With both the 2023 Bali Major and Riyadh Masters now done and dusted, the time is now for the Dota 2 community to look forward to the regional qualifiers for The International 12 (TI12). As per usual, teams from the six main regions in the competitive scene will compete against each other for a shot at ultimate Dota 2 glory in Seattle later this year.
We’ve got the lowdown on all the details you need to know about the upcoming qualifiers, as well as which teams we think are most likely to win or even potentially shock the world by upsetting everyone else.
TI12 Qualifiers Slot Distribution and Mechanics
As there will be 20 teams in total participating at TI12, there will be eight qualifier slots up for grabs this year. The other 12 teams have already been determined via the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) standings, so the qualifiers will exclusively be for squads that didn’t make the cut that way.
The six main regions, namely North America (NA), South America (SA), Western Europe (WEU), Eastern Europe (EEU), Southeast Asia (SEA), and China (CN) will all pit local teams against one another in double elimination tournaments. There will be only one qualifier slot per region, with the exception of South America and Western Europe.
Invites to the qualifiers themselves are determined by one of two factors: existing DPC point totals, or placement in each DPC regional league. For example, one region may have five teams invited to its qualifier tournament through DPC points, with the rest taken from Divisions I and II in that region.
However, not every team will be eligible for the qualifiers this way. Each invited squad must have no more than two replacement players in their roster, when comparing their current lineup to the one they ran the most recent regional league tour with.
Regional Qualifier Schedules
The regional qualifier tournaments for each region will take place on:
- North America: August 17th – 21st
- China: August 17th – 21st
- South America: August 22nd – 26th
- Eastern Europe: August 22nd – 26th
- Western Europe: August 27th – 31st
- Southeast Asia: August 27th – 31st
Teams to Look Out For in Each Region
With both Shopify Rebellion and TSM having already qualified for TI12, the field is wide open for hopefuls coming from North America. Nouns are the immediate frontrunners here, with more than four times as many DPC points to their name versus the next highest scoring squad.
Veterans like Héctor “K1” Rodríguez and former International runner-up David “Moo” Hull on their roster will likewise greatly boost their chances of making it out of the NA qualifiers — likely without even breaking a sweat.
But there is one other team that stands out here, especially after acquiring support player Tommy “Taiga” Le from OG: Wildcard Gaming. Though their results in this year’s DPC haven’t been great, the addition of such an experienced player to their lineup might just give them a bit of an edge here.
As always, the Chinese regional qualifiers are set to be an absolute bloodbath. Team Aster, Invictus Gaming, Azure Ray, and Xtreme Gaming are all big names from the region, all of whom are looking to follow in PSG.LGD’s footsteps and clinch a spot at TI12.
Honestly, look no further than the four aforementioned squads for this region. Team Aster in particular still has TI5 champion Syed “SumaiL” Hassan playing mid for them, which will of course be exciting for any fan of the legend himself. Supporters of the old LGD roster with Lu “Somnus” Yao and Xu “fy” Linsen should pay close attention to Azure Ray, meanwhile.
It’s going to be a pretty big toss-up between most of the teams in South America this year. Names like Thunder Awaken, Infinity, and Infamous will all fight for the two available qualifier slots, but many of the players that fans will be familiar with are now in different rosters from what they ran with in previous TIs.
Still, Thunder Awaken in particular have a fair amount of points in their bag, so they will likely grab first place here. Second place will depend on who might show up when it is most needed, and the veterans will have the upper hand in this regard. Thus, we think ex-Infinity, with the experience of Alonso “Mnz” León and Leonardo “Leostyle–” Sifuentes, might just clutch it out at the end.
Fan favorites Natus Vincere will undoubtedly get the underdog support in the Eastern European qualifiers — but it’s hard to put them up as possible winners here because of their status as a Division II squad. Instead, Virtus.pro are most likely to come out with the win here.
Interestingly, the entirety of VP’s roster is filled with new blood, with the exception of team captain Artsiom “fng” Barshak. The Belarusian support player will have to think long and hard about how to instill consistency and discipline amongst his young teammates here, which means that their journey through the tournament will be quite compelling to follow.
There is no doubt in our minds: the Western European qualifiers will be the most watched of the six regions this year. After all, you have squads like Nigma Galaxy, two-time International champions OG, Entity, and Team Secret all in the mix here.
Of course, OG stands out first in the field of competitors. Somehow, they always find a way to get themselves to The International. And knowing that longtime captain Sébastien “Ceb” Debs is back in the lineup for what seems like the 15th time ever, anything is truly possible for this storied organization.
The same goes for Team Secret, who came all the way from the last chance qualifier last year to finish second at TI11. Rivals should not underestimate Clement “Puppey” Ivanov’s ability to analyze and understand any Dota 2 metagame, especially in important competitions like this.
Remember when we said that China typically sees a bloodbath during its regional qualifier tournament? Well, double or even triple that for Southeast Asia. For one, they have six squads with DPC points somehow having to fight for a qualifier slot. And all of them have familiar names that have reached The International on multiple occasions in the past.
It’s hard to tell just who might come out on top here, and it’s a shame that the region only has one qualifier slot. Blacklist International will definitely be exciting to follow, though, especially now that they have Adam “343” Shah and Kenny “Xepher” Deo as coach and assistant coach respectively.