On August 15, eighteen best teams of the modern professional scene will meet at Rogers Arena to determine the winner of the eighth season of the world championship and divide a prize pool, which sum always grows. At the moment of writing, a monetary reward is more than $24,000,000.
The championship will be hosted in two stages - the group one and the playoffs. Eighteen participants will be divided into two groups, where they will play in a Round Robin format. The top four teams from each group will advance to the upper bracket and four rosters to hold the 5th-8th place will go to the lower one. A team that holds the last place in its group will be eliminated from the competition. In the playoffs, we will see a usual double-elimination bracket with bo3 matches. Bo1 matches will be played only in the first stage of the lower bracket and the grand final will be hosted in a bo5 format.
The organizing of the championship:
The company Valve organizes The International 2018, who will be supported by the representatives of very different organizations - from ESL to PGL. The competitions in The International series are notable for their perfect organization, an absence of delays on broadcasts and positive feedbacks of players, so every esportsman dreams to visit the event and the championships in TI series have been the main tournament of the year since 2011. The tournament has a “World Cup” status and gets a lot of hype as it is hosted once a year. Also, the organizers always make “an unusual surprise” for Dota 2 fans. For example, two new heroes were announced last year, an all-stars match and a match against AI was played. It’s unknown what will be this year, however, there are rumors that Valve will have to reveal Artifact, its Dota 2 card game.
The importance of the championship:
Obviously, this tournament is the most important for every professional Dota 2 player. There is a joke among esportsmen: “You are playing Dota 2 the whole year but you play The International in August”, and it’s due to a giant prize pool and a prestige of the championship that forces teams to prepare a few months before the event and because of this, viewers see unordinary picks and various strategies.
The chances of the teams:
Virtus.Pro - odds on a victory amount 4.
The guys from Virtus.Pro managed to become the best team at the end of the rating season 2017/2018. During the season, the guys have earned 12372 Dota Pro Circuit points due to victories at ESL One Birmingham 2018, The Bucharest Major, ESL One Katowice 2018, DOTA Summit 8, ESL One Hamburg 2017 and the second, third and fourth places at other competitions. At the moment, the team is in a great shape and is one of the favorites to win The International 2018 but the guys’ disadvantage may be the fact that they haven’t participated in competitions since the beginning of June this year. The team will definitely place 5th-6th, however, they might face issues with a row of teams.
Team Liquid - odds on a victory amount 4.
The champions of The International 2017 haven’t lost their shape after the victory at the World Cup last year as it usually happens with other rosters. In the season 2017/2018, the team managed to prevail at China Dota2 Supermajor 2018, StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 4, AMD SAPPHIRE Dota PIT League, StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 3 and held the second place at lots of rating championships, which brought 9459 Dota Pro Circuit points to the roster and the honorable second place on the list of teams, which earned the biggest number of points per season. KuroKy and the company will be able to achieve the second victory at The International, which hasn’t been achieved by other teams. We think that the guys will have to enter the top six.
PSG.LGD - odds on a victory amount 4.
The LGD Gaming roster placed fourth sensationally at The International 2017, after which failed the start of the season 2017/2018, not having earned Dota Pro Circuit points to enter the top eight. In January this year, the team decided to make replacements, after which things went better a bit. The time was passing, the gaming level was becoming better and the organization signed a contract with Paris Saint-Germain F.C., after which the guys “got mad” - the team won EPICENTER XL and MDL Changsha Major, held the second place at Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018 and entered the top three at China Dota2 Supermajor 2018 in three months, which brought them the third place in the rate of teams with the biggest number of DPC points (7332).
Team Secret - odds on a victory amount 11.
Puppey and the company failed The International 2017, after which made a decision to make changes to the main roster - Ace and YapzOr joined the team in September. The roster was showing a strong performance during the whole season and prevailed at DreamLeague Season 8, Captains Draft 4.0, DreamLeague Season 9. The team also entered the top four at various rating championships several times, which brought them 5136 Dota Pro Circuit points and the fourth place in the rate of the best teams by a number of points. This The International 2018 will have to become successful for MidOne and the company as they are in a good shape now and this patch fits them better than ever - signature Crystal Maiden for Puppey and Ember Spirit for MidOne, which are unusually good now, may do their thing. We think that the team will place 6th-8th, however, they can enter the top three.
Vici Gaming - odds on a victory amount 15.
