It’s the biggest event in the Pro Dota 2 calendar. It’s the event that teams have been working towards for months. Winning The International 4 will not only give you the title of the best Dota team in the world, but also a huge pay packet that provides your team with financial stability for a long time. The invites have been sent out and the big names are in: Allince, Navi, DK, and EG will all head to Seattle along with the other invited teams but there are still five spots up for grabs at the greatest tournament of them all. One team from each of the four regions (Europe, North America, China, and South East Asia) will get in if they manage to win their region’s qualifying tournament, and the final spot will go to one of the runners up. So without further ado, lets take a look at the teams who have the best chance of claiming one of the final five spots.
- Aware Gaming
- hehe united
- Meet Your Makers
- Power Rangers
- Team Dog
Even if you are just a casual Dota fan, or if you have been away from Pro Dota for a while, you will recognize a few names in this group. For anyone who paid attention to TI3, Virtus.pro will be a recognizable name, having been given a direct invite to last year’s event. This year, however, is a different story. Despite becoming one of the most fearsome teams during the post-TI3 shuffle, a string of roster issues has lead to them falling off the map somewhat. They have a solid line-up but they are nowhere near the quality of the invited teams or others in the group. It looks like VP will be staying home this year.
My personal favorites in the group are Team Dog. My love of the Mousesports TI3 roster (which two Dog players were a part of) somewhat clouds my judgement, but the experience and playing ability of their roster is something to be feared. A highly impressive display against Team Empire (who received a direct invite) earlier this week in the ESL One Qualifiers proves just how good Team Dog can be. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me to see Dog take the European group and then do very, very well at TI4.
The other big teams in the group include the fairly evenly matched teams of RoX.KIS, NEXT.KZ, Relax, and Power Rangers. Power Rangers have been very impressive in the group stages of The Summit competition, whilst RoX.KIS have been very consistent for a number of weeks. Though I don’t see any of these teams matching Dog for the top spot, any of them could take second place and thus would have a very strong chance of making the final event.
- CNB e-Sports Club
- No Earthspirit
- North American Rejects
- Osiris Gaming
- Revenge eSports
- Sneaky Nyx Assassins
- Team eHug
- Team Liquid
- Union Gaming
Clearly the biggest name in the group is Team Liquid. Had invites gone out a month or two ago I would have had them down to receive a direct invite but then FLUFFNSTUFF went a bit crazy, posted a blog saying he was unhappy with the team and subsequently parted ways with Liquid. Since Fluff left, Liquid haven’t quite been the team they once were, they are still solid but not quite deserving of a direct invite. That said, I do expect them to win the NA qualifiers (providing no one else on the team goes crazy).
Fluff may be gone from Liquid but he is still in the qualifiers with his new team Sneaky Nyx Assassins. Despite only being together for a short time they have a solid win rate and have easily beaten most of the other teams in the group. Saying that, if they were to get to TI4 I feel they would be the whipping boys of the tournament (MUFC style) as they have been easily beaten in both meetings with EG. I’m putting SNA down as getting second place in the NA group, but they wont make it to TI4 proper.
Keep a eye on eHug; they could be the surprise team of the group, chances are they won’t make the top two but there is certainly the possibility of an upset from these guys.
South East Asia
- Arrow Gaming
- First Departure
- Mineski Infinity
- MVP Phoenix
- Orange Esports
- Rex Regum Qeon
- Scythe Gaming
- Team Zephyr
I’m going to say that the SEA group is perhaps the most evenly matched. Admittedly that may be because my knowledge of the Asian scene isn’t great, but there is certainly a few teams that have a chance of jumping on a plane to Seattle.
Anyone who has watched any amount of Dota on YouTube will probably be aware of Team Zephyr. Popular YouTube personality Purge is a part of the team and boy has there been some controversy around them. Made up primarily of Americans, the team relocated to Korea in a move some thought was just to give them a better chance of winning events. Whilst this may or may not be true, one thing is for sure: they have been quite impressive in the tournaments they have been allowed into. If they have a good run Zephyr could find themselves top of the group, but they will have to beat some other strong teams to get there.
Scythe have been a bit hit and miss lately, MVP Phoenix have been incredibly quiet after being destroyed in the Star Ladder finals, and Orange have a terrible win percentage over recent months. But they are all strong teams, with a strong run of form they all have a chance to take the group or place very high.
Arrow Gaming have been trading blows with Titan (directly invited to TI4) regularly over the last few months and have come out on top on numerous occasions. But losses to Scythe and MiTH recently cast doubt on their credentials.
The SEA group is wide open for surprises. Personally I think Scythe, Orange and possibly Zephyr will do well but the group is so unpredictable literally anything could happen.
- CIS Game
- LGD Gaming
- New Element
- Speed Gaming.cn
As I’m writing this sentence I’m watching DK (directly invited) take on DT.NGC. I really do not follow Chinese Dota, I know of the big names and I have at least heard of four of the teams in the qualifying group (and I’m confident in my predictions for the group), but DT are I team I have never heard of. Based on their draft alone I really wish I knew more about them, because they seem crazy. Their draft started with a Chen and Natures Prophet, then in came a Omni Knight and Chaos Knight and was rounded off with a Lina. I know, WHAT THE HELL IS THAT! Five minutes into the game they sit at two kills to DK’s one, and so far their insane draft is working. I doubt they will win the match, DK’s Tiny – Wisp combo will mess them up late game. But seriously, a team that is brave enough to draft like that against one of the strongest teams in the world certainly deserves recognition. They wont win the qualifier and they probably wont take second place, but keep an eye on their games, as they could be incredibly entertaining.
Anyway, to the group predictions. After a dominant start to the year (and taking the D2L by storm) LGD have somewhat dropped off in recent months. Whilst they are no longer considered a top tier team in China they are certainly the biggest name within the qualifier and my personal pick to take the group.
CIS made waves in the Chinese world earlier this year by coming from nowhere to take games off many of the big Asian teams. With former Mouz player Black joining the team they have become a very consistent and strong team, and while they aren’t on the same level as the likes of DK or IG, I’m putting them down to take the second place in the China qualifier.
TongFu could always do well and the more I watch of this game the more I would like to think DT could also pose a threat (they ran a Omni Knight in mid and it worked incredibly well) but realistically LGD and CIS are the big two to look out for.
So if you want a complete list of my predictions in short form here it is:
Europe: 1st Team Dog | 2nd RoX.KIS (Honorable mention to Power Rangers who could easily beat RoX to 2nd place. But I have a feeling they will just miss out)
North America: 1st Liquid | 2nd Sneaky Nyx Assassins
South East Asia: 1st Scythe Gaming | 2nd Orange Esports (this group is so open anything could happen!)
China: 1st LGD Gaming | 2nd CIS Game
This would see Dog, Liquid, Scythe and LGD each gaining a place in The International 4. Whilst RoX, SNA, Organge and CIS would travel to Seattle and compete in a Play-In Series, the winner of this will take the final spot at TI4 and I’m going to say it will go to RoX.KIS.
Do you agree with my predictions or have I got it totally wrong? Let me know in the comments below.