The release of Dota 2 has become one of the key events in the history of Esports. At the intersection of two eras between the first and second parts of Dota, the rapid development of this discipline began, and top organizations played an important role in this. And it was Moscow Five that was among the clubs that helped the scene in the CIS take a tangible step forward. In this article, we will tell you about the M5 Dota 2 roster and what it has achieved.
Let’s buy a garage.
At sunset, DotA AllStars in the CIS had two strongest teams that showed world-class results - DTS and Natus Vincere. The teams constantly competed with each other, while regularly leading the battle to the top teams from Europe. But in early 2011, DTS owner Maxim XPEH Dyakonyuk decided to abandon the Dota roster. The line-up with Yaroslav NS Kuznetsov, Sergey ARS-ART Revin, Andrey Dread Golubev, Sergey God Bragin and Dmitry LightOfHeaven Kupriyanov was left without an organization.
For some time, the team performed at online tournaments under the tag Garaj Gaming. At the same time, a major LAN event was approaching - Omega Sector Professional League Spring 2011 with a prize pool of about $16,000. A trip to Kazakhstan was quite expensive, and the team urgently needed a sponsor who was ready to cover its expenses for flights and accommodation.
The fact that the strongest Russian team was left without sponsors was discovered by the leader of Moscow Five Dmitry Smilyanets. He offered players help, and at the end of the tournament, he was ready to discuss the signing of contracts with them. The announcement took place on the last March day of 2011:
“Literally last night we could not even think that we would develop further in the direction of DOTA. Having seen the news about the misfortunes in the literal sense of the word that befell our Russian guys, and accepting the fact that they are one of the best teams in the world, we decided to finance the guys’ performance at the OSPL tournament. Upon returning from Kazakhstan, we will sit at the negotiating table and discuss the possible joint future of our teams, according to the results of the tournament.” — Dmitry "ddd1ms" Smilyanets
On OSPL, the team performed under the tag M5.Garaj. Naturally, the players were most motivated to win, because already at that time M5 was the organization with the most successful Counter-Strike line-up in Russia. Many sportsmen dreamed of getting into this club, and M5.Garaj took full advantage of this chance.
Frankly, the only opponent of the Russian team at that tournament was Natus Vincere - everyone else could hardly fight with experienced and titled M5.Garaj Doters. The meeting of the strongest teams happened in the semifinals. It was the only match in the tournament where three cards were played, and in a difficult fight, the Russian team defeated NAVI. In the final, they were opposed by the Viper Team from Kyrgyzstan. For them, reaching the final was already a success, and it was not difficult for the guys from M5.Garaj to put a bullet and win the trophy on OSPL.
A month after the end of the tournament, an official announcement was made that Garaj Gaming was becoming part of the Moscow Five organization. At the end of May 2011, the team had a trip to ASUS Spring 2011, which was held in Kyiv at the Esports Arena - at that time the main esports venue in the CIS. Naturally, this tournament was attended by Natus Vincere, and again they and M5 were the main favorites.
This time, the teams met in a match for the championship title - along the way they beat several mixes from the CIS, as well as the strong French team Virus Gaming in the semifinals. And again, the fight between M5 and NAVI lasted three cards, but the second turned out to be stronger at their home base. The next tournament showed that on the stage in the CIS there are two strongest teams, and it was they who had to fight among themselves for the titles at the next DotA Allstars tournaments.
The management of Natus Vincere understood this very well. To break away from the competitor, he needed to strengthen the composition. And where to get the players, except for Moscow Five? In M5, then one of the strongest bundles of support in the world played - Dread and NS. And it was they who first received the offer to switch to NAVI, but they refused. After that, NAVI management turned to LightOfHeaven, and soon an announcement took place that shocked the entire community of Dota players - Dmitry Kupriyanov became a Natus Vincere player. M5 had no choice but to find a replacement for it. The place of Kupriyanov was taken by experienced Alexander SantaColtan.
