The time has finally arrived, The International is here.
The coming weeks will be a grand story of epic plays, tragic defeats, unlikely upsets and at the end we will crown a champion of the world of Dota 2.
Professional careers will be defined with the performances on the main stage and big plays will immortalise stars in the history of Dota 2.
Just getting to this tournament is a year-long trial for these teams.
Now the lines are drawn, the bracket is set, no time to save strategies, this tournament is for all the marbles and there are a lot of marbles!
Locks – Virtus.pro, Team Liquid, PSG.LGD
This category is for the teams who have performed all year round, making them favourites to take the whole tournament.
Every one of these teams has also shown great form leading up to TI winning or high placing in the tournaments recently.
All three of the teams have the quality to lift the aegis, but only one team will.
Known Challengers – Newbee, Invictus Gaming, Mineski, Optic, VGJ.Storm, Team Secret
These teams fill the largest of my categories, filled with teams that have showed promise and success but also slumps in form.
If these teams can find a winning form in the group stage they will be strong opponents.
All of these teams have the talent to lift the aegis, will they bring the strength of will it takes to truly compete, only time will tell.
Dark Horses – EG, Fnatic, Vici, OG
The four teams in this category have had either major roster swaps leading into TI or have an up and down record when it comes to winning series.
Both EG and OG (both pictured above) had major roster swaps just before TI and the EG roster has to be one of the most star-studded rosters in Dota history.
The question for both is what are they capable of?
On the other hand, both VG and Fnatic have had mixed results leading up to TI yet on their day that can beat some of the best teams.
Also, you can never count Abed out!
Outside Bets – VGJ.Thunder, Serenity, TNC
These three teams have it all to prove.
None of these teams have put up good performances in recent times against top teams so they will have to show something new at TI to go far.
To be fair to Team Serenity, they are here because they took the top spot in the China qualifier over IG, which is impressive, yet they are mostly unknown.
VGJ.Thunder and TNC have had success in the past, they will have to try to recapture the magic they once had if they want success at this TI.
The two teams in this category are the biggest underdogs in this tournament, so much so they might not make it out of the group stage.
Yet the best teams and players are normally considered underdogs before their breakout performance.
These two teams did come out of competitive qualifiers, who knows these teams could surprise us all.
True Underdogs – Winstrike, Pain
Predictions for the tournament are hard as there has been a large gap in competitive Dota 2 with no big tournament since the super major.
On top of that the field is arguably the most competitive in TI history, which makes the group stage all the more interesting.
I’ll write another article after group stage with the freshest takes and hottest predictions before the almost week long main stage begins.
Team Liquid has looked the best in the most recent tournaments and 4 of their 5 players now dominate the ranked play in Europe.
On top of that, it’s the exact same team who lifted the aegis last year, so they can be counted on under pressure.
If you’re more of a thrill seeker, I think VGJ.Storm is being slept on by a lot of people, including the betting numbers.
They have a world class carry, topped the American qualifiers and had very positive results against international competition in the lead up to TI.
Unibet Odds: Virtus.pro (4.00), PSG.LGD (4.50), Team Liquid (5.00), Evil Geniuses (10.00), Mineski (10.00), Team Secret (17.00), ViCi Gaming (17.00), Fnatic (21.00), NewBee (21.00), OG (21.00), OpTic Gaming (21.00), VGJ.Storm (31.00), TNC Predator (41.00), Team Serenity (51.00), VGJ.Thunder (51.00), Winstrike (51.00), paiN (76.00), Invictus Gaming (101.00).
Tip: Team Liquid (5.00)
Longshot: VGJ.Storm (31.00)
Chances are you're about to lose.
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