The concluding tournament of the year-long Dota 2 Pro Circuit season – The International 9 – is fast approaching. It is history’s esport event with the largest prize pool ($30 million at the time of writing). While participating players are preparing for the fight of their lives, fans and spectators are also hyped up and Valve has fueled their anticipation by making path updates in the game. Moreover, fantasy predictions are also now available so fans can show support to their favorite teams. Here’s a quick wrap up of The International 9.
The International’s Best Eighteen
After months of skirmishes, the only fight that matters are the battle on the stage of Mercedes-Benz Arena, Shanghai, China to be held this August. The International 9 will showcase the best players from the six competing regions – North America, South America, Europe, CIS, China, and Southeast Asia – for money, honor, and glory.
Who will be hailed as champions this year?
Race for Two-Time TI Winners Record
Will OG preserve their title? Their winning rosters for last year’s TI have remained and it will be exciting to see what they’ve got on the table to maintain their reign. If OG champs again, they will be the very first team to win two The International tournaments. However, the odds for that matter are stacked against the European team as four more teams are ready to snatch the record. Evil Geniuses, Team Liquid, and returning Alliance and NaVi in TI9 – all have previously won TI titles – will be seen again on stage. The International 9 will truly be a nostalgic event for fans who have been following the scene from the beginning.
Meanwhile, those are only five of the eighteen teams competing for the Aegis of Immortal. Thirteen more teams are also in the scene and all are hungry for victory.
Another TI, Another Chance
Team Secret, Virtus Pro, and Vici Gaming are the top three teams of the DPC. For years, these teams have showed strength and power but never been able to secure a TI trophy. Will they be able to finally get what they want this time?
PDG.LGD, Ninjas in Pygamas, and Keen Gaming are three more qualifying teams by acquiring enough points from the Pro Circuit. Both PSG.LGD and Keen Gaming are from China with veteran rosters and cannot be taken for granted. Ninjas and Pyjamas, headed by ppd, also has the best players from Europe.
Southeast Asia Doto
Southeast Asian Dota has also stepped up their game. Fnatic, a regular in The International tourneys, will once again give their best shot. The most interesting case, however, is team TnC who acquired Heen for the sole purpose of winning TI9. Heen was Team Liquid’s coach since 2016 including during The International 7. When TnC acquired Heen in June, TnC’s performance improved dramatically leading them to secure a spot in TI9. Lastly from Southeast Asia is team Mineski who qualified via regional qualifiers. Filipino fans are surely looking forward to seeing their fellows fight in the grandest esport event of the year.
Regional Qualifiers – Americas
Lastly to discuss are the winners of regional qualifiers. North America represents team Forward Gaming headed by veteran pieliedie who recruited NA’s free agents. They dominated regional playoffs against popular players like Resolution, Zfreek, Moonmeander, and mason.
On the south side of America is team Infamous. Team Infamous is definitely the most underdog team in this tournament and having newblood does not give them the favor of the crowd. But a lot of people are hoping for a surprise performance from Infamous because a good underdog story is better than a constant dominance.
A Shot at Redemption
When Team Liquid kicked MATUMBAMAN just few weeks before regional playoffs, Chaos Esports Club saw this opportunity and recruited the Finnish veteran. Chaos qualified thru Europe qualifier with MATU on the team, giving him a chance to prove that kicking him was a mistake.
Lastly from China is team Royal Never Give Up. RNG is coached by Super, a TI veteran himself, and captained by LaNm, another TI vet. RNG could also be considered underdog alongside Infamous but The Internationals have a reputation of forming the biggest upsets in Dota 2 history.