The Dota 2 community is less than a week away from the beginning of Dota 2’s biggest and most important tournament of the year. The International 12 starts on October 12, and will include 20 of the best Dota 2 teams in the world.
Aside from those who received an invitation after accumulating enough DPC points, the remaining squads had to fight via the qualifiers to get here. We’ve already covered many of them here, but now, it’s time to focus on those teams forced to play in the regional qualifiers.
A few big clubs among them deserve more attention: Entity, Azure Ray, Team SMG, and Quest Esports are all among the most interesting entrants via the qualifiers.
These teams can surprise us with their results, especially if we look at their most recent performances. However, not everyone knows a lot about them, so let’s take a closer look at each squad.
China has a couple of interesting teams who will be a part of The International 12, and Azure Ray is among them. This is the newest and best Chinese team right now; formed in May 2023. Even though people didn’t expect a lot from them, because most teams rely on new players, Azure Ray turned out to be an exception.
The squad’s current roster consists of these names:
- Lou "Lou" Zhen
- Lu "Somnus" Yao
- Yang "Chalice" Shenyi
- Xu "fy" Linsen
- Jiang "天命" An
To be honest, we haven’t had the chance to see Azure Ray at many tournaments so far. If we put aside The International 12 qualifiers and China’s DPC, the squad only played at The Bali Major 2023. However, Somnus and the rest weren’t able to impress their fans losing to PSG.LGD and facing elimination from the tournament early on.
Despite those results, Azure Ray has one of the most experienced squads at TI 12 and will be one of the names we’ll be paying close attention to. We’ve seen time and time again that experience matters when it comes down to such events. Although The International 12 prize pool isn’t as impressive as previous years, none of these players have won a TI so far, chasing that dream provides them with plenty of the needed motivation.
The second team we want to discuss here is from Western Europe. Truth be told, we didn’t expect to see it among the best at The International 12 because Entity hasn’t had the best year. In fact, the team missed out on a lot of tournaments and weren’t able to qualify through DPC points.
In terms of the organization, Entity has been around for several years now, first forming in 2016. The club’s been home to many top-tier players, but its current roster has the following names:
- Alimzhan "watson" Islambekov
- Daniel "Stormstormer" Schoetzau
- Kim "Gabbi" Santos
- Vladislav "Kataomi`" Semenov
- Dzmitry "Fishman" Palishchuk
Regarding the tournaments Entity did play in, the club hasn’t had the most success. They scored a slot for The Lima Major 2023, where they finished 5th-6th, which wasn’t all bad. However, the next event Entity played at was the Riyadh Masters 2023, which was many months after the first Major.
Although fans expected more of Entity in Saudi Arabia, the team couldn’t shine, losing to OG early on. After that tournament, Entity also played at DreamLeague Season 21, where they ultimately fell to defeat BetBoom Team, ending their run in 5th/6th place and taking home $57,500 USD of prize money.
The third team we want to discuss here is probably the most interesting. In case you weren’t aware, Team SMG has been a part of the Asian Dota 2 scene for many years. However, they’ve never been able to find the squad they needed to dominate the local and international scenes.
Even though the current roster also had problems, there’s no arguing Team SMG is better now than ever. The organization had loads of top-notch squads over the years, but today, they’re fielding the following:
- Yeik "MidOne" Nai Zheng
- Volodymyr "No[o]ne-" Minenko
- Natthaphon "Masaros" Ouanphakdee
- Tue "ah fu" Soon Chuan
- Jaunuel "Jaunuel" Arcilla
Unlike Azure Ray and the teams from Western Europe, Team SMG didn’t take part in any of the DPC tournaments. In fact, the squad wasn’t even able to compete at the big non-DPC competitions, which is strange considering its roster. Nevertheless, MidOne and the rest stepped up their game and secured a slot for The International 12. And we’re certainly interested in seeing what they’ll achieve in Seattle.
The final Dota 2 team we want to highlight is Quest Esports, probably one of the most intriguing options. The squad from Western Europe shocked the world in the last couple of months after securing excellent results. Ammar "ATF" Al-Assaf had a role in their success, but Quest Esports continued to be one of the big names people looked up to even after he left the roster. In the end, the team secured their slot at The International 12.
Their roster consists of:
- Aybek "TA2000" Tokayev
- Tony "No!ob" Assaf
- Tobias "Tobi" Buchner
- Omar "OmaR" Moughrabi
- Oleh "kaori" Medvedok
In terms of the Dota 2 tournaments Quest Esports was a part of, the team played at The Bali Major 2023. Even though fans didn’t expect the squad to achieve much, Quest Esports finished first in Group B. After, the players defeated Team Aster and then lost to Gaimin Gladiators, forcing them down to the Lower Bracket. Once there, Quest defeated LGD, but eventually they lost to Team Liquid.
After the Major, Quest Esports also played at the Riyadh Masters 2023 and DreamLeague Season 21. Even though the squad didn’t impress with its results in DreamLeague, Quest finished 7th-8th in Riyadh, earning themselves a $500,000 USD reward.
Can any of these teams win The International 12?
We would be surprised if one of these four teams won The International 12. Even though some have better chances than others, none of the squads here are among the favorites. Nevertheless, TI 12 is an event where anything and everything is possible, so follow us if you want to learn more about it. We’ll try to provide you with daily tips for some of the most intriguing matches.
In the meantime don’t forget to check out The International 12 compendium. And keep your eyes out for more news about The International 12 broadcast schedule in terms of talent and analysts as it becomes available.