The International 2015: the best of the final day

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Need to Know

Find out everything you need to know about the tournament by checking out our extensive reference guide. Find all of our International coverage, including write-ups of previous days, on the tag page. You can find VOD links for today's games on the official International site, which is also where you'll find each team's bracket standing.

It’s over! After six days of competition, the International has its champions. Here’s what happened on that amazing final day. Highlights in the sidebar once again, but seriously: watch the entire grand final.

Lower bracket final: Evil Geniuses vs. LGD

A surprise Enigma pick led to an electric first game of the final day. LGD countered with Earthshaker and Silencer; EG clearly had some kind of plan for it. It may well have been that this plan amounted to 'Aui_2000 is very good at Enigma'. A dead-on first blood attempt on SumaiL was abruptly turned against LGD by Aui’s sudden arrival, and from there EG slowly started to roll out map control and a farm advantage. LGD are a phenomenal team, however, with one of the world’s best strategists in xiao8. A few successful smoke ganks and a disastrous fight for EG evened the game out and established the danger posed by Silencer’s Global Silence.

EG struck back with their own pickoffs and LGD.MMY! was forced to deploy Global Silence defensively—the opening that the Americans needed. Facing Maybe’s thundering Storm Spirit, EG’s PPD and Universe were able to prolong fights with amazing Shallow Grave-Snowball mutual saves. Game down came to crushing teamfight after crushing teamfight, with buybacks and huge plays on both sides. EG.Aui_2000 held a Black Hole through an entire siege in order to counter Storm Spirit; LGD attempted a heroic push down mid but gradually, dazzlingly, EG outplayed them.

EG marched into game 2 with momentum and one of the best drafts I’ve seen this tournament: Leshrac—LGD are so afraid of Aui’s techies that they let it through—with Clockwerk, Winter Wyvern, Clinkz and Aui’s Visage. LGD’s draft was standard for this meta: Gyrocopter, Earthshaker, Rubick, Shadow Fiend, Tusk. They recognised the threat posed by EG.SumaiL on Leshrac and killed him twice within the first four minutes. Then, EG.Fear’s Clinkz got aggressive very early, threatening LGD’s cores across the map. They simply weren’t ready for the veteran carry to leave his lane so early. This was a game of highlights: Universe’s amazing escape at 12 minutes, MMY!’s stolen Winter’s Curse at 26 minutes that completely remove EG’s gold and experience advantage.

Play of the DAy

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Also known as: slam of the century; dunk of the decade; the six million dollar Ice Vortex; earthshake your moneymaker; the most resolute invitation to the space jam in International history. PPD and Universe contest Roshan in game 4 of the Grand Final with the play that echoed around the world.

It ran late. It got tense. LGD moved into Roshan and EG flanked to contest them. The ensuing fight was fierce and mutually destructive, with EG forced to back off and their captain, PPD, stranded on the wrong side of the river as Winter Wyvern. Juking through the trees, he got away and dragged LGD.MMY!’s Rubick out of position as he rushed to secure the kill. EG closed the trap; Universe landed the hook of his life on Maybe’s fleeing Shadow Fiend; the game opened up to EG. With a final incredible fight on the top lane, EG took the game, the set, and became the first ever American team to reach the International grand finals.

The Grand Final: CDEC Gaming vs. Evil Geniuses

After EGs loss to CDEC the day before, EG.PPD called CDEC.Q a ‘genius’. This means something coming from EG’s famously unfiltered captain, and spoke to the respect that EG had for their opponents. EG’s fans were hoping: I hope PPD has a plan.

EG had identified that their loss had been due to their inability to deal with Bounty Hunter, and so they banned it over the now-traditional Leshrac. This was a gamble, based on a hunch that CDEC didn’t actually want to run Leshrac but didn’t want to play against it either. Of the toppest of the top-tier, EG took Gyrocopter and Storm Spirit for themselves and gave Leshrac, Winter Wyvern, Phantom Lancer and Queen of Pain to CDEC. CDEC focused on punishing SumaiL in mid, killing him three times to open the game. But losing mid is a situation that EG invite and are surprisingly good at fighting back from. On the safelane, Fear’s Gyrocopter got all the farm he needed. On the offlane, Universe’s Clockwork reached a fast level 6.

With a 3-0 turnaround at 6 minutes, EG started to push back against CDEC’s early aggression. They anticipated multiple attempts to pick off individual heroes with smoke ganks, scoring three further 3-0 teamfights between the 10 and 20 minute mark. SumaiL came back despite his bad start to build the fastest Orchid Malevolence at TI5. Universe played absolutely extraordinarily, as did Fear and Aui_2000 on Skywrath Mage. PPD was the only member of EG to feel the heat in the lategame, but he was playing Crystal Maiden—that sort of thing happens to Crystal Maiden.

SumaiL’s Storm Spirit is rightly feared and the end of game 1 demonstrated why. My last note reads simply ‘SUMAIL IS EVERYWHERE’: think that episode of Futurama where Fry has too much coffee, but with a 16-year old thunder god.

Q, however, is a genius. EG rolled into game 2 with the same plan (why wouldn’t they?) but, with SumaiL focused in the banning phase, a Windranger in the midlane. CDEC countered with a mid Broodmother on CDEC.Xz, a rare draft that EG were taken totally off-guard by. This time, they ran Leshrac as a carry rather than as a support and found far more success with it. This time, the pressure was applied to EG across the map rather than just in mid, forcing them onto the defensive and giving the Broodmother the type of space she thrives in. They underestimated CDEC.garder’s Tusk, too, with Snowball and Ice Shards causing a lot of problems for EG in teamfights. Moving CDEC.agressif away from the safelane didn’t slow him down, with a flawless offlane Queen of Pain performance—10 kills, zero deaths, 12 assists by the end of the game. EG found themselves outdrafted, outlaned, and outplayed.

