The International 2018 Overview: Teams that might surprise us

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Every tournament has candidates, underdogs, and dark horses. The International 2018 this year will especially have big surprises – with the appearance of many strange names. It’s hard to think they, the dark horses, can make it to the International, but imagine them winning. Unbelievable!

Overall, these teams have a chance to be in the top. Team Serenity, Winstrike, paiN Gaming, OG and Fnatic aren’t the main contenders for the tournament, but they’re not exactly the bottom team either.


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Before that, no one knew about these boys. Serenity’s roster was completed in March of this year and they were not fortunate enough to attend the major tournaments. After qualifying for the open qualifiers at DAC 2018, EPICENTER XL, ESl One Birmingham and ChinaSuperMajor, the team all ended up in the regional qualifiers, unable to advance any further or gain any DPC points.

Maybe it was a disguise – so that no one could get to the dark horse. People cannot prepare nor underestimate their opponents. This, and outstanding performances, allowed Team Serenity to advance to The International 2018, losing only three games in qualifying.

However, this does not happen all of a sudden. According to Russian statistics from Maincast, Team Serenity did not appear out of nowhere. In the previous few months, they had crushed all the teams they trained with in the region and even trained with top international teams at the China SuperMajor.

It’s not too difficult to compare with the TI6 phenomenon, Wings Gaming, but the two teams have a few differences. Wings Gaming already has a lot of international LAN experience and they were seen as one of the contenders in multiple tournaments ahead of TI6. Meanwhile, we know very little about Team Serenity, other than their impressive run in the China qualifiers and rumors in the region. This is definitely the real dark horse of the tournament and Team Serenity is sure to surprise.


With their recent form, Winstrike and Pain Gaming raise a lot of “what if?” questions. If w33 had joined the South American team months earlier, what would have happened? What if FlyToMoon/Winstrike played together at the beginning of the season, instead of at the end of the season? If paiN Gaming had no shortage of practice teams due to being located in South America, and if Winstrike had played seriously from the start and not just after finishing 3rd at EPICENTER XL, what would have happened?

Both teams could be in the top 8 of the DPC if the roster is completed sooner. Pain Gaming wins big when it comes to w33, with its leadership experience. Winstrike did more in just two appearances at the LAN tournament, more than any other team has done.

Winstrike and Pain Gaming just made it to the top 3 of two Majors. Winstrike beat Mineski and, and Pain Gaming beat ViCi Gaming and Team Liquid.

As the only members representing their region, they have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. People will take every opportunity to talk about the state of these regions based on their performance and it might put some pressure on them. Will the boys shine or will they fall? Only time will tell us.


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There’s just something about OG that fascinates us. It has been a very difficult season for them, but the way the team made it through the qualifiers shows how hungry the boys are to win.

Things went against OG, as the team lost two key players a few weeks before the qualifiers. Even so, OG will still appear at TI: a retired veteran returning to the arena, a young talent returning to Dota after a year of hiatus, an experienced support player looking for the biggest title of his life.

No one knows how the team will perform at TI. OG has replaced members, changed positions and brought a breath of fresh air. Will it work, will they perform miracles or not? Or will the boys be overtaken by more prepared teams?


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Fnatic has one of the best players on the roster – Abed, Universe, DJ and Pieliedie perform exceptionally well in the vast majority of games. Abed is an extremely talented player with the ability to play a lot of heroes, able to make surprising choices. Universe is one of the most stable offlanes in the game, with the ability to adapt to the offlane meta wherever you go. The DJ plays great at position 4 and Pieliedie knows how to make the most of his boosters and create space for the team from his sacrifices.

And we can’t help but mention EternalEnvy. EE-sama has always had the team’s tackles and builds that put the team back, but we can’t help but applaud the moments of surprising brilliance.

The truth is that EE simply wants to win. He is willing to take more risks for more profit, and that makes Dota more interesting. Those moments are what confirm he deserves the title of champion.

Sometimes, teams play too cautiously. They are afraid of making mistakes, they are not willing to bet their advantage on the front for a chance to win. These teams often ‘choke’ in the enemy field, control the map and end up getting stuck in a “must win” cycle. Why go to the high ground when you can wait 5 more minutes and pocket 2k more gold from bounty runes?

But this never happened with Fnatic. They are not afraid to lose, are willing to take risks and have enough experience to bet on these stunts, win big and win. Sometimes the gamble succeeds, sometimes it fails, but with Fnatic, they will always contain surprises, as long as Envy remains their leader.

According to Dotabuff

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