TI10 Top Contenders; Four teams likely to take the Aegis
Each year (almost) teams around the world gather in the same place with the same goal—to take home the most prestigious title and trophy in Dota 2, the Aegis.
Only one team can make it happen and although it has been seen before where the Underdogs and Dark Horses have risen up to usurp the tournament favorites most fans and avid gamblers hedge their bets on the leaders of the season and the teams that dominated their opponents time and time again.
Evil Geniuses, Invictus Gaming, Team Secret, and PSG.LGD slid into the top places of the DPC rankings this year with some of the most spectacular and stunning performances, for some, with rarely challenged authority. For others, it is their consistency and overall dynamics that make them a sure-fire contender. These juggernauts are the top contenders to take the cake at The International 10.
Photo courtesy of ONE Esports
Evil Geniuses was the first team to secure a spot at TI10. They earned more than enough points by taking the first spot in the debut season of 2021 DPC Regional Leagues in North America and reaching the grand finals of both the Singapore Major and AniMajor.
They ended the season with 1700 DPC points —400 more than the second-place team and more than double the amount of the teams that rounded out the invites in 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th place.
Although they have always been a solid team, they are looking stronger than ever these last few months. In the Singapore Major they made a perfect upper bracket run to the grand finals. At the AniMajor they were seeded into the lower bracket after groups but eliminated five teams from four different regions to make a perfect lower bracket run into the grand finals.
The Southeast Asia infusion in their playstyle makes them look better than ever with the addition of Abed Yusop and Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang. Their drafts are more dynamic and unpredictable and they can play at a fast pace.
Will this be the year that Artour "Arteezy" Babaev clinches his first Aegis and EG will become the second team to claim another International title?
Evil Geniuses roster:
- Read our full team profile: TI10 Evil Geniuses, the reinvented juggernaut HERE.
Photo courtesy of Perfect World
PSG.LGD is once again looking to be in top shape coming to TI10 after a very tumultuous period. After undergoing their biggest shuffle possibly ever, PSG.LGD's new identity is a winner.
They finished the DPC season in 2nd place with 1300 points, making them the top Chinese team out of five that will be heading to The International 10.
PSG.LGD started the ONE ESports Singapore Major from the wild card stage and made an incredible run to a third-place finish. For the WePlay AniMajor they secured a spot in the group stage and ended up dismantling everyone in their path with a carry Axe. They took the AniMajor trophy and title after besting Evil Geniuses 3-0 in the grand finals.
Bringing on board both Zhang "Faith_bian" Ruida and Zhang "y`" Yiping has given the team a very Wings-like vibe that has been working well for them. Wang "Ame" Chunyu's deep hero pool is powering them up for anything goes drafting and makes it hard for opponents to counter.
China is overdue for an aegis, the last time being when Wings Gaming with Faith_bian and y brought it home in 2016.
- Read our full team profile: TI10 PSG.LGD - cycle of a phoenix HERE
Photo courtesy of ONE Esports
After a few troublesome years and low points in the organization's history, Invictus Gaming has experienced a rebirth and is one of China's (and the world's) top contenders this year.
They took up the fifth-place spot in the DPC rankings this year, tying up with Quincy Crew in 4th with 1100 DPC points.
iG came to ONE Esports Singapore Major as China’s Dota Pro Circuit season 1 league first seed team and a spot directly into the playoffs. Although they were knocked into the lower brackets by Evil Geniuses in the second round, they didn't waver in confidence and blasted through everyone to the grand finals. There, they met up with EG once again and bested them in the thrilling, if not entertaining, five-game series for the title.
They slipped a bit in the second season, not having changed much of their hero pool or strategy despite the patch. They landed a spot in the wild cards for the AniMajor but were forced to play with a sub and ended with a disappointing 15th place finish.
Regardless of their slip, they are still considered top contenders despite having three TI debutants. Their team fight is flawless, so was their understanding of the meta at ONE Esports Singapore Major. If they show up as a full team intact with the same energy and insights they will be indeed the team to beat.
Invictus Gaming roster:
- Read our full team profile: TI10 Invictus Gaming - no question mark about them HERE
Photo courtesy of WePlay Holdings
Team Secret is often listed at the top of the DPC and the contender list when the power rankings come out each year for The International. Unfortunately, each year they come up short (albeit they are getting closer each year).
This year, they were much lower in the DPC rankings than usual, falling in at 8th place with a mere 950 DPC points. However, Secret’s nine tournament titles, eight in a row, through 2020 keeps them at an overall 73% win rate from a total of 296 games played in 2020 and 2021 combined.
Their extremely dominant online presence brought them Team of the Year recognition and Coach Lee "Heen" Seung Gon received the Coach of the Year award at the 2020 Esports Awards.
Team Secret finished the first season of regional leagues undefeated and was seeded directly into the playoffs for the ONE Esports Singapore Major. The Chinese teams identified them as the biggest threat and PSG.LGD sent them to the lower brackets while Invictus Gaming eliminated them completely.
They seemed to slow down their pace a bit in the next season of the regional league and secured a place in the wild card series for WePlay AniMajor. They weren't able to advance, in part thanks once again to iG.
Although it seemed to happen early in the season, fans got to witness the squad raising the bar to a whole new level once again. For Secret, an early peak most likely means a much better run at TI where they will be fresh with energy and new strategies. With TI7 winning coach and a lineup bursting with talent and experience, they are still no doubt adversaries that are at the focal point for all teams heading to Bucharest.
Can Puppey round out a decade of The International in full circle, claiming the first and the 10th anniversary Aegis?
Team Secret roster:
- Read our full team profile: TI10 Team Secret: The lurking monster HERE
The International 10
The TI10 invited teams
The TI10 qualified teams
The International 10 prize pool
The final total for the TI10 prize pool has clocked in at $40,018,195 when the crowdfunding and Battle Pass purchases ended this past weekend. That is a 2401.14% increase from the original base amount of $1.6 million.
Only 25% of the sales contribute to the prize pool meaning that $153,672,780 has been spent on purchases by fans across the globe.
The previous year, The International 9 prize pool reached $34,330,068 ($32,730,068 added).
The International 10
The International 10 is now expected to take place in October with the group stage matches unfolding October 7 - 10, the playoffs set to kick off on the 12th of the month, and the grand finals scheduled for October 17.
It will be held at the National Arena from Bucharest, Romania —the largest stadium in the capital city, with a capacity of 55,000 seats. Valve’s official announcement gives a small hint for the possibility of having TI10 held with a live audience as well, however, no details were revealed just yet on the specifics or the ticket sales.