In that split second, three things happened.  Dmitriy “LightofHeaveN” Kupriyanov, as Enigma, used his Black King Bar to make himself spell immune just before the Ravage. At that same moment, Oleksandr “XBOCT” Dashkevych, as Juggernaut, used his Blade Fury, making himself spell immune as well. Thirdly, Dendi used his Force Staff to toss himself out of the fight, avoiding the Ravage entirely. 

While Invictus were still grouped up, LightofHeaveN used his ultimate to capture four of them and hold them in place. XBOCT cut into them with his Blade Fury, and Dendi came back to finish the fight. He was playing Rubick and used his Spell Steal to steal Faith’s Ravage, turning it right back on Invictus. Just like that, four out of Invictus’s five players were dead, and the last was on the run. From the moment Zhou used his ultimate to the moment Na’Vi finished off Invictus’s fleeing player, only 19 seconds had passed.

Dota history has no shortage of incredible moments, and these were just a few of the most well-known. While moments such as these may be in the past, there are likely many more to come in the future.

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