Dota 2 The International 2019: A Quick Season Recap

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A quick look at the past.
A quick look at the past. Valve

The biggest event in Dota 2 begins tomorrow and it goes without saying that the hype is indeed real. The International 2019 has a total of 18 teams battling it out to get a large share of what may be the largest prize pool in esports. Before the tournament begins, we take a look at what has happened so far.

Prize Pool

Let’s start with the obvious and state that there is no question this is the largest prize pool yet at around $32.8 million. This means that the winning team gets to take home just a little under $15 million. That it has reached this amount is not at all surprising considering the mechanism Valve has in place. The prize pool for TI9 is the biggest jump since it breached the $20 million mark back in TI6.

East vs West

Gamers are often a superstitious lot. By the time TI4 rolled in, some couldn’t help but see a pattern in the winners. It appeared that the champions were alternating between East and West. To review, these are the winners from 2011 to 2017:

  • Natus Vincere (West)
  • Invictus Gaming (East)
  • Alliance (West)
  • Newbee (East)
  • Evil Geniuses (West)
  • Wings Gaming (East)
  • Team Liquid (West)

Thus when TI8 started, there was the expectation that a Chinese team may win the tournament. That initially looked to be the case when PSG.LGD swept their first opponents in the Upper Bracket before securing a spot in the Grand Finals. During the Grand Finals, PSG had that chance, but OG would not back down and eventually OG took home the Aegis.

With the pattern now broken, it looks as if the community once again are excited to guess who wins in TI9.

Two Wins

Another interesting “pattern,” if you could call it that, is that no team has won the championship more than once. The first TI champion, Na’Vi, actually had that chance, twice in fact. In TI2, Na’Vi secured the Grand Finals spot early, but fell to IG 1-3. In TI3, it was Alliance that took home the Aegies, frustrating Na'Vi yet again.

Newbee also had that chance in TI7. However, Liquid, working its way from the Lower Bracket, swept Newbee 3-0 to get the win.

Not considering the fact that some of the teams have a completely new roster, there are a total of six teams that have a chance to be the first Dota 2 team to have two TI championships.

Major Tournaments

The 2018-2019 DPC Season had a total of five Major tournaments. Each tournament offered a $1 million prize pool with 15,000 DPC points. These are the results of the Majors:

  • Kuala Lumpur Major
    • (1st)
    • Team Secret (2nd)
    • Evil Geniuses (3rd)
    • Ninjas in Pyjamas (4th)
  • Chongqing Major
    • Team Secret (1st)
    • (2nd)
    • Evil Geniuses (3rd)
    • PSG.LGD (4th)
  • DreamLeague Season 11
    • Vici Gaming (1st)
    • Fnatic (3rd)
    • Team Secret (4th)
  • MDL Disneyland Paris Major
    • Team Secret (1st)
    • Team Liquid (2nd)
    • Evil Geniuses (3rd)
    • PSG.LGD (4th)
    • Vici Gaming (1st)
    • Team Liquid (2nd)
    • (3rd)
    • TNC Predator (4th)

As you can see, pretty much the same names appear on the top four which gives you an idea on what to expect for TI9. However, given the unpredictability of the game, other teams could churn out a surprise.

Roster Changes

After every TI or Major tournament, Dota 2 teams often get into roster changes. This season appears to be one of the wildest. There were some major news roster-wise.

The first was Danil “Dendi” Ishutin finally being released by Na’Vi and joining The Pango. Before that, Dendi had been put on inactive status. The second surprising update was Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen leaving Liquid. Before leaving the team, Liquid was considered as the longest lasting five-man roster in Dota 2 with a 68% win rate. MATUMBAMAN has since signed with Chaos Esports.

Another interesting bit of news was Forward Gaming managing to get into TI,9 but the organization suddenly disbanded less than a month before the biggest tournament in Dota 2. Fortunately, the players get the chance to play as they have been picked up by Newbee.

Infamous surprised everyone when it disbanded the team after the poor performance at the EPICENTER Major. It then signed Team Anvorgesa and managed to enter TI9 through the qualifiers.

The most controversial has to be what happened with beastcoast. Formerly known as Team Team, they were later signed by beastcoast. The controversy started when two team members were removed just as the MDL Disneyland Paris Major was about to start. All fingers then pointed to Jacky “EternaLEnvy” Mao as the reason. However, lackluster performance since the Paris Major has resulted in EternaLEnvy leaving the team.

So are you excited yet for TI9?

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