We are continuing our series where we review each team at The International 12 with 4 more contenders. After looking at some of the favorites like Gaimin Gladiators and Team Liquid, it’s time to share a few words about the underdogs.
The four teams you are about to learn more about secured slots for the tournament after going through the qualifiers. A lot of people believe their chances of winning are slim. However, we’ve seen time and time again that the underdogs often perform much better than expected, especially at The International. So, let’s dive in and learn more details about these Dota 2 teams.
The first team we’d like to start with is from North America. Nouns have always been “the third” Dota 2 team in this region because most people think of Shopify Rebellion and TSM. This is not surprising because so far, nouns haven't defeated their opponents and proven they are better than them. Fortunately, the club’s efforts finally paid off because they won the North American TI 12 qualifiers, meaning we’ll see them at the event.
Although they’re not that old, nouns also experienced a few interesting roster changes. The current squad has been together for almost one year, and fields the following players:
- Héctor "K1" Rodríguez
- Nicolas "Gunnar" Lopez
- David "Moo" Hull
- Rodrigo "Lelis" Santos
- Luke "Yamsun" Wang
Some of nouns' team members, such as Moo, have a lot of experience at The International. This is good news for the rest of the team because TI12 will be the first event of this caliber for some.
If we look at the results of the North American team, we can see they didn’t impress their fans. In fact, the only international event nouns was a part of was DreamLeague Season 19. Sadly, the team couldn’t show its prowess and finished 15th-16th.
Many of you may not know, but Keyd Stars is an experienced esports organization who started their journey in 2014. Over the years, the organization established themselves as one of the original leaders in the Brazilian Dota 2 scene. In fact, this was the squad which allowed players like Otávio "tavo" Silva and Rodrigo "Lelis" Santos to make their first steps.
Even though they’ve been absent for more than seven years, Keyd Stars made a comeback in 2023 after they were sponsored by Vivo. Today, the organization has a Brazilian roster who were able to secure a slot for TI12 after defeating AcatSuki in the qualifiers. Here’s what the team looks like:
- Guilherme "Costabile" Costábile
- João "4nalog" Giannini
- Gustavo "fcr" Ribeiro
- Danylo "Kingrd" Nascimento
- Matheus "KJ" Diniz
Despite the fact that Keyd Stars didn’t play in any of the big Valve events, the team participated in smaller tournaments. For example, they won the 1XPLORE LATAM #1 and finished 2nd at Phygital Games 2023. However, we haven’t seen the squad in action against some of the best Dota 2 teams.
While discussing interesting Dota 2 teams from South America, we should also share some details about Thunder Awaken. People may remember that this was THE team in this region prior to the arrival of Evil Geniuses. Sadly, once the North American organization moved to South America, they snatched most of Thunder Awaken’s players. Although TA rebuilt their roster, they haven’t been able to achieve the same results.
Speaking of the players, here’s what Thunder Awaken currently looks like:
- Aliaksei "Smiling Knight" Svirydau
- Jordan "SLATEM$" Vega
- Mario "LittleBoy" Valdivia
- Rodrigo "n1ght" Cruz
- Romel "Mjz" Quinteros
Thunder Awaken achieved impressive results in 2022, but the situation in 2023 is different. So far, the squad’s failed to shine at any of the big Dota 2 tournaments. In fact, The International 12 will be the first big challenge for the team, so fans are eager to see what they’re capable of.
The last Dota 2 team we want to talk about in this article is Virtus.Pro. Even people who don’t follow Dota 2 actively know about this organization because they used to be one of the best in the world. Although the current roster isn’t as strong as its previous iterations, VP is still one of the best in CIS.
The bad news for Virtrus.Pro was the team wasn’t able to participate in any of the big Dota 2 tournaments. Consequently, the squad couldn’t secure enough DPC points and had to play in the qualifiers. The good news is VP’s squad stepped up their game and secured a slot for the biggest tournament of the year.
Currently, Virtus.Pro’s roster is an intriguing mixture of 4 new players and one of the most experienced captains in the professional scene:
- Ilya "Kiritych" Ulyanov
- Ilya "squad1x" Kuvaldin
- Evgeniy "Noticed" Ignatenko
- Oleg "sayuw" Kalenbet
- Artsiom "Fng" Barshak
Led by Fng, Virtus.Pro will try to break the curse and show they’re a name people should consider. It definitely won’t be easy, but the squad has what it takes.
Out of these four teams, Virtus.Pro is definitely the name who have the biggest chance of achieving good results at The International 12. However, this will depend a lot on the team’s Group. Keep in mind the squad that finishes last in its group will be eliminated from the tournament, so each of these 4 participants has to step up their game.
Don’t forget to follow us for the latest details surrounding The International 12. We will try to give you access to daily predictions about some of the most impressive matches from the event.