A Million Dollar Tournament
Even before the start of ICSC # 9, the announcement of The International 2011 took place - the largest tournament in the history of not only DotA but all Esports. Valve officially announced the imminent release of Dota 2, and the company decided to present it to the public through a competition with an unprecedented prize pool of $ 1,600,000.00 at that time. There were no qualifications - the developers simply distributed invites to leading teams from around the world. Of course, Moscow Five also got on this list.
From the first games, it became clear that the M5 and Natus Vincere feel great in the new game. But the annoying M5 error in the match with MiTH-Trust did not allow the Russian team to take the first place in the group stage. With two victories and one defeat, they stopped on the second line - this was enough to reach the top bracket. But the first match of the playoff opponent of Moscow Five was NAVI, which at that tournament effortlessly destroyed all its opponents.
As it turned out, the M5 was ready to fight. Peak Natus Vincere was more suitable for pressure - their captain Ivan ArtStyle Antonov loved this style very much. Throughout the match, fights were won by one or the other, and several attempts to enter the enemy’s base from NAVI were smashed by the competent defense of the M5. Each time, NS and his team increasingly pulled the initiative on themselves until a decisive episode of the game happened. God on Storm Spirit took the invisibility rune under the NAVI ward. They noticed this, put a Sentry Ward and caught the unsuspecting midfielder Moscow Five without a buyback. After this, attempts to defend themselves were in vain. Natus Vincere made it to the semi-finals of the upper bracket, and the M5 fell to the bottom, where they easily defeated the Philippine Mineski, and then OK.Nirvana.int, in which Fear and Pajkatt played.
The next opponent of Moscow Five was EHOME. Like the M5, the Chinese team went into the lower bracket after losing to Natus Vincere. For most of the match, the Chinese suffered. In all fights, they exchanged minus until they finally closed at the base with Tinker. Going on a ramp against this hero, who regularly reclines cars, was extremely difficult. To simplify his task, the M5 needed to catch some heros outside the base, and then simply take the side, and without much resistance, demolish the side, then the other and end the match with a victory.
To prevent the enemy from feeling free, Moscow Five acquired the Gem of True Sight and walked around the map in search of the Observer Ward. Surprisingly, not a single ward was found, but somehow EHOME correctly left the Ganges, as if reading an opponent as an open book. The game dragged on, and the enemy Weaver (one of the strongest late-carry from the set of heroes that was on TI1) received more and more slots, and soon the Russian team was no longer able to fight on equal terms. The match was lost, and the M5 stopped at a 5-6th place. After the game, it turned out that Gem of True Sight, due to a bug, detects only enemy heroes, but not wards. But this didn’t mean anything, because even before the tournament the teams had signed up to the fact that such flaws could appear in the game, and they would not affect the final result.
Unfulfilled Dream Team
After The International 2011, ARS-ART and Santa left the team. As soon as the tournament ended, Dmitry Smilyanets declared that from now on the M5 roster for Dota 2 becomes a priority. To strengthen the roster to replace Revin and Coltan, they took two-star players - Ivan Vigoss Shinkarev and Vladimir PGG Anosov. The truth was a nuance - their reputation left much to be desired. The first was known for the fact that at any moment he could “score” the game and just the abyss, the second was not the most pleasant character - he often scolded the players, and the composition of his mix The Retry changed with enviable constancy. On paper, it was a real dream team, but given the past, the players had to do a great job to make everything work out in practice.
“We thought about PGG right away, and we chose the fifth player for a long time, doubted it. We had about five options. As a result, they leaned towards Vigoss. He has been playing a lot lately, said he is ready to train a lot and devote himself to Dota again. Only Dread somehow managed to stay without a conflict with PGG - because he never played with him. This, roughly speaking, is already a task. All of their conflicts were shoved to hell. We just play and score on past grievances. Actually stupid to be offended. Someone offended someone two years ago, so what? So remember it all my life or what? Nothing terrible has happened,” - said NS, commenting on the transition of Vigoss and PGG.
