With all the teams that will receive a direct invite to The International 10 now confirmed, audiences can now start looking forward to the regional qualifiers.
Unlike in previous years where nearly every Dota 2 team could compete in the regional qualifiers for a chance to qualify for The International, for Dota Pro Circuit 2021, Valve restricted the competing teams. This year, the only ones in contention are those who are in the upper and lower divisions of their respective regions.
Although this means fewer teams, the competition is tighter than ever, especially since there is only one slot available per region.
With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the best Dota 2 teams in each region ahead of the TI10 qualifiers.
- Royal Never Give Up
Don't think that just because four Dota 2 teams from China received a direct invite to TI10, there's less competition there. China still has some of the best Dota 2 teams in the world vying for the region's lone qualifier spot.
Chief among these Dota 2 teams is Elephant, the team that many pegged entering the Dota Pro Circuit 2021 as the best Dota 2 team in China.
Elephant has one of the most talented rosters ever assembled. It has arguably the best core duo in the world in Lu "Maybe" Yao and Zhang "Eurus" Changjun, with Xu "fy" Linsen manning the four spot for the team. Bai "rOtK" Fan has even signed on to coach Elephant. The rest of Elephant is no slouch either, with both Zhou "Yang" Haiyang and Xie "Super" Junhao in the offlane and hard support spots, respectively.
Unfortunately, even though a lot of China's best Dota 2 teams have already received a direct invite to TI10, Elephant still has a tough road ahead of them. Royal Never Give Up and EHOME are both perennial contenders that could peak at just the right time.
- Team Nigma
- Team Liquid
If China has a lot of talented Dota 2 teams, then Europe has two lineups that are literally championship caliber.
OG, even with Anathan "ana" Pham and Jesse "JerAx" Vainikka, are still a pretty scary bunch. Even though the team was never able to pull it together the entire year, OG is just as good as they've ever been. You could even argue that they're better now skill-wise. Syed Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan is a TI winner and is now OG's carry. Meanwhile, Martin "Saksa" Sazdov is one of the few supports to ever reach 8K MMR in 2015 and 10K MMR in 2020.
Even so, OG has a tough road ahead of them at the TI10 qualifiers in Europe. Kuro "KuroKy" Salehi Takhasomi is definitely gunning for his 10th straight TI appearance with Team Nigma and Team Liquid will want to make its second straight TI with the same lineup.
Regardless of who ends up walking away from Europe with a ticket to play in Stockholm in August, you can expect the TI10 qualifiers in Europe to be a bloodbath.
No offense to the other Dota 2 teams in North America. Undying has no competition there. sadboys just lost Clinton "Fear" Loomis and Danylo "Kingrd" Nascimento while 4 Zoomers is a glorified pub stack.
We'd definitely be surprised if Undying doesn't join Evil Geniuses in August.
- NoPing e-sports
Similar to North America, NoPing e-sports has no competition in South America. Both SG e-sports and Infamous could get NoPing e-sports a run for its money, but we highly doubt it. NoPing e-sports was just one win away from booking their spot at The International 10. Had it not had to face off against Evil Geniuses, NoPing e-sports would definitely have had enough points to secure a direct TI10 invite.
- TNC Predator
It took the team a while to build chemistry, but once they did, T1 quickly established itself as one of the best Dota 2 teams in the world. The runner-ups of the WePlay AniMajor left Fnatic and TNC Predator in the proverbial dust, leaving the two Southeast Asian powerhouses to have to claw their way for a spot at The International 10.
Of these two Dota 2 teams, our bet is on Fnatic to make it to TI10. For all the talent on the roster of TNC Predator, the team just isn't the same without a steady captain at its helm.
- Team Spirit
If we're being honest, the only reason why we picked Team Spirit is that it had the most DPC points in the CIS region outside of Virtus.pro. However, this doesn't mean the team has the best chances out of all CIS teams to make it to TI10. Lest we forget, Natus Vincere boasts the services of the trio of Vladimir "RodjER" Nikogosian, Roman "RAMZES666" Kushnarev, and Vladimir "No[o]ne" Minenko, which won at least four Majors while part of Virtus.pro from 2017 until 2019.
Both of these two Dota 2 teams will also have to worry about AS Monaco Gambit, Team Unique, HellRaisers, and NoTechies, all of which are pretty stacked with talent despite the relative lack of success this season.
Next to Western Europe, Eastern Europe should be the most competitive TI10 regional qualifiers.