With the prize pool for The International 6 currently sitting a few hundred thousand dollars shy of $20 million, you’d bet that the 16-teams who’re participating in Dota 2’s biggest annual tournament will be giving it their all to have a shot at the grand prize.
As with any tournament, however, there are always teams who’re ahead of the pack.
As such, here are the teams who’re heading into The International with the best chance of bagging home a year’s worth of bragging rights, and the millions of dollars’ worth of prize money that comes with it.
Finishing first place at two out of three of the three Dota 2 Majors held so far, OG Dota 2 is heading into TI as the clear favorite to win at all, thanks in part to the consistently strong play of their core position players, Johan “n0tail” Sundstein and Amer “Miracle-“ Barqawi.
Still, despite the obvious excellence of their core players, it’s OG’s undeniable chemistry – the team hasn’t changed its roster since it was formed after TI5 – and synergy that truly makes them scary.
With the current meta reliant on team fighting more so than ever, look to OG to never disappoint and constantly be in the running for yet another title.
As with OG, this team boasts a two-core interchangeable lineup in Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen and Adrian “FATA” Trinks. But, it is their captain and drafter, Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi, who arguably puts his team at the best position to succeed through his clever pick/bans.
Team Liquid is a team that knows how to play smart and usually outplay their opponents through superior decision-making in game. But, their lack of stability is concerning, and the team has shown a tendency to wilt under pressure. Their sometimes-lackadaisical laning phase too could prove fatal against certain teams.
There’s little doubt that Team Liquid will play well enough to win one of the top spots at TI, but being champions is a tall-order unless they can find a way to beat their year-long rivals – OG.
Newbee has had a hard time following up their success at TI4. However, after transferring EHOME’s kaka, the team’s play is at an all-time high. It’s possible to argue that the current team is playing better than their TI4 champion iterations – a truly scary proposition for any team that’s set to face Newbee in The International.
The team has a tendency to pick 2-3 cores in their drafts and are generally considered greedy, excelling at countering their opponents’ rotations, all the while successfully being successful in their own rotations.
With veterans such as Wong “Chuan” Hock Chuan and Hu “Kaka” Luanzhi, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to bet on Newbee to be the first team ever to win The International twice.
Once you get past OG, Team Liquid and Newbee, the rankings can be quite confusing. You could make a case for MVP.Pheonix, LGD, or Na’Vi here – the other three direct invites to The International. Evil Genuises or Team Secret could both warrant a spot here, and would’ve been shoo-ins if not for their recent roster shakeups. But, we ultimately went with the unpredictable and possibly “meta-changing” gameplay of Wings Gaming.
Boasting gameplay that’s best described as both risky and exciting, Wings has continually surprised and dominated opposing teams in recent months.
Thanks to the excellent play of Chu “Shadow” Zeyu and the massive hero pools of each player of the team, Wings is unafraid to experiment and pick unconventional heroes, making them hard to prepare for and the most likely to knock off any one of the three teams above should they get complacent.
Written by Ray Ian Ampoloquio
Want another hit of that T16 hype? When you’re sick of hearing everybody and their mama cheering for the obvious fan favorites, check out our top Dota 2 T16 underdog picks of the year.