Dota 2 team becomes first to win The International twice, takes home over $15m

Dota stop believin'.

Reigning Dota 2 champions OG have just won the ninth International (TI9), taking the trophy - sorry, Aegis of Champions - home to Europe from Shanghai, China alongside a cool £15m in prize money. They also set a new record, becoming the first team - and first individual players - to win the championship twice.

Earlier in the day, after technical issues made for a delayed start, PSG-LGD, part-owned by oil-rich football club Paris Saint-Germain, saw themselves knocked out in the semi-finals by runners up Team Liquid. Had they gone through, PSG-LGD would have faced OG in a rematch of last year's final. The Chinese team's status as the last remaining "home" side in Shanghai meant their earlier best-of-three match played out in front of a raucous, packed-out Mercedes Benz Arena, and despite their team being knocked out in the morning that atmosphere continued throughout.

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The Mercedes Benz Arena in Shanghai was packed out, especially for games featuring Chinese teams. Image Credit: Valve.

Both finalists were previous winners of the tournament, guaranteeing us a record-breaking two-time winner. Team Liquid won the tournament two years ago at TI7 in 2017, earning $10.9m, while OG came out on top last year for TI8, earning $11.2m along the way - that was despite OG's status as huge outsiders, when they lost half of their team to a rival side, EG, a few weeks before the tournament. OG's two wins in a row means the players have amassed nearly $27m (approximately £22m) between them in the last 13 months.

OG player Johan "N0tail" Sundstein, who earlier spoke about his sadness at losing his family dog shortly before the tournament, said: "It's too good to be true, it feels almost just the same [as last year]." He added, "This is a dream." N0tail lined up alongside Anathan "Ana" Pham, Topias "Topson" Taavitsainen, Sébastien "7ckingMad" Debs and Jesse "JerAx" Vainikka who, in a rare occurrence for esports, are the exact same five players who won the tournament last year with OG, too. Their innovative strategy - using a traditionally support-only hero as a damage-dealing carry - proved a huge success, the team not losing a single match where they employed it, and winning the final match against Team Liquid using it again.

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Champion N0tail and his team OG retain their title, the first time any team or player has done so in the competition's history. Image credit: Valve.

The International remains the tournament with largest top prize players can earn from esports, as OG's share of slightly over $3m for each of their five players just edging out the $3m that went to the first official Fortnite tournament's winner, 16-year-old Kyle 'Bugha' Giersdorf.

The next Dota 2 International, TI10, will take place in Stockholm, Sweden next year.

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Chris Tapsell

Chris Tapsell

Staff Writer  |  ChrisTapsell

Chris Tapsell is Eurogamer's Staff Writer, its newest Chris, and a keen explorer of the dark arts of gaming, from League of Legends to the murky world of competitive Pokémon.

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