The International 2018 is only a week away and what better time is there to look into the rear view mirror? Previous years tournaments have given us some of the most iconic moments in Dota. It has given us "The million dollar dream coil", "The play", and "The comeback".
One prominent moment celebrates its 5th birthday today: "The fountain hook". For those who don't remember TI3 — or simply didn't watch Dota at the time — this is a must watch. In game three of their Bo3 series against TongFu, the crowd favorites Natus Vincere found themselves with their backs against the wall. The Chinese had taken a huge lead and it looked like NaVi would be sent to the lower bracket. But NaVi hadn't made two straight TI finals by only playing "regular" strategies.
Back in 2013, there was a bugged interaction between Chen's "Holy Persuasion" — that teleports allies back to base — and Pudge's "Meat Hook". If Holy Persuasion was cast on Pudge and Pudge cast his hook at the exact right time, the hook would connect when Pudge is in his own fountain, dragging the enemy to the fountain with him. And with the world's most famous Pudge player — Danil "Dendi" Ishutin — this was NaVi's only path to victory.
This was not a bug that NaVi had discovered themselves. It had been in the game for years, but using the interaction in a professional game was seen as too risky. If the hook were to miss, NaVi would have to fight 4v5. But as TongFu started pushing NaVi's tier 2 towers, they had nothing to lose. Captain Clement "Puppey" Ivanov cast Holy Persuasion on Dendi's Pudge, and Dendi pulled off the timing. One time. Two times. Three times. The hooks kept flying and they kept connecting. Not only did they result in key kills for NaVi, the hooks demoralized TongFu. The game spiralled out of their control, and thanks to this risky move, NaVi secured their spot in the Upper Bracket finals.
The game has become such an iconic one that it was portrayed in an episode of Valve's "The International Archives", where we're brought behind the scenes and get to see not just the players of TongFu and NaVi react but also their future opponent, Alliance's Jonathan "Loda" Berg (hint: he was not happy). You can watch the full game here but if you don't have time, check out The International Archives:
In the time following TI3, the Pudge-Chen combo was removed from the game by Valve. Pudge's hook now always drags the target to the location from the hook was cast. This is — to this day — the only time a mechanic has been patched out of the game due to a single incident, as Valve has always said: "If it's in the game, it's allowed."
With TI8 rapidly approaching we're excited to see what the next iconic moment in Dota will be.