2017 was a crazy year for competitive Dota 2. In the last nine months:
- Valve Corporation released a True Sight documentary episode on OG’s Kiev Major Grand Finals comeback against Virtus.pro. It led to controversy concerning their portrayal of the Virtus.pro players as bad-mannered villains.
- The TI6-winning players of Wings Gaming had contract disputes with their organization which got them blacklisted from the Association of China Esports (ACE). In May, they disbanded without getting the chance to defend their title together.
- Team Liquid got hot in the lower bracket of The International 2017. They won six series in a row and topped it off by claiming the first ever 3-0 TI Grand Finals sweep against Newbee.
- A reddit user named lgdamefan owned this year’s post-TI shuffle by leaking a number of big name roster changes. At first /r/dota2 mocked lgdamefan’s leaks. And as soon as they turned out to be true, lgdamefan disappeared.
- Valve Corporation announced the Dota Pro Circuit.
- The Dueling Fates 7.07 Update added two completely new heroes, tons of changes, a Seasonal Ranked Matchmaking System, and Turbo Mode.
- Evil Geniuses kicked Saahil “Universe” Arora for Rasmus “MISERY” Filipsen.
lgdamefan you didnt see this one coming did you, you little shit xd
— Rasmus Filipsen (@MiSeRyDOTA) December 20, 2017
Nobody knows what will happen in 2018. And unpredictability is fun. By the end of the year, we will have another TI champion, another shuffle, and (hopefully) another huge patch.
The Dota Pro Circuit
OG will end up #1 in the Pro Circuit Standings
After a excruciatingly slow start to the season, OG is slyly making their way up in the Pro Circuit standings. They’re currently 7th with 540 qualifying points. First place Team Secret has 3690 qualifying points, but 75% of the total Pro Circuit points have yet to be distributed.
OG looks much stronger as of late. Johan “n0tail” Sundstein gets a lot of flak, but his sacrificial style enables his superstar teammates. Tal “Fly” Aizik is the best North American captain (Canada-Israel dual citizenship) in the game right now. The system is different this year, but historically OG dominates Dota 2 Majors. If they win two or three of the eight remaining Majors, first place is well within reach.
Team Kinguin will earn an invite to TI8
The Polish squad is already on the cusp of being a tier one team. They got a taste of success at the DOTA Summit 8 Minor and are motivated for more. Kinguin already has the essential mid prodigy in Michał “Nisha” Jankowski. And team captain Rafał “eL lisasH” Wójcik isn’t intimidated by any opponent.
Evil Geniuses won’t be invited to TI8
EG fans who are expecting a swift turnaround probably need to temper their expectations. Every newly shuffled team needs time to train and build chemistry. They have to learn to communicate and play with one another. Predicting that Evil Geniuses will have a slow start isn’t that crazy, but I don’t think they’ll find their form until TI8 qualifiers. And even then it’ll be tougher than you’d expect. I like EG. I’m just pessimistic based on their recent performances.
The International 2018
The eight TI8 invites will be: OG, Team Liquid, Virtus.pro, Newbee, Team Secret, Natus Vincere, Team Kinguin, and Fnatic
Team Liquid won’t place in the top eight at TI8
Repeating as a champion in Dota 2 seems impossible. Aside from early era Na`Vi, the only TI-winner to make it to another Grand Finals was Newbee’s Zeng “Faith” Hongda at TI7. And he won his TI over five years ago. There’s a ton of pressure and expectations. Everybody is studying you. Each team is trying their hardest against you. One (or two) bad days and you’re done. Anyone can get upset in any given series, even the most talented European team ever.
TI8 will be held in Europe
Despite being an American made game, Dota 2 isn’t as popular in the United States as it is in places like Europe, Russia, Southeast Asia, and South America. With US visa laws claiming roster causalities at virtually every event, Valve just might move the mega-tournament back to its roots in Germany.
The mainstream speculation is that TI will be held in Vancouver’s Rogers Arena, close to Seattle. But I don’t buy it. Maybe one of the late season Majors will take place there instead. The announcement is usually in early January, so we’ll find out soon enough.
TI8’s prize pool will exceed $30 million
Year after year, Valve proves that they can up the ante with their TI Battle Pass perks. And Dota 2 fans consistently demonstrate that they are more than willing to shell out disposable income for the dankest hats. Last year, the TI7 prize pool dipped behind that of the previous year’s – after the same amount of days – for the first time ever. With only one Battle Pass this year, it won’t happen in 2018.
Fnatic will be your TI8 champions
Fnatic is 10-15 in Dota Pro Circuit matches so far. However, both Team Liquid and Wings Gaming, the last two TI-winners, struggled early on in their respective championship seasons. Timing is paramount in Dota 2. This goes for individual matches as well as the overall competitive meta. Peak too early and other teams will have you figured out by the time you step into the gaming booth.
Fnatic hasn’t peaked yet, that’s for sure. They were last place in the first three tournaments of the season that they competed in. And they didn’t even qualify for two of them (they were regional replacements). But Fnatic is rising. At the most recent DOTA Summit 8 Minor, they beat OG in the playoffs and took a game off of Virtus.pro in the Grand Finals. Something is starting to click for captain Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao’s squad. And if they reach their final form at the right time, they might be unstoppable.