Moscow-based esports organization Team Spirit won the hearts of millions of Dota 2 fans worldwide as they were crowned the winners of The International 10 after defeating their Chinese rivals PSG.LGD in a best-of-five series in the grand finals. It seems like their victory was noticed by the Russian president himself, as Putin congratulated them through a letter shortly afterward.
Featuring a prize pool of over $40 million, The International 10 is, by far, the biggest esports tournament that the world has ever seen. Team Spirit were no favourites to win the tournament either. After losing their first game against Invictus Gaming in the upper bracket, their journey through the lower bracket has been described as a ‘fairy tale run’ by analysts.
PSG.LGD, on the other hand, were absolute favourites of the majority to win TI this year. They showed complete dominance throughout the DPC season and rarely dropped games against even the best opposition. However, Team Spirit managed to thrive against all the odds stacked against them to secure a jaw-dropping 3-2 victory against their Chinese counterparts in the grand finals.
Soon after Team Spirit claimed the Aegis of the Champions, they were congratulated by Russian president Vladimir Putin through an open letter posted on Kremlin.ru.
“Congratulations on your well-deserved victory at The International-2021—the Dota-2 World Championship,” the letter reads. “For the first time in history, the Russian team of the Team Spirit club won these prestigious competitions. Well done!”
“On the way to the final, you demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities and solidarity, and in the decisive duel, which became a real test of skill and character, you managed to concentrate and seize the initiative from strong opponents at the most crucial moment. They have proven in practice that our esportsmen are always goal-oriented and capable of conquering any peaks.”
With this victory, Team Spirit took home a winning prize of over $18,000,000, and were the first Eastern European team to win The International in a decade since Natus Vincere (Na’Vi) won the first TI in 2011