Saturday, April 5, 2014

Breaking Down the Greatest Play in Dota 2 History

Liquid TC shows us how to appreciate Na'Vi's epic team fight against Invictus at the International 2
In the Dota community, it's known simply as "The Play." But perhaps the most perfectly executed moment in professional Dota history, in a game between Invictus Gaming and Na’Vi at The International 2, was almost impossible to understand for the average viewer. You can hear the crowd begin to roar, but the action on-screen is a mess of particle effects and magic overloading the monitor.
It's a shame too, because everybody should be able to appreciate this beautiful moment in Dota like the fine bourbon that it is. Watch the short video below before reading, and check it out a couple more times as you go.

The Set-Up
It's Chinese team Invictus Gaming versus perennial fan favorites Na'Vi at The International 2. Na'Vi holds a moderate lead and as they push toward Invictus' second bottom tower, Invictus decides that this is the moment they want to turn the match around. They use an item called Smoke of Deceit to make their entire team invisible and then group up and swoop around Na'Vi's rear in an attempt to catch them blind and out of position.
Invictus Gaming's Zhou leads the charge by using Naga Siren's ultimate ability, which puts all nearby enemies to sleep, but makes them immune to damage. While Na'Vi's characters snooze, Invictus moves in to get into the best possible position to destroy Na'Vi instantly when they wake up. What they don't know is that they're walking into a bear trap of epic proportions.
Na'Vi is in a good position because they have two heroes who can pop magic immunity as soon as the sleep ends," said TC.
He's referring to Na'Vi's Juggernaut who has a magic immunity ability, and their Enigma who has the item Black King Bar which grants immunity from magic abilities. So while Invictus is planning to annihilate Na'Vi when the sleep ends, Na'Vi has two characters who will be very difficult to kill.
"One of the things about the Naga Siren ultimate in general is that when you use it, your team will group up around the sleeping characters," said TC. "So when Invictus Gaming uses the sleep they're going to group up. And because Enigma has a Black King Bar it sets everything up, because all these heroes are now clumped up for the Black Hole."
At 0:15, Invictus' Dark Seer uses his Vacuum ability to suck several of Na'Vi's players closer together, making them easier to kill with big abilities. At that point, Invictus is all set for the perfect kill. Their Tidehunter uses his ultimate ability, Ravage (the tentacles that shoot out of the ground,) which should stun and damage all of Na'Vi's characters, but it doesn't because Na'Vi's Juggernaut and Enigma both have immunity.

Team Na'Vi
Team Na'Vi© Team Na'Vi
The Turn
This is where it all goes wrong for Invictus. Because Enigma isn't stunned by Tidehunter's ultimate, he's free to use Black Hole which grabs and locks down a whopping four Invictus players. Juggernaut is also using "Blade Fury" where he essentially spins around with his sword very quickly. So to recap: 4/5 of Invictus' characters are clumped up, stunned, and stuck next to an enemy (Juggernaut) spinning his sword like a madman. You do the math.
But the best part is something only a trained eye can see. At 0:17, Rubick - played by the inimitable Dendi - uses the item Force Staff to launch himself out of the fight momentarily just as Tidehunter is using his ultimate. You have to squint to see it, don't blink. He escapes the damage and stun, but not content with just one incredible play, Dendi seals the deal with another.

Na'Vi goes into the final 3
Na'Vi goes into the final 3© Dota 2 The International
The Play
"The Rubick Force Staffed out, which was really good so he didn't get hit by the Ravage, and that allowed him to steal it right after," said TC.
His character, Rubick, has the ability to steal abilities from enemies. He uses "Spell Steal" on an enemy, and then he can use whatever the last spell that character cast was. Dendi uses this ability on the Tidehunter who has just used his ultimate ability, so now he can use it too. Dendi marches his way back into the fray and annihilates Invictus Gaming with their own character's ultimate ability. Yep, badass.
"It was great that they had those quick reactions to dodge all of those stuns that Invictus is trying to use to set everything up, and then turn around and steal the Ravage," TC said.

You'll no doubt have to watch this video a half dozen or more times to fully understand all that happens in that tiny 5 second window, but it's worth the effort. 


  1. This is not the greatest play in Dota 2 history. iG pretty much just walked into the black hole for Navi. It's no surprise what happens next..

    1. Well then find me a better play, because this looks pretty freakin' awesome.

    2. player skill-wise you are absolutely correct. But its the combination of everything that makes this so fantastic. The crowds reaction, the commentators, the fact that its the INTERNATIONAL, Dendi's epic scream... It's one of the only combinations that gives me that chill down the spine.

    3. I love navi when they carried out the ice path to vacuum to alch stun and requiem


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