Every season there are great teams in Dota 2. It has just become a salient feature at the pinnacle of competitive Dota 2. Someone, somewhere is always doing something big, reinventing the meta and winning tournaments as a result.
That said, there have been a number of teams throughout Dota 2’s history who have simply been a step above the competition and have more or less steamrolled their competition in a bid to consistently be the most dominant team in the world.
Here is a trip down the memory lane, as we reflect on the teams who still strike fear into the hearts of those who tried to stand in their way.
2013 - Alliance
The Swedish Giants have been immortalized in the Dota 2 sphere after one of the most dominant wins we’ve ever witnessed in a TI. They went undefeated in the Group Stages being a step ahead of everyone at that time and only dropped 3 games on their road to capturing the Championship. Few others have been able to replicate this level of dominance at the highest tier of Dota 2.
But what makes Alliance’s run historic is not just their performances at TI. It is what preceded and succeeded it. The TI3 champs had one of the most dominant years that Dota 2 has ever seen: they kicked off with a landmark LAN win in China at the G-1 Champions League Season 5 and followed it up with a multitude of triumphs including DreamHack Summer 2013, StarLadder StarSeries Season 6, TI3, Dota 2 Champions League Season 1, DreamHack Bucharest 2014 and DreamLeague Season 1.
Their dominance was so unprecedented that many still believe that Icefrog himself had to step in and dedicate the 6.79 patch to nerfing Alliance’s playstyle.
2014 - Team DK
The Team DK roster of 2014 is one of the most beloved in all of Dota and for good reason. With 5 Legendary players, the finest the eastern scene could offer, they captured the hearts of Western Dota 2 fans and Eastern Dota 2 fans alike with some of the most breathtaking Dota of the time.
They kicked off their spurt of dominance at Fengyun Dota 2 Tournament. Following that Team DK won 2013 WPC ACE Dota 2 League, in some style. The Grand Finals for this tournament was a BO7 match. Team DK lost 3 games on a trot, and 1 game away from losing the tournament. But then they made the ultimate comeback winning the next 4 to claim the championship.
Spurted by this, victories at G-League 2013, Sina Cup Supernova Dota 2 Open Season 3, StarLadder StarSeries Season 9, and the ECL 2014 Spring followed, showcasing a number of versatile strategies, skilful play and some beautiful Dota in the process. They were one of the favourites heading into TI4.
Unfortunately, their impressive run of dominance came to a close at The International 4 where their strategies were leaked by a Media house. The fact that many consider their run at TI4 ‘underwhelming’ despite a 4th place finish is a testament to their dominance and the expectations they garnered as a result.
2016 - Wings Gaming
The last Chinese team to win a TI, Wings Gaming still hold a fond place in the hearts of Dota 2 fans. Before their massive spurt of success, they stuck together for over two years without any roster swaps, constantly pushing each other to improve to finally reap the rewards later.
Their TI6 run is definitely one of the most dominant performances we’ve ever witnessed. It wasn’t too different from OG’s approach in this year’s TI. The team could literally make anything and everything work which lead to them picking up all sorts of unique drafts including Pudge picks, and Techies picks even when they weren’t meta, garnering them fans from all across the world. They were truly one of a kind.
While the players have moved on to have successful careers elsewhere, the magic that these 5 players showcased when they played together wasn’t replicated elsewhere until TI9.
2019 - OG at TI9
At least it wasn’t replicated until OG’s success at TI9. They too were unpredictable and dominant to an unbelievable extent at Shanghai this year. Once again, no one was able to figure out the Champions’ playstyle and their flawless approach to Dota.
They topped their group with commanding performances which saw them score an impressive 16-2 win-loss ratio. Their dominance extended to the playoffs as well where they started by 2-0 Newbee and followed it up by 2-1 victories over Newbee and EG. The Grand Finals was a one-sided walloping where OG 3-1d Team Liquid effortlessly to claim the Aegis of Champions.
The total win-loss ratio for OG on their road to the title was 25-5. Absolutely absurd considering that TI9 was almost certainly the pinnacle of Dota 2 play.
2015 - Team Secret 2.0
Possibly the most talented and dominant team to never win a TI, Team Secret 2.0 was the first All-star roster we’d seen in the Western Scene. Arteezy, S4, Zai, Kuroky and Puppey were the preeminent players of that era and it showed.
After an explosive debut at the inaugural Dota 2 Asia Championships, the team lay low for a time and returned to the stage in May and went on a tear. They won four premier LAN events: Red Bull Battle Grounds: Dota 2, The Summit 3, MarsTV Dota 2 League 2015 Spring and ESL One Frankfurt 2015 back-to-back against the best Dota 2 teams in the world, playing some awe-inspiring Dota to cement their claim as the de-facto favourite heading into The International 2015.
Although Team Secret would eventually fall short of the Aegis of Champions, they’ve certainly managed to carve a special place in the hearts of Dota 2 fans throughout the world thanks to their sheer brilliance.