The International is coming to Singapore! Twenty teams, the best in the world, will clash for a huge prize pool at the main esports event. Everyone's been waiting for this action throughout the DPC season. Dota is coming to one of the most beautiful cities on the planet and has the loudest audience in esports.
Twenty teams and almost everyone has a unique, dramatic story: underdogs, lucky chaps, favorites, and all others. A hundred players, excluding coaches, analysts, and accompanying staff, personify the passion for Dota 2.
And even though almost every person has made a unique path to this moment, we selected five rather exciting stories among the participants, based on which one could follow them during the TI days. After all, it is a pinch of drama that gives an unforgettable taste of victory. Or defeat.
Entity's All Or Nothing
Only a fool would call Entity a one-tournament team or just a bunch of lucky dudes. These five have shown a high level of Dota and a very diverse and extraordinary hero pool for a long time. Pure opened up the good old core Sniper for everyone, Fishman plays Abaddon and Sven pos5, Kataomi prefers melee stunners like Earthshaker, Nyx, and Barathrum to support, and Tobi's pool is generally tricky to understand with pos3 Mirana and Venomancer. Only StormStormer prefers reliable characters for the middle lane.
Honestly, these fellas are just a pleasure to watch. Mainly because they also enjoy playing Dota. Their vibe is somewhat reminiscent of last year's Team Spirit, and in general, they have a chance of high places. But here's the catch: this is their first TI and their second major tournament after Arlington. It will be much more complicated since other strong teams are already taking Entity seriously. And that is why they are worth watching.
Will Entity be able to confirm their status? Or will their unusual hero pool let them down this time? Something we'll all find out pretty soon.
China's Historic Moment: Only Three Teams At TI
Sad to admit, but it is an anti-record. Only three Chinese teams got to TI11, including PSG.LGD and Team Aster are doing it by DPC points and Royal Never Give Up, thanks to Regional Qualifiers. At all past International Championships, at least four clubs from China got direct TI invitations (or through Quals), and we're not even speaking about the Wild Card stage.
Because of COVID restrictions, Valve initially canceled the first major, and the Chinese teams could not attend the second one. Indeed, it was Xtreme's choice to skip Arlington (only their carry didn't get the visa, meaning they could've found, and played with, a replacement), and it seems that their overconfidence sequences in missing The International 2022.
Two more Chinese teams had their chance to join TI11 through the Last Chance Qualifier, Xtreme Gaming, and Vici Gaming. Unfortunately, both were eliminated in the Playoffs. Moreover, as we mentioned above, retrospectively, it looks like Xtreme decided to avoid the USA Major and focus on LCQ, which turned out to be unlucky even though almost everyone saw them as unaltered favorites.
And it's very frustrating. China is a strong and often innovative region. And so three teams have a big responsibility for representing the region at the international tournament. Although, it's a pity that only PSG.LGD and Team Aster look severe and have real chances, even though Somnus`M plays for RNG.
Can CN teams bring The Aegis back after all these years? It's now or never.
Pakazs' Chance For NA Org
For some reason, people tend to name every up-and-coming carry player that has potential as New SumaiL, New YATORO, New Nisha, and so on. Sometimes young and talented players have glimpses of legendary playstyles. Still, the truth is much more superficial: all great players have things in common, so naming younglings as New %DOTA LEGEND NAME% is simply absurd. They're not Miracle-not Arteezy, not MATUMBAMAN. And they'll never be anyone but themselves.
Christian "Pakazs" Casanova is the future of Dota. He's a Peruvian genius.
Thunder. Awaken's tactics are pretty evident and reminiscent of SA Dota esports overall. 4+1: four players space and sacrifice for one to farm and win the game in the end. The whole team bets on Pakazs because it's what he does best; he's the fish in this ocean. His Templar Assassin won 19 out of 22 maps, and Morphling had 11 wins out of 13 games. It's peculiar how the squad decided to play full-roam heroes and spacers so that Pakazs gets whatever he likes, as they are sure that Christian vacuums every free drop and realizes it to avenge his teammates.
Do you know what team? The same team with a tired veteran pos1 player, who can go to rest for Twitch streams?
Farewells To MATUMBAMAN, Faith_Bian, and Ame
They have already decided on their future. More precisely, they've decided what they won't be doing after TI11—a sorrowful moment for the entire Dota 2 esports scene.
In a heartbreaking interview this summer, Lasse "MATUMBAMAN" Urpalainen stated clearly:
“I’m like done after two months, like literally done. After TI.. done-zo.” And most likely, even if he somehow triumphs at the tournament in Singapore, the Finn will not remain on the pro scene. And it can be understood because behind eight years of performances, one Aegis (potentially two), and more than one and a half thousand official matches, Dota can become fatigued.
PSG.LGD's leading players and Dota legends will also quit Dota 2. Wang "Ame" Chunyu said during an interview on popular Chinese gamer XG's stream that he wants to depart Dota to "leave at his peak." And Zhang "Faith_bian" Ruida is just plain tired: after the release of TI10's True Sight, he posted a five-page essay about his career in recent years and said that the tournament in Singapore would be the final for him.
So if TI11 is going to be emotional and dramatic for anyone, it's for them. And that's why everyone has to follow their path. To pay respects, not because of anything else. Cheer for Liquid and PSG.LGD to let the veterans feel supported and finish the tournament with dignity to perpetuate themselves in the annals of Dota esports.
By the way, only three have already officially confirmed their intentions. The International (or already, according to the results of the LCQ) will witness a bunch of older players who may quit esports after unsuccessful performances against the backdrop of Valve's latest disappointing actions (or, rather, inaction).
Can you imagine what it's like to perform in front of a home audience? The Dota celebration last visited SEA a year and a half ago during the PGL Major. There was no arena filled with fans. It's the best chance for Talon's 23Savage and Q and Fnatic's Jabz.
No one else in this tournament will receive the crowd's love as they will. What is most interesting, Talon is quite capable of reaching at least the middle of the Playoffs, while Fnatic also has something to surprise, although they certainly have fewer chances.
Therefore, it will be a pleasure to follow these guys: they will clench their teeth and fight until their last drop of blood only to satisfy the home audience. We're all anticipating 23's legendary artifact quick disassembles, perfect AoE ultimates from Jabz, and unusual pos4 support picks from Q.
TI 11; The International 2022 starts this week! Group Stage's first matches start on Saturday, and the tournament will run right up to October 30. We'll try our best to provide you with great content and cover what's going on for the competition in case you cannot watch game days.