Dota 2's The International 10 (TI10) Grand Finals True Sight has finally premiered and it was well worth the wait.
For those of you who don't remember, Eastern Europe's Team Spirit, then considered dark horses, showed no fear as they took a 2-0 lead against China's PSG.LGD, before being pegged back and eventually getting a 3-2 victory.
Watching how Team Spirit and PSG.LGD prepared for the match, the way both teams supported each other, and the way Team Spirit celebrated their victory while PSG.LGD was so close to lifting the Aegis all make the TI10 grand finals one of the best in the tournament's history.
This is the fourth TI Grand Finals entry in the True Sight series, and we decided to watch them all back-to-back and rank them accordingly to see which TI Grand Finals True Sight is the best one so far.
4. The International 7 (Team Liquid vs Newbee)
The first TI Grand Finals True Sight shows its age when compared to the later entries.
TI7 was the only TI in history that went 3-0, so it was going to be hard for Valve to make it look like it was a close series between the two teams.
Still, there were other issues in the first TI Grand Finals True Sight that went beyond match quality.
Perhaps the biggest complaint was that the two teams were depicted in a protagonist/antagonist role.
Team Liquid are all smiles and teamwork while Newbee had a negative aura surrounding them, only showing the team disagreeing with each other's choices. It would have been nice to see Newbee have some positive moments.
Another problem with the TI7 True Sight is that it's pretty short, clocking in at less than half an hour.
Not much time is spent on either the draft — which only shows one or two picks for each side — or in-game moments, as within a few seconds of the match starting all we are told is that Newbee are losing and then the game ends.
The lack of in-game cinematics, one of the best things about a TI Grand Finals True Sight, in this entry is also noticeable.
Watching the two teams backstage never gets old, though, as Team Liquid and Newbee discuss how they will approach the series.
The third match of the series was pretty well done, showing us the importance of the Double Damage rune and the game-changing Omnislash from Amer "Miracle-" Al-Barkawi.
Valve's first TI Grand Finals True Sight is worth watching, but with the one-sided match and this being their first attempt at TI documentary, it is overall the weakest entry in the series.
3. The International 10 (Team Spirit vs PSG.LGD)
Team Spirit's showdown against PSG.LGD in the grand finals of TI10 is the best demonstration of the importance of drafting.
The TI10 True Sight captures how important it is for both teams to pick and ban the right heroes and how each squad reacts to the other's draft.
It is a treat for anyone who appreciates high-level Dota 2 strategy.
Another nice thing that this True Sight entry does is showcase the importance of the team coaches.
Zhang "xiao8" Ning's impact on PSG.LGD is incredible, as he helps the team come back mentally after losing the first two games in the series.
Team Spirit coach Airat "Silent" Gaziev also spends the entire documentary providing ideas to the team and giving them the best drafts possible.
While earlier True Sights had an issue depicting both teams fairly, TI10 does a fair job showing the human sides of both the dark horses and the early favourites.
Team Spirit were underdogs nobody expected to make it that far, and they entered the series with a care-free attitude while being supportive of each other.
PSG.LGD were slightly tenser, but they also joked around and called their teammates "brothers" when they talk.
The in-game cinematics also get better and better in every True Sight and TI10 is no different.
Seeing Cheng "NothingToSay" Jin Xiang's Tinker hunt down two members of Team Spirit was simply amazing.
The best moment though goes to Wang "Ame" Chunyu's attempt to escape from Team Spirit in the closing moments of game five.
After coming so close to winning the tournament before, Ame's last moments in TI10 are heartbreaking to watch, and the TI10 True Sight captures that beautifully.
Another nice addition is the inclusion of the Chinese and Russian casting. Previous True Sights focused only on the English talent, and it was nice to see TI show the international talent working at the event.
TI10 does suffer from the lack of a crowd, and there's really no way to fix that.
Seeing an empty stadium makes the event feel smaller than it is.
There were also some minor editing issues, as sometimes incorrect heroes were shown during the drafting phase. A minor thing, but it shows up enough times to be noticeable.
The TI10 True Sight only being ranked third doesn't mean it's bad.
Overall, it's great, especially with how much attention was paid to the in-game cinematics and the importance of drafts.
2. The International 9 (OG Esports vs Team Liquid)
The TI9 True Sight does a good job of establishing who each team are before the match begins — setting up the mouth-watering clash between the defending champions of TI8 against the winners of TI7, which saw OG making history as the only back-to-back TI champions thus far.
Team Liquid added Aliwi "w33" Omar since their championship run at TI7 and he was the only player on the stage who hadn't lifted the Aegis yet.
This entry also did a good job of establishing w33 as something of an underdog we'd want to root for.
The TI9 True Sight is the most comedic entry in the franchise.
Whether it's due to both teams being relatively relaxed, the fact that OG are playing, or just exceptional editing, it's the funniest True Sight to date.
Team Liquid's captain Kuro "KuroKy" Salehi Takhasomi describing the Grand Finals as a "costly scrim", OG players described as playing like monkeys and immediately shown thumping their chests — there are a lot of funny moments throughout the show.
The editing in TI9 is also impeccable.
Aside from highlighting the humour, it also does a great job showing teams reacting to each other in the drafting phase.
Lane transitions during the game are film-worthy and the in-game cinematics for key moments is great.
The music and sound effects worked very well to convey what was happening on screen. The Aegis itself was shown multiple times on screen, reminding everyone just what these players are competing for.
If there's one flaw in the TI9 True Sight, it's that after game one, it's just one stomping after another and that's not the most exciting thing to watch.
But there's only so much True Sight can do to hype up a series that had two games end in 24 minutes.
The first half of the documentary does a good job of setting up the teams and showcasing game one but the second half is considerably less exciting due to how one-sided the series becomes.
1. The International 8 (OG Esports vs PSG.LGD)
The TI8 True Sight begins with Johan "N0tail" Sundstein narrating how to win a Dota 2 match, that it's all about mental strength, and the best way to win is to break your opponent mentally.
This entry does a good job of introducing the two teams and setting up the narrative for the rest of the documentary.
With PSG.LGD labelled as the strongest team in the tournament while their opponents OG are the ultimate underdogs, it's very much a David-versus-Goliath matchup.
The drafting phase is much better shown in TI8 than in TI7's, as we got enough information about what was happening, and how each team approaches the draft.
It's not quite as good as the next two True Sights but it's miles better than the first one.
Valve was definitely still getting used to making documentaries and it shows here.
The CGI is a little rough, and only used sparingly for the most important scenes. The documentary needed a little more time as well — one hour just isn't enough time to set the stage, give highlights from five games, and include how the teams react after the series ended.
That said, while the first half of the show goes by too quickly, the second half is just perfect.
Game four of TI8 was the most important game of the series, and True Sight gives it the attention it deserved.
The way both teams make comebacks, the frustration and excitement as the match goes on, and Sébastien "Ceb" Debs' best performance on the TI main stage were without a doubt the best parts of this True Sight.
And that's why TI8 has the best True Sight of all.
Despite not being as strategically deep as TI10's, nor as funny or well edited as TI9's, it is definitely the most exciting to watch because of how insanely good the fourth game was, and how much heart both teams showed throughout the series.
Otomo is a long-time gaming enthusiast and caster. He has been playing games since he was 10 and is the biggest Dota 2 fan.
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