SINGAPORE - The week-long inaugural Nanyang Dota 2 Championships drew to a close last Sunday at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, with an exhilarating best-of-five Grand Final series between Chinese team Vici Gaming and multi-national squad Team Secret.
Over 4,000 fans of the five-versus-five team-based strategy game were on site to watch Secret take the win 3-2, in a back-and-forth matchup that started at 6.30pm and stretched all the way until almost 1am.
Team Secret - whose members are Canadian, Syrian, Danish, Estonian and Swedish - took home US$109,500 (S$152,800) of the US$219,800 prize pool, while Vici went home with US$54,700.
Hours before the action kicked off, Dota 2 fans formed snaking queues across the top level of Suntec, and hustled in for the best seats when the doors opened at 6pm.
In the first game, Vici - whose roster includes Singapore crowd favourite Daryl "iceiceice" Koh - took the match with a stunning reversal despite Secret holding the lead in hero kills for most of the game.
Game 2 saw Secret, a team packed with popular Dota 2 personalities such as Clement "Puppey" Ivanov and Jacky "EternaLEnVy" Mao, storm back with a strong performance to reset the series to a best-of-three.
The third match of the evening was a one-sided affair with Secret triumphing, as Vici's unusual Death Prophet hero pick did not have the game impact that they were hoping for.
The next match swung back again in Vici's favour, after Secret's Aliwi "w33" Omar, playing his signature hero Meepo, could not hold off a well coordinated Vici side.
The final game, the championship decider, began at about 15 minutes past midnight.
By then, the crowd had thinned out, with some fans leaving to catch the last bus or train home.
Even so, cheers and whoops went up from the crowd when both teams went for unexpected hero choices, perhaps in the hope of throwing their opponents off.
However, it was ultimately Secret's gamble that succeeded.
They selected a combination of heroes - Tiny, Slardar and the Bounty Hunter - that was capable of keeping track of where the enemy was, and disabling the opponent with stuns.
Vici was not able to cope with the assault, and at 52 minutes past midnight, with a scoreboard of 28-7 in Secret's favour, Vici surrendered.
As both teams came together on stage to shake hands, confetti snowed through the air and mobile phones were raised to snap pictures.
The first edition of the Nanyang Championships may be over, but hopefully this marks the start of more big tournaments and e-sports events in Singapore.