With The International 2016 only a month away now, it’s time to take a look at what we can expect from Dota’s biggest event. With the introduction of the Majors format this year, 2016 has already seen some epic clashes and thrilling success stories for Dota fans to enjoy, but if anything this has just heightened our excitement for the most lucrative tournament eSports has to offer. The quality on display during the qualifiers has already impressed the community and with so many promising teams competing for spots we’ve seen all the top tier sides get themselves in gear for the most heated contest in Dota’s history.
Best best meta ever
Going into any event, fans and players will want to see an exciting meta-game because if the same heroes are picked over and over again then even top level Dota can begin to look a bit stale. Luckily for us, IceFrog has managed to create some of the most diverse metas we’ve had before the past year and patch 6.88 has brought the widest range of heroes into contention that we’ve ever seen. Who would have thought that Riki and Kunkka would ever be getting first phase picked by top flight sides? Sure there are one of two heroes who might deserve a small nerf before The International 2016 kicks off (yes I’m talking about you Timbersaw) and we’ll probably see a tiny balance patch this month, but fans can rest assured that they’ll be plenty of niche heroes making an appearance on the big stage.
Dota’s community has always enjoyed celebrating the big names and with Miracle and Arteezy surpassing the 9k MMR mark this year, the Messis and Ronaldos of Dota will all be present at TI 6. With many critics claiming Miracle is currently the world’s best player, after OG’s success at the majors, a TI win for him would surely end the debate. But there are dozens of brilliant players who deserve consideration, whether you prize most highly the leadership of Puppey or ChuaN, the offlane impact of Mind Control or Admiral Bulldog, or the consistent mid-lane prowess of Dendi or FATA.
Who’s going to win TI 6? It’s almost impossible to say. Whilst OG and Liquid have been strong for the past six months or so, in recent times we’ve seen plenty of teams hit some great form. The Chinese scene is once again a force to be reckoned with, and Newbee, LGD and Wings Gaming will all be confident of progressing far. The SEA scene will be pleased to see Fnatic playing some of their best Dota, the Korean side MVP Phoenix are a terrifying side to play against, and fan favorites Navi and Alliance are both back to top flight Dota. Powerhouses Team Secret and EG seem to have sorted out their roster problems, with both sides smashing through all the qualifiers, so we’re expecting to see more promising performances from those squads in Seattle. There will be no easy games at The International 2016.
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Everyone enjoys a bit of rivalry, whether it’s genuine or not, and there’s sure to be plenty of banter flying about. Can MiSeRy and w33’s promising Digital Chaos side triumph over Team Secret? Will KuroKy outshine former team mate Arteezy or will Arteezy’s bromance with Eternal Envy finally pay off? Will we see Navi and Alliance face off once again in Dota’s “El Clásico”? There are so many plot lines it’s hard to keep track of them all, but TI 6 is the stage on which everything will play out in front of millions of fans.
A new hero release
It’s been over six months since Arc Warden was released and we’ll probably see him added to Captain’s Mode in patch 6.89 after TI 6. The final hero to be added to the game, Azgalor the Underlord is due for release soon and Valve like to unveil exciting new content at their tournaments. Last year brought us 10v10 mode, the year before was Techies, so there’s a good chance we’ll see the Underlord announced in Seattle. A melee support hero with a mass team relocator, his release could really shake up the meta-game so look out for his announcement at The International 2016.