Rising Western European team Tundra Esports will be closing out the year on a high note after they pulled off an unprecedented upset over reigning The International (TI) champions Team Spirit, beating them 3-1 in the grand finals of OGA Dota PIT EU/CIS Season 5 on Tuesday (21 December).
The Western Hemisphere's final high-profile Dota 2 tournament of 2021, OGA Dota PIT EU/CIS Season 5 gathered eight of the best teams in Europe — Spirit, Tundra, Team Secret, OG, Team Liquid, Nigma Galaxy, Natus Vincere and Alliance — to compete for a cut of a US$175,000 prize pool.
Tundra and Spirit's first meeting in the tournament came in the first round of the upper bracket, where the TI champions swept their opponents and knocked them down to the lower bracket.
Spirit then swept OG 2-0 and defeated Team Secret 2-1 in the next two rounds to secure the first spot in the grand finals.
Meanwhile, Tundra went on a warpath in the lower bracket to force a rematch with Spirit. They defeated Natus Vincere 2-1 before scoring three-straight 2-0 sweeps over Nigma Galaxy, OG, and Team Secret to punch their ticket to the grand finals.
Despite Tundra's spirited run in the lower bracket, the finals looked to be an easy victory for Spirit at first.
The TI champions absolutely dominated game one, forcing the GG call after just 28 minutes of action and with a 21-9 kill lead.
However, Tundra didn't fold from their demoralising game one loss, bouncing back with a dominant showing of their own in the 38-minute game two.
Leon "Nine" Kirilin led the way for Tundra as they tied up the finals, notching a series-high 14 kills and 13 assists against just one death on Queen of Pain.
Tundra kept the ball rolling in game three behind an excellent showing from Neta "33" Shapira on Broodmother.
The offlaner almost-singlehandedly hamstrung Spirit's game plan with his relentless map pressure and clever use of Spiderling summons to block jungle camps, rendering both Illya "Yatoro" Mulyarchuk's Sven and Alexander "TORONTOTOKYO" Khertek's Ember Spirit severely underfarmed.
With all the space made by 33, Oliver "skiter" Lepko on Wraith King and Nine on a mid Razor were virtually uncontested as Tundra took a commanding 2-0 series lead after a 32-minute, 24-to-8 stomp.
Nine had another stellar performance on Queen of Pain in game four, almost matching his series-high in kills with 13 against just two deaths as he spearheaded a relentless assault on Spirit.
Tundra held the lead from minute one and never looked back, shrugging off all of Spirit's attempts to mount a comeback and eventually forcing the TI champions to call GG after 42 minutes of action.
With their victory, Tundra claimed the grand prize of US$73,000 and will be entering the new year in spectacular form.
It's a massive accomplishment for a team that showed incredible growth across the 2021 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season but barely missed out on competing in TI10.
Meanwhile, Spirit take US$37,900 in consolation for their second-place finish. While the reigning TI champions won't have a perfect ending to the year, they still hold the Aegis of Champions and will be looking to raise it a second time in the 2021-2022 DPC season.
The 2021-2022 DPC season will go on a temporary hiatus for the holidays starting 21 December and will resume on 5 January 2022.
Tundra Esports Dota 2 roster:
Oliver "skiter" Lepko
Leon "Nine" Kirilin
Neta "33" Shapira
Jingjun "Sneyking" Wu
Adrian "Fata" Trinks
Team Spirit Dota 2 roster:
Illya "Yatoro" Mulyarchuk
Alexander "TORONTOTOKYO" Khertek
Magomed "Collapse" Khalilov
Miroslaw "Mira" Kolpakov
Yaroslav "Miposhka" Naidenov