The stage is set! Now, what am I talking about? My friends, readers, and fans! I am very happy to tell you that the stage is set for The International 9. What do I mean by that? Well, what I mean is that all of the competitors have been determined for the biggest tournament in the MOBA genre and even esports in general.
As you may know, Valve’s The International tournament for Dota 2 has been the biggest esports event that happens yearly. It offers the biggest prize pool of all. None has ever come close to the prize pool TI is currently offering. The closest one would be when Riot Games was still offering the League of Legends World Championship, and the pool for that maxes out at around $7 million.
During the past few years, TI’s prize pools have seen a dramatic increase to over $20 million. Heck, even now, we are currently sitting at $28 million, and there is still over a month to go to be able to accumulate more money for the prize pool from people buying Battle Passes.
Now, let me go to the preview proper. The Internationals by Valve will be a 10-day event. The tournament proper will be held on August 15th and will end on August 25th. For the first time in The International history, the event will not be played in either EU or North America. This time, we will be heading towards the East, in the Mercedez Benz Arena specifically in Shanghai, China.
As you may all know, the Mercedez Arena has been the premier location for almost all of the biggest entertainment happenings in Shanghai, so it is just right for the biggest esports tourney in the world to be held there. This will also be a change of pace as a lot of people from the Asian countries would be able to experience the said event.
If you look closely, the top 2 countries with participants playing in the TI right now by headcount would be China and the Philippines, so that might be the reason why Valve felt compelled to move the tourney to Asia. Now enough of that, let me introduce to you the teams that will be competing in this prestigious event.
There will be a total of 18 teams that will be battling it out for the ever-growing prize pool, and also to be able to lift the Aegis of Champions at the end of the tourney. There will be a total of 12 that have qualified for TI by way of Direct Invites.
The direct invites come from the Dota Pro Circuit. And then, the remaining 6 teams will be earning their spots through the regional qualifiers. We will have one for each region. Without further ado, let me introduce first the squads who earned the direct invite by topping the DPC ranks.
Initial International 9 Predictions
Since this will be a The Internationals teaser, this will serve as the initial betting tipster. However, this initial betting tipster that I have will be changing over the times up until days before TI starts. This is because we still have over a month before the tournament actually starts and there might be roster changes and line up changes that might affect these squads.
However, if you are the type of person that wants to lock in your own parlay bets early while the Odds have not moved around yet, all I can say is that do it at your own risk. I will be picking the 4 teams that I will most likely see as the top 4, but I will be updating that a few weeks from now when I create a bigger betting strategy article.
So, for my initial predictions, I still see Team Secret as a worthwhile contender that will be able to reach the later stages of the tourney. I mean, they have been very successful since 2019 opened and has been a part of the top 4 of all the Major tournaments leading up to the TI’s except for one. That actually speaks volumes if you ask me. It shows that they have been very dominating all throughout the year, and their record on the DPC standings speaks for itself.
My second pick would be Virtus Pro. They are always a strong team and very strong contenders. If you look closely at VP’s records, they have been a consistent top 4 team since even before TI 8. I mean the only thing they need to do now to solidify them as being one of the best teams in the world would be to win a TI since they have already proven that they can win Majors.
My third pick would be Vici Gaming. Are you seeing a pattern here by now? If not, let me tell you, I am actually basing my first three picks off of the DPC standings. Want to know why? It’s because these three squads are responsible for winning all of the 5 Majors that are always played before TI, and while Vici Gaming has more Major wins than Virtus Pro, I chose them as a third pick just because VP has a better tournament record than them, actually reaching top 3 in 4 out of the 5 Majors.
Now my last pick would be Fnatic. Out of all the South East Asian teams, Fnatic has been one to the more successful ones during this year. Also, they have been playing really well, actually managing to get to the 3rd place during Dream League and they have been playing consistently well. Now I am not saying that they will take it all the way and win TI 9, but if ever they get lucky, we do know that Fnatic is actually capable of winning since they have shown us that they can hang with the best teams out there.
What do you think, who is going to win this Dota 2 International 9? Share your thoughts in the comments!