The grand finals of the Dota 2 PGL Arlington Major on Monday (15 August) was a rematch of the grand finals of The International 10 (TI10) between Chinese juggernauts PSG.LGD and Eastern European dark horses Team Spirit.
And just like TI10, Team Spirit defied all odds to defeat PSG.LGD in an epic 3-1 slugfest.
PSG.LGD was unstoppable throughout the Arlington Major, losing a total of only two games prior to the grand finals.
The Chinese juggernauts finished the Group Stage with a near-perfect 15-1 record to secure an upper bracket berth in the Playoffs, with their only loss coming at the hands of North America's Soniqs Esports.
PSG.LGD continued their dominance in the Playoffs, sweeping Southeast Asia's BOOM Esports, 2-0, and defeating OG, 2-1, in the first two rounds of the upper bracket.
The Chinese juggernauts then swept Team Spirit in their first encounter of the Major in the upper bracket finals to become the first team in the grand finals.
Meanwhile, Team Spirit played their way into form en route to the grand finals. They finished the Group Stage with a solid 9-5 record to secure an upper bracket berth.
The TI10 champions began their Playoff campaign in Arlington by outlasting regional rivals Outsiders, 2-1, before sweeping Team Aster in the semifinals.
PSG.LGD then knocked Team Spirit down to the lower bracket finals, where the TI10 champions defeated Team Aster once more to force a rematch with their rivals in the grand finals.
PSG.LGD looked unstoppable to start the finals. The Chinese juggernauts took game one in 37 minutes behind a surprise carry Pudge pick for Wang "Ame" Chunyu, who shone with 11 kills against just one death to pace his team's 25-16 kill lead.
Team Spirit stormed back into the series in a game two that ended up being the best game of the Arlington Major, if not the entire season.
Both teams looked evenly matched through the early to middle stages of the game. However, PSG.LGD started pulling ahead around the 40-minute mark as Ame's Naga Siren, Cheng "NothingToSay" Jin Xiang's Keeper of the Light, and Zhang "Faith_bian" Ruida's Razor dominated the late game clashes.
Despite having most of their base destroyed as the game neared the 50-minute mark, Team Spirit were able to force a deadlock as Illya "Yatoro" Mulyarchuk's Monkey King grew became an unstoppable force.
With their carry acting as a brick wall in teamfights, Alexander "TORONTOTOKYO" Khertek's Queen of Pain and Magomed "Collapse" Khalilov's Viper were free to wreak havoc on the enemy backlines.
Both teams continued to clash with no clear winner emerging, even as the game clock ticked past the hour mark and Tier 5 neutral items became available. At 68 minutes, the Dota Plus win probability indicator even showed both teams had an equal chance of winning.
However, Team Spirit broke the game wide open around the 70-minute mark as Miroslaw "Mira" Kolpakov on Marci somehow found key pickoffs on PSG.LGD's core heroes to force the Chinese team to use precious buybacks.
The game was decided in a fight for Roshan at the 74-minute mark, where Yatoro scored a Rampage as Team Spirit outlasted PSG.LGD in an epic clash that finally forced the GG call from PSG.LGD.
PSG.LGD looked broken after their exhausting loss in game two, as Team Spirit simply ran them over in a 27-minute game three to take a commanding 2-1 series lead.
With their backs against the wall in game four, PSG.LGD started strong and looked like they could come back into the match.
However, Team Spirit responded in kind thanks to Yaroslav "Miposhka" Naidenov's Chen. With all the healing provided by Miposhka, Yatoro's Bristleback and Collapse's Axe were able to tank whatever PSG.LGD threw their way while Mira's Rubick and TORONTOTOKYO's Queen of Pain dished out a barrage of magic damage from the sidelines.
Despite a valiant last stand from PSG.LGD, Team Spirit broke through their last line of defense to claim game four after 44 minutes and secure the 3-1 finals victory.
With their victory, Team Spirit claimed the Arlington Major championship as well as the grand prize of US$200,000 and 820 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) points.
Meanwhile, PSG.LGD's dominant run in the tournament ends in disappointment once again. They bow out with a commendable second place finish and with US$100,000 and 740 DPC points in consolation.
The Arlington Major was the second and final Dota 2 Major of the 2021-2022 DPC season.
The tournament featured 17 of the best Dota 2 teams in the world fighting for their slice of the US$500,000 prize pool and 4,570 DPC point pool.
More importantly, the Arlington Major was the last chance for teams to secure a coveted direct invite to TI11, Dota 2's marquee million-dollar world championship tournament.
For everything you need to know about the Arlington Major, check here.
Team Spirit Dota 2 roster:
Illya "Yatoro" Mulyarchuk
Alexander "TORONTOTOKYO" Khertek
Magomed "Collapse" Khalilov
Miroslaw "Mira" Kolpakov
Yaroslav "Miposhka" Naidenov
PSG.LGD Dota 2 roster:
Wang "Ame" Chunyu
Cheng "NothingToSay" Jin Xiang
Zhang "Faith_bian" Ruida
Zhao "XinQ" Zixing
Zhang "y`" Yiping
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