The International 2018 – Eternal Battle of the Ancients
- A Brief History of The International
- The International 2018
- Hot Favorites
- Average Performers
- Dark Horses
Dota started its path as an eSports discipline back in 2004, when it used to be a part of Warcraft III. At that time, the first league of International Gaming Syndicate (IGS) appeared and the first tournament between House of Zed and 4DTA teams took place. In 2005 the first World Cyber Game tournament occurred.
This all led to the creation of a new eSports discipline that reached a level of fandom like Counter Strike and Starcraft. The number of tournaments kept increasing every year, and so did the prize fund. Asus, MYM Pride, Dreamhack, World Cyber Gaming, Electronic Sports World Cup and many other small tournaments hosted a slew of Dota Allstars players.
In 2011 Valve released its Defense of the Ancient and simply called it Dota 2. The question then arose of how to attract an audience from the first Dota. Gabe Newell and the company found a perfect solution – they created the first Dota 2 world championship with a prize fund of $1,600,000 – The International.
In contrast, the World Dota Championship 2010, one of the major Dota AllStars tournaments had a prize pool of only $30,000. So Valve’s offer was unparalleled.
We did not believe that it was ever possible. ESWC (Electronic Sports World Cup) tournaments which were popular at that time had a prize fund of $20-$30k, and they could pay off over months, but here is a new tournament with a million-dollar prize pool. We do not expect such money even for the end of days, but we were very glad that someone hosts such tournaments, where all the world’s best teams can come, so we did not think about the prize money, we just wanted to play – Ivan ArtStyle Antonov, The International 2011 champion of the Na’Vi team (from the Dota 2 Maincast interview ).
In 2018 Valve for the first time in a long period moved TI from the already familiar Seattle, USA to Vancouver, Canada. The new venue is Rogers Arena, which accommodates over 18 000 people.
All the teams around the globe were competing against each other during the season to get more Dota Pro Circuit Points and win a direct invitation to the main event of the year. The top 8 received direct invitations, the remaining 10 teams made their way to the tournament through regional qualifications.
TI 8 prize pool, as in previous years, consists of $1,600,000 from Valve and 25% of Battle Pass sales and sales of corresponding levels. At the time of writing, the prize money totals $24,920,592.
The International 2018 Format
Group Stage – August 15th – August 18th, 2018
All eighteen teams are divided into two groups where they play in a Round Robin format.
- All matches are played in Bo2.
- The top four teams in each group advance to the Upper Bracket of the Main Event.
- The bottom team in each group is eliminated.
- The remaining teams advance to the Lower Bracket of the Main Event.
Main Event – August 20th – August 25th, 2018
Sixteen teams play in a double-elimination format over six days.
- Eight teams begin in the Upper Bracket, eight in the Lower Bracket.
- First Lower Bracket round is** Bo1**, Grand Finals are Bo5, all others rounds are Bo3.
Usually a group stage with Bo2 matches is not so entertaining like Bo3 confrontation, however Bo2 is not so exhausting for teams.
Since 2015, Valve has given an opportunity to all teams to enter the playoffs regardless of their group position. Depending on the place in the group, the team receives seeded entry in the upper and lower bracket and the corresponding opponent.
If you take the first place in your group, you get into the Upper Bracket and you deal with an opponent who took 4th place in the opposite group.
The International 2018 Teams
Best TI Achievement: 3rd TI5
Season Earnings: $ 1,357,351
TI8 slot: No. 3 DPC (7332 p)
- Ame, Wang Chunyu – Carry
- Somnus 丶 M, Lu Yao – Midlaner
- Chalice, Yang Shenyi – Offlaner
- Fy, Xu Linsen – Roamer
- xNova, Yap Jian Wei – Support
The Chinese guys from PSG.LGD are clear favorites to take first place. They started the season badly, and after a reshuffle they got good momentum and sped up by the end of the season.
At the Dota Asia Championships 2018 they finished second behind Mineski, and after that they won two Major Tournaments in a row, Epicentr XL and MDL Changsha Major. The five guys from China come to TI8 at the peak of their powers. Their strong lineup and good roaming help the team fare well against any rival.
