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Dota 2

TI11 Regional Qualifiers: Who Has Qualified?

Patrick Bonifacio

We are just under two months away from The International 11 (TI11), set to take place in Singapore starting October 8th. The regional qualifiers are now in full swing, with teams fighting tooth and nail for the remaining slots in the tournament. With the TI11 Battle Pass and its crowdfunding scheme already raking in money, the annual world championship tournament is once again on track to smash esports prize pool records.

TI11 Splash Art

Image credit: Valve

To make sure you don’t miss out on the lead-up to the conclusion of the 2021-2022 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season, we’ve compiled a list of the teams that have qualified for the event so far through the Regional Qualifiers.

Eastern Europe: BetBoom Team

With 629 DPC Points to their name, BetBoom Team were the second most-favored team to come out of the Eastern European qualifiers, right behind Outsiders. Outsiders meanwhile actually placed a very respectable eighth at the PGL Arlington Major in August, which meant that they were the frontrunners in this qualifier tournament.

But BetBoom did not let that deter them from punching their ticket to TI11. They absolutely demolished Outsiders in the Grand Finals, winning every single game in the best of five series. Eastern European veterans and former NAVI members Vladimir “RodjER” Nikogosyan and Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev will thus return to The International in October.

The real highlight of this result, however, is the imminent arrival of Nikita “Daxak” Kuzmin, who has been grinding away since 2017. This will be his debut on the biggest stage in Dota 2, which has absolutely been a long time coming. He will have a lot to prove upon getting to Singapore, where he will have a chance to become the next rising EEU star.

South America: Hokori

The winds, they are shifting in South America. Where familiar names like Infamous and SG esports faltered, a relatively new team called Hokori rose to take their places — literally. In fact, Hokori did to Infamous what BetBoom Team did to Outsiders: sweep them in the Grand Finals of the South American qualifiers.

This result is very impressive for a team that scored a mere 97 DPC Points throughout the season, who now find themselves with a shot at etching themselves into Dota 2 history. The mixed Brazilian-Peruvian squad is composed of South American players who have been waiting for their time in the limelight, as well as new faces that would love nothing more than to test their mettle at The International.

23-year-old Thiago “Thiolicor” Cordeiro is of particular note in this regard. The team history section of his Liquipedia page shows a staggering number of team changes over the last six years, with his only appearance at The International being with SG esports last year. He’ll no doubt be looking to redeem himself from the 18th place finish that he had to settle for in the previous tournament.

China: Royal Never Give Up

Now a familiar name even to those that don’t follow Chinese Dota 2 teams, Royal Never Give Up (RNG) find themselves in contention for the Aegis of Champions for the second time in a row. This roster is filled with mainstays of the Chinese scene, with former PSG.LGD members Lu “Somnus” Yao, Yang “Chalice” Shenyi, and Yap “xNova” Jian Wei being the most notable. TI7 finalist Hu “kaka” Liangzhi is also part of the squad.

The only relatively unknown member is Malaysian carry player Daniel “Ghost” Chan Kok Hong, formerly of Galaxy Racer and tier 2 Chinese team Sparking Arrow Gaming. Ghost has only been with RNG for about four and a half months, so being in the running at TI11 is something he can certainly be proud of. He’ll be the wildcard in this roster full of grizzled veterans, so it will be interesting to see what he can contribute to the team’s campaign in Singapore.

As for the rest, they can lean on their recent first place finish at the Chinese regional league to give them confidence. There’s also their top six result at the Riyadh Masters, so we know that RNG can hang with other teams despite having to go through qualifiers to get here.

North America: Soniqs

Through the North American qualifiers, he boys formerly known as Quincy Crew proved once again why they are, along with Evil Geniuses, one of the strongest teams in North America. There was honestly little doubt that Soniqs would make it through but interestingly, they didn’t simply roll over everyone in their path.

Instead, they had to face Wildcard Gaming in the lower bracket of the qualifier tournament, after being sent there by former International finalist David “Moo” Hull and the rest of nouns. Fortunately for Soniqs, they were able to shake off the upset in the upper bracket to get to the Grand Finals, upon which they proceeded to sweep nouns in their rematch.

