The International 10 is set to have the biggest prize pool in Esports history.
Over $40 million will be on the line as the top Dota 2 teams in the world slug it out in August.
However, before we can reach TI 10, we need teams to qualify. Teams from around the world have participated in upper and lower division leagues to determine those who’ll compete in Valve-sponsored major events. Teams get points depending on their finishing position during the regional leagues and the majors. The first major of the season happened a few months ago in Singapore and in a few days, the WePlay AniMajor in Kyiv is about to happen.
Join us as the Geeky Juans give you a preview of the Kyiv major and a few predictions, so what are you waiting for, let’s go!
The AniMazing AniMajor
WePlay is relatively a newcomer when it comes to producing big Dota 2 events. Their claim to fame is producing the wondrous WePlay! Bukovel Minor last year. Imagine, the best Dota 2 teams in the world, fighting for the last major slot in a ski resort. Once the pandemic hit, however, WePlay handled the highly acclaimed Omega league during the 3rd quarter of 2020.
Now WePlay is handling IIRC their first LAN major and we expect this to be a heated one as only four teams have secured their invite to Stockholm.
The AniMajor will start with the wildcards, in which 6 teams will battle it out for the top 2 slots which will allow them to compete in the group stages.
During the group stages, 8 teams will compete for 6 slots. The top 2 will go onto the upper bracket playoffs while the other 4 teams will fill out 4 slots in the lower bracket and will face the losers of the first round of upper bracket matches.
So Who’s In?
Well, before we talk about who’ll compete for the trophy in Kyiv, it’s also important to check who missed out on the opportunity. Why? Because the defending back-to-back TI champions, OG, are one of the teams who failed to qualify for the major. OG also missed the Singapore major by playing way below their abilities.
Joining them are the Chinese super team Elephant who also missed the Singapore major. Elephant were expected to be a force in the CN Dota 2 scene but more established and stable teams have been faring better. Joining those 2 teams on the sidelines are SEA mainstay Fnatic, SG Major surprises OB. Neon and Thunder Predator, as well as CIS team Natus Vincere.
Now that we’ve discussed who’s out, let us now take a look at the teams vying for the major.
Wild Card Teams
- Invictus Gaming
- Team Secret
- Team Nigma
- Vici Gaming
- AS Monaco Gambit
Headlining the Wild Card teams are the SG Major winners Invictus Gaming, European juggernaut Team Secret, and their WEU mates, Team Nigma. Filling out the wild card teams are Chinese staple Vici Gaming, AS Monaco Gambit, and Filipino team, Execration. It is worth noting that Gambit lost 2 of its players to NaVi.
The pick here is for Secret to get one of the slots depending on what mentality they are in. This is a Team Secret that swept the 1st DPC WEU season for 2021 but only managed to place 4th in SG and 4th in the Season 2 regional leagues. I still see them winning a slot into the group stages. However, the battle for the second slot will be interesting. SG Major winners IG, Vici, and Nigma are expected to battle it out for the last slot. IG isn’t as consistent this season compared to the previous one but they did gut it out to win a wild card slot.
Vici will still have the same composition that saw them perform but in all honesty, I find that they’re the weakest out of the 4 CN teams. Then, Nigma switched things up after the SG major. The team kicked midlaner w33 for safelaner iLTW and placed superstar carry Miracle back in the mid role. They fared very badly in the last major and if they can turn things around, the battle for the two group stage slots will be fun. Lastly, Gambit and Execration will most likely struggle but if there will be a surprise team, I expect it to be Execration.
Update: IG’s Oli will not be participating as a false positive COVID test left him stuck in Malaysia. Coach Super will replace him.
Team Secret and Nigma
- Evil Geniuses
- Team Liquid
- Team Spirit
- 2 Wild Card Slot Winners
Ahhhh, now to the bloodbath that is the AniMajor group stages. Headlining the cast of participants are DPC 2021 leaders, Evil Geniuses. Stats-wise, you can argue that EG has been the best team in the world this 2021. Barring the last 3 games of the SG Major and games versus Quincy Crew, EG has dominated most of their matchups through their new star midlaner, Abed. However, speaking of EG midlaners, the king, Sumail made his return to competitive Dota under Team Liquid. Standing in for Boxxi, this move allowed Team Liquid to have the most versatile cores in Dota. This is evidenced by their beatdown of Ana and the rest of OG.
SA powerhouses Beastcoast are finally able to participate in a major this year after missing out due to COVID-19. Resurgent CN staples PSG.LGD will look to improve on their 3rd place finish from the last major while TNC. Predator is set to re-establish its foothold in the international Dota 2 Scene. Lastly, Team Spirit will look to take a few scalps with them.
I expect this to be a warzone especially considering the wild card teams are of equal strength to most participants. It’ll be a lot of fun folks.
Heading to the Upper Bracket: EG and Secret
Qualifying for the Lower Bracket: PSG.LGD, Nigma, Liquid, and TNC
So, Who’s Waiting?
- Quincy Crew
- Team Aster
- Virtus Pro
Now, we go to the teams waiting in the playoffs! All 6 teams won their respective regions to get to this spot. QC unseated EG in the NA region, much like how NoPing dethroned Beastcoast. Team Aster became the standout team in China while T1 improved on their 3rd place finish from season 1. DPC 2021 2nd placed team Virtus Pro is the only back-to-back regional champion and will look to improve on their awful SG major showing. Speaking of awful showings, fresh from an abysmal SG major, Alliance went on to win the WEU region season 2.
Arguably, the most talked-about team in the WEU Season 2 Upper Division along with OG (due to a weird rule change), Alliance has clawed 2-1 victories against the top teams and only got their only 2-0 in their last match.
The playoff teams will have to wait for the conclusion of the group stages. Then, the 2 qualifiers will be then matched up with 2 teams, while the other 4 will face each other.
So Who Do We Think Will Win?
Let’s be honest, some of the teams in the wild card and group stages can beat most teams in the playoffs. I would like to see Eastern and Western European teams fare better this time around as they fell behind in the meta during the SG major. EG is such a good fit for the Meta as they have prioritized dominating the laning stage and rampaging through the mid-game. However, unlike the EG of old, they did struggle against late-game drafts as well as tilting to a Godlike ? from IG’s Emo.
I do expect China to still be a force but WEU teams are looking to finally reclaim their dominance in the Dota 2 landscape.
With only 4 teams secured of a direct invite for TI 10, a lot of teams will look to give it their all but, I still see Secret beating EG 3-2 in the grand finals.
Of course, we are aware of the EG 2nd place curse.
You can check out the WePlay Kyiv AniMajor from June 2 to 13. Games start at around 7 PM Manila time. GLHF!
The Geeky Juans
The Geeky Juans is a geek culture podcast and blog. The Geeky Juans Podcast discusses a wide range of topics ranging from animation to video games to wrestling and beyond!
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