After being postponed last year, it’s finally time for the biggest two weeks in esports. The International 10 is about to commence from the Romanian capital of Bucharest. 18 of the best Dota 2 teams will battle it out from October 7 to 17 for a $ 40.2 Million prize pool (biggest prize pool in esports yet) and the Aegis of Champions. We’ll discuss who are the favorites, contenders, and dark horses aside from other necessary details.

Photo from ONE Esports

TI 10 All You Need To Know

  • Venue: Arena Nacionala, Romania
  • Event Length: October 7-17, 2021
  • Number of teams: 18
  • Format: 
    1. Group Stage – 2 groups with 9 teams each, both last-place teams will be eliminated
    2. Double Elimination playoffs – Top 4 teams from each group will play Upper Bracket games and UB round 1 losers will drop down to the Lower Bracket where they will face the winners of Bo1 LB games.
  • Prizes for Winners: 
    1. 1st – $ 18.2 Million
    2. 2nd – $5.2 Million
    3. 3rd – $3.6 Million
    4. 4th – $2.4 Million
    5. 5th-6th – $ 1.4 Million
    6. 7th-8th – $ 1 Million
    7. 9th-12th – $ 800,400
    8. 13th-16th – $ 600,300
    9. 17th-18th – $ 100,000

Meet The Teams

There are two batches of qualified teams. 12 that received their invite by meeting the required number of points throughout the 2 DPC cycles this 2021 and 6 via the regional qualifiers. Here are your participants for this year’s The International.

DPC Direct Invites (By Rank From 1-12)

  • Evil Geniuses – North America
  • PSG.LGD – China
  • Virtus.Pro – Eastern Europe
  • Quincy Crew – North America
  • Invictus Gaming – China
  • T1 – Southeast Asia
  • Vici Gaming – China
  • Team Secret – Western Europe
  • Team Aster – China
  • Alliance – Western Europe
  • Beastcoast – South America
  • Thunder Predator – South America

Open Qualifier Winners

  • Fnatic – Southeast Asia
  • Elephant – China
  • OG – Western Europe
  • Team Spirit – Eastern Europe
  • SG Esports – South America
  • Undying – North America

Now that we’ve introduced the teams let’s talk about who are the favorites, contenders, and dark horses.

TI 10 Predictions

TI used to have a trend of teams who peaked in the current patch go on and lift the Aegis. However, with Wings and OG winning the last 4, it does get a lot more complicated. But we do have favorites.

THE Favorite

PSG.LGD – Predicted Winner

Photo from ONE Esports

Good thing I mentioned Wings since LGD is playing a lot like them. Well, two players from that legendary squad are part of this current LGD team. Faith_Bian and ‘y bring that legendary unpredictability and flair. Position 4 rising star Xinq gives LGD added stability while the NothingToSay empowers this lineup as a Midlaner.

However, this season looks to be the fulfillment of Ame’s anime redemption arc. Ame was part of the legendary LGD squad that almost won the Aegis in 2018 and placed 3rd in 2019. He received a lot of criticism from the Chinese Dota community due to some of his crucial plays that lead to defeat in previous TIs. He was traded away but has since come back and the team is now built around him which led to a 3rd place finish in the One SG Major and winning the Animajor.

Lastly, special mention to coach Xiao8 who has built this team to be an unstoppable juggernaut.

PS: Heading into TI as the clear favorite has jinxed a lot of teams but if someone can end that as well as the 3 straight TIs won by the west, it is LGD.

Strong Contenders

Evil Geniuses

Photo from ONE Esports

The era of “3G” seems to be over as EG has now won 3 straight 2nd place finishes in the last 4 Valve LAN majors (4th in Chengdu, 2nd in Leipzig, SG, and the Animajor). The addition of legendary Singaporean offlaner and meme king iceiceice looks to be a match made in heaven. Ice3x and Cr1t- share one of the most aggressive and successful offlane partnerships this DPC season.

However, a change in playstyle has helped them a lot as well. Gone are the days of EG playing for the long haul, they now focus on winning lanes and getting very busy early. Arteezy’s hero pool seems to be growing and he has even started a trend of early game-centric builds.

But, it should be mentioned that none of this is possible without Filipino prodigy, Abed. Arguably the best midlaner and overall player in the world right now, Abed has been nothing short of magical during his spell with EG.

EG also added Dr. K of Healthy Gamers.GG to help with the mental side of things. Let’s see if this helps in ending Arturito’s curse.

Team Secret

Team Secret has a mixed bag this 2021, to say the least. Going into the season, they were the clear favorites to win almost everything but it did not materialize. A 4th place finish in the One SG Major and an early exit from the Aniimajor makes you wonder how they’ll perform this TI.

But I do see them as strong contenders and it’s a matter of them getting serious and executing their strategies. 


Good thing I did not start my article yesterday as OG went on to announce that former coach and current offlaner Ceb will play this TI. Ceb underwent a procedure to fix a problem with one of his eyes. OG also had a stand-in ready in the form of Liquid’s carry, Micke. With Ceb in the mix, it’ll still be a guess how he’ll perform as he’s currently wearing an eyepatch. Well, being a mixed bag is the story of OG’s 2021 DPC season which saw them swap carry players (including ana) and return to their 2019-2020 carry, the one and only Sumail.

OG are the kings of early map aggression but with teams adopting a faster playstyle, surely Notail and his crew have something up their sleeves.


Talk about a super team that might be finally peaking. Elephant is a team comprised of stars from major winning squads of Vici Gaming (Eurus and Yang) and PSG LGD (Somnus and fy). The first few months together were a bit rough as they received mixed results which led to them not seeing action in the two Valve majors. However, with more consistent teams in the region already invited to TI, Elephant went on a rampage to secure their ticket.

This team can cause problems as they have proven winners that can change the landscape of a game in a hurry.

Dark Horses


Photo from ONE Esports

The question with VP is if the future is now, can their roster’s talent overcome inexperience? Boasting one of the youngest teams this whole season, VP dominated the EEU region but has failed to perform well during LAN events. In my opinion, VP’s lack of experience is what’s hurting them but what’s clear is that this team is talented and they could be favorites to win it all in 2-3 years.


The new kings of the SEA region played without Filipino captain Kuku during the SG Major. However, during the Animajor, the team was complete and they finished third behind LGD and EG. The main problem with T1 is consistency, as they can be god-tier in some games while falling flat in others. If T1 can be more consistent, they have a shot at winning the Aegis of Champions.

Invictus Gaming

Invictus Gaming started the season by winning the CN regional qualifiers for the SG Major and eventually winning the whole thing. Yup, that’s the series where midlaner emo dropped the almighty “?” in the all-chat while being down 0-2 to EG. However, IG’s 2nd half of the DPC went under the radar but make no mistake about it, this team can win the Aegis on their best day. Maybe, emo will drop another “?” once the ancient is exploding.

The 10th edition of The International looks to be another awesome spectacle of the world’s biggest esport. With this and the 2021 League of Legends World Championship happening around the same time, it’s a great time to be an esports fan.

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