Tundra Esports have emerged as the great disruptor of The International 10 (TI10) Western European qualifiers after they pulled off a massive 2-0 upset over two-time TI champions OG in the upper bracket finals, becoming the first team to reach the grand finals.
As one of the heavy favourites to win the qualifier, OG entered the upper bracket finals to much fanfare after they scored back-to-back 2-1 wins over Vikin.gg and Team Nigma. In stark contrast, Tundra quietly earned themselves a showdown with OG after sweeping through Brame Esports and Team Liquid.
OG opened the series with an all-melee, team-fight-heavy tri-core of Bristleback for Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan, Void Spirit for Topias "Topson" Taavitsainen, and Magnus for Sébastien "Ceb" Debs. Tundra countered with an unorthodox mid Winter Wyvern for Leon "Nine" Kirilin alongside Luna for Oliver "skiter" Lepko and a signature Broodmother pick for Neta "33" Shapira.
Game one started with both teams on relatively even footing, but Tundra were able to pull away by the midgame as they repeatedly punished OG's over-aggression. Nine's Winter Wyvern — despite being an unusual pick for a mid hero — was very effective against OG's all-melee tri-core, as he kept sniping them down from afar in team fights thanks to a Witch Blade-into-Aghanim's Scepter item build.
With OG on the back foot, 33's Broodmother dominated the map and kept the two-time TI champions from getting any farm outside of their base. Skiter's Luna and Nine's Winter Wyvern then proceeded to mow down OG's base to give Tundra a 33-minute victory to open the series.
Nine had a game-high 11 kills against two deaths, while Jingjun "Sneyking" Wu on a support Mirana pitched in nine kills against just one death, to pace Tundra's 29-18 kill lead at the end of game one.
OG looked to bounce back in game two behind a greedy line-up headed by Leshrac for SumaiL, Arc Warden for Topson, and Alchemist for Ceb. Tundra then countered with a strong midgame timing with Nine on a mid Razor and 33 on Tidehunter while skiter had Terrorblade in case the game went late.
Tundra dominated the early game thanks to 33's unorthodox Helm of the Dominator build on Tidehunter, deftly using the dominated neutral creeps to set up ganks, scout OG's movements, and push down towers. That then gave Nine the space to rack up kills while skiter free-farmed.
Even as Ceb's Alchemist was able to buff up SumaiL's Leshrac with a free Aghanim's Scepter, OG's late game-oriented line-up simply folded to Tundra's midgame aggression. What's more, Topson's Arc Warden was not nearly strong enough to delay the game for his team by himself after he got absolutely shut down by Nine during the early game.
Tundra then used their overwhelming resource advantage to whittle down OG's base, not even hesitating to throw bodies just so they could close out the game. The last OG defender eventually fell at the 42-minute mark, prompting the GG call from the two-time TI champions and completing the 2-0 sweep for Tundra.
Nine had an insane game on Razor to lead Tundra to get just one series win away from qualifying for TI10. He notched a whopping 28 kills — the highest number of kills achieved by any player in the entire regional qualifier — along with 14 assists against just three deaths.
With their victory, Tundra become the first team to reach the best-of-five grand finals of TI10's Western European qualifier. Meanwhile, OG will once again face Team Nigma in the lower bracket finals for the right to challenge Tundra in the finals for a spot in TI10.
TI10's regional qualifiers for Europe, alongside the one for China, will take place from 7 to 10 July. The two winners will be joining Fnatic from Southeast Asia, Team Spirit from Eastern Europe/the CIS, Undying from North America, and SG Esports from South America in the list of teams that earned their spot in TI10 through the regional qualifiers thus far.
Meanwhile, Evil Geniuses, PSG.LGD, Virtus.pro, Quincy Crew, T1, Vici Gaming, Team Secret, Team Aster, Alliance, Beastcoast, and Thunder Predator have already earned direct invites to the tournament.
Valve announced on Thursday (8 July) that TI10 would be moved from August to October and pulled out of Stockholm, Sweden, after it failed to get recognition as an 'elite sporting event'. TI10 will now be held in Bucharest, Romania from 7 to 17 October, where the 18 participating teams will be fighting to claim the coveted Aegis of Champions and the lion's share of a massive US$40 million prize pool.
Oliver "skiter" Lepko
Leon "Nine" Kirilin
Neta "33" Shapira
Jingjun "Sneyking" Wu
Adrian "Fata" Trinks
Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan
Topias "Topson" Taavitsainen
Sébastien "Ceb" Debs
Martin "Saksa" Sazdov
Johan "N0tail" Sundstein
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