Finally, it is upon us. 16 teams. 3 days. 1 Million Dollars.
Alittle bit over a year since Dota 2 was first shown to the public for the very first time, VALVE is once again uniting the world's DotA community, as it showcases this year's edition of their $1,000,000 Dota2 tournament: The International 2.
TI2, which is to be held in Benaroya Hall - Seattle, Washington, USA, from August 31 to September 2, shall be the culmination of 16 teams' hard work over the span of Dota 2's very first year (in beta!).
Natus Vincere (Na'Vi) - Last year's champion, this powerhouse team based in Ukraine is one of the favorites coming into TI2. Since winning the inaugurual The International tournament, they continued to dominate the scene, winning online and offline tournaments left and right. Notably, of all the LAN tournaments that they attended, they lost only two. With players like fan-favorite Danil 'Dendi' Ishutin, mastermind Clement 'Puppey' Ivanov, expect Na'Vi to go deep!
Darer - Led by none other than the famous Ivan 'Artstyle' Antonov (Na'Vi's captain during their run in last year's International), Darer, is the second team from Ukraine. Less favored than the other UA team, Darer is still not to be underestimated, as despite their shaky results so far, Artstyle can always be counted on to pull out strategies that will leave their opponents bewildered.
Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) - Formerly an all-swedish team under Jonathan 'Loda' Berg's leadership, CLG has seen some rocky times in recent months, as Loda's departure left them scrambling to match their results during their first months together. Fortunately for them, under the captaincy of Per Anders 'Pajkatt' Olsson Lille, one of EU's most feared Anti-Mage players, they have found their groove again, and once more are competing in top shape.
Moscow Five (M5) - Despite the distinction of being the first (of only two) teams to be able to beat Na'Vi in a LAN finals, Moscow Five's erratic online tournament results have caused fans from all over the question their invite. This, despite of the fact that Vladimir 'PGG' Anosov's team has always surprised at LAN tournaments. With players such as the iconic Ivan 'Vigoss' Shinkarev, and Igor 'M.Admiration' Kalnysh (both from the old Virtus.Pro of legends) helping PGG, don't be all too surprised if M5 proves all their naysayers and end up going deep into the brackets.
Mortal Team Work (mTw) - The other team to have beaten Na'Vi in LAN, mTw, is in The International 2, not because they were invited, but because they managed to top the Western Qualifiers, beating teams like Mouz and Next.KZ. Led by Troels 'syndereN' Nielsen (who is also known for co-casting with Tobi), expect them to pull out several surprise strategies in order for them to prolong their stay in the brackets.
Complexity Gaming (coL) - One of the first dominant online Dota2 teams from last year, coL's distinction of not having had a roster change at all might be their key to going all the way the tournament, as their team chemistry will most likely be through the roof! Filipino fans might also be interested in knowing that their member Jio 'Jeyo' Madayag is of Filipino Descent.
Evil Geniuses (EG) - Perhaps the more well known of the two American teams participating, EG is another favorite in going all the way. Led by one of the greatest captains outside of China, Jacob 'Maelk' Toft-Andersen (more famous for his long stint with MYM) and featuring even more fan-favorites and veterans such as Jimmy 'DeMoN' Ho and Clinton 'Fear' Loomis, EG's most dangerous weapon will most likely their experience in various LAN tournaments.
Absolute Legends (aL) - OCEANIA's lone bet in this year's The International, aL peaked the same time as NA's coL did, wrecking teams left and right in online tournaments. Unfortunately, they seemed to be at a slump the time right after they got their invite. As of late, they seem to be returning to form. What could prove to be the x-factor for them is that at TI2, they'll be able to play with regular 30-90 ping, instead of the 300+ ping that they are all accustomed to when playing online.
Orange Esports - Known as the more star-studded lineup from Malaysia because of their players like Chai 'Mushi' Yee Fung and Ng 'YamateH' Wei Poong, Orange has been performing quite lacklusterly for a team with a roster such as theirs as they have not been placing high in a lot of the online tournaments that they joined. Don't count them out though, as Mushi and co. are always to be feared.
MUFC eSports - Despite their less glamorous lineup, MUFC managed to peak in Malaysia before Orange did, late last year and early this year. But as of late, they have been giving more and more games to their compatriots, as well as to other teams. Things may seem bleak for them this coming International, but like the other Malaysian team, they most certainly should not be counted out.
Zenith - Regarded as the Na'Vi of Asia, Zenith has been tearing through teams as of late, Chinese and Europeans teams notwithstanding. With some of their members, including captain and longtime legend Benedict 'Hyhy' Lim Han Yong, also being part of last year's TI-third placers Scythe.SG, and even the so-called Chinese Kryptonite Daryl 'iceiceice' Koh Pei Xiang, Zenith is one of the favorites to win everything. A finish outside of third place would be devastating for them.
EHOME - Retaining three of their members from their surprising second-place run from last year (Zhang 'LaNm' Zhicheng, Yao '357' Yi, and Lei 'Dai' Zengrong), EHOME is a team that peaked in the middle of 2012. They started off as the top Chinese team in Dota2, but as of late they have been having trouble with their compatriots. And considering the number of Chinese teams in this year's tournament, this may prove to be a huge hindrance for them. What could be their strong point, though, is that their players such as Dai/X!! and 357 are huge veterans who can give the team the confidence it needs to take it all the way.
DK - Featuring the so-called world's strongest carry in Xu 'BurNIng' Zhilei, DK is the team that conquered China back in 2011. The catch? That was DotA 1. Though they have yet to duplicate their feats with Dota2, they have had their games where their plays have been nothing short of spectacular. With heroes such as Anti-Mage and Morphling in the pool, never count DK out.
Invictus Gaming (iG) - The all-star lineup of China, iG is another favorite in going all the way (though not as much as teams such as Na'Vi, Zenith, or even LGD). Boasting players such as Luo '430' Feichi aka the greatest Invoker in China and Wong 'ChuaN' Hock Chuan aka the most consistent Windrunner in China, be surprised if iG finishes outside of the top 8 places.
LGD Gaming (LGD) - Of all the Chinese teams, LGD is probably the most favorite, especially after their two straight online finals clashes with Zenith (which they split). Known for their absolutely fantastic teamwork, especially when it comes to 5 on 5 teamfights, a spot in the top 3 is not out of the question for them.
TongFu - The fifth Chinese team TongFu, surprisingly, was not invited. Rather, they got in by topping the Eastern Qualifiers, where they had to beat fellow Chinese team World Elite. They are perhaps the least favored of all the Chinese teams. But then again, this doesn't say much as they can still very well go all the way. Also, it should be a treat seeing Chen 'Hao' Zhihao and his fabulous style both in and out the game once again.
These teams shall be joined by Mousesports and World Elite, runner-up from the Western and Eastern Qualifiers, respectively. They will act as subsitutes, in case a team from the original 16 cannot make it.
With 16 top teams from all over the world competing for Dota 2's biggest prize pool, The International 2 is bound to be explosive! Stay tuned to Mineski.Net for further hype and updates!
Source: VALVE - TI2