Top Performance

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SumaiL’s Storm Spirit in game 1 of the grand final fought back from 0-3 start to deliver one of the most impressive demonstrations of the hero’s power I’ve ever seen. Completely off the chain by the end of the match.

Game 3 might have been the best Dota game played this year. EG anticipated CDEC a little better in the draft, picking up SumaiL’s hero earlier (Ember Spirit) along with Clockwerk, Gyrocopter and another Skywrath Mage. CDEC once again took Leshrac and once again swapped it into a different position, this time mid. They surprised everybody with a final pick of Slark, once of agressif’s best heroes.

A dramatic first blood counterplay by SumaiL led to a fantastic display of Dota by both teams. EG got aggressive but were rebuffed, with a run of fights going heavily in CDEC’s favour despite one or two pickoffs on the Leshrac. CDEC.Q’s Visage tore EG.Fear apart early, and the Chinese team pulled ahead on gold. Then, at 20 minutes, SumaiL things: dodging Visage’s Familiars with his ult, single-handedly turning a bad situation for EG into a 3-1 victory and a 2k gold swing. The game settled into a long, cagey standoff, as both teams prodded the other to make a mistake and neither did. CDEC.agressif lived up to his name again with daring dives and a willingness to 1-on-1 Fear’s Gyrocopter—and the ability to come out ahead.

The game exploded around the 50 minute mark, first with a fierce fight around Roshan and then with another on the Radiant offlane. EG forced a run of buybacks, but then lost several of their own trying to force their way into CDEC’s base. A few minutes later they tried again, but caught CDEC also trying to push across the map. The resultant fight took place backwards, with EG chasing CDEC into EG’s own territory—but it was a magnificent fight for EG, particularly for SumaiL but also for Universe’s Clockwerk. And with it, EG found themselves one game from the title.

Best Dota Nonsense

The International 2015 closed out with a deadmau5 concert, which was actually a lot of fun if you were in the arena at the time but probably completely baffling if you were watching it online. It was very esports.

In game 4, CDEC finally conceded the Leshrac ban, opening up one of EG’s most feared supports: Naga Siren. They paired this with Gyrocopter, Storm Spirit, Universe’s offlane Earthshaker, and a rare PPD Ancient Apparition. CDEC got their own run of favourites: Clockwerk, Lina, Winter Wyvern, Phantom Lancer, and Dragon Knight.

All three lanes went well for EG from the start of the game. CDEC’s supports couldn’t find Universe’s camp-blocking wards, giving him the good start that an offlane ‘Shaker badly needs. They hadn’t drafted to kill SumaiL in mid. On the safelane, Fear had room to farm. Then, at just before the 9 minute mark, both teams chose to smoke gank the other at the exact same time—but EG had a highground positioning advantage and the resulting fight ended with a double kill for SumaiL. EG went hunting for kills from this point, willing to commit ults to single pickoffs if it meant staying ahead. Meanwhile, however, CDEC.agressif’s farm went uncontested: and his Phantom Lancer is one of the reasons CDEC reached the grand final.

CDEC started to find kills on SumaiL, but it didn’t seem to dampen his confidence. PPD landed Ancient Apparition’s global ult, Ice Blast, on garder’s Lina in the jungle. It looked like an inconvenience—a throwaway play. Then, from nowhere, SumaiL: and another kill for EG. Another EG smoke led to a triple kill for Universe despite heavy casualties, and another fight afterwards went EG’s way: but CDEC were still farming, and were still ahead. At 28 minutes, they scored a beautifully-coordinated kill on SumaiL, chaining their disables carefully to stop him from escaping.

Feeling unthreatened, CDEC went for Roshan—and EG countered with the play of the series, the tournament, and possibly the year: a Ice Vortex/Ice Blast/Echo Slam combo that devastated CDEC in seconds. It was bone-and-morale crushing. Meanwhile, a split-pushing Aui_2000 cleared out CDEC’s outer towers. The next major fight, at 36 minutes, took place in the Radiant jungle. EG took casualties early but SumaiL fought back hard, turning it 3-1 in EG’s favour with agressif dead without buyback. ShiKi’s Dragon Knight was forced to flee into the trees with his town portal scroll on cooldown. EG saw their opportunity and stormed into CDEC’s base, taking another fight at the foot of the Dire base, retreating, and then striking back hard in midlane. There was no repelling them at this point.

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Evil Geniuses defeated CDEC Gaming 3-1, becoming the first North American team to win the International. Fear, who was featured in Free To Play—the documentary about the first International—finally got his title. PPD, Aui_2000 and Universe shook their second-place curse. And SumaiL, a 16-year old from Pakistan, achieved the highest accolade in professional Dota—and a share of $6.6m—within the first year of his career. This is as close to a fairytale finish as the International has ever seen.

But it’s important not to forget CDEC, a young team who had to fight their way into the International by first the qualifiers and then the wildcard, the longest possible road. They didn’t drop a game on the main stage until they faced EG in the final. They are resolutely a force to be reckoned with, the new giants of the Chinese scene, and I’m confident that they’ll be back. As much as second place has to sting, what they’ve achieved is extraordinary.

Afterwards, deadmau5.

Chris Thursten

Joining in 2011, Chris made his start with PC Gamer turning beautiful trees into magazines, first as a writer and later as deputy editor. Once PCG's reluctant MMO champion , his discovery of Dota 2 in 2012 led him to much darker, stranger places. In 2015, Chris became the editor of PC Gamer Pro, overseeing our online coverage of competitive gaming and esports. He left in 2017, and can be now found making games and recording the Crate & Crowbar podcast.