Dota 2 Tournament Preview: The International 2018

The International 2018 is the most prestigious Dota 2 event of the year, being nothing less than the world championship of this popular esport. With 18 formidable teams attending it and almost 100 matches to be played in total, The International 2018 offers an enormous amount of Dota 2 betting opportunities and it’s a must watch if you’re an esports fan.

Location and dates

Unlike its previous editions, The International 2018 takes place in Vancouver, Canada at a venue with more than 18,000 seats, known as Rogers Arena. The Group Stage will take place between August 15th – 18th while the Main Event is scheduled to take place between August 20th – 25th.

Participants

The International 2018 brings together 18 teams from 6 different regions:

  • Europe: Team Liquid, Team Secret, OG.
  • CIS: Virtus.pro, Winstrike Team.
  • North America: Evil Geniuses, VGJ.Storm, OpTic Gaming.
  • South America: paiN Gaming.
  • Southeast Asia: Mineski, TNC Predator, Fnatic.
  • China: PSG.LGD, Vici Gaming, Newbee, VGJ.Thunder, Team Serenity, Invictus Gaming.

Event format

The International 2018 takes place in two stages: the Group Stage and the Main Event or Playoffs.

As usual, for the Group Stage the 18 teams will be divided into 2 groups of 9. Each of these groups will be played in a Round Robin format: every team plays a Bo2 match against every other team from its group. This is an essential part that makes the Dota 2 betting opportunities of this event truly amazing. That’s because there will be plenty of matches that are sure to end with a 2 – 0 result or a 1 – 1 result, and the odds are very high even when the outcome is almost predetermined, simply because there are 3 outcome possibilities instead of 2.

At the end of the Group Stage, the last placed teams from both groups are eliminated, so the Main Event will feature 16 of the original 18 teams and will be played in a double-elimination bracket format. The top 4 teams from each group start in the Upper Bracket. The other 4 start in the Lower Bracket. The first round of Lower Bracket matches consists of Bo1 series. All other matches are Bo3, with the exception of the Grand Final (Bo5).

Prize pool distribution

The massive $24 million prize pool of The International 2018 will be distributed among the 18 participants in the following way:

  • 1st place: 44% – $10.7 million.
  • 2nd place: 16% – $3.9 million.
  • 3rd place: 10.5% – $2.5 million.
  • 4th place: 7% – $1.7 million.
  • 5th – 6th place: 4.5% – $1.09 million.
  • 7th – 8th place: 2.5% – $600,000.
  • 9th – 12th place: 1.5% – $362,000.
  • 13th – 16th place: 0.5% – $121,000.
  • 17th – 18th place: 0.25% – $60,000.

Main contenders

Virtus.pro

With more than 12,000 DPC points earned during the first season of the Dota Pro Circuit, Virtus.pro ended in 1st place and is arguably the side with the greatest chance of winning The International 2018. Virtus.Pro won 4 Majors this season and since its latest roster change (RodjER from Na’Vi came in and replaced Lil), it has been at the top of its game, looking unstoppable against everyone except Team Liquid and PSG.LGD, who are their equals.

Going into The International 2018, expect VP to be very dominant in its group and get at least a top 4 finish in the Main Event.

PSG.LGD

PSG.LGD ended the regular season in 3rd place with over 7000 DPC points, but most analysts will tell you that the Chinese squad is at least the 2nd best team at the moment and maybe even the best.

PSG.LGD won 2 Majors this season (EPICENTER XL and MDL Changsha Major) and placed 2nd in 3 other Dota Pro Circut events: PGL Open Bucharest, Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018 and StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 4.

Like Virtus.pro, PSG.LGD is expected to completely dominate the opposition during the Group Stage and then make it all the way to the Grand Final.

Team Liquid

Team Liquid is the defending champion, having won the Aegis at the previous edition of The International. In the 2017-2018 competitive season, Team Liquid performed well, winning 3 Minors and the circuit’s only Supermajor. The team also placed 2nd in 2 other Majors and a Minor. In particular, Liquid’s 1st place result at China Dota2 Supermajor, achieved after a victory against Virtus.pro, clearly proved that the defending champion is at the top if its game.

It remains to be seen how KuroKy and his teammates will fare against the likes of PSG.LGD, Virtus.pro, Evil Geniuses and Team Secret at The International 2018, but in principle we should see this team starting the Main Event in the Upper Bracket and then getting a top 6 result.

Evil Geniuses

In spite of struggling during the regular season, the recent roster changes turned EG into a powerhouse again. The North American giant dominated its regional rivals at DOTA Summit 9 and in the regional qualifiers for TI 8. The addition of Fly and s4 to the roster means that Evil Geniuses now plays with 3 former OG members and 2 other players who are arguably among the world’s best at their roles. Both Suma1l and Arteezy are formidable players and will likely thrive under Fly’s command.

Going into The International 2018, Evil Geniuses should definitely finish the Group Stage 1st – 4th in its group and secure a ticket for the Upper Bracket of the Main Event. After that it’s hard to tell what will happen, but the team’s recent results clearly showed that it is fully capable of going head to head with most of the world’s best.

Team Secret

Team Secret finished the regular season in 4th place, having gathered over 5000 points in Dota Pro Circuit events. Puppey and his squad won 3 tournaments in the 2017-2018 competitive season: 2 Minors (Captains Draft 4.0 and DreamLeague Season 9) and 1 Major (DreamLeague Season 8). The team also placed 2nd in another Major at ESL One Hamburg 2017.

All these results put Secret among the world’s best teams and make them a top contender for winning The International 2018. Of course, their chances are much lower than VP’s, PSG.LGD’s or Liquid’s, but keep in mind that Puppey has already been in the TI Grand Final 3 times.

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