Here is a recap of the ESL One Summer 2021 tournament — from its many glorious plays, disappointing results and hype moments.
The ESL One Summer 2021 Tournament has just wrapped up this June 20, and it has been an experience for many fans and viewers of Dota 2. The competition, while not exactly a Valve event that would give out DPC points (as those who are already qualified for TI have already been announced), was a showcase of some of the best teams in the world and what we can expect from them at The International this August.
Day 1 – The Return of the King and an upset for Miracle- and co.
The first day of the competition started up with a blast, as eight of the twelve teams battled it out for a chance to keep their spot in the Upper Bracket. The first match happened between two-time TI defending champions OG, debuting their new carry player Syed Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan against Eastern Europe’s AS Monaco Gambit. The defending champs dominated both games, showcasing how diverse their hero pools are with Topias “Topson’” Taavitsainen playing Pangolier mid in the first game and SumaiL playing carry Nature’s Prophet in the second. OG takes the series, two games to none.
Team Nigma got another chance to prove themselves after finishing their run with a whimper during the last WePlay AniMajor. However, this proved to be another whiff for Team Nigma as their competitor VIkin.gg has successfully adapted to countering their plans with a first phase ban on Invoker during both games, a hero heavily favored by Amer “Miracle’” Al-Barkawi going into the mid lane. The two games were a complete stomp, so much so that Indji “Shad” Lub, Vikin.gg’s carry player, did not die a single time during the matches. Team Nigma dropped to the Lower Bracket as they lost two games in a row.
Other results: Alliance took two games to none against Team Unique, while Tundra Esports pulled off an upset of their own after defeating Team Liquid — without Michael “miCKe” Vu, the carry player — in two games to none.
Day 2 – Virtus.pro bares its fangs and Team Secret makes an early exit
Virtus.pro continued to pop off during the second day of the tournaments, knocking OG to the Lower Brackets in a one-sided series, two games to nil. The Eastern European squad managed to stomp OG in a very convincing fashion, and they moved on to the 3rd round of the Upper Brackets.
At the same time in the Upper Brackets, Alliance battled Team Secret to prove themselves after a very bad showing at the WePlay Animajors. The Swedish squad managed to do just that, taking the series from Team Secret two games to nil. Of particular note are the team cores, Nikolay “Nikobaby” Nikolov and Linus “Limmp” Blomdin, who made some very important plays to keep Alliance in the Upper Brackets.
Later in the day, two of the four teams in the Lower Bracket will be eliminated entirely, and you know something’s up when those four teams are Team Secret, Team Nigma, OG and Team Liquid. Team Nigma once again faced Team Secret in a do-or-die series — a situation that happened at the Wild Cards during the AniMajors — and once again, Miracle- and company manage to barely hang on, winning their series two games to one. OG, on the other hand, fared better, withstanding Team Liquid’s onslaught of kills to ultimately win the series two games to none.
Other results: T1 won two games to nil against Vikin.gg, knocking out the European team to the lower bracket. Quincy Crew won their first series against Tundra Esports in the Upper Bracket as well, with the North American team taking the series two games to one.
Day 2 ends with Team Secret and Team Liquid being eliminated.
Day 3 – T1 vs Quincy Crew rematch, Virtus.pro unchallenged
The third day was perhaps the most exciting for both SEA and NA Dota 2 fans as the long-awaited rematch between T1 and Quincy Crew happened in the Upper Bracket. The teams last met during the AniMajors where a massive tip and flame war engaged, prompted by mid laners Karl “Karl” Baldovino and Quinn “Quinn” Callahan’s heated meeting in a pub game beforehand. Their first matchup in the AniMajors was won by T1, and this one proved to be no different as the pride of SEA proved their excellent macro skills against Quincy Crew, winning the series two games to none.
On the Europe side of things, Virtus.pro continued to dominate the Upper Brackets, knocking out Alliance to the Lower Brackets in two games to one.
Other results: AS Monaco Gambit eliminated Tundra Esports, winning two games to none. Vikin.gg also proved successful against Team Unique, eliminating after winning two straight games.
Day 3 ends with Tundra Esports and Team Unique being eliminated.
Day 4 – OG vs Team Nigma, T1 meets their match
The biggest highlights of Day 4 are undoubtedly OG’s matches against Team Nigma and Quincy Crew. Facing Team Nigma first, the defending TI champions found themselves in a tricky situation in the first game facing Miracle-’s Invoker and position 1 player Igor “iLTW” Filatov’s Anti-Mage. The first match was lost by OG, but the next two games were in their hands thanks to Topson’s masterclass performance with mid lane Hoodwink. OG wins the series two games to one, eliminating Team Nigma from the tournament.
OG’s next match pitted them against Quincy Crew, and the so-called “Hassan-bowl” began. SumaiL faced off against his brother, Quincy Crew’s carry Yawar “YawaR” Hassan in a fierce match that ended up going in the favor of OG. Sébastien “Ceb” Debs’ off lane Axe was of particular note in the second game, giving his team a strong edge in team fights to eliminate Quincy Crew from the tournament.
In the Upper Brackets, T1 finally found a worthy opponent coming against Virtus.pro to decide who will be demoted to the Lower Brackets. In the first game, T1 showed incredible resistance and fortitude in a 45-minute game to win. However, Virtus.pro showed their incredible tenacity in the next two games, out-drafting and outplaying T1 to move on to the Grand Finals, two games to one.
Other results: Vikin.gg defeated AS Monaco Gambit two games to none. However, Alliance was waiting for them in the next round to swiftly defeat them, 2-0.
Day 4 ends with Team Nigma, AS Monaco Gambit, Quincy Crew and Vikin.gg all being eliminated.
Day 5 – OG vs Alliance, and a rematch in the Grand Finals
The fifth and last day of the tournament started with disappointment for fans of OG and much celebration for Alliance’s own. Though pretty close, Alliance managed to take two games to nil against OG to cement their third-place finish, and eliminating OG from the tournament.
Alliance’s next match, however, proved to be a lopsided affair in favor of T1 as the SEA team dominated the European powerhouse to take both games decisively. Of particular note was T1’s usage of Doom — first as a mid-laner by Karl, and next as an off-laner by team captain Carlo “Kuku” Palad. T1’s Roshan pit fight against Alliance was also one of the most hype team fight events of the tournament, with Alliance spending all of their buybacks and still getting team-wiped at the end for a glorious GG finish. T1 moved on to the Grand Final, facing Virtus.pro once again in a best of five series.
The Grand Final went as hype as expected, with the series going the distance as neither team looked to surrender the championship to the other. T1 started off strong to take the first game, thanks to some very masterful plays from Nuengnara “23savage” Teeramahanon’s Phantom Assassin and a weird draft from Virtus.pro that included a support Silencer. The second and third games, however, showcased the CIS team at their best thanks to Danil “gpk” Skutin’s mid lane Lina and Illias “Kingslayer” Ganeev’s Winter Wyvern. Virtus.pro takes the lead, two games to one.
However, against all odds and a very unreliable hotel internet connection, T1 managed to hang on in the fourth game with Kenny “Xepher” Deo’s Nyx Assassin landing very important Impales to secure their victory and even the series. The pride of SEA continues this streak into a beautiful fifth and final game, overcoming gpk’s signature Invoker and Dmitry “DM” Dorokhin’s Timbersaw with 23savage’s well-timed Chronospheres on his Faceless Void. After a gruelling series, T1 took the ESL One 2021 championship and $175,000 in winnings. Congratulations!