Dota 2 TI11 Main Stage

The International 2022 group stage concluded

After four days of Dota 2 and over 180 matches played between the best teams in the world, the group stage is over. 

Let's start from the bottom. We bid farewell to Soniqs and BetBoom Team from group a. After a 3-way tie where BOOM ESports managed to snag the last lower bracket slot. 

The first team to get knocked out in group b was TSM, not one of the teams I thought would drop out this early. This group also ended in tiebreakers between Entity and Talon Esports. Entity won the series 2-0 and therefore their Ti dream is still alive. 

Thoughts on the teams after the group stage

Group A

Upper bracket teams

Evil Geniuses kind of surprisingly took first place in this group. Their year has been up and down so their form was hard to predict coming into the tournament. But they really show that they are a team of superstars after the group stage. A well-deserved first-place finish.

Team Liquid finished second in the group and came in with a lot of momentum after securing one of the two spots from the last-chance qualifiers. Team Liquid's biggest enemy has been themself before this tournament. They have doubted themself and lost communication and trust in hard games. Now on the other hand they have turned around games that seemed impossible and their teamwork is on another level.

PSG.LGD is arguably the favorite to win this year. They had a pretty slow start to the tournament. In true LGD fashion, they are really fast to adapt to the meta and work out their own flaws. 

OG got their sport in the upper bracket thanks to Team Liquid’s 2-0 victory against Hokori. It seems like they yet have to find their own way of playing in this meta. The team does not feel as confident as before Ti, mostly due to the shift in meta. 

Lower bracket teams

Hokori is by far the biggest surprise in the tournament. Not only have they managed to take games but also whole series against some of the top-ranked teams in the group. The only teams to not lose to them were Team Liquid and Evil Geniuses. This is a really interesting team to follow for the rest of the tournament. 

Royal Never Give Up looked dominant after the first 2 days of play. They had just dropped one game against Team Liquid and looked like they would make it top 4 with no problem. Unfortunately, the team got sick with COVID. After the first game against PSG.LGD they were forced to forfeit the last game because Somnus had to go to the hospital. It was later confirmed that all players but xNova were infected. They still played the remaining 4 series but were unable to secure a single victory. 

Gaimin Gladiators finished where I expected them to, in the middle of the group. To be honest I have not watched many of their games so I have little insight into how well the team is performing. 

BOOM Esports was one of the teams I thought would fight for one of the upper-bracket spots. It seems like they have not adapted to the meta, they are stuck in their old way of playing and the other teams have them figured out. They really have to step it up at the main event. 

Group B

Upper bracket teams

Tundra Esports snagged the top spot in a very tight group. It seems like the team is back in their old grove with 33 dominating on the offlane and Nine being able to play his unconventional midlaners. They play at a fast pace with 4 heroes and have fallback on a hardcarry from Skiter. Just the way we are used to seeing Tundra when they dominated in the EU DPC.

Team Secret ends the group stage in the same place as Team Liquid. Coincidence I think not. These results really show the momentum you get but being the last team to qualify for this year's International. 

Thunder Awaken writes history in being the first South American team ever to start the main event in the upper bracket. I was sure that there would be upsets from one of the South American teams this year. And we now have to with Hokori in the other group. 

Team Aster is the last upper-bracket team in group b. No surprise to find them here considering the stacked group. No huge upsets during the group stage, they look as comfortable as always. Will be interesting if they can keep calm during the remainder of the tournament. After the group stage, the pressure really starts to amount and you have to prove yourself.

Lower bracket teams

Fnatic was one of the teams I was really torn on. They have not impressed throughout the year. And the first few days looked troublesome. They managed to defeat both Team Aster and TSM on the last day which secured them from not having to play elimination tie-breakers. There could have been a 4-5 way tie for elimination. 

Team Spirit has not started the tournament as expected.  Last year's champions of course have a lot of pressure and eyes on them. The tight group makes it even harder to be one of the only 4 teams that make it to the upper bracket. They have tied most every series 1-1, one 0-2 loss to Tundra and a 2-0 victory against Entity. Last year they make the lower bracket run after dropping the first series in the upper bracket against IG. So they are used to this road.

Beastcoast was the South American team I thought would have the best group stage result. But still not surprising to see them in the lower bracket since no South American team has ever made it to the upper bracket before this year. 

Entity earned the last spot at the main event after a tie-breaker against Talon. I had higher hopes for Entity going into the group stage since they have dominated lately in Europe. But as I said in the last post, it’s a really young squad. This is the first international for all the players and the organization as well. Happy they made it thru the groups and have the chance to play in front of the crowd.

Main event bracket

Bracket predictions

Upper bracket:

Evil Geniuses vs Tunder Avaken: Evil Geniuses

Team Secret vs PSG.LGD: PSG.LGD

Tundra Esports vs OG: Tundra Esport

Team Liquid vs Team Aster: Team Liquid

The easiest prediction on paper is that Evil Geniuses wins against Thunder Awaken.

The other matches are tight. The predictions are based on the momentum of the group stage and experience within the team. At the main event, we add yet another element, the crowd. How do the teams react to playing in front of one of the wildest crowns in esport and with the amount of money on the line?

Lower bracket:

Hokori vs beastcoast: Hokori

Team Spirit vs BOOM Esports: Team Spirit

Fnatic vs Gaimin Gladiators: Fnatic

Royal Never Give Up vs Entity: Royal Never Give Up

All the first-round lower bracket matches are best of one. You only have one match to keep the dream alive to lift the aegis of immortality at the end of the tournament. The pressure is really on for these teams. One loss and you are out. And you have to do it in front of thousands of people in the arena and hundreds of thousands watching online. The first-round lower bracket is always the hardest to predict. Witch team has a pocket strat? These matches can all be a coin flip. The biggest question mark is the Covid situation with Royal Never Give Up, will they be able to play at all? The prediction is made with them being fit to play. 

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