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Eastern European dark horses Team Spirit's incredible Cinderella run in The International 10 (TI10) has reached the grand finals after they pulled off another massive 2-1 upset over Western European powerhouse Team Secret in the lower bracket finals.
Both Secret and Spirit qualified for upper bracket of the Main Event by making the Top 4 of Group B, with Secret taking second place in the group while Spirit came in at fourth.
Secret had a strong start in the Main Event, sweeping two-time defending champions OG and China's Invictus Gaming (IG) to face Chinese juggernauts PSG.LGD in the upper bracket finals. While Secret put up a valiant effort there, they ended up getting swept by PSG.LGD and were forced to the lower bracket finals.
Meanwhile, Spirit lost their first match in the Main Event against IG and were dropped to the lower bracket. But instead of folding under the pressure, the Eastern European dark horses thrived while in danger of elimination and ended the tournament lives of four other teams.
Spirit first took down Southeast Asia's Fnatic, ended two-time defending champions OG's dreams of a three-peat, outlasted regional rivals Virtus.pro, then finally exacted their revenge on IG to earn a spot in the Top 3 and face Secret in the lower bracket finals.
Secret started the series strong, taking an easy 39-minute victory in game one. However, Spirit came back with a vengeance in game two behind another impressive performance from carry player Illya "Yatoro" Mulyarchuk's Morphling.
But it was the vision provided by Spirit's support duo of Miroslaw "Mira" Kolpakov on Dark Willow and Yaroslav "Miposhka" Naidenov on Lion that sealed the team's victory in game two. A well-placed Observer Ward allowed Spirit to turn the tables on a smoke gank from Secret and score three game-winning pickoffs.
With two of their cores dead without buyback, Secret could do little to stop Spirit from boldly breaking into their base and destroying their Ancient to force the series to a deciding game three.
Spirit brought the fight to Secret in the do-or-die game three. Despite a rough start in the laning stage, Spirit midlaner Alexander "TORONTOTOKYO" Khertek on Storm Spirit and offlaner Magomed "Collapse" Khalilov on his signature Magnus pick wreaked havoc on Secret. With all the space being provided by his fellow cores, Yatoro on Sven had free rein to farm and become unstoppable in the ensuing clashes.
Spirit's support duo of Miroslaw "Mira" Kolpakov on Dark Willow and Yaroslav "Miposhka" Naidenov on Winter Wyvern also did their part, somehow surviving Secret's ganks and keeping them from gaining any momentum.
In the deciding clash of the series at the 40-minute mark, Yatoro decimated Secret's ranks and notched his third Rampage of TI10's Main Event — being the first-ever player to record three Rampages in the main stage of any TI — to seal Spirit's 2-1 series victory.
In one of the greatest performances in the biggest stage in all of Dota 2, the 18-year old Yatoro had 17 kills against just one death to lead his underdog team to an unprecedented run to the grand finals of TI10.
With their victory, Team Spirit secured a Top 2 finish and a cool US$5.2 million. Of course, Spirit will still be looking for a perfect ending to their Cinderella run as they battle PSG.LGD in the best-of-five grand finals for the grand prize of US$18.2 million as well as the Aegis of Champions.
Meanwhile, Team Secret bow out in 3rd place with US$3.6 million in consolation. While this placement is their best showing in all the TI's it has competed in thus far, Secret still fall short of the ultimate goal.
Team Spirit Dota 2 roster:
Illya "Yatoro" Mulyarchuk
Alexander "TORONTOTOKYO" Khertek
Magomed "Collapse" Khalilov
Miroslaw "Mira" Kolpakov
Yaroslav "Miposhka" Naidenov
Team Secret Dota 2 roster:
Lasse "MATUMBAMAN" Urpalainen
Michal "Nisha" Jankowski
Ludwig "zai" Wåhlberg
Yazied "YapzOr" Jaradat
Clement "Puppey" Ivanov
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