ESTNN breaks down who we can expect to see when TI 10 returns October 12.
The first four days of The International 10 were nothing short of spicy. South America’s chances at taking the top prize fell sharply, with both Thunder Predator and SGE eliminated from the event.
And while some series panned out as we thought, there were certainly some surprising results. Evil Geniuses started strong and then hit shaky ground, and SEA teams Fnatic and T1 managed to exceed expectations.
But now, with the Group Stage behind us, it’s time to look ahead to the Main Event and the playoff stage in Bucharest.
With the Upper Bracket full of regional powerhouses, we can expect to see some cracking Dota 2 when the series kick off. Here’s who we can expect to see duking it out in the UB on the first day of playoffs.
- Invictus Gaming
- Team Secret
- Vici Gaming
- Team Spirit
The LB isn’t short on the excitement either. Here’s who we can expect to see carving up fallen teams in the Lower Bracket.
- Team Undying
- Evil Geniuses
- Quincy Crew
- Team Aster
We breakdown our pick for the top prize, as well as the teams who we think might give them a run for Valve’s money.
Pick for the Aegis: PSG.LGD
It’s hard not to acknowledge the power of PSG.LGD at this year’s event. While China is looking strong in general, it’s LGD who are looking the fiercest.
And it isn’t just on the stage in Bucharest where we’ve seen their prowess dominate; they claimed the top prize at the WePlay Animajor in June, after earning their spot by placing 2nd in the Upper Division of Season 2 of China’s DPC.
They also claimed victory in September’s OGA Dota PIT Invitational, taking CIS favorites Team Spirit 3-1, after winning Season 5 of the OGA Dota PIT: China. And they added another silver to their collection, taking 2nd place at ESL One Fall this year.
LGD’s history at The International
PSG.LGD have graced the stage at TI many times before, back in 2018 they came close to claiming the Aegis for China, falling to OG’s flower power in the Grand Finals to claim the number two spot.
But things are looking much more promising for the team this time around.
Wang "Ame" Chunyu is back playing for the team in the hard carry position after a short stint with CDEC Gaming through 2020. While team captain Zhang "y`" Yiping and offlaner Zhang "Faith_bian" Ruida of Wings Gaming fame were most recently playing with EHOME. Zhao "XinQ" Zixing and Cheng "NothingToSay" Jin Xiang have also come over from EHOME after the team, a former pillar in the Chinese scene, went inactive at the end of July this year.
Dark Horses: Team Secret
There’s no denying that Secret have had their tumbles through 2021’s DPC Season. They stomped their way through 2020’s year of ad hoc online competitions and very much looked in prime shape to take the win at TI. The addition of Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen to Secret’s line up seemed to be working very well indeed.
And things were still looking good in January, as they swept through the Upper Division of DreamLeague Season 14, EU DPC. But things went somewhat pear shaped for them from there. Their performance at the One Esports Singapore Major was underwhelming in the face of the slew of victories in their recent past. They placed 4th at the Major. And four continued to be their lucky number through DreamLeague Season 15.
Despite making it to the WePlay AniMajor, Secret stumbled early. Bowing out at 16th place, just two rungs from the bottom of the ladder.
But watching the team play through the Group Stage and snatch that second place spot, it looks like the fire may have been rekindled under Clement “Puppey” Ivanov, and it wouldn’t surprise us to see Secret finally take the aegis this year.
Dark Horses: Invictus Gaming
China’s strength at the event this year is undeniable, and Invictus Gaming’s formidable roster are a large part of that. The team showed themselves as top tier material during the Grand Finals of the One Esports Singapore Major this year.
The team put on a strong showing through the Group Stage, and certainly have the ability to snatch the crown from any of the Upper Bracket teams. Their roster has plenty of chops too. Hu "kaka" Liangzhi has been part of the Chinese scene since 2014, and took 2nd place with Newbee back at TI 7. While newcomer Zhou "Emo" Yi has proven his capabilities in both the carry and mid roles throughout his four-year career, despite only being the tender age of 20 at this TI.
Dark Horses: Evil Geniuses
EG have run the Lower Bracket gauntlet and come out on top before. Despite a disappointing performance through the Groups, there’s still plenty of chances for Artour "Arteezy" Babaev and the boys to stage a comeback. They stand tall amongst the competition in the LB, and have proven through this years DPC they can hold their own against regional rivals Quincy Crew and Undying.
But their first series against Elephant will be the real deciding factor in whether or not EG can make it through to October 17.
Unlikely, but love to see it: OG
OG’s proven more than once that they shouldn’t be underestimated heading into a TI. But their performance through DreamLeague Season 14 & 15 was not only underwhelming, it was also plagued by roster shuffles. Although the team are looking much more stable now with Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan filling their position 1 gap, it’s still uncertain if Johan "N0tail" Sundstein and his new squad have the synergy to pull off taking home the Aegis three years in a row. That said, none of us at ESTNN would be complaining if they managed it!
Unlikely, but love to see it: T1
T1 are the new kids on the block of the DPC, and they’ve had a rocky start to their time in the circuit. However, they seem to have found their comfort zone this year, tucking some unexpected wins under their belt. Nuengnara "23savage" Teeramahanon brings plenty of skill and passion to the roster’s lineup, and Carlo "Kuku" Palad has plenty of fire alongside his strategy to lead the team to success. Although we’re not expecting to see T1 in the Bo5 at the Grand Finals, but if it did happen, there’s no doubt we’d love to see it.
The International 10 kicks off again on our screens tomorrow, October 12.