Among their obvious advantages is the fact that the team does not have any weak points. The ideal character is chosen for each position, and he always receives attention that gives a perfect balance at any stage of the game.
The team plays active characters and often ends the game by quickly increasing their advantage. According to Dotabuff, only 7 out of the last 40 matches continued more than 50 minutes. Oftentimes, by reading the game style of the opponent, the Chinese guys can foresee the moves even of such teams as VP and can surprise anyone.
Ame, Somnus 丶 M (Maybe) and Chalice are among the top 13 personal ratings in the Chinese region as of the beginning of August 2018. This indicates a good preparation of the core positions for the championship.
One of the team’s drawbacks is that it can fail against weak teams and even lose to them. You might remember the series against TNC on MDL Changsha Major and matches against Team Empire in Epicenter XL, but now it happens not so often.
The Chinese team has been playing very confidently against top opponents for a long time, even despite recent defeats during the SuperMajor. They know how to win while playing against Team Liquid as well as Virtus.pro. The Chinese guys did not win at the last The International, so we can be sure this year they will be 100% ready.
Best TI Achievement: 5-6th TI7
Season Earnings: 2 565 000 $
TI8 slot: No. 1 DPC (12372 p)
- RAMZES666, Roman Kushnarev – carry
- No [o] ne, Vladimir Minenko – Midlaner
- 9pasha, Pavel Khvastunov – Offlaner
- RodjER, Vladimir Nikogosyan – Roamer
- Solo, Alexei Berezin – Support
The Russian team had one of the best seasons of their entire eSports life. A surefire first place in the DPC ranking and $2.5 million in prize money.
The team can brag about three players with incredible individual skills, a stable offlaner and an experienced captain in fifth position. Vladimir No[o]ne Minenko is absolutely the best mider of the world at the moment. Recently he brought his two accounts to Top MMR and held the 1st and 2nd places.
His statistics throughout the season are incomparable to any other MidLane player. Even when his whole team played much weaker than they could, Minenko showed excellent individual input and KDA. During the last 6 major tournaments his average KDA is 7.08. No one else can boast of such great results.
Often the team plays over-aggressively, forcing their rivals to go back too far and get jammed on their base. This is accompanied by good wards and correct movements. An excellent line stadium is also among their advantageous features.
As became evident in recent tournaments, Bears are not at their best form now. Given the fact how scrupulously the Chinese teams are preparing for any The International, they will deeply analyze the playing style of Virtus.pro. This will totally make the situation very difficult for the Russian team.
One of the disadvantageous factors, especially in the current meta, is the regular lack of money for the team captain. The average Net Worth in Solo in most games rarely exceeds the mark of 4000 gold. For comparison, Team Liquid Captain Kuroky collects on average 5-6 thousand of gold in games, and oftentimes has to run with one shoe on.
The absence of gold in the middle and later timings makes no good for Alexis and sometimes it prevents him from making the necessary impact in matches due to missing artifacts.
Country: European Union
Best TI Achievement: 1st TI7
Season Earnings: $ 1,861,500
TI8 slot: No. 2 DPC (9459 p)
- MATUMBAMAN, Lasse Urpalainen – Carry / Midlaner
- Miracle-, Amer Al-Barkawi – Midlaner / Carry
- MinD_ContRoL, Ivan Ivanov – Offlaner
- GH, Maroun Merhej – Roamer
- KuroKy, Kuro Salehi Takhasomi – Support
Liquid were the winners of the past The International 2017. Now the team will come to defend their title.
The team spent the season quite stably, they won 1 major tournament and 3 minor tournaments. Players interact well with each other and each shows very high results.
Captain KuroKy takes on Puppey’s good sense of choice of characters. This is both a plus and a minus for the team, because sometimes only Kuro can understand this choice, while the rest are not clear about what kind of synergy should occur on the battlefield.