The first test for the roster was the online tournament Hao Fang Golden League, in which the M5 was to play with the Chinese teams. The practice of playing online with other regions, especially with China and its firewall, was doubtful - the big ping and server lags did not allow to reveal the potential of the players. Even though the Chinese promised a cool host boat that would be convenient for all regions, according to the players, he was, to put it mildly, far from ideal. But Moscow Five did not stop it - in the first game, they smashed TyLoo to smithereens. The match was not broadcast to a Western audience, and the M5 players were quick to put the replays in the public domain. As it turned out, the rules forbade this, because of which the Russian team was disqualified after the first winning match.
“They are afraid of us! Therefore, they were looking for a reason to remove the M5 from the tournament. We will punish them on the LAN,” - commented Dmitry on this episode.
Then the LAN tournament in Kyiv Esports Arena took place - Techlabs Cup UA 2011. Once again, the only M5 rival was Natus Vincere, the rest were only extras. The intrigue was fueled by the fact that NAVI could not maintain the roster after winning the TI - ArtStyle left the team with the scandal, and the former Moscow Five player Sergey ARS-ART Revin took his place. As expected, both teams met in the finals, but NAVI turned out to be more prepared - they won 2-0. But even this result, the fans were very happy. You just need to practice a little, and then NAVI can already be in the role of catching up.
Everyone predicted only a bright future for this roster, and the M5 fan base has increased significantly. Some of them showed their creativity. For example, a fan under the nickname Leg MC even dedicated a PGG track that the entire community had been quoting for months:
A month later, Moscow Five returned to Kyiv to the Intel Challenge Super Cup # 9 LAN finals. In the group stage, the M5 lost to two principal opponents - the XBOCT + 4 mix, in which the current carry Natus Vincere (the team missed the tournament) and the new DTS roster led by ArtStyle played. But two victories in matches against Emocore and monkeybusiness were enough to break into the playoffs. In the semi-finals, M5 took revenge on DTS, and then defeated monkeybusiness for the second time in the title match. Although at this tournament there was neither the full NAVI, nor the other strongest teams in the world, it was still the first trophy for the new Moscow Five roster. And this further strengthened the belief that the team will succeed.
However, a week later at the Electronic Sports World Cup 2011 in Paris, where the participants had to play Dota 2 (DotA AllStars was on HFGL, ICSC, and Techlabs), everything went wrong. M5 lost two matches in the group against EHOME and monkeybussiness and did not get into the playoffs.
“For the first time in six years, I didn’t leave the group,” NS said then in an interview after the tournament.
In the same place, he said that something needs to be changed in the composition.
After the tournament, the players quarreled. The management of the organization decided to dissolve the composition. For the next OSPL Autumn 2011 LAN tournament, NS and God rode with Garaj Gaming, while Vigoss and PGG put together another The Retry mix. Garaj performed better in Kazakhstan - she won the tournament, while TR lost to the unknown team Hummer from Kyrgyzstan in the third round of the bottom bracket.
Given this, in the formation of the new roster, the M5 management preferred Kuznetsov and Bragin. At the Dota 2 Star Championship in Kyiv, they took Santa, Kyky, and klif to the team. Having overcome two group stages and simultaneously defeating Natus Vincere, the team stumbled over the next The Retry roster, in which Vigoss was no longer there. Moreover, PGG won that tournament, and Moscow Five had to be content with third place.
In general, the organization was satisfied with this result, it remained only to finally form the composition. One of the candidates for the vacant seats was ArtStyle. In the process of discussions, it turned out that he wants to take the players to another organization - Darer, which belonged to the familiar Bulgarian businessman Antonov. Dmitry Smilyanets proposed to make a joint project with him, but the dialogue did not go out - all the players went for ArtStyle, and the M5 organization postponed the Dota 2 roster set until better times.
The darkest blackhole
After the Dota 2 Star Championship, the composition of The Retry was signed by DTS, but their cooperation did not last long. When PGG freed, Dmitry again decided to invite him. The new roster includes PGG's teammate on TR and DTS Vadim BloodAngelTrushkin and Vigoss, and five added two players who previously played only in semi-professional teams - Airat Silent Gaziev and Dmitry Inmate Filinov.
