In a few weeks, one team out of all the competing Dota 2 TI teams will be crowned the new Dota 2 World Champion at the biggest esports event of the year. There is plenty at stake this year, with the Dota 2 prize pool already over $13 million dollars. Everything is all set for the group stage, with eighteen of the twenty competing teams confirmed. Twelve have qualified directly from the Dota Pro Circuit, while six have made it through the Regional Qualifiers from the Americas, Eastern and Western Europe, China, and Southeast Asia. The final two teams were confirmed through the Last Chance Qualifiers.
Which Dota 2 teams made it to The International?
Let’s now examine the form of the invited Dota 2 TI teams going into the competition.
PSG.LGD to win TI for the first time?
2021’s runners-up of TI11 are undoubtedly favorites heading into this year’s competition too. They’ve had a sensational year, topping Tour 1 and Tour 2 of the Dota Pro Circuit China Division 1. The only hiccup of late has been DCP Tour 3 in July, where they seemed a little off-color and seeded in fourth place.
Later that same month, however, they dispelled all doubts by winning the Riyadh Masters 2022, bringing home a whopping $1.5 million prize. They stood second in their group behind Team Secret, then beat OG 2-1 in the semifinals. They came up against Team Spirit in the Grand Final, and it took only two games to claim their title. Zhang ‘Faith_bian‘ Ruida accounted for a whopping 15 kills in the grand finals.
Faith_bian, the superstar offlaner, recently announced that he’ll be retiring from competitive Dota after The International, a groundbreaking revelation that could change the look of this PSG squad. This means that Dota 2 TI 2022 will be his final professional appearance, and this tournament will carry even more weight for the team.
PSG have carried the same roster since 2020, and have since emerged as one of the leading teams in the world. Winning the Dota 2 TI 2022 will be a poetic ending to a fabulous career and well-deserved for the most consistent team across the circuit.
The TI11 betting odds favor them, and the fact that they are among the best Dota 2 TI teams is beyond refute; the only thing that remains is whether they’ll be able to get the better of their own nerves.
PSG.LGD among the top of the Dota 2 TI power rankings, and it’s going to be hard to stop them this time round.
Will OG finally compete at full strength?
Constantly recurring visa issues throughout the year has meant that OG hasn’t been able to field their complete Dota 2 lineup. They’ve had to resort to fielding stand-ins at all the Major tournaments save the Riyadh Masters.
Of course, this hasn’t come in the way of their performance, which has been sensational. In the last four months, they’ve won both editions of the ESL One Majors, first in Stockholm in May 2022, and more recently in Arlington this past summer.
Mikhail ‘Misha‘ Agatov is the one who’s faced the most trouble. His Russian passport has prevented his entry into multiple countries in time for tournaments, and OG found themselves one man down more often than not. Sébastien ‘Ceb‘ Debs, co-founder and former member of OG, has been standing in for the team’s coach Evgenii ‘Chuvash‘ Makarov.
Misha hasn’t been able to attend either of the ESL Majors or the PGL Major, but his team seemed to fare pretty well either way. Missing all three majors must have come as a crushing disappointment to the man at the helm, but his return for the most important tournament of the year must come as some comfort. Ceb’s relationship with OG continues, with the team announcing in a Tweet that he’ll remain on staff in the role of second coach.
Misha ran into continuous visa troubles throughout the year. OG was one man down in most major events where two-time TI champion, OG’s co-founder Ceb, or the team’s coach, Chuvash, had to stand in.
So now we know that OG will compete at TI11 with its complete roster – Artem “Yuragi” Golubiev, Bozhidar “bzm” Bogdanov, Ammar “ATF” Al-Assaf, Tommy “Taiga” Le, and Misha, as well as coaches Chuvash and Ceb.
OG revamped their squad in 2021, emphasizing grooming a set of young, fresh faces. And despite the inexperience, they’ve already more than proved they have the potential to turn into one of the all-time great Dota 2 TI teams. Winning their fifth Major crown in Malaysia was the highlight of their year, and OG became one of only three organizations to have ever managed the feat.
Will Team Spirit defend their title?
After their incredible victory at TI in 2021, many wondered whether Team Spirit could replicate the same standards they’d set for themselves on the big stage. An excellent run at the Dota Pro Eastern Europe Circuit in February, where they seeded first, seemed to confirm that.
No doubt they’ve been a bit middling in patches. Spirit seeded fourth at the GAMERS GALAXY: Invitational Series in Dubai then finished in 9th-12th place at the ESL One in Stockholm. They finished fourth out of seven in their group, then were knocked out of the upper bracket quarterfinals 2-1 by Tundra Esports. That wasn’t the end of their campaign; following this was 0-2 drubbing by beastcoast in the lower bracket to knock them out of the tournament for good.
That defeat was a little embarrassing, coming against Dota 2 TI teams that seemed just to get more traumatic, but Spirit got to their feet, dusted themselves off, and slowly but surely went back to winning ways. They stood in third place at the DPC Tour 3, finished as runners-up in the Riyadh Masters 2022, and then marched to their first major title of the year in Arlington.
