The International 2019 Regional Qualifiers Direct Invites Released!
With the EPICENTER Major complete, Valve not only released a new Patch for Dota 2, but also updated the Battle Pass Compendium, giving us the names of the teams directly invited to the Regional Qualifiers for The International 2019. Remember that there is one slot for TI9 available in each region.
Notable across all six regions are the number of TBD slots. These are for teams who will compete in the Open Qualifiers, beginning July 3.
Four teams are getting the direct nod in China. Because there are so many more regional leagues in China, it seems this competition will be the most challenging as teams will have a good idea of what to expect from each other. There’s also plenty of familiar names here. From EHOME, with Zhang “Faith_bian” Ruida now having had plenty of time to recover from his injury at MDL Macau, to Royal Never Give Up, with Zhang “LaNm” Zhicheng who has competed at every TI except TI7.
Team Aster won the JBO Asian Masters League on June 1st, beating out the likes of Newbee, but then placed third in the ZBT Invitational, behind CDEC Gaming and Invictus Gaming. Meanwhile, Team Sirius brought in familiar offlaner Yang “InJuly” Xiaodong to their roster on June 5, and they haven’t seen results to brag about yet.
Who might make it out of the region, barring the possibility of a fantastic Open Qualifier team? EHOME was knocked out of the direct invitations due to the performance of teams at EPICENTER, so expect them to come to this qualifier with a particular fire.
Where Europe was filled with high-caliber teams last year, that honor goes to the CIS region this year. With the most direct invites to the regional qualifier, it will be extremely difficult for any of them to make it through to claim the TI9 spot.
The most attention has to be on Gambit Esports, very nearly qualified directly to TI9. They will be hungry, focused and prepared after having played the best teams in the world at EPICENTER. However, there’s also a lot of public tape on them to review, so they could be a victim of their own success.
Don’t discount any of the other teams though. Natus Vincere have been close all season, Winstrike Team underwent an overhaul in May and then promptly qualified for the StarLadder Minor, and Team Spirit is stacked full of CIS veterans—this is the former Old But Gold roster. Team Empire, for its part, has had a rough season for roster changes, but now that they’ve settled for a month, maybe they’re destined for greatness?
In Europe, only two teams get the nod. The Final Tribe is a Swedish stack who competed all season in the difficult European region. They changed out their offlaner in February, but have held steady since then. Their best placement on the DPC was 7-8th at DreamLeague Season 10, the first Minor, in November 2018.
Also competing in Europe is Chaos Esports Club. Formerly a South American team, the squad has picked up Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen and Cheng “vtFaded” Jia Hao to compete alongside Maurice “KheZu” Gutmann, Milan “MiLAN” Kozomara and Rasmus “Misery” Filipsen. Because of all the changes, and the new region, it’s difficult to say how competitive Chaos will be.
The region overall has been opened up by the success of Alliance at the EPICENTER Major. While that team might have seemed like an obvious favorite in the regionals, now there’s no one in a position to make the claim.
Four teams in North American are getting the nod. Three have been part of the regular battle that is NA. Complexity Gaming is refreshed with Otávio “Tavo” Gabriel filling out the eclectic roster. Forward Gaming just competed in EPICENTER and had a 9-12th place finish. It wasn’t strong enough to get them directly to TI9, unfortunately, but it wasn’t a complete wash. J.Storm rounds out the usual three, this time with Theeban “1437” Sivanathapillai as their fifth position player. Jimmy “DeMoN” Ho has returned to coaching the squad.
Coming into the mix are beastcoast. A relatively new organization that debuted in Dota 2 by picking up TEAM TEAM ahead of the MDL Disneyland® Paris Major, the squad’s changed the roster. Leonardo “Mandy” Viana, formerly of paiN Gaming, and Joel Mori “MoOz” Ozambela who last played for Gorillaz-Pride have joined the team. It’s unclear how well this team has gelled; can they put pressure on the three usual suspects?
In South America, rosters and players have hopped around so much this year, it’s challenging to provide a clear picture. The Infamous roster that competed at EPICENTER has jumped ship, becoming “Team Ham.” Dominik “Black^” Reitmeier is out, and they’ve brought in Bulgarian Ivaylo “Mastermind” Petkov to fill out the roster. Given the impression Black^ gave regarding the reception of the team from other South American teams, one suspects Mastermind’s inclusion was not a soothing balm.
Infamous, the organization, has picked up the Team Anvorgesa roster, which finished fourth at the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor in mid-June. PaiN Gaming have picked up William “hFn” Medeiros to replace Mandy who is competing in North America on beastcoast. Thunder Predator rounds out the invites as a Peruvian squad whose most recent roster change was all the way back at the beginning of May.
Due to the volatility of the region, it’s unlikely the Open Qualifiers will shake out any real contenders. Team Ham has a very good shot here, and it may be the new Infamous who give them the most trouble on the way.
Good news, Southeast Asian Dota 2 fans! There are a whopping six spots available in the Regional Qualifier for Open Qualifier squads. Indonesian team BOOM ID have had a stable roster for a while now, but they missed out on the last round of DPC events. They did place 5-6th at the OGA Dota PIT Minor in April, though.
The real “final boss” of the region may be Mineski. They’ve made a roster change, dropping Lai “Ahjit” Jay Son for a Bulgarian import in Nikolay “Nikobaby” Nikolov. He’s been playing in the region since September 2018, so he understands the landscape well at this point. With names like Damien “kpii” Chok, Michael “ninjaboogie” Ross Jr. and Kam “Moon” Boon Seng, Mineski have got recognition on their side; can they parlay that into the desired TI9 ticket?
With so many teams competing in each region via Open Qualifiers, a lot can change between now and the Regional Qualifiers. The beauty of Open Qualifiers is that anyone can compete. So if you fancy yourself a budding professional, gather your stack and hurry over to the FACEIT website to learn all about signing up. Open Qualifiers will run July 3-6, with Regional Qualifiers coming July 7-14. It’s a gauntlet to run for any team and daunting for fans to keep up with.
Beyond the Summit will host a hub, with one coverage group in Europe and a second in the United States. Tis the season for 24-hour Dota 2 coverage.
Remember to check back here with Hotspawn for updates as the Qualifiers progress!