The final round of matches from Dota 2’s The International will take place over the coming weekend. Four Dota 2 TI11 teams – Team Secret, Tundra Esports, Team Aster, and Team Liquid – will whittle down to three, then two, and the last team standing on October 30 will be crowned the Aegis of Champions.
The last fortnight has provided as much excitement as you’d expect from a multi-national tournament with millions of dollars at stake, and you’ve probably got your money’s worth in every sense of the term.
There’s a good chance – mathematically 75% – that we could have a new team lifting the trophy this year. The three favorites at the start of the tournament have all been eliminated from the equation, and it’s been gratifying to see teams from different regions give them stiff competition.
The four teams left standing have all been impressive in their own way, and each deserves a shot at the title, considering how they’ve performed across the last two weeks. On the downside, calling a winner gets a little more difficult.
Let’s take a look at how they shape up heading into the final weekend of the Dota 2 TI11 schedule.
Team Secret vs Tundra Esports
Odds: Team Secret 2.00 / Tundra Esports 1.72
Site: Thunderpick Esports
When: October 29, 2022
Most Dota 2 TI11 betting sites offer very similar odds on both these teams, but Tundra seems to be marginally ahead. Secret have a bit more experience at TI than Tundra. However, the latter’s recent form puts them ahead in this contest. The winner of this best-of-three series will book a spot directly in the Grand Final, while the loser will slip to the lower bracket, requiring another win to join them.
Secret have been consistently improving over the last few years. Their TI placement has gradually risen from a 16-18th place finish in 2016 to a third place result last year.
Of course, most of their roster signed contracts just this year, only the faithful Clement ‘Puppey’ Ivanov hanging on since way back in 2014. Most of these players were not part of the squad that was dealt a heartbreaking semifinal defeat by Team Spirit at TI10 – but either way, this is their chance to undo those wrongs.
Secret have had a sensational run in the latter stage of TI. They’ve gone unbeaten in the upper bracket with memorable wins over favorites PSG.LGD, and then South American newcomers Thunder Awaken to book their spot in the final bracket round.
Their series streak is now at five, including their wins over Talon Esports, Team Aster and Entity in the round robin stage. The only series loss in the group stage came against Tundra Esports, the team they’re facing now – and unless they’ve figured out a way to beat them, Secret head into this competition as underdogs.
Tundra’s rise in the Dota circuit this year has been immensely gratifying. They’ve kept the faith in their roster for well over a year, leader Wu ‘Sneyking’ Jingjun being the most recent signing in April 2021.
And now, finally, this is their chance to shine. After topping their group during the round robin, they have since gone undefeated in the playoffs with 2-0 wins over OG and Team Aster.
Tundra will fancy themselves in this contest, given how their last meeting against Secret went in the group stage. Oliver ‘skiter’ Lepko and Neta ’33’ Shapira were the primary orchestrators of that series win, sharing 16 kills between them in the first game and 19 in the second as Tundra affected a clinical victory.
This match could be Tundra’s for the taking, and there’s no doubt that no matter which way this result goes, they’re one of the most exciting new prospects in the Dota circuit.
Team Aster vs Team Liquid
Odds: Team Aster 1.72 / Team Liquid 2.00
When: October 29, 2022
Once again, the TI11 odds are incredibly tight, with only a tiny fraction separating the likelihood of either side winning this contest. Team Aster seem to be the favorites heading into this all-important battle, however, given that they swept Liquid 2-0 on the last occasion they met, a week ago in the first round of the upper bracket.
This is only Aster’s second appearance at TI, and they’re already a fan favorite. Given their performances at the PGL Major in Arlington and the ESL One Malaysia, it was not difficult to predict that they would stand out at TI.
Still, the title of favorites went to PSG despite their recent struggles. Aster have not only exceeded the expectations placed upon them by a fair margin, but outshone them considerably. Now they have a good chance of getting to their first TI final as any of their competitors.
Aster’s head-to-head record against Liquid in the tournament works in their favor, though they’ve only met once so far. Getting past them in the first round of the upper bracket turned out to be a breeze – Du ‘Monet’ Peng was unstoppable, carrying out eight kills in the first game and a whopping 15 in the second as Aster sealed both victories in 42 minutes. That commanding win should give Aster the edge heading into this lower bracket knockout.
The recent 0-2 defeat against Tundra Esports was a sobering one that knocked them down to their current position and reminded them of what they’re likely to face if they get all the way to the Grand Final.
This is Liquid’s first T1 since their runners-up finish in 2019, and they’ll be hoping to do one better this time around. They’ve done everything right as well up to now – six of their last seven results in TI have been series wins, the sole loss coming against Aster. It pushed them down in the lower bracket, but they seemed to rally around pretty effectively by pulling off a 2-0 series sweep against OG, and then beating Thunder Awaken 2-1.
Despite being humbled by Aster in the upper bracket, Liquid haven’t written themselves off and neither should you. They’ve still got plenty left to give, and now that they’re within sneezing distance of the title they won all the way back in 2017 it would be silly to write them off.