Since its release in 2011, nearly 25,000 games of professional Dota 2 have been played in online and offline tournaments across the globe. Most are forgettable. That's not a criticism of Valve's MOBA, exactly. Some of the appeal of watching Dota 2 – or any competitive game, for that matter – is that any given match might turn out to be something truly special. Great Dota 2 games come in all shapes and sizes, and it's almost impossible to devise a formula that tidily explains what makes them so. A truly great game is a one-off masterpiece, often filled with underdog stories and plot twists.
Next week, The Kiev Major – one of the few Dota 2 tournaments that Valve sponsors directly – will bring many of the world's top teams together to compete for a $3 million prize pool and an all-but-guaranteed direct invite to Dota 2's premiere event, The International. Still, the weeks leading up to a major tend to be bereft of any high-level competition and streams since top teams are bootcamping for the major. So why not take this chance to watch (or rewatch) some of the finest games ever played? In no particular order, here are seven of the most memorable.