What is up all of you Dota 2 fans! Today, I will be writing about the build-up for the upcoming The International 2018 that will be happening in August. For the first time ever, the tournament will go out of the United States and will be held in the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada! During the past, the tournament always was held in Seattle, Washington after the first one was held in Cologne, Germany.
It’s about time that we need a change of scenery in my opinion! However, I am not here to really talk about the change of venue. I am here to discuss each of the squads and see how each of them match up against each other.
The qualifiers for The International have recently been concluded, and thus we have the whole lineup of teams that will be competing in this tournament. This is also a special edition of TI as in the past, only 16 crews were playing in the group stage. Now we have 18 teams, which means more matches to watch! Without further ado, let me go ahead with my event preview and betting predictions for the International 2018!
Who will be playing?
First things first, there is a new feature for teams getting the invite directly to the tournament. Gone are the days where they would pick participants based on the previous TI standings the past year. When they introduced the Dota Pro Circuit and the point system, this put the teams in an even playing field by competing for points on the Major tournaments.
Here are 8 squads that qualified through DPC points. First place goes to Virtus Pro from the CIS region. Second place is the last year’s TI winners, Team Liquid. Third place would be PSG LGD, who was recently acquired by the football organization PSG. Occupying the fourth slot is Team Secret. The fifth squad is one of the pride of the SEA region, Mineski. On sixth is another Chinese force, Vici Gaming. The seventh slot is occupied by yet again another Chinese squad and last year’s runner-ups, Newbee. And last but not the least comes in VGJ Thunder, which is yet another squad from China.
Now, comes to the squads that qualified for their respective regions. First up, from the EU Region, we have OG. CIS Region has WinStrike. For the Chinese qualifiers, we have Team Serenity and also Invictus Gaming, who was in the 5th/6th place last year. We have two more crews from the SEA region which are Fnatic from Malaysia and also the Philippine TNC Predator. North America boasts three squads with VGJ Storm, TI6 winners Evil Geniuses and also the now rising OpTic Gaming. And lastly, from South America, Pain Gaming.
TI 2018 event format
Now, the International 2018 tournament will start on August 15th with the group stages where there will be two groups of 9 teams each. They will be duking it out in a round robin style where the top four squads will qualify for the Upper Brackets of the Main event. The lower 4 squads will duke it out on the Lower Brackets and the last placed team from each group will say goodbye to their TI run. All matches in this group stage will be in a Bo2 format.
The Main event is a different beast altogether. This will start on August 20th and it will be in a double elimination format aside from the first round of matches from the Lower Bracket. All of these matches will be played in a Bo3 format aside from R1 of the lower bracket, which is a Bo1. The Grand Finals will still be in a Bo5.
Dota 2 International 2018 Betting Predictions
Now for the most exciting part, the predictions! The groupings have not been announced yet so I will only be predicting which 8 squads will be most likely to proceed to the Upper Brackets. I will also be predicting which team will most likely exit early from the tournament due to eliminations from the group stage.
First things first. Virtus Pro. They are the force that most likely will come out of the group in their top spot, where ever they may be. They have been very consistent in the last few tournaments. This is how they racked a lot of points by coming in first place in a lot of Major tourneys since ESL Hamburg last year. They had five first-place finishes during the whole calendar year of DPC, which is one more than Team Liquid.
Aside from that, their most recent tournaments have shown us the current form that they are in. They have just been steamrolling their opponents left and right, and if this translates to the Group Stage in August, we will see them on the top of their group with max points possible.
The second crew will most likely be Team Liquid. KuroKy will most likely want to defend their TI win last year and he wants to be the only player who has won twice in the TI along with his teammates. Aside from that, KuroKy has finals experience as well way back during TI 3 when he was playing with Natus Vincere.
With a very pedigreed background in the Grand Finals, I do not see why they could not repeat what happened last year, just like how they dominated Newbee in a 3 – 0 score.
Speaking of Newbee, they are another squad that will most likely be a strong contender and also one of the squads that will advance to the Upper Brackets. It is true that they have been recently dismal in most of the Majors recently, but they are usually a team that turns up during the TI’s.
They really tighten their game up when it really matters, just like when they won the TI back in 2014 and also last year, where they were underdogs during the group stages. If they can do a repeat performance like last year, placing in the top 4 of any groups would be easy for them.
