Frankfurt Major - the tournament that wrote history
Without a doubt one of the most crucial turning points for DotA was the first International, back in 2011. It changed not only the perception on the game itself, but created a new era in eSports with the one million dollars tournament that brought together some of the best players that the DotA scene has ever seen.
Same as The International, the first DotA Major - was a big test for Valve to see if the format that served the Counter Strike scene could work out in another game as well. It has written history not only with the help of its huge prize pool or for its importance for professional teams sustainability over the course of one competitive year, but mostly because it will stick in our mind as one of the most exciting and dramatic competition outside of the annual International.
After seeing how the first-ever Major looked, production wise, and what level of DotA was displayed in Frankfurt, it looks certain that the Majors alone will become, from the audience point of view and not only, the most anticipated tournaments.
Although nobody really knows at this point how the system will work for teams in terms of a TI direct invitation, it became clearer during the week in Frankfurt that this was not even the most important factor for this competition.
Speaking with the personalities at the event, they all said that the Frankfurt Major had a “TI feel outside of TI”, starting on how players, casters and analysts were treated to the amazing crowd attending the last few days of the event, to the stage set-up and finally but not the least, the entire video production.
Some truly amazing personal stories unfolded at this Major. Starting with the qualifier group stage where we’ve witnessed the beginning of a long and beautiful journey for the Peruvians from Unknown.xiu and the Pinoy national team Mineski to the full packed with emotions main event.
The most beautiful thing in MOBA games is that although everyone has a clear favorite at heart, nobody can help themselves, but cheer for the underdog team that is showing great potential.
It was evident that Team Secret, Evil Geniuses and Vici Gaming were the three protagonists of the Fall Major and looking at the almost one million stream viewers statistics for the EG vs Secret upper bracket game it’s easy to assume that most of the audience was hoping to see these two teams in the grand finals.
It actually was the first match-up that saw almost a full house live crowd at the 6,500 seats Festhalle Messe venue. Totally deserved, as the series was probably the best played DotA in a long time. If you missed it somehow I strongly recommend you to watch the replay.
But despite of all these, in between the big games everyone was talking about the amazing resilience that OG was showing in the lower bracket. Most of us were hoping deep inside our souls to see N0tail and Fly finally lifting a trophy above their heads. At the same time, even the analyst panel was skeptical and wondering who will stop OG’s lower bracket pwnage. Everyone hoped, no one really believed.
On a side note, I met a true OG fan at the site who told me from Wednesday “OG will win this”. We all say that about our favorites, but the conviction in his voice stuck into my ears for the next days and seeing his happiness on Saturday after the grand finals concluded was truly uplifting and emotional. If that can inject so much energy in me, I can’t even imagine what a triumph it brings to players minds.
Nothing foretold OG’s incredible run of at the first ever DotA 2 Major. Losing twice to Vega Squadron in the main event group stage, OG found their stride in the lower bracket. They were one game away from the elimination when they debuted on the grand stage of the Fall Major. Losing to Fnatic was the grimmest possible scenario, but it didn’t happen and in fact, Mineski, Virtus.Pro, CDEC, EHOME, EG and finally Secret, they all fell in front of OG’s determination.
After the grand final was over and the not so entertaining crowd invasion, that looked more like a scary moment than a celebrating one, a press conference was hastily organized with the victors.
We were announced only during the third game of the series that the conference will take place and the entire set-up was quite poor, but I guess this is a learning process for everyone involved and a much proper way of hosting media-related events will hopefully be established for future Majors.
I’ve participated at multiple LAN events where BigDaddyN0tail was playing and he is so well known for his exuberance and friendly aura but this time around, although he strived for the last bit of energy to talk to us it was for the first time I actually saw a tired and exhausted Johan "BigDaddyN0tail" Sundstein.
A lot of questions were asked, but the most eloquent one pointed at the importance of friendship and trust inside the team. To summarize the entire OG run through this Major I will let you reflect on N0tail’s answer:
There are countless factors outside the game, being good at the game is not enough to be top three. This is what I really like about the game. Someone like Miracle who is so talented at the game, but if it wasn’t for his niceness, for his genuine character, things that we like him for, his talent wouldn’t be able to produce something in a team. He wouldn’t be able to achieve what we achieved today. So I value these things more than anything else.”
The entire press conference can be watched in the video below.
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Also, for even more content and for VODs from the first-ever DotA 2 Major check our tournament website hub.
title image from flickr.com/esl