There are few tales more interesting in the short annals of eSports history than that of Na’vi’s Dota 2 squad. The best in the world for a short time at the beginning of the game’s life cycle, through thick and thin and trial and error they’ve managed to attend every version of The International, the game’s bigger tournament. After last year’s meagre showing and a poor 12 months of team break-ups, bad results and player-swapping, things didn’t look good for them to continue their run as one of only two teams not to have skipped a single one. However, a good run of form for the last couple of months, losing to only the very best, has earned them an invite alongside five others to this year’s tournament, which begins in earnest at the end of July.
Brush up on the best Dota 2 heroes before the big tournament.
Here’s the full list of invites:
- OG - Europe, winners at Frankfurt and Manila majors, easily the best team in the world.
- Team Liquid - Europe, second only to OG in good results in recent months.
- Newbee - China, the best Chinese team featuring something of an all-star squad.
- LGD Gaming - China, the other good Chinese team, with a strong performance at Manila.
- MVP Phoenix - Korea, duels with Fnatic for top-spot in the SEA region, had a very hot run for a couple of months.
- Na’vi - CIS, crowd favourites no matter the match and the best run of performances in TI history, some strong results in recent months got them this invite.
That’s the lot this go round, while in previous years upwards of ten teams have gotten automatic particiatpion. The rest will play it out in a series of open and invited qualifiers to see who gets the go ahead. These are split by region, with the full details on the official site.
Of note is the lack of two massive teams in the invite lists - Evil Geniuses and Secret. Due to their mutual roster-based drama over the last few weeks, they are not eligible for an invite to any stage of the tournament. Some of the best players in the world, including multiple members of last year’s TI-winning team and a lot of the Shanghai Major championship squad, will be roughing it out with your mate Dave and his four part-time pals in open qualifiers.
While it’s highly likely that both teams will make it out of their respective open brackets, once they reach the second stage things get much messier. There are good, solid teams with better recent performance records in that second stage, and they could easily upset EG or Secret if they don’t prepare properly. The Manila Major was a horrendous failure for both teams, so chances are they’ll be practicing as hard as possible for the biggest stage of them all, but it will still be fascinating to see how well they do - plus if, and when, they fail.
Open qualifiers start tomorrow, while the second round begins on June 25. We’ll have a roundup of the results once everything’s been finalised.