For those who don’t know, that’s a quote from 7ckingmad’s blog. He is the coach of OG. In the post, he says that at TI7 you had 15 teams choking and three teams playing good Dota. (Sidebar: I assume three he thinks that did good were Team Liquid, Virtus.Pro and LGD.Forever Young).
This is something I’ve always thought about going into every TI. Because it is considered the most important tournament of the Dota 2 year by far, it is naturally given the most weight. This is why I highly rate strong TI performing captains like Xiao8 and PPD as they are the types of people who won’t let the pressure get to them and who will steer their team into playing well regardless of situation. It’s also why I consider Resolut1on an amazing player as he pulled out two great performances in the last two TIs on teams that had no shot before the tournament started.
When it comes to TI or the big tournaments of the year, at the highest levels it is about the mental strength. This is something that JulyZerg, legendary Brood War Zerg player, once said after winning his Golden Mouse in BW: “My belief in best-of-five series is not skill but your mind.”
Stork, one of the all time great BW players and a better player than JulyZerg by all accounts at the time, watched that final. It was a revelation to him as he was forced to ask himself, “How could a man so far past his prime win an OSL?”
The answer was mental strength, and that’s why TI feels like such a shark pit despite being the most robust tournament format that gives the most chances to teams. Even with a double elimination format, it always feels like a team is hanging off the edge of a cliff.