The team did not conduct the StarSeries Season 1 online group stage very well and took fifth place, which did not allow getting to the LAN finals. However, the fourth team, It’s Gosu Esports, refused to participate and the organizers invited Moscow Five instead. This time, Natus Vincere was not the only rival to the M5. In addition to them, the Swedish team Counter Logic Gaming (with Pajkatt, Loda, and Akke) and the same Darer were selected for the tournament.
M5 began the performance with a defeat from NAVI in the upper bracket with a score of 2:0. At the same time, in a parallel match, Darer lost to CLG, and principal opponents met in the lower bracket. The initial advantage allowed the PGG team to demolish the enemy mid in the 26th minute. Darer was able to recoup and even seize the initiative, but a mistake when entering the base cost them, four heroes, without buybacks. After that, the M5, via the demolished mid, went to the enemy base and scored a victory on the first map.
On the second map, Moscow Five played with Anti-Mage - one of the most unpleasant carry of the meta, which everyone preferred to ban. The ArtStyle error on the draft cost him too much - the hero felt rather bad about the game, and when the M5 entered Roshan Darer, nosebleed needed a good fight. However, Moscow Five was ready for this - the combination of Vacuum and Blackhole from PGG under the screed was more like fatality than an ordinary episode in the match. Further bring the match to victory was only a matter of technology, and a principled opponent was defeated 2-0.
This was followed by a victory over the CLG in the final of the lower bracket, but the general impression of the M5 fans about the tournament was slightly spoiled by the defeat from NAVI in the grand final. However, this was by no means a tragedy. After all, few expected that the lineup that lasted a month, like that, on the first attempt, would be made by a team that at that time had no competitors in Dota 2, not only on the European scene but throughout the world.
After the tournament, a short break took place, and then M5 began performing at the StarSeries Season 2 online stage. At the same time, the invitees were announced at The International 2012 and taking into account the second place in the largest European tournament of that era, Moscow Five was included in the list of invited teams. Also, in mid-May, Inmate announced that he did not want to play on the professional stage and voluntarily left the team. Instead, they took Igor Admiration Kalnysh.
Around the same period, Dmitry Smilyanets was forced to leave the Moscow Five, and the organization was left without its leader. This did not stop the M5 from reaching the StarSeries LAN finals, but even then it was felt that the team was rapidly losing shape. In Kyiv, it was only enough to take third place - in the upper bracket after defeating Darer (only without NS, Dread and Santa, who left for VP), the M5 lost to NAVI again and then lost to mousesports in the final of the lower bracket. In online tournaments before TI2, the results were quite disastrous - the team did not leave the group at The Defense 2 and the BeyondTheSummit World Tour. Fans were looking for an excuse that the team does not strain before the main tournament of the year, and in Seattle, it will show what it is capable of.
But at The International 2012, everything went just awful. Not only did Moscow Five lose to everyone in the group stage, but she also overslept the third-day match against Team DK. It was a real scandal, after which the entire e-sports community was angry at PGG. M5 took the last place in the group, has managed to win on only two cards, and in the lower grid of the playoffs without a chance lost TongFu.
By that time, Konstantin Groove Pikiner, who is now the Esports director of Gambit Esports, took over the organization. Of course, immediately after the tournament PGG and his team were fired. Instead, they gathered a new five, which included Nexus, Sedoy, Stalianer, Dread, and Solo, but soon the organization began to have financial problems, and in November it was decided to abandon the Dota 2 division.
This ended a whole era in the history of the organization. Attempts to revive it in 2014 by the forces of Maxim Nirvana Zalilov were unsuccessful - those compositions could hardly claim to be a world top. And the period from 2011 to 2012 will forever remain in the memory of Moscow Five fans as a time when their beloved organization, in spite of all the problems, strove to go forward only, and each roster had enough ambitions and prospects to become the best of the best in the world.
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