The International is the biggest Dota 2 tournament in the world. With Valve slapping down over one million dollars in prize money, the best teams from the around world flock to Seattle to claim their share.
A lot has happened since the last International. No Tidehunter (now known as Alliance) stomped at Dreamhack Winter. One of the most famous teams in the world, Na’Vi, has had multiple team alterations to try and reverse their declining performance. It would be rude not to mention Invictus Gaming, The International 2012 champions who put China on the Dota 2 map. They’ve been training hard since that day, and are ready to do it all over again.
Here are the teams of The International 2013.
Thirteen teams have been invited; the last three will be decided with western and eastern qualifiers, as well as one wild card.
Invictus Gaming (IG)
IG are the Chinese champions of Dota 2, currently holding the International title. The current IG was created under controversial circumstances in 2011. First IG signed four players from rivals LGD, creating a second Dota 2 team. Then in November of 2011, they merged both teams together, dropping five players in the process.
The controversy was all but forgotten come 2012, when IG entered their Dota 2 team into The International and proceeded to win the losers bracket and face previous champions Na’Vi. I remember the matches well; two different teams, from two different countries and with two very different play styles. IG won a 3-1 victory.
Check out this youtube video of Wong “ChuaN” Hock Chuan’s rise to Dota 2 fame. He originally was a keen basketball player until he sustained a career ending injury. He instead would participate in another sport entirely: Dota.
Natus Vincere (Na’Vi)
Na’Vi are very different from when they won the first International. Their captain Artstyle left the team, replaced by current captain Puppy. ARS-ART joined the team to complete the roster, where they competed in The International 2012 to retain their title. They finished second behind IG after a very tense four games.
After The International, Na’Vi continued to fail meet fan expectations. Players were underperforming and missing team training sessions entirely. The best Dota 2 team in the world was quickly running out of the crackle, sizzle and pop that gave them that title.
Changes came in February this year, when ARS-ART and LighTofHeaveN left the team, being replaced by Funn1k and KuroKy.
This clip was probably the biggest play in last years International. Na’Vi vs IG in game two; Na’Vi show that they are still a team to be reckoned with.
The Alliance (TA)
Previously known as No Tidehunter, The International 2013 will be their first trip to Seattle. Claiming their fame in Dreamhack Winter 2012, they were the true underdogs in the competition. Their sponsor remained completely unknown until recently, when No Tidehunter joined with Starcraft 2 player NaNiwa to form The Alliance (sponsored by Razor).
They’re currently my favourite team; winning me over at Dreamhack with their pure out-of-the-box strategies.
This was one of the most flawless executions in strategy I witnessed at Dreamhack Winter last year. The fans, the casters and even myself took a while to figure out why No Tidehunter suicided their Natures Prophet to Roshan. Then this happened.
Born in 2011 after it was backed by famous Chinese food company “TongFu Porridge”, TongFu are back this year and they want blood. They replace LGD in the invitees due to a roster change, the former team moving down to the eastern qualifiers instead.
In 2012 they were set to be the top contender for The International, after winning multiple competitions prior to the event. The prediction was looking to be fulfilled as they smashed their way through eastern qualifiers. However come the main stage, it all started to fall apart. The team just didn’t perform, finishing eighth and behind all their Chinese counterparts. The team went on to reform, picking up LongDD to replace Kabu and Chan to replace Awoke.
Roll forward to 2013 and the roster has been injected with more new life to kindle their crusade at this years International. Veronica and LongDD left the team, swiftly replace by yAobAi and Banana. However yAobAi didn’t hang around for long, being replaced by KingJ last month.
One of TongFu Porridge’s staple products is named “Nuts Multidimensional bowl of porridge”. Whoa.
Sponsored by Orange Internet Cafe, Orange.Neloution was created back in 2011. They were led by Malaysian superstar Mushi, who spurred them onto great results. Their biggest win was the Malaysia International where they took first place with ease.
Last year they turned in an undistinguished performance at the International, placing seventh.
Earlier this year YamateH left the team to join Team Zenith, with WinteR and Ice leaving too. Replacements came in the form of Net and Ohaiyo from MUFC eSports. Kecik_Imba joined in February to complete the team at six players.
Ex player WinteR used to be a national player in Chess for Malaysia. He is also a Dota 2 caster and pretty darn good at it, check him out.
Fnatic have always dipped their toes in Dota, but never quite took the plunge until recently. Their first Dota team was an Indonesian team, but they never made an impact on the esports scene. They were dismissed in 2009.
In 2011 they took over GamerLeagues Dota 2 team, but again were eventually dropped.
Third time’s the charm they say. Fnatic decided to look elsewhere: their Heroes of Newerth team. Swapping HoN for Dota 2, the team started to have great success.
Fnatic formed a North American team late last year, only to drop them early this year. Where do they keep dropping these teams?
