The Dark Horses of TI 2023

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The Dark Horses of TI 2023

Find out which teams are the Dark Horses of TI 2023 and understand their strengths, strategies and gameplay

The 2023 Dota 2 International is shaping up to be an electrifying battlefield where renowned giants and emerging dark horses are ready to clash. This year, we turn the spotlight on four teams that have the potential to stir the pot and maybe, just maybe, redefine the Dota 2 competitive landscape. Let's learn about Quest Esports, Entity, Team SMG, and BetBoom Team – the Dark Horses of TI 2023.

The Dark Horses of TI 2023
Credit: VALVE

Quest Esports

Quest Esports (formerly known as Ooredoo Thunders) is an esports team based in Qatar. While being a revelation this season, the team also has roots that trace back to the various struggles in previous tournaments. Historically, Europe has been a competitive region, with many giants overshadowing the emerging teams. However, Quest's ability to break through, led by the vision of their captain, Kaori, speaks volumes about their tenacity.

Quest Esports Players

  • TA2000 (Aybek Tokayev) – Position 1
  • No!ob (Tony Assaf) – Position 2
  • Tobi (Tobias Buchner) – Position 3
  • OmaR (Omar Moughrabi) – Position 4
  • Kaori (Oleh Medvedok) – Position 5 (Captain)

Skill and Synergy : A Potent Combination

Emerging from the fierce competition in Western Europe Qualifiers, Quest Esports has exhibited a remarkable journey. The team, led by the seasoned captain Kaori, has shown a knack for seizing control of the battlefield with strategic prowess. TA2000, with his remarkable positioning and farming efficiency, has become a figure to watch out for, keeping audiences at the edge of their seats. He is considered one of the best carries right now and is ready to showcase an amazing performance at The International.

Quest Esports
Photo: Quest Esports

No!ob is the midlaner of the Quest team who has mastery over many mid Heroes. His ability to dominate in the mid lane and rotate when needed makes him one of the most promising midlaners. Tobi is the offlaner of the team who joined recently. He brings versatility and innovation to the table, showcasing a wide array of Hero pools. OmaR, the team's position 4, has been a beacon of consistency, unveiling stellar plays that perfectly complement the aggressive strategies employed by the team.

The unpredictable draft strategies that Quest Esports employs have caught many opponents off guard. Their adept understanding of the current meta, combined with their willingness to experiment and individual performances, makes them a team that could potentially disrupt the equilibrium at this year's TI. Overall, they are surely one of the top Dark Horses of TI 2023.


Entity, while being newcomers to many, has a rich history of grinding through the ranks. Their dedication is evident in the meticulous strategies they've employed in The International qualifiers, and they've only strengthened since.

Entity Players

  • watson (Alimzhan Islambekov) – Position 1
  • Stormstormer (Daniel Schoetzau) – Position 2
  • Gabbi (Kim Villafuerte Santos) – Position 3
  • Kataomi` (Vladislav Semenov) – Position 4
  • Fishman (Dzmitry Palishchuk) – Position 5 (Captain)

The Genius of Fluid Playstyles

Entity has carved a niche for themselves with their fluid playstyle and adaptive strategies. Watson and Stormstormer, the dynamic core duo, have proven their worth in numerous games, often turning the tide of battle with their impeccable timing and game sense. Watson has been the No. 1 ranked player in the Western Europe region for a long time and is ready to perform in TI.

20230831 via entitydota twitter

Gabbi is a new addition to the team, making the Entity more dangerous. He is an experienced offlaner who brings stability and control to the team's formation. Meanwhile, Kataomi` and Fishman, the backbone of the squad, have constantly impressed with their swift reactions and ability to make game-changing plays. They are very good at supporting their cores and controlling the tempo of the game.

Entity's rise in the Western European scene is a testament to their sheer determination and will to succeed. Their journey has been characterized by a series of innovative strategies and cohesive team plays that have left a significant imprint on the Dota 2 competitive scene. This Entity team is easily one of the Dark Horses of TI 2023.

Team SMG

Team SMG, while based in Southeast Asia, carries a global appeal. With veterans like MidOne and No[o]ne, who have fans across continents, their games are watched with bated breath by enthusiasts from various regions.

Team SMG Players

  • MidOne (Yeik Nai Zheng) – Position 1 (Captain)
  • No[o]ne (Volodymyr Minenko) – Position 2
  • Masaros (Natthaphon Ouanphakdee) – Position 3
  • Ah fu (Tue Soon Chuan) – Position 4
  • Jaunuel (Jaunuel Arcilla) – Position 5

Veterans Guiding the Charge

Team SMG is a powerhouse packed with seasoned players who bring a wealth of experience to the table. Spearheaded by the charismatic MidOne, the team has carved a name for itself with a potent mix of aggressive and calculated plays that keep their opponents guessing. MidOne is playing as a carry and performed really well in The International Qualifiers.


The inclusion of No[o]ne as a midlaner made the team much stronger than before, and it can be seen in their playstyle. Masaros is the team’s offlaner with a diverse Hero pool, often resulting in explosive movements that break the opponent's defenses. Ah fu and Jaunuel round up the roster with their reliable support plays, ensuring the cores have the space and resources they need to dominate the battlefield.

Team SMG has shown remarkable adaptability, seamlessly transitioning between different strategies as the game progresses. Their ability to read the game and adjust their approach on the fly could very well be the key to their success in this year's TI.

BetBoom Team

Emerging from Eastern Europe, BetBoom Team has swiftly transitioned from the region's best-kept secret to a global phenomenon. Commanding attention with their intricate plays and innovative strategies, they can easily beat any team if they are performing well.

BetBoom Team Players

  • Nightfall (Egor Grigorenko) – Position 1
  • gpk (Danil Skutin) – Position 2
  • Pure (Ivan Moskalenko) – Position 3
  • Save (Vitalie Melnic) – Position 4 (Captain)
  • TORONTOTOKYO (Alexander Khertek) – Position 5

A Symphony of Coordination and Skill

BetBoom Team, coming from the Eastern Europe region, has been a revelation this season. The chemistry between Nightfall and gpk is evident in their coordinated plays that leave no room for retaliation. Pure, the linchpin in the offlane, has displayed exceptional skill in controlling the tempo of the game, providing the necessary stability and control.

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Screengrab via BetBoom on YouTube

Captain Save, along with TORONTOTOKYO, forms the backbone of the team, orchestrating movements and setting up favorable engagements that propel the team forward.

As BetBoom steps into the grand stage of TI 2023, they carry with them the hopes and expectations of a passionate fan base. Their journey so far has been nothing short of spectacular, showcasing a blend of skill and teamwork that hints at the potential for a deep run in this year's tournament as one of the Dark Horses of TI 2023.


These 4 teams are the Dark Horses of TI 2023 and have the capability to win the competition. So keep an eye on them! Check out for more news, articles, and guides related to Dota 2.

The Dark Horses of TI 2023
The Old One
When he's not sighing at sub-standard teammates in Dota 2 and CS2, The Old One is writing about those two games (among other things). If you see his name around the site too many times for your liking, well, the guy just never stops writing. Yes, we've tried an intervention.