Next up would be OG. With the recent drama they had with s4 and Fly leaving, I still see them garnering a good placement in this year’s The International. This is also the first time that we see N0tail play as a support again after playing as a midlaner for a long time. This is due to the return of Ana, which is very comfortable when playing either the midlane or the hard carry role.
Also, there is Topson, which will be making his debut in the big stage. We do not know how good he really is, but with how they dismantled Wind and Rain during the qualifiers shows us a little glimpse of Topson’s abilities. He could be the dark horse for OG.
Another controversial squad would be Evil Geniuses. They were the recipients of Fly and s4 when they left OG. These two players also filled the slot that was vacated by Fear and MISERY when they left the squad a month ago.
With s4 playing as an offlaner in EG, we would most likely see Suma1L go back to his most comfortable position of a hard carry and Arteezy going back to his favored midlane spot. Besides that, we do have a chemistry between s4 and Fly as well and this will most likely affect the safe lane that they will be playing against since these two are very strong in these positions.
The sixth squad that most likely would advance to the Upper Bracket would be Fnatic. They are somewhat of a late bloomer in terms of being a team. Also, a lot of people would most likely write them out of the TI due to the hate that Eternal Envy has garnered, but with EE aside, they have one of the most consistent forces in SEA.
They have been recently consistent as well during the last half of the DPC tour by placing between within the top four of each tournament they joined in. If they can somehow utilize Universe and also if EE does not get rattled or breaks his composure, I could see them advancing to maybe even top 8.
Now, these last two slots are for the dark horses that would most likely take the tourney by storm. First of these two would be OpTiC Gaming. They were the team that I also predicted that would go far during ESL Birmingham, and boy I was right! They demolished everyone in their group during the tourney and went second during the deciders by beating OG.
They also dismantled a very strong Fnatic roster during the semifinals and only lost to the in-form Virtus Pro during the finals. Ppd outpicked everyone down to the last game but they were just crushed by how efficient Virtus Pro really is. Now, this is the time that they prove to the world what they are really worth. I see them rising up to the top 8 as well along with Fnatic and Virtus Pro.
The final place would be most likely taken by Pain Gaming. I really want to see them in a higher bracket. They are the squad that a lot of people will look as a perennial underdog in my opinion due to just recently bursting out in the scene with a good record. They were the squad to eliminate last year’s TI champion, Liquid during the ESL Birmingham Major.
Aside from Liquid, they also dismantled Mineski in the quarterfinals and also Fnatic in the 3rd place match. If they continue how they played during that tourney, they will probably squeak past the other teams and secure a 4th or a 3rd spot in any of the groups. With that said though, 9th place would probably be their highest finish up until they get more tourney experience.
Who will be eliminated?
And now, for our bottom rankers. The teams that will most likely be eliminated and not advance to the main stage.
I see VGJ Storm bowing out early in the tournament. Even if they have Resolut1on in the squad, this is not enough for them to easily advance to the later stages of the tourney. This is all because of Sneyking. Sneyking is one of the most inconsistent off laners in the professional scene right now.
I mean he is a good player, it’s just that he has a tendency to not catch up in the mid-game or the late game if he falls behind in the early stage of the game due to ganks. For me, Sneyking is somewhat the weak link in the chain of the North American team. If he shapes up his match however and if he wins his lane early on, they would have a tendency to win.
The other crew that would most likely not advance is Team Serenity from China. I just do not see them advancing to the main stage due to lack of tournament experience in the big stage. They have not played in really big Majors yet. This will be a very big factor as they are just stepping out of their pond just now.
They are a stable squad in Chinese tournaments, but The International is a different beast altogether. This will be a make or break for Team Serenity and will be a test of their fortitude and mental toughness. Once they get over this hurdle, we might see them in bigger stages in the future, but for now they are too young for this event. Maybe in a couple of years, we will see them as a heavy contender.
Ok! That is all for the International 2018 predictions that I will be making. I will be making a follow-up article when the groupings have been released and see how these squads will really stack up against each other in their respective groups. Who knows, my opinions might switch when we see a Group of Death and shift some teams over to who will top or not. But for now, I bid you farewell and join me as we await for the groups that will be released.