The team Vici gaming didn’t make it to The International 2017 and then, the head of the team made radical changes - the management assembled a new team around Ori. The team started performing confidently enough and held the second places at AMD SAPPHIRE Dota PIT League, Perfect World Masters but burned out. The new patch was released and the team is on the top again - and it placed second again at Captains Draft 4.0 and ESL One Katowice 2018. Paparazi灬 and the company were unlucky to become the champion of a rating tournament, however, there were enough second, third and fourth places to hold the sixth place among the best teams by a number of Dota Pro Circuit places (2835). It’s worth to notice that the team has reached the top three at a Major tournament only once since February this year and this patch probably doesn’t fit them. According to the team’s last performances, we can say that they will not enter the top eight if they don’t reconsider their play.
Evil Geniuses - odds on a victory amount 15.
Evil Geniuses is probably one of the most interesting and unpredictable teams at this championship as the team changed its roster and lines more than once during the rating season 2017/2018. SumaiL and the company failed The International 2017, having held the 9th-12th place, which didn’t suit the World Cup 2015 winners. Fear returned to the team during the transfer window in September, however, the 3rd-4th place at PGL Open Bucharest 2018, DreamLeague Season 8 and the 6th place at ESL One Hamburg 2017 and DOTA Summit 8 didn’t suit the team and MiseRy joined the team, the roster had to change positions due to this. Headed by Rasmus, Evil Geniuses managed to win GESC: Indonesia Dota2 Minor and to enter the top 4 at ESL One Genting 2018. Totally, the roster earned 1335 Dota Pro Circuit, which was not enough to be in the top eight and to get an invite to The International 2018, so the team decided to make a replacement again - Fear and MiseRy left the team, Fly and S4 became the new players. The team prevailed in the North American qualifier to the main championship of the year without a great effort and also won Dota Summit 9. At the moment, it’s clear that the guys play better than a row of teams like OpTic Gaming, Fnatic and paiN Gaming and we have not been able to see them facing the tops of the modern stage yet.
Mineski - odds on a victory amount 17.
Mushi and the company held the fifth place in the Dota Pro Circuit rate, having 3150 points, which guaranteed themselves a direct invitation to The International 2018. During the season, the team achieved victory at PGL Open Bucharest, Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018 and also entered the top four at StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 4, Captains Draft 4.0 and StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 3, which gave them a right to be called one of the best teams on the professional Dota 2 stage. The team will obviously be able to make problems to many teams and have to place higher than 10th, however, we will not see them in the top six.
Fnatic - odds on a victory amount 21
Fnatic is one of the strongest teams in Southeast Asia, however, their things didn’t go well all the time - the team poached pieliedie and EternaLEnVy right after the end of The International 2017. The team took part in two rating tournaments but was far from earning points, so Abed was invited to the team, with whom the guys managed to achieve the second place at DOTA Summit 8. The reshuffles in Evil Geniuses were happening at that moment, so EternaLEnVy didn’t miss a chance and invited UNiVeRsE to join the team, who brought them some DPC points. Fnatic held the 3rd-4th place at ESL One Katowice 2018, StarLadder ImbaTV Invitational Season 5, GESC: Thailand Dota2 Minor and ESL One Birmingham 2018, however, this was not enough get to TI8 directly, so the team had to compete in the regional qualifiers, which they won without a special effort. Fnatic placed second at the last DOTA Summit, which reflects their readiness for the upcoming championship.
Newbee - odds on a victory amount 26.
Moogy and the company held the seventh place at the end of the season, so the guys received direct invitations to the competition. During the season, Newbee prevailed at Perfect World Masters and ESL One Genting 2018 and also held the prize places at a row of rating tournaments, however, the guys play with a variable success. The team has entered the top four only once at the last six rating championships and doesn’t seem to be in an optimal shape. We would not place the roster in the first ten, however, it’s worth to consider the fact about a concentrated preparation for the main championship of the year with a serious schedule, about which sources that are close to the club have said.
OpTic Gaming - odds on a victory amount 26.
“The genius of the draft” has reached the top after a long break - PPD and the company had to achieve one victory in the match against Virtus.Pro to earn a direct invitation to The International 2018 and to remove VGJ.Thunder from the eighth place in the rate of teams with the biggest number of DPC points. The team won StarLadder ImbaTV Invitational Season 5 and held the second place at ESL One Birmingham 2018, OpTic Gaming placed third in the qualifiers to the World Cup, which guaranteed them a trip to Vancouver. The team is unlikely to hold a place higher than the tenth one, however, it will definitely make problems to the most obvious favorites of the championship.
VGJ.Storm - odds on a victory amount 26.
