As the dust settled in Manila, and teams continue their quest for the Aegis elsewhere, we take another look at teams that have been fighting their way to the International.
(Note: Part 1 was written before Manila Masters. You can see it here.)
The organization of compLexity Gaming have had a long history, and is one of the earliest North American teams in the Dota2 scene. Last year, the lineup of coL under the leadership of swindlemelonzz in the Boston Major was considered one of the best lineups of coL in the organization’s history. Their strong performance during that tournament’s group stages caught people’s attention, especially when they beat Evil Geniuses four times in two Bo3 series. However, despite the strong showing of melonzz and the spectacular support performance of his brother Zfreek, coL was eliminated early on in the Major by Warriors Gaming.Unity.
They would later fail to qualify to the Kiev Major and the Dota2 Asia Championship, the Epicenter, the Summit and ZOTAC Cup. But with the departure of both 747 and monkeys-forever and the arrival of DeMoN and Feero, two players who have stood-in for coL during the Epicenter 2017 Americas Qualifiers; with melonzz moving to the offlane to give way to DeMoN’s roaming support to duo with Zfreek; would the team Moo has been with since the outset of The International 6 be able to qualify for TI7? There is very little chance that coL would be able to secure a Direct Invite in TI7, so they’d have to show everything they’ve got to get in to Valve’s most prestigious tournament.
The Europe and CIS Veterans and Youngbloods
Many would remember Natus Vincere’s impressive road to TI6 last year which earned them a Direct Invite. Dendi is still part of the organization that he championed in the very first International, but would his new teammates Biver, General, Pajkatt and the returning SoNNeikO help him win his second Aegis?
Meanwhile, the Alliance, Navi’s rival in El Classico, still has Loda, their quintessential flagbearer. They are still looking to win his second Aegis as well. With EGM leaving for Crescendo, Pablo had risen from being a former sub of Alliance into becoming a full-fledged member of the organization. Limmp, jonassomfan and Handsken remain with the team ever since the team’s restructuring last September, but the promising performance of the individual members of Alliance hadn’t resulted to a championship in a while.
Is it really the end of the El Classico era?
Team Secret continues to be a favorite by fans and by organizers alike, with the team getting invited in a couple of LANs, most recently in the Manila Masters. Puppey’s current team is now competing in Epicenter 2017 against the top tiered teams of the world. Winning a couple of LANs might even be enough to put Team Secret right into the invitation list of The International 7. But that’s the catch – can Team Secret actually show up and win the LANs they need?
CIS teams have a couple of teams mixing veterans and young bloods on the other hand, such as Team Spirit and Vega Squadron, with varying degrees of success. With the very competitive region having many strong talents yet many teams do not seem to mesh well together. Who among the CIS and European teams would eventually qualify for the International 7?
mousesports, Danish Bears
Two teams of promising young talents. Two groups of young individuals who always have a chip on their shoulder. They have the need to continuously prove that they are worth the investment of the organizations they are under. Unfortunately, their respective teams have not been so patient.
Despite all these, the Greek Boys who started as Ad Finem and now competing under the name mousesports have just earned their spot in the Galaxy Battles by beating the likes of Team Empire, Elements Pro Gaming and Prodota Gaming in the European Qualifiers. mouz got the position by scoring better than Ninjas in Pyjamas and Vega Squadron. Will the steady growth of the Greek Boys mean that we’d be seeing mouz again in The International 7, the first time since mouz’s last appearance in TI4?
Meanwhile, the Danish Bears are once again the Danish Bears. They have competed late last year under the banner of The Imperial, were later picked up by Cloud9 prior to their second-place finish behind TNC Gaming in the World Electronic Sports Games 2016; now back to their home Danish organization. But unlike the Greek Boys, this Danish team didn’t stay intact. At least not completely, as 13abyKnight left the team for Crescendo. He was replaced by 747.
Speaking of Crescendo, syndereN is still not giving up on his dreams of achieving big as a player, despite his success as a caster. Reuniting former Alliance teammates EGM and Akke in this new team, with syndereN saying in his stream that he also tried getting AdmiralBulldog into the team, which the famed player declined. As already mentioned earlier, 13abyKnight will be playing with Crescendo, with Excalibur taking on the mid role. With syndereN back to the core position supported by the Alliance veterans, will he finally be able to secure more tournament wins and regain his fame as an esports player?
Planet Odd, Digital Chaos
This one’s going to confuse a lot of people, and surely many were baffled during the Kiev Major when they saw the formerly Team Onyx being called Digital Chaos, and the former DC squad being called Thunderbirds. Now, Thunderbirds is no more as well, after they have been picked up by Planet Odd from here on out. Coached by Blitz, the TI6 runner-ups continue their impressive run almost dominating the North American region, trading LAN Qualifier finishes with Team NP. Now going to the Epicenter 2017 after winning the Americas Qualifiers, the new organization Planet Odd will be taking the tried and tested team captained by MiSeRy will start making the Green the color of the day in Dota2.
