Video: The Rise of Team Spirit — Dota's $18 Million Cinderella Story
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Charlie Howard Writer
Yovcho Yovchev Video Editor
Samantha Jones Script Editor
Colin McNeil Supervising Producer

Up until very recently, Team Spirit had only fantasized of competing at Dota 2’s most prestigious event: The International.

They were never the strongest team in the CIS region, or even their country, but this group of young, inexperienced and unknown players narrowly qualified for The International 10 and never looked back. Against all expectations, they lifted the iconic Aegis of Champions, took home $18 million dollars and etched their names in the Dota history books for all eternity.

This is The Rise of Team Spirit.

Who are Team Spirit?

From December of 2015-2020, Team Spirit could be categorized by one word: average. For five straight years, Team Spirit bounced between being a strong Tier 3 organization and a middle of the pack Tier 2 team. Dreams of playing at TI, the landmark event of the Dota calendar, were way out of reach for an organization like Spirit.

Throughout that half decade, they’d uncover and develop promising talent, but the powerhouses of their region — Natus Vincere,, Gambit Esports and the like — would swoop in to pry the potential stars away. Plenty of new faces came and went, but Team Spirit’s position in the pecking order of Dota remained unchanged. So, in late 2020, almost five years to the day of Team Spirit’s entry into Dota, they signed the roster of Yellow Submarine.

But this collection of young Russian talent was unlike anything Team Spirit had seen under their banner before. They were winning Tier 3 competitions with ease, claiming Tier 2 titles and proving they could mix it with the very best. But, despite Team Spirit’s new found lease on life, they hadn’t accumulated enough Dota Pro Circuit points throughout the year to earn automatic qualification to TI. 

Experience The Rise of Team Spirit by watching the video above or heading to Upcomer’s YouTube channel.

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