And just like that as the unpause comes forwards, the USA chants begin.” PPD: “This was by far the craziest game I’ve ever played.” “EHOME, they know they are very ahead.” (Crowd chanting “EHOME”) (Casting) PPD: “I don’t think we really had much business winning this game.” (Casting) “A lot of people are calling it the single best Dota game they’ve ever seen.” The biggest stage. The steepest climb. Their backs to the wall. On August 10, 2016, faced with incredible odds, Evil Geniuses refused to bow down. In the process, they made history at The International. EG were the defending TI5 champions and, with the exception of Zai in place of Aui_2000, had the same roster. With The International hosted in Seattle as usual, there was a sizeable home crowd cheering for the North American squad. As they played their upper bracket semifinal match against EHOME. But EHOME had fans of their own, and competing cheers rose from the audience as the two teams clashed The draft saw EG put Fear’s Axe into the offlane instead of Universe’s Faceless Void.
EHOME preyed on that lane in the early stages of the game. (Casting) EG continued to slip further behind. At 17 minutes, all of EG’s outer towers had been destroyed. EHOME sensed an opportunity to strike after securing Roshan and attempted to push into EG’s base. But they held strong. (Casting) They were still in the hole. Though they managed to get some kills, they were behind by over 20 thousand gold in net worth at the 46-minute mark. EG may have been down, but they weren’t out yet. At 69 minutes, they tried to catch EHOME off guard. But the fight turned dramatically against them. (Casting) With only PPD, Zai and Suma1L alive to stop them, EHOME pushed into EG’s base. They got the barracks. All of them. But EG made them pay dearly for it. (Casting) Still, now facing down mega creeps after losing the rax, the game looked grim. Mega creeps do more damage, are harder to kill, and are worth less gold than regular creeps EG were on a timer, and one that few players had defeated in professional matches. Capitalist: “EG, not a position you want to be in if you’re an EG fan right now.”
A comeback against mega creeps had never happened at The International. EG were now playing a different game than EHOME. (Casting) EG turned back to deal with EHOME’s old chicken, who was putting pressure on their base But in the end, it was a victorious march up the middle lane for Evil Geniuses. Most of EHOME could not buy back, and they had only Warlock and Beastmaster to stand against EG. It wasn’t enough. Even with victory so close at hand, the crowd could scarcely believe it. (Casting) It was only Game 1 of the series, but the win had a disproportionate effect. PPD: “after you win a game like that, it’s impossible for EHOME to win the second game, you’re so demoralized” EG would move on to the next round of the tournament after taking Game 2, as well. A reversal against mega creeps will always be special, but this game stands apart from the others. Not only was it the first time it happened at the International, it showed an unprecedented resilience. EG essentially took body blows from EHOME for 70 minutes but held on, battered and bruised. Then, in the final round, they saw an opening, grinned and landed the knockout punch. It wasn’t pretty. But for the North American home crowd, it was beautiful. It was a lesson that resonates still today: when your back is against the wall, it just means there’s no room to back down. As long as the Ancient stands, you have a shot. And sometimes, when you never say die you don’t. “The impossible comeback, made possible by EG!”