Meanwhile, former Team Onyx members with our very own Abed form the renewed Digital Chaos team. With DeMoN joining CompLexity Gaming, he will be replaced by Forev, reuniting two MVP.Phoenix members together along with DC’s captain DuBu. Their lineup is completed by BuLba and mason.
Clutch Gamers, TNC Pro Team and Team Faceless have risen to the top of the SEA region, with the three teams usually juggling LAN Qualifier wins between each other, and all of them might even end up getting a Direct Invite if they continue doing really well in Premier Tournaments from here until TI. But do not be fooled, as the other SEA teams are still just as vicious and skilled as the top three SEA teams out there. Look at Happy Feet, Geek Fam, Warriors Gaming.Unity and the reformed Fnatic and Mineski lineups. Mineski turned heads weeks ago for acquiring CIS veterans Mag~ and .Ark, while also securing veteran Mushi to captain the team, with long time face of Mineski Julz leaving after almost a four year stint with the organization. Fnatic’s team had regained the highest-earning Filipino player DJ to play Position 4, reunited QO and Febby and welcomed Ahjit while Meracle moves to a sub role. Ohaiyo’s new teammates look promising enough that everyone should keep an eye on this team. Julz and JessieVash reunited in Happy Feet, completing the five-man Filipino lineup.
Sir Mike of Team Cer
If you’ve never heard of WomboXCombo, then you’ve been denying yourself of some good quality casting that balances fun and technical skill pretty well. With the energetic and bubbly Kuya Nic, the games casted in the channel makes it feel like you’re watching matches with a good friend who can keep up with an intelligent discussion about the game without forgetting to enjoy the game itself.
In between casting matches here and abroad, Kuya Nic also coaches. Coaching Less than 1k solo mmr players, to be more exact. In his new video series, he coaches 600+ MMR Mike on his quest to reach 1,000 MMR. To incentivize Mike, he is awarded P100 (~$2) for every win he makes in Ranked Matchmaking. The candid depiction of how a 600 MMR player would try to reach 1,000 MMR is humbling, motivating and entertaining all at the same time. One might laugh at Mike’s unfamiliarity with basic Dota concepts and mechanics, but should admire his dedication and undying spirit to better himself.
Now, although we’re pretty sure that Sir Mike will not be going to Seattle to compete in The International anytime soon, watching him climb the ladder is still a fun and enjoyable thing to watch in between tournaments, while we all await the coming of TI7. You can see him play as Invoker here.
Ever since Team NP was joined by pieliedie and FATA-, Team NP have never looked so good. Finishing 2nd behind Newbee in the ZOTAC Cup Masters and 3rd in the Manila Masters, NP was both in the verge of emerging first in two consecutive Premier Tournaments. Had they only defeated Thunderbirds in the Qualifiers for Epicenter 2017, they might have been on the road for a third consecutive win. Some talents we’ve talked with during the Manila Masters even said that Team NP could earn a Direct Invite if they win a Premier Tournament between now and The International.
Owing probably to the familiarity of old allies reuniting, EternalEnvy, MSS and Aui_2000 are finally on their top form, and it’s only exciting to see them playing in their best, like how Aui_2000 secured first bloods as Enchantress using two Hadouken Balls and by body blocking with a siege creep.
The Lords of China
We might run out of space if we make a heading for each and every good Chinese team out there, and it would just be redundant because Chinese teams never cease to be relevant in the Dota2 scene. It seems like the wheel just turns and each team have their own season. Looking particularly good right now is Newbee, who put down Team NP in the Grand Finals of ZOTAC, and winning second place in the Manila Masters. But the teams iG.V, Invictus Gaming, EHOME, CDEC Gaming, LGD Gaming, Vici Gaming and VG.J all are formidable foes. If only there are more slots for Chinese teams in all of these competitions, it wouldn’t be hard to see all of them competing in the same tournament and give us great games.
In my opinion, iG.V, EHOME, and VG.J are the ones fans should be looking closely on. On top of Newbee, of course.
One of the best teams to have not yet won a single Major or Aegis in their repertoire of achievements, Team Liquid is a top-tier team that never fails to deliver. Epicenter, Starseries, ESL One, DreamLeague, and World Cyber Arena. You name it, and you’ll always see Team Liquid having a podium finish at least once. They came close in the Manila and Shanghai Majors, getting second place behind OG. Although their performance in Kiev haven’t been that good, it would still be safe to say that Team Liquid will most likely receive a Direct Invite in The International 7. One of the most stable and consistently well-performing teams out there, Team Liquid is a safe bet for your money always. It’s only a matter of time until Team Liquid wins their first Major, and maybe their first Aegis.
Neutral has been playing video games since he was a little kid. He started being competitive when he and his brother would bet favors for each other depending on who wins at the PS2 game Naruto Shippuuden. Recently he has been playing Dota2 and Animal Crossing on his revived 3DS. It is his dream to be part of the formation of the eSports version of UAAP through UP Gaming Guild’s Impetus Intercollegiate Dota2 League.
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