Updated on December 16, 10:00 a.m. (GMT+8): Added more moments to the list.
Since its open beta release in 2011, Dota 2 has been one of the giants of the esports scene.
Over the past ten years, Dota 2 has awarded the most prize money out of any esport, and has made legends out of teams like OG, Alliance, and Natus Vincere.
Here’s a look back at the twelve best Dota 2 games of the past decade.
The 12 most memorable Dota 2 games of the past decade
12. No Tidehunter versus Evil Geniuses at DreamHack Winter 2012
Before Alliance became one of the most formidable European teams in Dota 2, they were known as No Tidehunter. The talented Swedish stack also featured a young Jacky “Eternal Envy” Mao who was just making a name for himself in the Dota 2 scene.
Early in DreakHack Winter 2012, No Tidehunter was known for their “rush Roshan” strategy, where they’d run straight to the Rosh Pit and kill Roshan to gain a level advantage, along with a quick Aegis of the Immortal pickup.
But in game one of the grand final, since they knew their opponents would be ready for this strategy, they decided to send Henrik “AdmiralBulldog” Ahnberg into the Rosh Pit with his Nature’s Prophet to die. They successfully baited Evil Geniuses’ heroes into killing two of their heroes and secured the First Blood advantage.
This also spawned one of the most famous lines by longtime caster Toby “TobiWan” Dawson in Dota 2’s history: “No one has ever done that in the history of Dota!”
11. Team DK versus Speed Gaming International at MLG Columbus 2013
At MLG Champions Columbus in 2013, Speed Gaming International faced one of the juggernaut teams in Dota 2 history, Team DK
The Dota 2 superteam included legendary Chinese player Xu “Burning” Zhilei, Orange’s star player Chai Yee “Mushi” Fung, Singapore’s top talent Daryl “iceiceice” Xiang, fan-favorite support player Zhang “LaNm” Zhicheng, and EHOME’s accomplished midlane expert Lei “MMY!” Zengrong.
Game one of the grand final between the two teams was a long, drawn-out 85-minute war that showed a hungry stack always has a chance to upset the best Dota 2 teams in the world.
The young Speed Gaming squad consisting of Eternal Envy, Artour “Arteezy” Babaev, Wehsing “SingSing” Yuen, Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling, and Johan “pieliedie” Astrom, were on the verge of derailing Team DK’s hype train, but LaNm jumped in and dropped two Echo Slams that stopped Speed Gaming dead in their tracks.
10. OG versus MVP Phoenix at the Manila Major 2016
OG had a memorable run in 2016 and it all started with one of the best Dota 2 LANs with the Manila Major.
The Western European squad had a near-perfect run in the tournament, only dropping two games on their way to the Manila Major trophy.
They weren’t phased even against highly acclaimed teams like Natus Vincere, Newbee, and Team Liquid.
Their most impressive performance came during game two of their upper bracket semifinal match against MVP Phoenix. OG pull off a flawless victory against the Korean squad by finishing the game with a clean 24-0 score.
9. Ad Finem versus OG at the Boston Major 2016
Ad Finem was a team that was overlooked at the Boston Major. Despite the odds stacked against them, Ad Finem made it to the grand final.
However, in the grand final, they faced European powerhouse team OG at the height of their powers.
After OG took the first two games in the grand final, it seemed that Ad Finem was on track to get swept by the European super team.
Luckily for Ad Finem, Verros “Maybe Next Time” Apostolos wouldn’t let his team go down without a fight. The savvy support player took it upon himself to secure the victory as his Earth Shaker used his Shadow Blade to sneak into OG’s base and take down the Dire team’s Ancient.
It was one of the most daring individual plays in Dota 2 history, that worked!
8. Alliance versus Cloud9 at ESL One Frankfurt 2014
We witnessed arguably the biggest comeback in Dota 2 history, courtesy of Alliance’s Henrik “AdmiralBulldog” Ahnberg and his trademark Rat Dota strategy.
In game two of Alliance’s quarterfinal match against Cloud9, all seemed lost for the Swedish squad as their opponents were in complete control of the entire map. However, the North American squad was denied the finishing blow when AdmiralBulldog began ratting all over the map.
This quarter final match between Cloud 9 and Alliance will go down in history as one of the biggest comebacks of all time thanks to Alliance’s Henrik “AdmiralBulldog” Ahnberg infamous Rat Doto strategy.