The team has one of the world’s best MidLaners in recent years. Miracle- has wonderful individual skill and understanding of the game. While the whole team works on Amer, MATUMBAMAN usually has some trouble.
This is one of the major problems of the team in today’s Meta, because Lasse has to deal with hard-to-handle characters being left on the line. It prevents him from making impact at his fullest.
The ability to return to the game even after a failed first stage is one of the team’s most important advantages.
Best TI Achievement: 1st TI5
Season Earnings: $ 633,500
TI8 slot: No. 2 The International 2018 North America Qualifier
- Arteezy Artour Babaev – Carry
- Suma1L Sumail Hassan – Midlaner
- s4 Gustav Magnusson – Offlaner
- Cr1t- Andreas Nielsen – Roamer
- Fly Tal Aizik – Support
The American team took a very risky but courageous step and gathered a new team a few days before the open qualifications for The International 2018. The risk was justified and the team went through open, and later through closed qualifications.
The team is very promising, consisting of a strong captain, skilled support for 4 positions, and one of the best core characters. Suma1L, s4 and Arteezy play on their usual positions, which is a positive factor. The positive is also the fact that both Sima1L and s4 have played in different positions and should interact better with each other.
Teamwork may be an issue for this guys. Also the fact that Suma1L and Arteezy often require a lot of attention during the game, and s4 can lose ground because of this. In the current meta, offlaners should have enough gold, since oftentimes they help build a game in any time interval.
Region: European Union
Best TI Achievement: 7-8th TI7
Season Earnings: $ 1,335,000
TI8 slot: No. 4 DPC (5136 p)
- Ace Marcus Hoelgaard – Carry
- MidOne Yeik Nai Zheng – Midlaner
- Fata Adrian Trinks – Offlaner
- YapzOr Yazied Jaradat – Roamer
- Puppey Clement Ivanov – Support
Team Secret is one of the most controversial teams in recent years. Every year we expect something new from Clement and his team at The International, but each time the team faces some problems and can not even enter the top 5.
The current team list has a wonderful midlaner and carry, both play with very unusual characters, which hinders the team’s opponents from doing a good draft.
There is also one of the best executors on 4 positions. Yapzor fits perfectly into the rotation of Team Secret, especially the line shifting when opponents do not expect it. But today’s meta assumes that support for 4 positions should be on one of the lines.
Yazied fits well into the aggressive team’s playing style. However no one knows how well he will show himself in the passive game in the beginning and middle of the game. We’ll see in the upcoming tournament.
The biggest problem and the biggest advantage of the team is the pick from Clement. With his choice of characters, the captain can win the game and completely repick the opponent, but sometimes the choice from Puppey is understood by no one other than himself.
Region: Southeast Asia
Best TI Achievement: 9-12th TI1
Season Earnings: $ 774,000
TI8 slot: No. 5 DPC (3150 p)
- Mushi Chai Yee Fung – Carry
- Moon Kam Boon Seng – Midlaner
- iceiceice Daryl Koh Pei Xiang – Offlaner
- Jabz Anucha Jirawong – Roamer
- ninjaboogie Michael Ross Jr. – Support
Mineski is the representative of the South-East Asia region, and they received a direct invite to the main tournament of the year. At the beginning of the season they won the minor SL i-League Invitational S4 and in the middle of the season they won the major Dota Asia Championships 2018.
An aggressive team that often attacks and quickly accumulates its advantage. Daryl and the folks show a wonderful split push. All the core characters are not afraid to die, and therefore they can often be seen near the opponent’s base, even in situations where opponents do not expect it at all.
This gives the team insights on the map in any situation.
The drawback of the team is the choice of characters and meta games. They do not adapt well to new patches and often drop out of tournaments for this reason. If Mineski is lucky with the characters on The International 2018 and they will have moments, then these guys will be difficult to stop.
Best TI Achievement: 2nd TI4
Season Earnings: $ 570,997
TI8 slot: No. 6 DPC (2835 p)
- Paparazi 灬 Zhang Chengjun – Carry
- Ori Zeng Jiaoyang – Midlaner
- eLeVeN Ren Yangwei – Offlaner
- LaNm Zhang Zhicheng – Roamer
- Fenrir Lu Chao – Support
Another team from the Celestial empire, which generally performed strongly throughout the season. They did well during some tournaments, got medal places on ESL One Katowice or MDL Changsha Major, although not the first ones.
However the team also had poor games, especially at the beginning of the season. It was difficult for them to proceed from the groups. Finally, the guys found their playing style and began to work it out. All the Chinese guys are very much prepared for The International and perform well under default situations.
Vici Gaming is no exception. Despite the controversial season, they prepare for 10 or more hours per day for the main tournament of the year.
All five players are very skillful. The interesting fact is that LaNm takes active characters on the 4th position, which makes a lot of useful things in the game and on the lines. If the team succeeds with this strategy, then the 4 characters have a good reserve of exp and gold after the initial stage. Like all teams from China, VG are great in defence and are able to hold out the game to the desired result, even in a losing situation.
Best TI Achievement: –
Season Earnings: $ 611,939
TI8 slot: No. 8 DPC (1935 p)
- Sylar Liu Jiajun – Carry
- Freeze Liu Chang – Midlaner
- Yang Zhou Haiyang – Offlaner
- Fade Captain Pan Yi – Roamer
- ddc Leong Fat-meng – Support
Another team from China. They played the season with varying success, they did not win a single tournament, but on some of them they took high places, so they got enough DPC points to get a direct invitation to The International 2018.
Vici Gaming Jeremy Thunder is good at the start of the early game and if they succeed, they try to increase their advantage as soon as possible and finish the game. Like all Chinese teams, they have good defence. A captain is one of the 4 players who was at all The International tournaments.
Rotk is on the coach position, he is an experienced player with his secret tactics. The team can get high scores if everything goes well for them. The playing style of Sylar and Freeze,against the background of other players from the top teams can be questionable.
Best TI Achievement: –
Season Earnings: $ 380,250
TI8 slot: No. 1 The International 2018 North America Qualifier
- YawaR Yawar Hassan – Carry / Midlaner
- Resolut1on Roman Fominok – Midlaner / Carry
- Sneyking Jingjun Wu – Offlaner
- MSS Arif Anwar – Roamer
- SVG Avery Silverman – Support
A relatively new team that won first place in regional qualifications for North America. The team has young and promising core players. Resolut1on and YawaR can change positions and heroes in their discretion, and the changing of lines can occur during the game.
Like all the teams that play with Resolut1on in the lineup, they have a 4 + 1 strategy. There is a great emphasis on this player during the game, and if he takes out the necessary artifacts for himself, then the team succeeds.
The team can not always capitalize on its advantage. In situations where they can conquer the entire map and squeeze the opponent on its base, they surprisingly do not do it at all.
Perhaps this is due to problems with vision, svg and the team does not always deploy the observer ward correctly and effectively. The advantage of the team is the fact that they play in the home stands.
Best TI Achievement: 4th TI6
Season Earnings: $ 434,096
TI8 slot: No. 1 The International 2018 Southeast Asia Qualifier
- EternaLEnVy Jacky Mao – Carry
- Abed Abed Azel Yusop – Midlaner
- UNiVeRsE Saahil Arora – Offlaner
- DJ Djardel Mampusti – Roamer
- pieliedie Captain Johan Åström – Support
The team came to the main tournament of the year through regional qualifications by winning first place. In general, the season was average, at times the team went into the playoffs of the tournament, sometimes it did not pass the group stage.
All team members have their signature heroes, which are very difficult for their opponents to play against. For example, tinker or meepo for Abed. Skill offlaner and stable supports. Take it up with the captain of the team and also a carry – Jacky EternaLEnVy Mao. Envy is one of the most controversial characters on the modern pro scene of Dota 2.
He can win the game for his team and lose it just by himself. What’s more, it depends on both his actions in the game and while choosing characters. If Captain Fnatic is in a good mood, then they will likely do well, but more often it’s just the opposite.
Best TI Achievement: 1st TI4
Season Earnings: 881 117 $
TI8 slot: No. 7 DPC (2445 p)
- Moogy Xu Han – Carry
- Sccc Song Chun – Midlaner
- kpii Damien Chok – Offlaner
- Kaka Hu Liangzhi – Roamer / Support
- Faith Zeng Hongda – Support / Roamer
Yet another team from the Chinese region. Although Newbee became vice champions of The International 2017 season, they performed poorly. The team was able to win two minor tournaments and take 3-4 places in majors. Fans expect much more from such a team.
Newbee has obvious issues with the choice of characters. They try to play with last year’s findings, and of course this does not work today. Despite the fact that the team list has not changed during the whole season, the team does not have any consent and lacks teamwork.
Newbee often plays with Naga Siren character and it gives them little activity on the map, after which they go into a defensive mode and make their games too long.
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Best TI Achievement: –
Season Earnings: $ 125,000
TI8 slot: No. 1 The International 2018 CIS Qualifier
- Silent Airat Gaziev – Carry
- Iceberg Bogdan Vasilenko – Midlaner
- nongrata Alexey Vasilev – Offlaner
- Nofear Aleksander Churochkin – Roamer
- ALWAYSWANNAFLY Andrey Bondarenko – Support
These guys have an amazing team list made up of the former FlyToMoon roster . The team of players, who had been kicked out from everywhere, then gathered and became the unanimous favorite of regional qualifications for TI8.
iceberg and the folks played just 2 tournaments, and one of them was the major Epicenter XL. There the team showed that they can stand against such giants as Team Liquid, PSG.LGD and even beat Virtus Pro out of the tournament.
Sure thing, another teams will be ready for them this time, and won’t underestimate the guys as before. So it’ll be much more complicated for Winstrike on The International 2018 than on Epicenter XL. They also have an experienced midlaner and carry, but who knows how well they can play this time.
Best TI Achievement: –
Season Earnings: – $
TI8 slot: No. 1 The International 2018 China Qualifier
- zhizhizhi Jin Zhiyi – Carry
- Zyd Zhang Quanda – Midlaner
- rYang Zhou Haiyang – Offlaner
- Pyw Captain Xiong Jiahan – Roamer
- XCJ Xiao Chaojian – Support
There is little information about this team. They are already called to be Wings 2.0 in China, since they also left the qualifications and fans know nearly nothing about them. Although we knew more about Wings, even before their victorious TI6, when they won ESL One Manila 2016, so these teams are hard to compare.
Team Serenity played on various tournament qualifications but did not succeed anywhere. This time they go to The International 2018 after getting ranked first in the Chinese region. Given the number of Chinese teams and quotas for the tournament, it is difficult to estimate the potential of the team.
Many analysts consider this year’s Chinese qualifications to be one of the weakest ever. But the fact that we know nothing about this team, makes the situation only more dangerous. The underestimation effect always works, so it’s quite possible that Team Serenity is able to surprise many teams and game fans.
Best TI Achievement: –
Season Earnings: $ 592,900
TI8 slot: No. 3 The International 2018 North America Qualifier
- Pajkatt Per Olsson Lille – Carry
- CC & C Quinn Callahan – Midlaner
- 33 Neta Shapira – Offlaner
- zai Ludwig Wahlberg – Roamer
- ppd Peter Dager – Support
The US received 3 slots in the regional qualification and Optic Gaming took advantage of this. The team took 3rd place and now it goes to TI8.
The Americans started the season very shakily, but at the end they practiced their own strategy and even took second place at ESL One Birmingham 2018.
Optic Gaming has a great captain, with his own ideas and strategies. His personal skill is not so high compared to the other team captains. This is why Optic will have to come up with very good strategies and premade tactics. They can gain momentum during the first 10-20 minutes and quickly lose it. Near-home ground will likely become an advantage for all American teams.