This marks the fourth International appearance for Quinn Callahan, formerly known as “CCnC”. He is by far one of the best midlaners in North America right now but will he finally fulfill his immense potential by capturing the Aegis of Champions?

Western Europe: Entity

Hanging around the middle tiers of the competitive scene this year seems to have benefitted Entity in the best way possible, as they have come out of the Western European regional qualifiers with much hype now surrounding them. Though they were only second in terms of DPC Points compared to others in the tournament, the Dota 2 Champions League Season 8 winners braved the qualifiers against squads like Team Liquid and Team Secret.

In fact, they showed that they had intensity and focus beyond what the names on the roster would possess dropping absolutely no games throughout their upper bracket run. That’s right, they went undefeated in this tough qualifier tournament; even in the Grand Finals where they wiped Team Secret off the map three games to none.

This is a fantastic result for Entity, as they have really put their neighbors in the region and the rest of the world on notice for TI11. Though they have yet to win in the WEU regional league, their top six placement in the Arlington Major and ESL One Malaysia make them more than capable of finishing above where most would expect them to in Singapore.

If they do, we can safely say that they will be the ones leading the new era of Western European Dota.

Southeast Asia: Talon Esports

The bloodbath that was the Southeast Asian regional qualifier is now complete, with Talon Esports standing above the rest. It was an absolutely brutal contest over five days for everyone involved, with teams like T1, RSG, and Polaris Esports all in the mix for that coveted invite. The arrival of two-time champions Anathan “ana” Pham and Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen as the new cores for T1 likewise heralded a possible shift in power within the region.

But as T1 faltered heavily in their drafting towards the end of the tournament, the intrepid members of Talon Esports were there to pick up the pieces. Unbeaten until the Grand Final match, former International finalist Damien “kpii” Chok and the rest of his team went into the SEA qualifiers on a mission.

And when they found themselves facing down the red hot Polaris in the Grand Finals, they pulled out all the stops to secure their spot at The International. The tightly-contested series went the distance with all five games played, but it was Talon that won out in the end with a convincing Game Five performance.

Aside from kpii’s return to the grandest stage in Dota 2, perhaps the most compelling story to come out of this result is that of Indonesian midlaner Rafli “Mikoto” Rahman. After spending three years with BOOM Esports, Mikoto spent most of this season trying to get back to the top of the Southeast Asian scene. Denied in the SEA regional league by the very squad he once played for, he now finds himself with a chance to beat them in Singapore. His progress from here on will be exciting to watch, for sure.

Last Chance Qualifier: Team Secret & Team Liquid

Fan favorite Western European squads Team Secret and Team Liquid round out the final two teams out of the 20 participants at The International 11, by virtue of placing first and second at the Last Chance Qualifier, respectively.

It’s no secret that Team Secret had a very rough season. They finished below the top four in all three WEU Regional League tours this year, coming dangerously close to getting relegated to Division II. Complete absence from both Majors this season also meant that they couldn’t earn DPC Points elsewhere, which put them in an increasingly precarious position in terms of the overall standings.

Fortunately, they seem to have regained their mojo just in the nick of time. After coming out of the LCQ group stage in third place, they proceeded to turn it up to 11 by dropping just one map in the upper bracket. This means that the legend himself, Clement “Puppey” Ivanov, retains his status as the only remaining International all-timer, after Kuro Salehi “Kuroky” Takhasomi and the rest of Nigma Galaxy failed to escape the regional qualifiers.

On the other side, Team Liquid clinched first place in Group B with an impressive map record of eight wins and two losses. Ironically, they eventually fell to the lower bracket after just two playoff rounds, thanks to the savvy play by their opponents in Liquid, however, would exact their revenge in their lower bracket rematch, beating VP 2-0 to claim the final spot at TI11.

Needless to say, this is a huge victory for Team Liquid, whose roster missed last year’s International entirely after placing just fourth in the WEU Regional Qualifiers. Captain Aydin “iNSaNiA” Sarkohi and the rest of his squad will no doubt relish the opportunity to prove themselves on the biggest stage in Dota 2. Veteran offlaner Ludwig “zai” Wahlberg meanwhile makes his return to The International, alongside former champion Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen.