Let’s take a look our picks for underdog teams -3 Dark Horses Of TI12 that have the potential to win the championship title for The International 2023
Valve and Dota 2‘s biggest tournament, The International 2023 will resume once again following a week-long break after the end of the Group Stage. The previous weekend supplied us with a plethora of amazing games, plays and moments. A lot of the teams that were expected to perform have done well, such as Team Spirit, Team Liquid and LGD Gaming. However, in this article, we will be looking at the teams that were perhaps overlooked in comparison. These teams have shown solid showings during the first phase of TI 2023, and promise to outperform themselves and aim for dream runs at TI.
Our Pick for 3 Dark Horses Of TI12
Here are our picks for the three dark horses to watch out for at the Playoffs –
First up on our list is Entity (formerly known as Entity eSports). Over the past year, Entity gathered quite a reputation for being giant slayers. They have continued on that path through and through, and still carry that potential as we are heading into the Playoffs of The International.
Entity made it to TI after a stellar showing in the grueling Western Europe (WEU) Regional Qualifiers. Even so, the raw level of expectation wasn’t very high for the roster, especially since they went through a forced roster shuffle right before the qualifiers. They managed to shut their haters with a solid showing in the Group Stage, going 4-4 in perhaps the toughest group of TI12. Their phase 2 encounter vs Azure Ray will be one to forget for the Entity faithful, as Somnus and co. thrashed them 2-0 in convincing fashion. It was one of those days when they simply failed to find their footing against the Chinese juggernauts.
Despite all this, Entity is still one of the dark horses of this tournament and have the potential to make a deep run at TI. They will be facing the defending champions Tundra eSports in Round 1 of the Lower Bracket on Sunday. Tundra has looked shaky in their phase 2 encounter against Nouns, where they lost 2-0. So Entity will be looking to pounce on any lapses in gameplay from the defending champions.
Next up, we have a team that almost everyone had written off ahead of TI 2023. Nouns were the team that made it through the North American Regional Qualifiers, a slot that many fanatics jokingly call ‘wasted’ because of the perceived lack of competition in the NA region. Nouns have handedly shut all of those claims with their showing thus far at The International.
Nouns are sitting very pretty in the Upper Bracket Quarterfinals after their 2-0 victory against Tundra eSports. This was perhaps the most surprisingly incredible result at TI thus far. To put things into perspective, Nouns had gone 3-5 in the groups; whereas Tundra eSports dominated their group, going 7-1 against the likes of TSM and Talon eSports. Nouns bludgeoned Tundra in both the games and secured their slot in the Upper Bracket.
There’s not much left to prove for the NA squad, especially after having a roster change (addition of K1) right before the Qualifiers. However, K1 seems to have settled down at lightning pace, and looked to be in amazing touch from what we have seen. Nouns have shown that they are a force to be reckoned with on their day and opposing teams have got their work cut out for them.
Nouns will be facing Azure Ray in the Upper Bracket on Friday, and the NA fanatics will be hoping that Nouns continue the trend of winning games people expect them to lose. Azure Ray have also looked to be in dominant stride, so the NA squad will have to play out of their minds to squeeze out a game against the Chinese powerhouse roster.
1. Talon eSports
At our top spot, we have the SEA flag bearers in Talon eSports. They are the only team from their region that remains in TI, and expectations from the SEA fans couldn’t be higher. After their 2-1 victory against the all conquering Gaimin Gladiators, it is hard to think of them as underdogs. But no more than two weeks ago, they were simply just that.
Right before The International kicked off in Seattle, TI 10 champion Carry Yatoro said that Talon are one of the best teams in the world, right alongside Team Spirit and Gaimin Gladiators. A lot of eyes were rolled at that statement, but we are beginning to see why he knows better than all of us.
Talon started off slowly to say the least, losing all four games on the first day of the Group Stage. They were facing elimination alongside the other SEA representatives, Team SMG. Thankfully for the fans of 23 and co., they turned it around in style. Talon won all of their remaining games and finished 4-4. They were facing Gaimin Gladiators for the chance to move to the Upper Bracket, but chances looked bleak. Talon lost the first game and was on the verge of destruction in game 2 as well. However in grand Talon fashion, they pulled off some unreal performances to come back from massive deficits in games 2 and 3.
Talon will face Team Liquid in the Upper Bracket on Friday, which promises to be an amazing matchup. 23savage and company will be looking to extract revenge for their loss against Liquid in the Riyadh Masters 2023.
Final Thoughts: What Is Up Next?
The International 2023 has ignited the passion of Dota 2 fans with outstanding underdog performances from Entities, Nouns, and Talon eSports, infusing the tournament with unpredictability and excitement. Whether it's Entity's resilience post-roster shuffle, Nouns' surprising win over Tundra eSports, or Talon's spectacular comeback against Gaimin Gladiators, these narratives have added drama to the event.
As the playoffs kick off, the question persists: which dark horse will challenge the established giants for the ultimate prize? Dota 2 enthusiasts worldwide eagerly await the forthcoming thrilling clashes, hoping for new chapters in The International's competitive legacy.