The International 10 is fast approaching, and some of the best DOTA teams in the world are ready to duke it out for the Aegis of Champions. Upcomer was able to catch up with some of the DOTA scene’s favorite casters in order to get their predictions and thoughts surrounding the International 10. The casters were given specific roundtable questions to answer – the answers to those questions you will find below!
Which are the first teams eliminated from The International 10 according to you?
— Wykrhm Reddy (@wykrhm) October 6, 2021
Fan-favorite Southeast Asian casters John “Johnxfire” Nathan Fernandez and Mike “MLPDota” Le Phoenix were the first to heed the call. According to John, the team he sees getting eliminated from the Group Stage first will be the first seed from Western Europe, Alliance.
“Ohh, that’s a tough ask,” said Johnxfire “It feels like every team is highly competitive going into TI. I’d say Alliance might be the team that gets eyed for an early knockout. Their performance has still felt a bit up-and-down”
Johnxfire’s main gripe with Alliance has been their lackluster showing in events after the Western European Dota Pro Circuit. Despite ending the season in first, Alliance’s performances at the recent majors have yet to reflect their in-region dominance. They ended 9th-12th at the WePlay AniMajor, and 8th at ESL One Fall: Bootcamp edition, far from the form they showed during the season. Caster for the North American Dota Pro Circuit, Brynden “Neph” Barbour shares the same sentiment as Johnxfire – he believes Alliance will also be the first team out of the tournament.
On the other hand, MLPDota feels differently. To him, the first team out will be SG esports. SG esports came out of nowhere and won the South American Regional Qualifier in order to make it to The International 10. However, their results have reflected Alliance as of late and so MLPDota predicts they will be the first team out.
“Who will be the first to be out? It’s really hard to pick honestly, but if I had to pick, I’d say SG esports will probably be leaving early,” said MLPDota “Hopefully not though, cause they’re a fun team to watch.”
Team Spirit has been on a tear as of late – What are your opinions on the team?
Team Spirit was the last high-performing team invited to the International 10. While the OGA Dota pit might have had teams saving strategies for The International 10, it does not take away from Team Spirit outperforming at this tournament. However, Johnxfire does not believe that they will do as well as they did at OGA Dota Pit. Neph shared the same sentiment, calling Team Spirit’s results at ESL and OGA Dota Pit “unimportant.”
“I think looking at their performance over the year, my opinion hasn’t changed much – they’re strong, but also need to sharpen up against a lot of the teams going into TI,” Johnxfire said. “OGA [Dota Pit] was held in the early days of [patch] 7.30, which was still an adjustment period for a few teams – with the further changes in 7.30c, I think its a wait-and-see to see if the team can adapt to the patch better than others.”
MLPDota shared similar sentiments, but focused on the inconsistency that Team Spirit shows as a team. To him, that inconsistency is what will hold them back the most.
“They’re clearly full of talent, but they do seem to be one of those ‘hot and cold’ kinds of teams, that can either look like the best team at the tourney or potentially one of the worst,” said MLPDota.
Where do you think Dawnbreaker will be in the meta, what position? and how big of an impact will the hero be?
As the newest addition to Captain’s Mode, the strength of Dawnbreaker is one of the most important questions going into The International 10. So far viewers have only seen a peek of the new hero during the BeyondTheSummit Pro Series 8: Southeast Asia tournament. According to Johnxfire, Dawnbreaker’s biggest strength is her enigmatic nature. Teams have not had a chance to fully flesh out how to play her yet.
“I don’t see Dawnbreaker as a particularly overpowered or high-value pick myself, especially after seeing it in a few matches in BTS Pro Series 8 at least in SEA,” said Johnxfire. “It feels like there are a ton of ways to counteract it, particularly Silencer as it is deeply in meta.”
Neph added that we would probably see the hero played mid, but only through the Group Stages, before falling off. MLPDota agrees that Dawnbreaker will likely be played mid due to the inherent strengths in the position.
“I can see it being mostly run in as a position two because she enjoys bottle regen and power runes, and she’s pretty busted if you can get some quick exp.”
Predict a ranked top three at The International 10, and why for each team
Johnxfire’s picks value consistency above all. The first and second place predictions from him are mainly due to PSG.LGD and Evil Geniuses’ consistent placings at international tournaments.
“They [PSG.LG] look unstoppable.” said Johnxfire. “Very consistent performance for a very long time, the roster has been together for a fair bit of time as well. Likely to be the best at adapting at the refreshed meta by the time TI rolls around.”
His final pick might have some regional bias, but Johnxfire argues that Fnatic and T1 are the strongest showings from Southeast Asia in years. While Fnatic might struggle with nerves, Johnxfire is confident inT1’s steady improvement.
1st: Evil Geniuses
MLPDota’s results are very close to Johnxfire’s, except he has Evil Geniuses taking it all over PSG.LGD. MLPDota is looking for Artour “Arteezy” Babaev’s curse to finally break and allow one of the best carry players in modern DOTA 2 to win a title. MLPDota believes in Evil Geniuses despite stating that PSG.LGD is the best team in the world.
“It’s time for the curse to be broken, and EG need vengeance for the last 2 majors,” said MLPDota.
His final pick of OG was to “Make the top 3 extra spicy.” A respectable take.
If you were to predict a roster move this offseason, what would it be?
One of the most interesting parts of professional DOTA 2 is the offseason. Roster rumors are flying about as every viewer tries to predict how teams will look at the beginning of next season. Johnxfire believes TNC disbanding its roster will play a large role as Kim “Gabbi” Villafuerte and Armel Paul “Armel” Tabios are now free agents. He speculates that the new collaboration between Team Nigma and Galaxy Racer will invite talent into the new Nigma Galaxy brand.
“I’ve heard rumblings of Nigma looking into taking one of them, but nothing verifiable as well – although that does tie in to Nigma and Galaxy Racer very recently announcing a merger, so it isn’t outside the realm of possibilities there as well.” Johnxfire speculated.
As for MLPDota, he focused his predictions for changes around the stable Team Secret roster and western Europe as a whole. He believes that Team Secret will finally make a change after two years of remaining stable by shifting out Michał “Nisha” Jankowski, one of the best mid-laners in Europe. His other prediction is in line with Johnxfire’s, as the new Nigma Galaxy brand will mean changes to the teams. Specifically, he sees Igor “iLTW” Filatov moving off the roster.
“I can see Secret getting a new carry/mid, and Nigma will probably replace ILTW,” MLPDota said.
Finally, Neph did not give a solid prediction for a roster move, but rather predicted that new organizations will enter the Dota 2 professional scene. Some teams to keep in mind for possibilities are TSM (who may be picking up a roster, according to rumors) or Cloud9.
“I think several new orgs will get into Dota and break up current rosters by signing for large amounts of money,” said Neph.
While these are merely predictions, they provide great context for viewers going into the most prestigious DOTA 2 tournament of the year. The tournament begins on Oct. 7 at 2 a.m. ET.