Team Spirit comeback post-T12 break, secure slot at DreamLeague S22


After a temporary hiatus from competitive play following their victory at TI12, Team Spirit has made a successful return to the Dota 2 Esports scene by qualifying for the DreamLeague Season 22.

They achieved this feat by overcoming Natus Vincere in the Eastern European qualifier. This victory not only highlighted their unwavering skill but also marked their resurgence as a dominant force in the Dota 2 pro scene, underlining their status as two-time champions.

Yatoro’s key role in securing Team Spirit its DreamLeague S22 slot

In a critical game 1 against NaVi during the upper bracket of the DreamLeague S22 qualifier, Team Spirit staged a remarkable comeback. This turnaround was largely attributed to the exceptional performance of their star player, Illya “Yatoro” Mulyarchuk, whose rampage played a pivotal role in their victory.

The team’s strategic play, especially during a moment of disadvantage when two players were missing, was commendable. Miposhka’s strategic move provided the team with an opportunity to regroup and launch a successful defense. Yatoro, despite his Faceless Void being killed, played a crucial role in securing the final and decisive kill after his buyback. This led to Team Spirit’s win in the series and their qualification for the DreamLeague S22.

Team Spirit Dota 2 Yataro

Illya “Yatoro” Mulyarchuk (Image credit: The International 12)

Circumstances leading to Team Spirit’s loss of direct invite to the DreamLeague S22

Frankly, seeing Team Spirit in the regional qualifier of the DreamLeague S22 was a bigger surprise than their qualification. Team Spirit’s decision to take a break after their TI12 triumph had unintended consequences on their ranking at the ESL Pro Tour (EPT) circuit. Despite having amassed 2400 EPT points from their victory at the Riyadh Masters 2023, their absence from the subsequent ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023 event led to a drop in their ranking.

This shift allowed Team Liquid, who performed well at the ESL One Kuala Lumpur, to surpass Team Spirit in the leaderboard.

Criticism of the ESL Pro Tour Point Distribution System

The ESL Pro Tour‘s point allocation system has been a subject of debate. Criticisms have emerged from various parties including Gaimin Gladiators’ Melchior “Seleri” Hillenkamp. The community has criticized the system for disproportionately emphasizing participation in specific tournaments, particularly ESL tournaments. This has resulted in significant ranking fluctuations even for teams that have performed exceptionally well in other major events.

This issue was highlighted by Seleri, who pointed out the discrepancies in the ranking system and its impact on team standings and direct invites to ESL events.

Team Spirit Continue Dominance in the Dota 2 Scene

Despite these challenges, Team Spirit’s performance in the EEU regional qualifier demonstrates their potential for the 2024 season. Their composure, particularly in the face of adversity against NaVi, showcased their capabilities as a two-time champion. Despite the excitement of pulling off a rampage and comeback against NaVi, do note that Team Spirit were by no means the underdogs going into this match-up.

If anything, it was NaVi’s desperate attempt to rush at attacking the enemy’s throne instead of winning the teamfight that put them in a bad situation. The diebacks as Yatoro swept the rest of NaVi’s team was a classic case of unintentional throwing.

Yaroslav “Miposhka” Naidenov (Image credit: The International 12)

ESL will bring the online DreamLeague S22 from Feb. 25 to March 10 with a million-dollar prize pool and crucial ESL Pro Tour points at stake. Team Spirit will be a team to watch out for, with expectations high for their prevailing success against seasoned and new rivals, such as Gaimin Gladiators, Team Liquid, BetBoom Team and Xtreme Gaming.


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