After beating Outsiders and Team Aster without too much trouble, a 0-2 defeat to tournament favourites PSG sent them to the lower bracket. They brushed Aster aside once more without too much trouble and then claimed a sweet 3-1 victory over PSG to secure the PGL Major trophy. The slump in form was reflected upon, worked upon and then overcome, and Team Spirit look red-hot heading into TI. Their recent performances make them one of the Dota 2 TI11 favorites this time round.
beastcoast the dark horses heading into T11
beastcoast is best known for operating a five-man roster that has been together since 2019, the longest any team has stuck together in the circuit. It’s been exactly three years since Héctor “K1” Rodríguez, Jean “Chris Luck” Gonzales, Adrián “Wisper” Dobles, Elvis “Scofield” Peña, and Steven “Stinger” Vargas signed with the organization shortly after TI8, and they’ve carried the South American banner ever since.
Back in TI9, beastcoast finished in the top eight at the tournament, forcing the community to sit up and take notice. It was the best finish for any South American team ever at TI. They were fresh, unpredictable, and full of potential – an exciting wildcard entry into a circuit hungry for diversity. They soon became a recognizable fixture in international competitions, a sound reminder for other regions never to take South American teams lightly.
After the furor they caused in TI9, last year’s edition of TI didn’t go too well. They finished in 13th-16th place, and many started believing that their previous year’s heroics were no more than a fluke. However, their performances at the 2021-2022 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) would have them all eating their words. They stood in third place in Tour 1, then finished as runners-up in Tours 2 and 3.
Following this, beastcost finished within the top six at both the PGL Major and the ESL One Stockholm Major. They caused a few upsets along the way too and had the supreme satisfaction of knocking TI10 champions Team Spirit and BetBoom Team out of the Stockholm Majors.
We’re already aware that beastcoast are one of the most promising Dota 2 TI teams on the circuit. We know we can expect big things from them. The only question is when.
Will Team Aster break out of PSG’s shadow?
Aster have always found themselves playing second-fiddle to the more established PSG, one of the better-known Dota 2 TI teams. They played at the International for the first time in 2021 and finished in 13th-16th place, but considering it was their first-ever appearance at TI, you’d have to excuse them.
This year, however, they’ve risen up the ranks in some style, finishing as runners-up in Tour 1 and 3 of the DCP and third place at Tour 2. Over the last couple of months, they’ve shot to public recognition with excellent results at the China division of the Dota Pro Circuit. They finished as runners-up in Tour 1 and 3 and third place in Tour 2.
Not that they haven’t come close this year, of course. At the PGL Major in Arlington Aster finished in third place, topping their group in the round-robin. They had the supreme satisfaction of knocking OG out of the lower bracket semifinals 2-1 before Team Spirit ended their campaign.
Aster found even more success at the ESL One Major in Malaysia, where they ended as runners-up. OG exacted their revenge for the PGL Majors in the Grand Final by sweeping them 3-0, but nevertheless, it was a tournament to remember.
Team Aster’s squad for TI comprises Du “Monet” Peng, Zeng “Ori” Jiaoyang, Lin “Xxs” Jing, Ye “BoBoKa” Zhibiao, Yu “皮球” Yajun. Considering their talent, it’s a bit of a surprise that they haven’t been able to win a major title so far.
Predicting that they will win TI11 would be a bit of a long shot, but it’s not far out to assume they could hope for a top-four finish.
Thunder Awaken, the new South American stars
While beastcoast have made a name for themselves as the top Dota team from South America, Thunder Awaken aren’t far behind. They’ve dominated the SA division of the DCP this year, seeding first in all three tours and actually overshadowing beastcoast. Their superior showing in the regional DCP secured enough points to find themselves among the Dota 2 TI teams.
Awaken hasn’t fared too badly at the Majors either, considering they have very little experience at this level. Their 15th-16th result at the PGL Major in Arlington was a trifle disappointing, but they managed to finish at 5th-6th place at the ESL Majors both in Stockholm as well as Malaysia. Most of their roster save for Rafael ‘Sacred’ Yonatan were recruited after TI10, with Christian ‘Pakazs‘ Savina, Gonzalo ‘Darkmago‘ Herrera, Farith ‘Matthew‘ Puente, Jose ‘Pandaboo‘ Padilla signed on in October 2021. The young Peruvian team produced instant results, and are touted as the next South American powerhouse.
Awaken has a way to go before they can compete against teams that have been around the international circuit, but if they maintain their performance, it’s not going to be too much of a wait.
Entity Esports have a point to prove
Entity have been around since 2016, but this year is when they’ve started to compete in the big leagues. They’ve participated in two majors this year, the ESL Major in Arlington and the PGL Major in Malaysia, and finished within the top six of both.
Ivan ‘Pure‘ Moskalenko leads the side, which is rounded off by Daniel ‘Stormstormer‘ Schoetzau, Tobias ‘Tobi‘ Buchner, Vladislav ‘Kataomi‘ Semenov, and Dzmitry ‘Fishman‘ Palishchuk. At first, it seemed as if Pure’s addition was what made them one of the top teams in Western Europe.
The PGL Majors in Arlington proved everybody wrong, however. Like so many others in the circuit, Pure found himself at the mercy of his Russian passport and couldn’t make it in time. That’s when people began to sit up and take notice of Entity Esports.
Every single player has been able to pull their weight, and the return of Pure makes their case even more compelling. Without a doubt, they are one of the dark horses heading into this tournament, and while they might not be able to work away from this prestigious trophy, they should still find some degree of success among the Dota 2 TI teams.