There are many big Dota 2 teams at The International 12 because the annual event gathers the best of the best. Starting on October 12, we will be able to watch all of the leading names in Dota 2, including 9Pandas. The latter will be one of the Eastern European representatives at this tournament.
9Pandas are an exciting team that a lot of people consider to be the hidden favorite. The club has an interesting mixture of young and experienced players, allowing them to combine the best of both worlds in their roster. It definitely won’t be easy for the team to succeed at TI 12, but considering their results, they have a chance.
Let's break down the team to see how competitive they might be at The International 12.
Overview of 9Pandas and their roster
9Pandas are relatively new to the Dota 2 scene. In fact, they began their existence as an org in 2023 after acquiring HellRaiser’s roster. The latter was a hot team at the time and featured some of the best players in the CIS region.
Following the acquisition of HR’s roster, 9Pandas slowly but steadily started getting good results. The team has really only made one major roster change: initially, they played with Vladimir "RodjER" Nikogosian — one of Virtus.Pro’s ex-stars — but after the club didn’t achieve the best results possible, he was swapped for Alexey "Solo" Berezin. The latter was also a part of VP’s legendary roster, and he’s among the most experienced players at The International 12.
Adalyat “Krookie” Mamedov is the team’s CEO, while Aleksandr "Nofear" Churochkin fills the position of coach. The role of the captain goes to Solo. The 9Pandas roster is as follows:
- Gleb "kiyotaka" Zyryanov
- Roman "RAMZES666" Kushnarev
- Matvey "MieRo`" Vasyunin
- Vladislav "Antares" Kertman
- Alexey "Solo" Berezin
9Pandas’s Results in 2023
Even though the club was unable to win any big tournaments before The International 12, 9Pandas still achieved fairly good results. Some people might not be impressed by what they’ve shown, but those who’ve paid close attention will know the team has what it takes to win. It's also important to remember that TI 12 will likely occur on 7.34c or a newer patch, giving 9Pandas time to figure out the meta before the rest of the teams.
Some aspects worth considering include the fact 9Pandas played The Lima Major 2023, the first Major of the year, while still under HellRaisers’s banner. What’s more, they faced problems with some of HR’s roster, which is why the squad played with Artem "Yuragi" Golubiev instead of Roman "RAMZES666" Kushnarev. Sadly, the team wasn’t able to do much in the Group Stage, resulting in a Lower Bracket slot. After that, the squad moved to the Lower Bracket, where it lost against Talon Esports.
Before the arrival of 9Pandas, the ex-HR roster also played at DreamLeague Season 19. Unfortunately, the team couldn’t survive in the Group Stage and wasn’t able to qualify for the next stage of the event.
ESL One Berlin 2023 marked the first tournament where Solo’s roster played under the 9Pandas banner. The change clearly had a positive effect on the squad, as they had an impressive result during the Group Stage. This allowed the team to continue into the Upper Bracket, where they defeated both Shopify Rebellion and Tundra Esports. Sadly, the team wasn’t able to deal with GG and also lost the match against Team Liquid, granting them a 3rd place finish.
DreamLeague Season 20 was another good tournament for RAMZESS666 and his crew. 9Pandas finished first in Group B and secured a slot for the second group stage. Unfortunately, once there, the squad wasn’t able to replicate their prior and were eliminated.
The Bali Major 2023 wasn’t too bad for 9Pandas, either. While the team wasn’t able to shine in their group and were sent straight to the Lower Bracket, they did defeat Team Aster and beastcoast before finally getting eliminated against Team Liquid.
In terms of the Riyadh Masters 2023, 9Pandas had pretty good results in Group A after finishing 4th. This gave them a chance to play in the Upper Bracket, but they weren't able to defeat BetBoom Team. The loss relegated them to the Lower Bracket, where they defeated Team Secret and Team Aster, before losing to Talon Esports.
9Pandas at The International 12
The only team from Eastern Europe who have managed to win The International so far is Team Spirit. Even though 9Pandas doesn’t look as scary as they did, there’s no arguing this squad will try to achieve the best possible results.
Solo and RAMZESS666 have many years of experience and have been among the favorites to lift the aegis several times now. However, for various reasons, the team was never able to achieve its ultimate goal. While it’s true the current roster has three inexperienced players, we still think the squad has the chance to lift the trophy.
The club has proven they can work well under pressure, but there are a few squads that they still struggle to overcome. We’re yet to learn more about the groups at TI and how they’re seeded will play a key role in 9Pandas achieving success. Be sure to follow us for more information about everything Dota 2 at BLIX.