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Team Newbee wins $5 million at Dota 2’s The International 4


Team Newbee raising the Aegis to a sold-out stadium at The International 4.

Last night, The International’s Grand Finals played out with teams Newbee and ViCi Gaming battling for the largest monetary prize in eSports history to date, a massive US$5 million. In a stadium packed with fans eager to watch this clash between the two Chinese teams, any fears that the showdown would be a repeat of last year’s largely reviled Alliance versus Na’Vi match (partly because of the strategy employed by The Alliance — which favoured split-pushing and avoiding direct confrontation — but mostly because Na’Vi were the favoured sons in that bout, yet went on to lose the match) were eradicated early, with the balance of play shifting completely to risky gambles and game-winning engagements.

ViCi initially came out strong, putting their experience with the “deathball” strategy (which favours early ganks, aggressive pushes and quick wins – a play style which ViCi had utilized throughout the tournament) to task and winning the first match within 24 minutes, culminating in one of the most chaotic end-game engagements I’ve seen.


It’s here that you can thank Valve for the new ability to pull back the camera further than the standard view. This engagement, which saw ViCi take the first match, was happening on two levels and across two screen’s worth of space.

After that, however, Newbee had their number, and ViCi — who seemed to be on a deathball road trip on a highway to hell and weren’t getting off until the ride was over — were expertly picked apart. Newbee’s plays in the next three games were exceptional — in particular Newbee player Mu’s Puck plays (with some outstanding phases and blinks) — and increasingly reduced the time to victory in each subsequent match with deadly efficiency, right up until the last game which lasted a mere 14 minutes and saw a GG thrown up with only two tier-one towers lost, resulting in a final 3-1 victory to Newbee.

While they’re a relatively new team formed in February of this year, Newbee falls under the captaincy of long-standing pro xiao8 (formerly of LGD Gaming). The International Grand Finals, while somewhat anti-climactic in my personal opinion, is likely to change the face of competitive gaming — ESPN televised the grand finals (to the bemusement of various Muggles on Twitter; I wiped away a tear of mirth at the words “Warcraft gaming tournament”), and it’s the largest payout for an eSports event in history. You can get a breakdown of the prize tiers here; ViCi won a paltry $1.475 million for their troubles.

  • Michael Bouwer

    The pucks plays were definitely there last night. It wasn’t really a close grand final but this year’s TI was definitely the best in terms of overall games, free content from owning a ticket, etc. Valve did good.

  • Nick Krige

    Agree that the Grand Final was a bit of an anti-climax. That was mostly due to Vici only having one playstyle and not knowing what to do once they had been found out. Was worth watching just for Mu’s Puck in the third game though.

    I really think they need to sort out their post-grand final presentation though. It was painful watching Newbee arbing around the stage not looking that excited with the presenters trying their damnedest to keep the crowd cheering for an excessively long amount of time while the cameramen took their pictures.

    • Rick de Klerk

      Indeed. The end felt particularly sloppy — in many ways, though, I like that it’s not yet in the highly rigid structure that governs most sports events.

      While I don’t begrudge ViCi GG’ing, I would have thought that with $5 million on the line, they would have held on a bit longer before throwing in the towel.

  • Francois Landsberg

    Watching this TI was much harder because of working this time. Business hours made it hard. Always fell asleep at like 11:30 watching the 2nd games of the day. Damn CET. Still was amazing those plays tho.


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