Team Liquid have made impressive progress in the short existence in Dota 2. Formed in December last year, North American squad FLUFFNSTUFF took up the mantle for Team Liquid.
Since then they have enjoyed victories in tournaments such as EG RaidCall Dota 2 League Season 2, BTS Weekend Cup and Bigpoint Battle 1.
Touted as North Americas best chance at winning The International, these guys are ones to watch this year.
They’ve amassed nearly $20,000 in winnings since their formation in December. Not bad.
Team Zenith have been around for quite a long time, formed under the clan mVp in 2005. They grabbed some sponsors and proceeded to dominate the competitive scene, winning the CAPL and ESWC in Paris in 2008.
Last year at the last International they placed fifth, which apparently wasn’t received well. The team went on a restructuring, letting go captain hyhy. They also dropped their carry player, Loda, who went on to help form No Tidehunter and later, The Alliance.
Earlier this year, YamateH and Ice from Orange.Neolution join the team. Since then they have placed second in the Southeast Asia League and won the SteelSeries DotaTalk League.
Captain iceiceice once played Starcraft II, Dota, League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth competitively, all at the same time. This guy knows how to micro/macro his spare time.
Team Dignitas began their foray into Dota 2 by picking up Romanian team Poor Happy Guys in December 2011. Initially looking like the with an impressive winning streak to boot, they were considered the leading favourites for several tournaments.
However all good things come to an end. The team experienced an equally bad loss of form, which seemed impossible to get back. The team was dropped shortly after.
Fast forward to 2012 and Dignitas try again by picking up American team, Potm Bottom. Since then they’ve enjoyed moderate success.
Team member Sneyking left the team late last year due to school. He returned in March this year when he filled the spot of Tidesoftime. He’s definitely got his priorities straight.
Once regarded as one of the best Dota teams in the world. Founded in 2003, Virtus.Pro were a powerful force in the original Dota; their career highight was winning the MYM Prime Defending tournament three times in a row.
They headed into Dota 2 with a strong team, consisting of NS, KuroKy, Santa, Azen and Dread as their captain. But before they qualifiers for The International 2012 begun, Dread and Anzen were removed from the team and KuroKy ending up leaving.
After a short hiatus, Virtus.Pro scooped up KSi, Crazy and Illidan to fill the empty spots. Earlier this year Santa left the team but was swiftly replaced by ex Na’Vi star, ARS-ART.
In Septemeber 2012, Virtus.Pro also picked up an all-female team. They’re no pushovers either; Koza Dereza the team captain has been playing Dota since 2009.
Founded in 2010, DK featured many underdogs and rising stars in their roster: rOtk, Yueru and LaNm.
Since then they’ve been under performing, leading to the team restructuring their team regularly. It wasn’t until DK’s captain, BurNIng phoned up a few old teammates and friends to form an incredibly strong team. They’ve won seven tournaments to date, including the World DotA Championship and G-Leagues Season 2.
In March 2012, they moved onto Dota 2 and were the first team to announce their invitation to The International last year. They ended up placing fourth.
They were actually responsible for starting what’s known as the great Chinese shuffle; where many Chinese teams dropped and swapped members.
Just like Team Liquid, LGD Gaming’s international team has only been around since late 2012. Not much has happened with the team, but all the members are from top tier origins.
There’s actually a lot of controversy with LGD having two teams in this years International. Some people think that having two teams, and therefore two chances at prize money, is unfair to other teams. This has been slightly remedied with LGD’s core team being replaced by TongFu, and being moved down into the qualifiers instead.
Whether anything will come of it remains to be seen as they’re still a fairly new team. It will be a tough road ahead if they are to overcome the likes of iG, Na’Vi and The Alliance.
Team member Pajkatt was the first ever player to perform a Rampage while being broadcasted in a Dota 2 match.
The underdogs this year, Invasion.MUFC is barely a month old. Their previous team disbanded in January this year, with all the players going their separate ways. However in Match, MUFC announced they would be returning with an entirely new team: WinteR, TFG, FzFz, Ling and Sharky. Dota player debeliuteef joined later in the month, to form a six man squad.
Performance has been favourable since the new team broke onto the scene, placing second in the Asian Gaming League 2 and winning the GEST – April 2013 tournament.
They face another level of competition entirely as they go into The International this year, but as The Alliance demonstrated at Dreamhack Winter last year, anything can happen.
I’m sorry, I couldn’t find anything interesting about Invasion.MUFC. That doesn’t mean they’re not cool though!
Instead, watch this inspirational Dota 2 video. Its lots of wub and is quite frankly amazeballs:
What about the last three spots? Can Valve even count?
Valve will be hosting a Western Qualifier and an Eastern Qualifier, hosted by GDStudio and BeyondTheSummit respectively. Eight teams in each will duke it out to win a spot at The International. Then there’s one final spot up for grabs to the runners up of each qualifier, who will fight over it the night before the actual event. Bonkers.
Who do you think is going to win this year, and who is your favourite team?