AdmiralBulldog’s Nature’s Prophet wouldn’t give Cloud9 any room to breathe, constantly pushing all lanes. This caused Cloud9 to make careless mistakes when they tried to pin down the elusive offlane hero. With their opponents scattered, Alliance was able to prolong the game.
Eventually, Cloud9 decided to charge down the middle lane in an all-in attempt to finish the game. However, by the time they started taking down the Radiant Ancient, three Alliance heroes had already respawned and stalled the game even further.
Cloud9 desperately attempted to finish the game with a Faceless Void Chronosphere ultimate, but Alliance extinguished their hopes and repelled their Hail Mary play. With no buybacks on the Cloud9 side, Alliance immediately teleported into the Dire base and clutched out the game.
7. Team Secret versus Vici Gaming at Dota 2 Asia Championships 2015
This star-studded match saw some of the best minds in Dota clash, with Kuro “KuroKy” Takhasomi, Clement “Puppey” Ivanov, Artour “Arteezy” Babaev, and Ludwig “zai” Wahlberg all on the Team Secret.
Meanwhile, Vici Gaming had its own amazing stack of great players: Xie “Super” Junhao, Xu, fy” Linsen, and German player Dominik “Black^” Reitmeier.
In game one of the upper bracket quarter final, Arteezy’s Tiny and KuroKy’s Io were able to claim the Mega Creep advantage, despite VG doubling Team Secret’s kill count.
The Dire team almost fell victim to another Rat Dota strategy, but VG managed to pick off Team Secret’s key heroes and defend their Dire Ancient. This propelled them into pushing straight through the Radiant base and finishing the game.
The final moments of the game were absolutely insane — there was even an unclaimed Divine Rapier by the middle lane that was completely forgotten amidst the chaos.
6. Mineski versus Team Secret at The International 2019
The first two games of Team Secret and Mineski’s lower bracket clash at TI9 was a treat to watch.
Mineski was well on their way to a game one upset against Secret when they amassed a 25,000 gold lead. The Southeast Asian squad also shut down Yeik “MidOne” Zheng, preventing his Meepo from snowballing in farm and levels.
To get his team back into the game, Ludwig “zai” Wahlberg found the perfect opening to land a Tidehunter Ravage ultimate that caught all of Mineski’s heroes.
MidOne also took the opportunity to buyback and take down Kam “Moon” Seng’s carry Alchemist, twice.
After dropping four of Mineski’s heroes, Secret charged down the midlane and ended the first game to complete their incredible comeback win.
The tables were turned in game two when Mineski pulled off an unbelievable hold, with Niko “Nikobaby” Nikolov, Damien “kpii” Chok, and Moon able to best Team Secret’s attempt at a game-ending push.
Team Secret attempted to prolong the game as best they could, but Mineski went straight for the Dire Ancient to secure their upset victory.
5. Team Spirit versus OG at The International 2021
Team Spirit won over many Dota 2 fans when they proved that they were the best team in the world at The International 2021.
The CIS squad was unstoppable in the lower bracket, winning six matches in a row which helped earned them the Aegis of Champions.
Team Spirit’s Magomed “Collapse” Khalilov, put together the best offlane performance we’ve seen at The International. He was a constant threat, especially when he was on Magnus.
In Team Spirit’s playoff match against OG, Collapse was able to save his team from losing to the two-time TI champions in the first game of their lower bracket match.
OG had a slight gold lead, and they had just taken down Team Spirit’s carry Faceless Void. To increase their lead, The Western European squad pushed the bottom lane and attempted to siege Team Spirit’s base. However, Collapse’s Magnus was one step ahead of his opponents, blinking into Sumail “SumaiL” Syed’s Tiny and Skewering the carry hero to the Dire fountain.
This forced the fight to take place deep inside Team Spirit’s base, and Collapse’s Magnus continued to capitalize by Skewering more OG heroes into his fountain. The play gave Team Spirit the upper hand, which they used to take a 1-0 lead against OG.
4. Team Liquid versus Virtus Pro at The International 2017
Game one of Team Liquid and Virtus Pro’s lower bracket quarterfinal match will be remembered as one of the most exciting games in Dota 2 history.
It was a back-and-forth battle that lasted well over 100 minutes, and neither team backed down.
Even in the late game stage, Virtus Pro would not let their last melee barracks go down. Team Liquid tried everything, with Lasse “MATUMBAMAN Urpalainen throwing caution to the wind and charging into Virtus Pro’s base to claim the mega creep advantage.
