Well it’s finally that time of year. The Dota 2 International Championship returns to Seattle, and with it comes the largest prize pool in eSports history: $20 Million. The teams are the best in the world, from Europe, Asia, and North America, along with some of the best wild card winners.
The group stage on the whole was as exciting as ever. More unique hero picks in the group stage than in any previous International speaks to the extreme diversity of the competitive Dota 2 scene at the moment, and sets the stage for an intense knockout stage.
Having said that, the upper bracket looks full of heavy hitters. Among the upper bracket are former International champions Alliance, Evil Geniuses, and Newbee. And on the other hand, the lower bracket offers some really interesting match ups; Na’Vi taking on Team Liquid should be the best one-and-done match of the event. With that in mind, here are my teams to watch:
-EHOME: The Chinese team that was raised from the dead last year is back with a vengeance. They battled out of the wild card into the group stages, and then went on to dominate their group, finishing top at 12-2. They don’t have the star power of some of the European teams but it’s hard to deny EHOME as a legit contender.
-OG: The European powerhouse of the year is showing no signs of slowing down at TI 6. After winning two Majors this season, they finished top of their group led by the best player in the world, Miracle. It’s very hard to see OG not going deep in this tournament.
-Liquid: The second best team in Europe posted back to back runner-ups at the Manila and Shanghai Majors this year. A tough run in the group stages saw them end up in the lower bracket but don’t count out the young boys just yet. A huge test in the form of Na’Vi stands looming though.
-EG: The great North American hope still feels a bit off the pace. Despite being champions in 2015, EG didn’t carry their momentum into 2016 as many had hoped. Making it into the upper bracket gives them some time to find their stride though, and flashes of brilliance from Sumail makes you wonder if they could make another run this year.
-Secret: After winning the Shanghai Major a lot of people saw Secret as the favorites going into Manila, only to watch them crash out in the group stages. This team still has one of the best pilots in the world in Puppey though, and the Canadian.