It is the biggest esports tournament, in terms of prize money, by a comfortable margin and in the realm of Dota 2 esports, it is their unofficial World Championship. As such, competition for places in The International is always hotly contested. After the final set of qualifying tournaments around the world over the last couple of weeks, we now know the 18 teams for August at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai.
We already knew the identities of the 12 teams that had qualified for the event through their performances over the season on the Dota Pro Circuit. Now, those dozen teams will be joined by six others who came out on top of the regional qualifiers.
In this first of a two-part series of articles, we are going to give you a quick preview of the dozen teams that qualified from the Dota Pro Circuit, how they qualified and what their chances are of landing success in the tournament, plus the odds (correct at the time of writing) with Betway bookmakers of winning the tournament outright.
Read Also: TI9 Betting Guide
We will conclude our run-through looking at the remaining six Regional qualifiers in the second part of the article.
Dota Pro Circuit Qualifiers (Seeds 1-8)
Seed 1 – Team Secret (47/20)
A Europe-based team but with an international flavor including an American director, Korean coach, and players from all over the world, Team Secret’s fine season in 2019 has them installed as the clear favorites for The International 2019. It’s not difficult to see why after superb wins at the Chongqing Major and MDL Disneyland Paris Major this season, each netting the team $350,000. Ever-presents in The International since 2015, they are yet to finish any higher than 5th/6th in the event but on current form, that could change this year.
Seed 2 – Virtus.pro (11/2)
This famous Russian-based team have a great pedigree in The International tournament having first competed back in 2013. They struggled in their opening tournament and despite missing out in 2014, they finished 5th-6th in 2015’s tournament, missing out again in 2016 and then finishing 5th/6th once again in 2017 and 2018. Two second-place finishes in the Chongqing Major and DreamLeague Season 11, as well as 3rd in EPICENTER, helped them claim the second seed spot just ahead of Vici Gaming.
Seed 3 – Vici. Gaming (15/4)
With this tournament taking place in China, Vici Gaming will be one of the hot favorites to do well on home soil. The talented team has landed two big wins already this year, winning both the DreamLeague Season 11 and the EPICENTER Major, as well as earning a victory at the Sar Ladder ImbeTB Dota 2 Minor Season 1. This will be their fourth appearance at the International following on from finishing 2nd in 2014, 4th in 2015 and 9th-12th in last year’s event in 2018.
Seed 4 – Evil Geniuses (8/1)
The U.S.-based Evil Geniuses have enjoyed good quality performances in The International over the years. They finished third in 2014, 2016 and 2018 but surpassed that performance in 2015 when they were the winners of the tournament. They have only missed out on playing in the tournament in 2011 and 2013 and they have a knack of producing the top quality performances on the bigger stage. Two third-placed finished at the MDL Disneyland Paris Major and the Chongqing Major being key factors in why they ended up as fourth seed from the Pro Circuit this season.
Seed 5 – Team Liquid (9/2)
One of the most consistent teams in the history of The International, Netherlands-based Team Liquid first appeared in the finals back in 2013 and have appeared in every event since, apart from 2015. Their best performance was when they won the title back in 2017 beating Newbee comprehensively in the final and pocketing over $10.8 million into the bargain. A creditable fourth last year too, it would be a surprise if they are not involved in the latter stages of the tournament once again.
Seed 6 – PSG.LGD (8/1)
Renamed last year after they teamed up with the Paris St Germain football team, China-based PSG.LGD were the beaten finalists in last year’s tournament, picking up over $4 million in prize money. It was the team’s first appearance in the finals since 2015, when they finished a creditable third, just a year after finishing 5th/6th in 2014. They also finished third in 2012 and came 9th-12th in 2013. A very experienced side at this level, they could find their best form to go deep in this tournament once again, especially on home soil.
Seed 7 – Fnatic (50/1)
Having been present at every The International finals event since 2013, Fnatic’s consistency over the course of the current season is what landed them the seventh seed spot in the Dota Pro League with their best finish a 3rd place in the DreamLeague Season 11 and a 4th in the ESL One Katowice 2019 event in February. At 50/1, it seems unlikely the South East Asian based team will be challenging for the top prize in August.
Seed 8 – Ninjas in Pyjamas (25/1)
Are Ninjas in Pyjamas timing their return to form to perfection in 2019? After landing the OGA Dota Pit Minor 2019 in April, beating EHOME to the $125,000 top prize, they then doubled that money with a fantastic win the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor in June. They didn’t shine at EPICENTER recently or ESL One Birmingham but the team will be excited to make their first-ever appearance at The International this year.
Seed 9 – TNC Predator (20/1)
TNC Predator are a Philippines-based team that have appeared in every The International finals since 2016. Their best performance was a 7th/8th finish in 2016. Outside of Asia, the team’s performances have been somewhat modest, but they have enjoyed some notable success in the Asia Pacific Predator League and the World Electronic Sports Games this year, winning both, the latter bringing in a healthy $500,000 in prize money.
Seed 10 – OG (10/1)
The current holders of The International title, after emerging as the surprise winners last year, the European team pocketed over $11 million from that win but their performances this year have been nowhere near as impressive with their pest performance a 5/6th placed finish at the MDL Disneyland Paris Major back in May. They are going to face a very tough task to hold on to their title in China in 2019, despite their relatively low odds. They have appeared in every The International event since 2016.
Seed 11 – Alliance (59/1)
Alliance have played in The International before and were actually the winners of the 2013 tournament beating Natus Vincere in the final. They didn’t match that performance in either 2014 or 2016 in their other appearances in the event. Their performances this season have been somewhat modest with their biggest payday their second-place finish in the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Season 2.
Seed 12 – Keen Gaming (54/1)
Keen Gaming will be making their first appearance at The International in 2019. The Chinese team will have the backing of home fans having secured the final spot in the Dota Pro Circuit. Theirs are long odds to win the event, but they’ve tasted some success this year earning a second place in the World Electronic Sports Games back in March and a first-place finish at the ESL One Mumbai tournament in April.
Join us for part two of the article, where we will look at the six qualifiers who claimed their place at The International 2019 in the last couple of weeks in the regional qualifiers and we also give you our tips of who we think will win what will undoubtedly be the richest esports event in history.