After years of trying, it looks like T1 have finally gained some foothold in the Dota 2 scene with their current roster. In an intense best-of-five series that went all the way this morning, T1 defeated Virtus.pro to become the Champions of ESL One Summer 2021. Even though a number of notable teams were missing from the event, T1 did beat some of the strongest squads in the region to reach the grand finals. In fact, they 2-0'd every opponent except Virtus.pro who were also in dominant form.
T1 defeated Vikin.gg, Quincy Crew, and Alliance at the event, and only lost a series to Virtus.pro in the upper bracket final (1-2). They managed to get their revenge in the grand final by beating them in a close 3-2 series. Here's how it went down.
T1 showed off their team fighting skills and discipline against the strong mid-game lineup of VP, clawing their way back to victory on the shoulders of 23savage - if you need a masterclass on how to play Phantom Assassin, look no further. Xepher's clutch Cold Embraces and Winter's Curse casts also showed us why Winter Wyvern has been first pick material this tournament. Expect a nerf to the hero, and Holy Locket soon.
A massive stomp by VP in this game - T1 never had a chance. Their Juggernaut, Lina and Centaur core lineup was too fast-paced for the SEA squad to handle, T1's greedier cores lost the lanes and the game without ever coming online. T1 tried putting up a worthy defence, but in the end, it didn't even matter.
This game felt like a repeat of the previous one. T1's Spectre and Leshrac duo could do nothing against VP's tanky cores Faceless Void and Death Prophet that ran all over them. T1 looked extremely lost this game, even Nyx Assassin with Aghanim's Scepter wasn't enough to save them. VP lead the series 2-1.
We finally see Winter Wyvern being banned this series, leading to some fresh picks for both teams. VP brought out Disruptor and Abaddon, while T1 grabbed Warlock, Axe and Lifestealer. The game was relatively even until about 30 minutes when Kuku popped off with his Axe, and T1 decimated VP in a huge team fight, leading to gpk 'dying back' on his Lina. It was only a matter of T1 closing out the game after that, turning the series into a 2-2 draw.
While VP got 'brooded' in the draft by T1, it wasn't a huge deal during the game. In fact, VP managed to remain in the lead for most of the first 30 minutes. However, unlike other Broodmother players who usually play by taking up their opponents' resources and forcing rotations, Kuku utilized Broodmother differently by joining his teammates in skirmishes and focusing on VP's squishy supports (Lion and Oracle). This enabled the rest of his team to wreak havoc on the remaining cores. Props to 23savage for his expertly placed Chronospheres that allowed them to win fights in dominant fashion. Props to Xepher's superb 'AFK' performance on his Nyx Assassin with Aghanim's Scepter for controlling VP in team fights like puppets. T1 win their first big tournament and look in good shape for the upcoming International.
From being lost after Geek Fam Dota 2 disbanded (RIP), to reuniting at T1, it's nice to see Kuku, Xepher, Whitemon and Karl doing well in their new home. Since adding 23savage to the roster, they finished 3rd at the AniMajor, qualified for TI, and won this $400k ESL One event. We can't wait to see these guys in action again, they're going to make SEA proud again! Stay tuned to eGG Network for more news and updates on Dota 2 esports.