The International Field Is Set

The stage is heating up and the field of play is set as the qualifiers for this year’s The International Dota 2 Championships (otherwise known just as TI) have now been confirmed. Not only is this going to be the first year in which there will be no defending champion, but it’s also tipped to have a greater prize than last year’s $20 million.

TI 2017 is again returning to Seattle for a sixth consecutive year. This 17,000 seated capacity arena will be the host once again for the much anticipated final event of the season. 18 Teams will duke it out for the largest pot in esports history.

There were 6 invited teams this year, of which would be little surprise to most: OG [my personal favorite - ed], Virtus.Pro, Evil Geniuses, Team Liquid, Invictus Gaming, and Newbee.

Typically the defending champions in the past have received a direct invite, even if they might not have deserved it. Last year’s defending champions Wings Gaming, however, will not be participating this year after the team broke up earlier this year.

Over last week, teams from all around the world have competed once again for a shot at the grandiose cash prize.

In North America Team NP finished top of their respected group after beating Team Freedom in a nail-biting match.

Team Freedom would then go on to play against Digital Chaos for the last spot for the region, but was unable to trounce Digital Chaos and so did not proceed into the last 18.

The Chinese qualifiers Turned out to be a very close competition at always. At one stage it looked like a number of teams could edge their way through the qualifiers, but in the end, the rightful victory went to IG Vitality.

Following IG Vitality in the qualifiers and through to the tournament was LDG.Forever Young and LDG Gaming in second and third places respectively. The sister teams now have to put aside their allegiances as a possible clash between the two could be well on the cards further down the line.

In Europe, the tournament favorites Team Secret stood at the top of their qualifying table and made their way to the next round, as most expected. After having some rather good, solid performances in LAN matches prior to the tournament’s qualifiers, some fans had expected them to receive a direct invitation to this year’s tournament. Instead, they have to fight their way through the ranks and prove why so many people have already backed them. But to be the best you have to beat them, and Seattle is the perfect proving ground of Team Secret to do that.

Planet Dog also made it through the qualifiers after some impressive displays and claim the second position in the European qualifiers. After some recent issues in being dropped by their old organization, this victory and advancement to the next round of games are likely to feel ever so sweeter.

Over in South East Asia regulars, TNS Pro Team clinched the group’s top spot, cementing their place in the next round. Coming in a close second and third are Fnatic and Execration, who have both booked their places too. If you’re an esports regular and these listings sound familiar to you, it’s because it’s the same three teams who topped the same group last year.

Last year Execration had to settle for the Wildcard Tournament, but after the qualification rules have changed slightly, they now advance straight to the group stages.

In South America is the Peruvian side Infamous that finished top of the group, who displayed a convincing performance throughout the group stages and one to look of for when the next round begins. SG e-sports came close second, but unfortunately, the consistency of Infamous just peaked them to book their place in the tournament.

This year’s TI saw the first ever CIS (previously they played in the Europe region) only qualifier, which gave a number of teams the chance to make a name for themselves in a close and personal contest. That being said, it was a well-known name to the Internationals scene in Team Empire that won the group and is advancing to the next round. With only the top spot taking teams through to the next round, this CIS only group was a tense and personal affair, with the rightful team winning the group.

Notable teams that missed the cut this year are Alliance (TI3 Winners), compLexity Gaming, Planet Odd, SG e-sports (because I want to BM taunts), Natus Vincere (otherwise known as NaVi and fan favorite), Team Faceless, and EHOME.

With the qualifiers now over, the victorious teams have the chance to test their skill against the seeded teams in the next round of the tournament. This year’s TI could have some legendary clashes yet to come.

The next stage begins in a few weeks time so be sure to clear your diaries and grab your favorite chair - It’s time to tune in for some Dota 2 madness. See you in the arena.

Constantly threatening to write a book, but always with a story to tell. Tom has a typical northern English soul. He may sound as mundane as Jon Snow, but at least he tries to articulate. Lover of video games, comics, geek pop culture and wishing he could play Dungeons & Dragons.