T1, South East Asia’s strongest and one of the world’s top five current Dota teams, won the ESL One Summer 2021 against Virtus.pro in a five-game nail-biter.
Just when Dota fans thought the best of Dota 2 was over with, the WePlay AniMajor, ESL One Summer 2021, proved everyone wrong. This five-day, non-DPC tournament with a $400,000 prize pool made an otherwise boring week a heart-pounder.
The first game went evenly enough as T1 played for the late game. Patience in the late game from “23savage” on his PA along with saves from “Xepher” on the Winter Wyvern won T1 some clutch skirmishes. At one point in the game, T1 traded two of its heroes for seven of VP’s near the rosh-pit in an elongated fight before eventually winning the game.
Game 2 and 3 were a complete sweep from Virtus.pro. “gpk” and “Nightfall” (a.k.a “epileptick1d”) performed beyond amazingly in both the games. First, VP butchered T1 and then bulldozed its remains. Clinically executed plays from the Kingslayer, DM and Save meant their carries could roam the map, wreaking havoc as they marched towards T1’s Ancient.
But T1 managed to stay afloat in the series with Kuku’s amazing plays on Axe with some hilariously well-executed team fights by Xepher’s Aghs-buffed Nyx Assassin in Game 4. Both players managed to stave off VP’s continuous attempts to take a winning team fight, giving enough space for 23savage and Karl to come online with full force. After an anxiety-inducing base push, T1 somehow finally managed to snatch a victory from VP to draw the series 2-2.
Game 5 of the Grand Final had more back and forth than a sine wave. Xepeher’s Nyx Assassin made the game more entertaining than you can imagine. Virtus.pro had a great start to the final match of the ESL One Summer 2021, with gpk netting a bunch of kills and assists, while Kuku’s Broodmother pick was not looking so hot. VP pushed its advantage, over-extending at times but eventually gained the advantage after the 20-minute mark. Or so you would think looking at the networth charts.
VP was losing the war of attrition. Kuku’s Broodmother was all over the map for every team fight, forcing VP to rethink its aggression multiple times. Xepher picked up a 24-minute Agahnim’s Scepter on the Nyx Assassin and things went downhill for VP.
Backed by Brood’s Mek, Whitemon’s Holy Locket buffed Shadow Word and his own Aghs heal regen bonus, Xepher was simply not dying in any fight. He constantly landed two-man stuns for perfect team fight setups, extending the fights long enough to nullify any advantage that VP came to a fight with.
VP eventually lost the war of attrition and the series. The competitors secured a second-place finish with $85,000 in their banks, while T1 won the last tournament before The International with a sweet $175,000 prize. In the winner’s interview, 23savage pointed out his dislike for Winter Wyvern, as he talked about how T1 went into the game not expecting to win but just to enjoy some Dota. “We somehow won,” he said.
In the end, the last tournament before The International was a delight to watch. I highly recommend watching T1 and VP’s matches throughout the tournament. Both the young squads looked like they were enjoying themselves while styling on their opponents. Both teams had their fair shares of amazing plays and hilarious mishaps, clinically executed team fights right beside terrible ones. Their matches were a riot.
Although both the AniMajor and the ESL One Summer were played on the 7.29d patch, T1 and VP managed to rewrite the meta just a little, making their games an unexpectedly wild ride. Coupled with both the young squad energy, their webcam glimpses were a treat to watch. Here’s T1’s celebration for instance:
Both these teams are also going to The International 10 in Stockholm. The final six spots for TI10 will be decided in the last weeks of June and the first week of July in the regional Open Qualifiers. Stay tuned for more Dota in the coming weeks.