Team Spirit might seem like an unlikely team to advance at TI10, but the squad has surprised many by making it to the upper bracket. We talked to the team ahead of their main event games.
A long time before Team Spirit’s TI10 run, in October 2020, a team called Yellow Submarine made headlines by upsetting Team Nigma at ESL One Germany. Almost a year to the day that happened, most of that same team qualified for the upper bracket of TI10. Did they ever think they’d make it this far?
“Of course.” says Illya “Yatoro” Mulyarchuk.
“Almost everyone [knew we’d make it].” Yaroslav “Miposhka” Naidenov “Except Miro, because he wasn’t with the team.”
Alexander “TORONTOTOKYO” Khertek expanded on the answer:
“I think we kinda knew we were going to TI maybe a year ago. When we didn’t have this roster we didn’t think that we would be at TI in one year. But after we started playing, we already felt like we could win against good teams. Like you said, we beat Team Nigma, and it was our first game, and it was really good.”Torontotokyo on knowing they’d make TI
Upper Bracket Woes
For a team many didn’t expect to make the upper bracket, Team Spirit must now navigate some of the toughest teams at TI10. I asked the squad if they wanted to face their fellow CIS team Virtus.pro further down the bracket, or another team.
“We’d prefer not to, because they’re not the most comfortable team for us. We have some problems with them” Explains Miroslaw “Miroslaw” Kolpakov “T1, OG or Secret.”
Later the team fielded a question about which teams they’d prefer playing against. T1 was their number one choice. “LGD will be a nightmare, then VP. Others easy.”
How could facing some of the best in the world be easy? Team Spirit says they’re already used to facing the best. For Torontotokyo, when facing international players versus CIS players, nothing changes:
“It’s nothing, really, nothing really changes. Maybe some really good mid players are like NothingToSay, gpk… emo? I haven’t played against emo yet. But I think it’s… I mean mid players are really now all the same on the laning stage. I don’t really feel like any difference in my opinion. NothingToSay, gpk, are good players, and others are like the same.”
Team Spirit are definitely a team with a quiet confidence at TI10. Laughing and joking with each other throughout the interview, the team considered the idea that this was a new era for CIS.
“A lot of new players are coming into Dota” Muses Miroslaw. But the stack doesn’t believe this being their first time at TI is affecting their chances, thanks to team captain Yaroslav “Miposhka” Naidenov.
“We have one major player, Miposhka, and the others are fresh. So he can share experience with us, and it’s a balance between a new players and experience.”Miroslaw on the Team Spirit roster
Torontotokyo went so far to say he was comfortable with the TI environment:
“Miposhka helps us. He is really experienced, and he tells us about his experience and what his mistakes were on other International squads. It helps us, but it really doesn’t feel like something too hard. The Major and this tournament, feels so comfortable for me. Maybe because it’s like an online tournament—we don’t have any crowd. Maybe that’s why. But it’s really comfortable. It’s like I’m playing for fun or something.”Torontotokyo on TI10
Practice Room Pains
Team Spirit shocked social media at the outset of the tournament with a video of their tiny practice rooms. The squad was asked whether they expected the huge outrage and subsequent support when they posted it.
“We expected the outrage from the practice room otherwise we wouldn’t post it” said the team’s manager from off camera. “It was ridiculous, they couldn’t move, it was hot, they felt bad, we decided to show everyone the conditions in which we play. And we waited for support from PGL and Valve.”
Luckily the practice room situation was eventually resolved: The team have more space to practice, and are vilified in taking to social media to air their grievance.
Team Spirit faces off against Invictus Gaming in the upper bracket of TI10 on September 12th at 10am EEST.