The ensuing battle led to Team Liquid losing two of their heroes, which was the price they paid to claim megas. Immediately after the fight, Virtus Pro knew they had to go for an all-in push.
Team Liquid refused to face Virtus Pro head-on, so MATUMBAMAN picked up a Divine Rapier in an attempt to take down the enemy team’s Ancient. However, he was caught and taken down by Virtus Pro.
With two of their teammates out of the picture, Kuro “KuroKy” Takhasomi, Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi, and MATUMBMAAN, who just bought back, somehow pulled off an unbelievable base defense that left Virtus Pro decimated.
3. OG versus PSG.LGD at The International 2018
OG’s Cinderella run at TI8 is arguably the most incredible journey of any team in Dota 2 history.
The team’s run began with a gruelling European regional qualifier, but even after making it into TI8, no one gave them a shot at winning, having gone through sudden roster changes before the tournament.
Surprisingly, they made it into the upper bracket after finishing fourth in their group. OG even got their revenge against Evil Geniuses, the team former OG stars Tal “Fly” Aizik and Gustav “s4” Magnusson joined.
While their run was filled with great moments, OG was at its best in game four of the grand final against PSG.LGD.
The Aegis of Champions that year was PSG.LGD’s trophy to lose. The Chinese squad was up 2-1 and had a commanding 7,000 gold lead over OG.
To make matters worse for OG, their Phantom Lancer carry hero was caught by PSG.LGD in the Dire secret shop.
Anathan “ana” Pham knew that if he couldn’t join his team in the next team fight, they would have lost. To make sure he had enough buyback gold, he quickly sold his Ring of Aquila and Talisman of Evasion.
With Ana’s Phantom Lancer down, PSG.LGD sieged OG’s base and took down the Dire team’s mid-set of barracks. To extend their lead, PSG.LGD attempted to take the top lane of barracks as well. To counter this, Ana used his buyback and OG was able to repel PSG.LGD.
As the game reached the late stage, OG always found a way to win fights with the narrowest of margins. Even in a 1v4 situation, ana still managed to survive.
This also set up one of Dota 2’s most iconic plays where Sébastien “Ceb” Debs swooped in and caught PSG.LGD off-guard using Axe’s Berserker’s Call that completed OG’s comeback win.
2. Team Liquid versus Thunder Awaken at The International 2022
Team Liquid and Thunder Awaken’s epic lower bracket quarterfinal clash at The International 2022 had everything a diehard Dota 2 fan could ask for.
It had an impossible mega creep comeback by Thunder Awaken in game one, followed by an inspired bounce-back performance in game two with Team Liquid rallying behind MATUMBAMAN who was retiring after the tournament.
Finally, there was the all-time clutch save by MATUMBAMAN’s Lifestealer that propelled Team Liquid into the top four at TI11. In the final moments of game three, Team Liquid went for a match-ending push to Thunder Awaken’s base. In the madness of it all, Rafael “Sacred” Yonatan’s Enigma caught Michael “miCKe” Vu’s Pangolier with another clutch Enigma Black Hole.
However, in the 11th hour, MATUMBAMAN came in and used Lifestealer’s Infest which saved his midlaner.
TI11 observer Rikard ‘skrff’ Melin even shared that miCKe’s Pangolier only had 1 HP left before he was saved at the very last second. With miCKe surviving, Liquid’s Pangolier was able to disengage using Swashbuckle and Rolling Thunder. After losing the fight, Thunder Awaken had nothing left to give and Liquid went on to win a legendary game.
1. Natus Vincere versus Alliance at The International 2013
The best and most entertaining grand finals match in The International history was between Na’Vi and Alliance at TI3. With US$1.4 million on the line, both teams played their hearts out in front of a live crowd at the Benaroya Hall in Seattle, Washington
The match was filled with incredible teamwork and individual plays that had fans on the edges of their seats.
In game five of the grand final, Alliance had already claimed the Mega Creep advantage by demolishing Na’Vi’s base, but the Radiant team took control of the game and slowly began their comeback.
At the 43-minute mark, Alliance decided to Relocate to the top lane. In response, Na’Vi tried to teleport back and defend their base but Gustav “S4” Magnusson was able to prevent this by casting his Dream Coil on Dendi’s Templar Assassin.
READ MORE: This artist’s incredibly detailed Dota 2 hero sculptures look amazing