The young guns of CIS live up to their name, fighting through a ruthless qualifiers against the likes of HellRaisers and Team Empire to come out victorious.

As the dust settles on the CIS TI10 Qualifiers, Team Spirit have secured their spot to The International. Despite the result being one many had predicted, the final score doesn’t do their journey justice in the slightest.

Team Spirit to TI10

Team Spirit has been together for just over a year now, first as Yellow Submarine in Epic League. It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Yaroslav “Miposhka” Naidenov-captained team though.

Qualifying for the CIS DPC, the team had trouble during the first season. In the second season however, Spirit shot up to second place and were able to go toe-to-toe with the best in the region. Despite a decent run at the WePlay Animajor, Spirit did not end up with enough points to directly qualify to TI.

Coming into the qualifiers as the favorites, Spirit had new unexpected challengers to contend with. Na’Vi, having newly formed from the remnants of the old Na’Vi roster, and bringing on AS Monaco Gambit players Vladimir “No[o]ne” Minenko and Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev, were looking formidable. Not to mention the DPC lower division powerhouses HellRaisers, with big names like Roman “Resolut1on” Fomynok and Bakyt “W_Zayac” Emilzhanov.

The Battle for CIS’s TI10 Slot Commences

With no easy road, Spirit fought their way through the tough and competitive qualifiers. In the first few rounds though, Spirit thoroughly crushed it’s first competition. They took out Winstrike, and in the second round PuckChamp. However in the Upper Bracket finals, HellRaisers looked to be their biggest challenge. The team, with Resolut1on at the helm appeared to rise to the challenge, and were able to take a game off of Spirit. Not a team known for relenting, Spirit held the fort, and were able to come back from only a 1% win probability.

With the win under their belt, Spirit had punched their ticket to the Grand Finals. Na’Vi ended up getting knocked out of the upper bracket by HellRaisers, and then eliminated by dark horse Team Empire. Empire was a stand-out team during the tournament, and they made massive lower bracket run to be able to meet Spirit in the highly anticipated final series of the qualifiers.

It Takes True Spirit to Fell an Empire

What occurred next was a massive 5 game series where it looked like Spirit were on the ropes. But Team Spirit’s grit and determination shone through again. After Game 1 fell in Spirit’s favor, it was Team Empire that stormed the following Games 2 and 3.

With the momentum very clearly in Empire’s favor – it looked like the wind had been taken out of Spirit’s sails. But just like they had time and time again, Spirit rallied and would not go quietly into the night.

Despite faltering early in Game 4, Spirit managed to pull together and force a final game. The ensuing 5th match was a massive beatdown – a sound reminder that Spirit were not to be taken lightly. While the qualifiers as a whole are generally not the focal point of attention compared to the main event, this was truly a series for the books.

With their previous LAN experience, and clear determination to never give up, Spirit should make a great showing, whenever TI might be.

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Christian Decker -

Christian Decker

Christian is a student from Schenectady, New York, studying at Albany Law School. He is an avid gamer, writer, podcaster, and content creator who is passionate about Dota 2 and music!