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Dota 2's International 2019 documentary lured me in as a non-sports watcher

“They’re like monkey business men”, says Team Liquid member Kuroky, “they will GO”. Liquid are gathered around for a quick smoke before the Dota 2 International 2019 finale, about to face Team OG. They’re visibly nervous, despite Kuroky’s repeated insistence that they should “feel free”, and treat this like a scrim. Another team member insists that it IS a scrim, and Kuroky immediately reneges on his own words. “In a way”, he says. “It’s a costly scrim though.”

The first five minutes of Valve’s True Sight documentary have sucked me right in. It’s a feature length film showing drama from inside the player booths, between match pep talks, and the matches themselves. They’re all so sweet.

I don’t normally care about sports drama, but this is very well put together. Team Liquid won the International in 2017 and OG won in 2018, so the filmmakers get to lean on a “who will be the first ever two-time champions” arc. It doesn’t have the same allure as an underdog story, but it’s something.

The best part is definitely how adorable they all are. Both teams talk about respecting their rivals, while each try to shake off their nerves. Most of Team Liquid do this by awkwardly singing Ridin’ Dirty just before their first match, while Kuroky holds his face in his hands. It’s a good dynamic.

It’s hard for me to tell how decipherable this will be for people who didn’t spend four years of their life up to their necks in Dota lingo, but go on, have a look anyway.

Valve made similar films for TI7 and TI8, though knowing who wins does let some of the tension leak out. I didn’t actually pay attention to who won this one, so I’m looking forward to watching the rest this evening.

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Matt Cox

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Matt is the founding member of RPS's youth contingent. He's played more games of Dota than you've had hot dinners.

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