Best TI Achievement: 7-8th TI6
Season Earnings: $ 455,935
TI8 slot: No. 2 The International 2018 Southeast Asia Qualifier
- Raven Marc Fausto – Carry
- Armel Armel Paul Tabios – Midlaner
- Sam_H Sam Hidalgo – Offlaner
- Tims Timothy Randrup – Roamer
- Kuku Carlo Palad – Support
The TNC Predator team took second place in the regional qualifications for TI8 in Southeast Asia. They defeated the team TNC Tigers.
These guys play in a very aggressive style with a good split-push. Three of their players have been playing together for a long time. Players on Core positions have good skill. Oftentimes, TimS and Sam-H do not want to put much effort into the game, which makes their performance not as good as it could be.
The team has good potential but can often play worse against teams that are obviously weaker. They have a good chance of getting out of the group.
Country: European Union
Best TI Achievement: 1st TI7
Season Earnings: $ 442,500
TI8 slot: No. 1 The International 2018 Europe Qualifier
- ana Anathan Pham – Carry / Midlaner
- Topson Topias Taavitsainen – Midlaner / Carry
- 7ckngMad Sébastien Debs – Offlaner
- JerAx Jesse Vainikka – Roamer
- N0tail Johan Sundstein – Support
OG have undergone great changes – first, after Resolut1on left the team, and then, when fly and s4 did the same. The team plays very poorly compared with relatively good teams because of its unstable roster.
All players, except jerax, can play rather well at times, and sometimes very bad. Analysts believe that OG has passed one of the weakest qualifications of all regions. Each player has strong signature characters, but together they do not synergize. The team is fortunate indeed, since they had no good contenders during the qualifications.
Best TI Achievement: –
Season Earnings: $ 507,600
TI8 slot: No. 1 The International 2018 South America Qualifier
- hFn William Medeiros – Carry
- w33 Aliwi Omar – Midlaner
- tavo Otavio Gabriel – Offlaner
- Kingrd Danylo Nascimento – Roamer
- Duster Heitor Pereira – Support
Pain Gaming can be considered the best team in their area, South America, which obviously remains the weakest region on the professional landscape. After the team managed to take w33, they definitely got a great boost. The team also enjoys the presence of Misery in their ranks. He is a seasoned coach and an experienced player as well, who makes a solid contribution.
The core players of the roster have been playing together for years. It will be a good result for the team if they manage to progress from the group. Odds are, they can count on this chance. If so, the bo1 format series is just for them. As we mentioned above, weak teams are always underestimated. The Brazilian team can make it even further – up to the top 12.
Best TI Achievement: 1st TI2
Season Earnings: $ 116,812
TI8 slot: No. 2 The International 2018 China Qualifier
- Agressif Sun Zheng – Carry
- Xxs Lin Jing – Midlaner
- Srf Sun Runfa – Offlaner
- BoBoKa Ye Zhibiao – Roamer
- Q Fu Bin – Support
A famous Chinese team. They are the winners of the second The International tournament. They progressed from the qualifications by finishing second. The team has obvious problems with both communication and the choice of characters.
Of course, the Chinese guys are well prepared for The International, but IG showed nothing special during the season. And the prospects that they will come and prevail are very slim.
The International 2018 Meta
In today’s meta, the popular arrangement along the lines is 2+1+2 with rotation of 4 positions between the middle line and off lane. Taking into account the situation with gaining experience as well as and with new timings of Bounty Rune, the 4th position should stay more on the line, rather than running and showing its aggression as it was before.
Today, teams place a lot of emphasis on the characters with AoE abilities. We believe that the core characters, which make great impact at all stages of the game will be the most popular at The International 2018.
We took a good look at every single participant of the upcoming The International 2018 tournament. According to our forecast, the Chinese team PSG.LGD will be the undisputed winner, but only Vancouver can tell how it will turn out.
Every year this tournament brings us new sensations and unparalleled emotions. We are dead sure that this year’s tournament will be held at the highest level.
Exclusively for Dota 2 Battle Pass 2018 owners we at DMarket have prepared an article with our predictions for The International 2018.