OKBET THUNDER AWAKEN | DOTA 2 HISTORY
OKBET Thunder Awaken, On the penultimate day before The International 2022’s week-long break leading up to the finals, fans were treated to what seemed like a Dota 2 stage spectacle. Apart from Team Liquid, Beastcoast, and PSG, no other team could establish a winning run. Despite their best efforts, LGD had to bow out of the competition.
Liquid’s streak was also difficult to acquire, as the Western European representative faced South America’s last hope, OKBET Thunder Awaken, after sweeping OG.
TA, being one of the most explosive teams at TII, proved to be worthy opponents for the more methodical WEU side, as the two teams were not only well matched but ended up exchanging blows in many bouts in every game, which might have easily swayed a lesser series.
Despite the fact that this was TA’s last ride at TI11, they created history by achieving the highest finish at a TI for any South American team. In addition to smashing the record, both OKBET Thunder Awaken and Liquid had beautiful performances that may have enticed spectators to queue up for a game of OKBET Dota 2—after they had cooled down after the thrilling climax.
OKBET Thunder Awaken came into the series with their usual guns blazing, resulting in the lone recipient of SA’s hopes and prayers sweeping the floor with Liquid in the early game. They were trying all they could to put pressure on their opponents, but Liquid found a way to pass the time and remain in the game.
Given the frantic pace of the game and the drafts of both sides, there was a battle every three minutes or so, in a different region of the map. The majority of them are only employed by one side to entice vital objects or skills in preparation for the following engagement.
The win was so close, but OKBET Thunder Awaken couldn’t hold Liquid at bay long enough to finish the game. This resulted in many lead changes with the EU team laying the groundwork for a Mega Creeps comeback, pushing towards TA’s high territory.
However, Liquid’s faultless execution would be their undoing, as TA turned an incredible teamfight around just after Boxi captured three heroes on TA’s side with an Avalanche and a Lifestealer infest bomb set to fire. Despite that, Liquid lacked the damage to take down either of them, setting the setup for a two-person Black Hole on Lifestealer and Tiny, two critical targets TA needed to deal with to win the game.
After eliminating three Liquid players with no buybacks, TA marched down the middle lane to breach the remaining fortifications. With just Boxi’s Tiny alive, OKBET Thunder Awaken were ready to end it all—but Liquid’s offlaner wasn’t about to let it happen for free.
Boxi leapt on the incoming creepwave to cut it off and prevent OKBET Thunder Awaken from finishing the game right then and then to activate the backdoor defensive of Liquid’s base. But there was just one issue. He didn’t miss a single Creep.
The lone Creep escaped death and ran towards Liquid’s stronghold, to the delight of the Singapore audience. The last Radiant Creep was led into Liquid’s stronghold to assist TA in landing the last blows on the Ancient, clinching game one.
The second round of the series was much less entertaining, as Liquid gained the lead early on and squeezed TA out of the game by taking all of the resources on the map with the assistance of zai’s Broodmother. The tranquility did not last long, as the water bottle-throwing action returned for game three.
Though TA didn’t grab the gold lead until the 37th minute, the SA side was able to lock down everyone save zai on Liquid’s side, and every teamfights went TA’s way. At least until Liquid’s Pangolier scooped up a Skull Basher, which changed the course of the game.
Liquid expertly avoided being Black Hole’d with several heroes in a few battles in a row, but it didn’t stop TA from making a crucial push into Liquid’s stronghold, and DarkMago was able to pull off the sixth ever Rampage kill streak in the history of TI’s main stage.
Unfortunately for TA, the Rampage would be their last look at Liquid’s Ancient, as Matu obtained a buyback just in time to re-enter the fray with the rest of Liquid and sweep out the enemy. With no buybacks on any hero for at least a minute, Liquid advanced in the midlane to seize the game as SA’s last hope prepared for its final stand.
Despite the disadvantage of being a number, TA captured miCKE’s Pangolier with a Black Hole and began busting him down. MATUMBAMAN’s Lifestealer, however, rescued the Pango just as his HP was about to run out.
Matu remained calm as the last battle in TA’s base continued, avoiding a jump-in for damage and instead remaining near miCKE to bring his Pangolier back to life with an Infest health boost that shifted the tide of the engagement. And, although Liquid would go on to win the series and finish in the top four at TI11, this sort of spectacle simply goes to illustrate how remarkable TA’s run actually was.
TA moved up on Dota’s greatest stage this year, going from a squad that lost out on TI10 with NoPing e-sports to a powerful lineup capable of taking games off the top teams in the world.
By finishing in a tie for fifth place, this OKBET Thunder Awaken group leaves TI11 having progressed the farthest of any team from the area before them, breaking the previous seventh-place record established by the current beastcoast roster at TI9 when playing for Infamous.
Not only that, but TI11 marked another historic milestone for South Africa, as it was the first time three teams from the area competed on the main stage. Hokori, Beastcoast, and OKBET Thunder Awaken may not be hoisting the Aegis of Champions this year, but they all battled with everything they had and shown how dominant SA has grown since it was officially designated as a region in 2017.
SA’s turn in the limelight isn’t going away anytime soon, and TA’s last hurrah may well encourage the region’s next generation of talent to hit the bars.
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