It had been really difficult to call VGJ.Storm a strong team before March this year. In five months, the roster managed to qualify to the championship with a rating system only once, however, it held only the 5th-9th place, after which the head of the team made a decision to sign Resolut1on, who was a free agent at that moment. The team became one of the strongest on the professional stage right after the transfer of the Ukrainian and over the last few months, the team achieved victory at GESC: Thailand Dota2 Minor and placed second at MDL Changsha Major, which didn’t guarantee them a direct invitation to TI8. SVG and the company held the first place in a group in the North American qualifiers and guaranteed itself a slot in the final stage and the team placed third at DOTA Summit 9. In general, the team will have to stop on the 8th-12th place, however, you should remember how Resolut1on brought Digital Chaos to the second place at The International 2016.
OG - odds on a victory amount 26.
OG is a team that may be both a good surprise and not as the guys have made two replacements right before the qualifiers to The International 2018 and it’s difficult to evaluate their level as the guys have passed the closed qualifiers in the European region without an effort, however, it is impossible to call them strong at that qualification. During the season, OG won MDL Macau and entered the top four at various rating tournaments but it’s difficult to relate these results to the current roster because all of that had happened before the replacements. We think that the roster will hold the 13th-16th place at The International 2018, however, we will not be surprised if they don’t pass the group stage because two replacements and N0tail as a support create some doubts.
TNC Pro Team - odds on a victory amount 34.
TNC Pro Team was not so remarkable during the season - the team made only one replacement in 10 months (Armel joined the team) and managed to place 4th at Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018 and 2nd at MDL Macau. The difference between these championships is about four months, which reflects the unstable state of the team. Certainly, there was no thoughts about an invite to The International 2018 and the roster held the second place at the qualifiers, which guaranteed them a trip to Vancouver. We think that the roster is unlikely to enter the top ten as the team’s latest results do not encourage and only the best teams on the professional stage play at TI8 and it’s not enough to be one of the best teams from Southeast Asia to achieve the championship.
Serenity - odds on a victory amount 41.
This Chinese team can be called the most unexpected team at The International 2018 for a reason and it’s totally unknown what to expect from them. The team was created in January this year and often passed qualifiers to various large championships, however, the closed qualifiers were tough enough for zhizhizhi and the company. Few suspected that the guys left no chances to their opponents at the closed qualifiers to TI8 in China, having lost only two maps during the qualifies. It’s worth to notice that the roster is very similar to Wings Gaming in 2016 in the terms of gaming style as there is no heroes they do not play. In general, we would not risk to place them higher than 13th-16th but Wings Gaming was also an obvious underdog and won The International 2016.
Winstrike - odds on a victory amount 41.
The Russian-Ukrainian mix made something almost impossible - the team was created from the players that were useless for their organizations during the transfer window and the team reached the top 2 in CIS just in a couple of months. The only team that can compete with them in CIS is Virtus.Pro, however, Iceberg and the company appeared to be stronger in the only match. The team placed third at EPICENTER XL and the matches against Virtus.Pro and Team Liquid appeared to be incredibly equal and challenging. As a result, we think that the team will be able to enter the top ten if it doesn’t burn out but the 10th-12th place will be a really proper result.
VGJ.Thunder - odds on a victory amount 51.
The guys from VGJ.Thunder placed eighth by the number of earned Dota Pro Circuit points (1935). The team had a strong enough start of 2018 and managed to achieve third places at The Bucharest Major, GESC: Indonesia Dota2 Minor, StarLadder ImbaTV Invitational Season 5 - the team was one step of the victory at these tournaments. After this streak, a patch was released that didn’t suit them at all and the team refused to change anything and now, they are one of the contenders to be eliminated from the group stage. We think that if the roster gets higher than the 13th-16th place - this can be called a success for it.
paiN Gaming - odds on a victory amount 67.
The team paiN Gaming is the strongest in South America, however, there is nothing to boast of as this region is considered to be the weakest on the professional Dota 2 stage. The roster earned good money at World Electronic Sports Games 2017, where placed second, after which invited experienced enough W33 and the things started getting better. Over the last five months, paiN Gaming managed to hold the third place at the Major tournament ESL One Birmingham 2018. Bookmakers have the biggest odds on their victory, automatically relating the roster to the outsiders of the World Cup, however, we are sure that the guys will pass the group stage and this is the roster that may make a sensation.
Invictus Gaming - odds on a victory amount 67.
Invictus Gaming is definitely an underdog of the main championship of the year and it’s not worth to argue about it - during the whole season 2017/2018, the team played only at Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018 and MDL Changsha Major, where the DPC points were up for grabs, and the guys stopped on the place not higher than 9th-10th. The roster spent the whole season in the qualifiers and local tournaments, which prize pools were not bigger than $100,000. Agressif and the company is the team about which it can be said that they will not advance to the playoffs.