Tundra Esports have been crowned as the champions of The International 11 (TI11), this year's iteration of Dota 2's annual world championship tournament, after they soundly swept Team Secret 3-0 in the best-of-five grand finals on Sunday (30 October).
Tundra's map-splitting strategy was nigh-unstoppable all throughout the tournament, as they only lost four games during the Group Stage and just one in the Main Event.
In the finals, they simply outclassed Secret to secure the second 3-0 sweep in a TI grand finals since Team Liquid's sweep over Newbee in TI7.
In game one, Tundra anchored their map-splitting strategy with a signature Naga Siren pick for Oliver "skiter" Lepko and won the finals opener in 40 minutes. They threw a curveball in game two with an unexpected mid Arc Warden pick for Leon "Nine" Kirilin and won again in 40 minutes.
As if the Arc Warden pick from game two wasn't audacious enough, Tundra came out with an out-of-nowhere Medusa pick for skiter in game three. But while his carry took the spotlight, it was Neta "33" Shapira's Beastmaster that wreaked havoc all around the map and led the way for Tundra.
Despite a valiant effort by Michał "Nisha" Jankowski on Ember Spirit, Secret could not stop Tundra and were forced to concede the sweep after 44 minutes.
With their victory, Tundra claimed the coveted Aegis of Champions as well as the grand prize of over US$8.5 million out of the tournament's US$18.8 million prize pool.
Tundra's victory also makes coach Kurtis "Aui_2000" Ling the first two-time TI champion after the legendary OG squad that won TI8 and TI9. Aui_2000 won his first championship with Evil Geniuses back in TI5. He is also the first to win TI as both a player and a coach.
Tundra players become Royal Roaders
Tundra carry player Oliver "skiter" Lepko and midlaner Leon "Nine" Kirilin also join the illustrious group of players to have taken the TI Royal Road by winning the world championship tournament in their first time playing in it.
Position 4 support player Martin "Saksa" Sazdov also finally captured the Aegis after previously falling short with Digital Chaos in the grand finals of TI6. Team captain Jingjun "Sneyking" Wu is also the first North American player to win a TI championship since Evil Geniuses' victory in TI5.
Meanwhile, Secret bow out in second place with over US$2.4 million in consolation. While they fall short of the ultimate goal, getting this far despite starting all the way from the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) is nothing short of remarkable.
This is also the organisation's highest placement in TI, having placed third in last year's tournament.
Tundra and Secret are very familiar with each other, having clashed multiple times throughout the 2021-2022 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season and in TI11 itself.
Tundra were one of the dominant teams in the DPC's Western European regional leagues, which earned them a direct invite to TI11. Meanwhile, Secret earned their place in the tournament through the LCQ.
Tundra were already on fire to start TI11, finishing the Group Stage as the top seed of Group B with a 14-4 record. They were notably the only team to never concede a best-of-two series in that stage, with all their losses only coming in 1-1 draws.
On the other hand, Secret carried their momentum from the LCQ, finishing as Group B's second seed just behind Tundra with a 13-5 record. However, they lost 0-2 to Tundra in their first encounter of TI11 in this stage.
Both teams then went on undefeated runs in the upper bracket of the Main Event to make it to TI11's Finals Weekend. Secret swept through Chinese favourites PSG.LGD and South American hopefuls Thunder Awaken while Tundra cruised past regional rivals OG and Chinese powerhouse Team Aster.
In the penultimate day of TI11, Tundra defeated Secret, 2-1, in the upper bracket finals to become the first team in the grand finals.
The final day of the tournament then began with Secret outlasting Team Liquid, 2-1, in the lower bracket finals to earn a rematch with Tundra in the grand finals.
Tundra Esports roster:
Oliver "skiter" Lepko
Leon "Nine" Kirilin
Neta "33" Shapira
Martin "Saksa" Sazdov
Jingjun "Sneyking" Wu
Kurtis "Aui_2000" Ling (coach)
Team Secret roster:
Remco "Crystallis" Arets
Michał "Nisha" Jankowski
Roman "Resolut1on" Fominok
Bakyt "Zayac" Emilzhanov
Clement "Puppey" Ivanov
Lee "Heen" Seung Gon (coach)
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