It’s no secret that Dota 2’s biggest annual tournament is a fickle event; so often a team has been labelled as the best Dota 2 team heading into the event, only to disappoint and go home early, while underdogs pulling off incredible upsets are not unheard of at all.
With that said, here’s our breakdown of how the teams stack up with less than a hundred hours to go before The International 7.
18 – 15
18. Infamous Gaming – As the first ever South American team to play at The International, it’s now up to Infamous to show that the region is ready to compete with the rest of the world. Unfortunately, they may not be able to show much, as their lack of LAN experience led to an early exit at The Final Match. As it stands, even making it out of the group stages is a tall order for the Peruvians.
17. Execration – Collectively, Execration’s current roster arguably is the most talented All-Filipino team to play at TI. Then again, that’s not saying a lot. For whatever it’s worth, however, the team did manage to make it out of the SEA gauntlet despite having only played together for less than a month. Of course, the main event is far from the same thing and their individual lack of success and experience against international competition doesn’t help improve their chances. But, if they’re hungry and determined enough, who knows? Deeper runs have been built on less, after all.
16. Team Empire – Team Empire’s TI-bound squad this year is not a star-studded line-up. Their recent LAN showings haven’t exactly been good at either. However, lacklustre results be damned, qualifying and playing in a LAN tournament is still better than not having any experience at all. Besides, the roster has two of the most skilled players ever to come out of the CIS region in Vladimir ‘Chappie’ Zumenko and Rostilav ‘fn’ Lozovoi. If the team shows up in better form than what they showed at The Summit 7, CIS may have another team to root for deep into The International 7.
15. Hellraisers – What a story it has been for the feel-good TI-bound team of the year. Dropped by their former squad right before the TI7 open qualifiers started, the quartet of players plus Uros ‘swiftending’ Galic secured themselves a slot at TI via the TI7 EU Qualifiers after labouring through the open qualifiers. On top of that, Hellraisers decided to pick up them up to play under their banners ahead of TI7. It’d definitely make for an awesome storybook ending if the former Planet Dog squad made it to at least top 8 this year, but don’t count on it.
14. Digital Chaos – On paper, Digital Chaos’ squad looks stacked. They have two NA veterans who are proven winners and two former MVP.Phoenix players who are no strangers to making deep runs at TI. Finally, they have the 10K MMR player, Abed ‘Abed’ Azel Yusop. Consistency is the biggest concern for the team, but if they can patch that up by TI7, they have a chance to go just as deep as last year’s TI6 runner-ups did.
13. Fnatic – Speaking of former MVP.Phoenix players, Fnatic also have two of them, with one, Kim QO’ Seon-Yep, having served as the main catalyst of the Korean organisation’s dark horse runs at both TI5 and TI6. Paired with Chong ‘Ohaiyo’ Xin Kho, Fnatic’s frenetic play style has, so far, not disappointed. Although they’ve yet much to show for their new roster, Fnatic has the makings of a squad that can make a deep run at TI7 with their mix of veteran savvy, ruthless aggression and unpredictability that’s sure to throw off even some of the best squads off of their games.
12. LGD.Forever Young – With veterans, Leong ‘ddc’ Fat-meng and Xie ‘Super’ Junhao, around to help keep the team steady through the rough times ahead, The International 7 could be where LFY breaks through of the main squad’s shadow and Du ‘Monet’ Peng cements himself as one of the premier young stars of the game.
11. IG.Vitality – iG.Vitality is arguably best Dota 2 team in China. Unfortunately, their success hasn’t exactly followed them outside of the country. That’s not exactly good a thing when you’re headed to a tournament where the best squads from all around the world are competing. Regardless, they remain a solid, if unspectacular, team.
10. Invictus Gaming
- Dota 2 Asia Champions 2017 (1st)
- The Kiev Major 2017 (3rd-4th)
- StarLadder iLeague Invitational #2 (3rd-4th)
Previous Ranking: 7 (-3)
The introduction of patch 7.00 back in December of 2016 gave Invictus Gaming life after the team initially posted middling results since their formation post-TI6.
Almost immediately after the patch hit, the team became legitimate contenders and started winning matches against top-tier teams; their win at DAC 2017 where they 3-0’d OG being the high point of their most recent run of success.
Unfortunately, the emperor, Xu ‘BurNIng’ Zhilei, and his squad have not been able to maintain their level of play after posting a 3rd-4th place finish at The Kiev Major.
As one of the TI7 invites, it is possible to make a case that Invictus Gaming deserves a higher rank. However, their recent struggles since the consecutive nerfs to their niche picks, especially to Monkey King, cannot just be discounted, which is why the DAC 2017 champs firmly belong in the 10th place in our rankings.
9. LGD Gaming
- The Summit 7 (3rd)
- Mars Dota 2 League 2017 (1st)
- TI7 CN Qualifiers 3rd slot
It’s easy to buy into the recent hype and slot LGD Gaming higher than 9th place. After all, they just won MDL 2017, where 4 of the participating teams were direct invites to TI7. However, that win comes with a caveat; it doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things.
Still, a win is a win and roster wise, LGD Gaming remains a well-rounded team. Plus, you have to give LGD Gaming props for still finding a way to win despite their lacklustre vision game and over reliance on long, drawn-out team fights.
Their affinity for long games and ability to draw matches out will be tested to its absolute limit in Seattle where the likes of Fnatic, Team Liquid and Virtus Pro are waiting.
8. TNC Pro Team
- WESG (1st)
- StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3 (3rd-4th)
- StarLadder i-League Invitational (2nd)
- Galaxy Battles (3rd)
- TI7 SEA Qualifiers 1st slot
Previous Ranking: 8 (-)
Of the 18 teams headed to TI7, TNC Pro Team holds one of the highest win rates at 69.70% in 33 games since patch 7.06 was implemented. Their win percentage puts them just right behind Team Liquid, Team Empire and Infamous Gaming.
The team peaking just at the right time is thanks mostly yet again to the addition of a foreign talent in their newest captain, Theeban ‘1437’ Siva. However, unlike in TI6, things are expected of TNC Pro Team this time around and anything less than a top 8 finish will be considered a failure for the best Dota 2 team in SEA.
Will they crumble under the weight expectations? Or will they rise to the occasion?
- The Manila Masters (3rd)
- ZOTAC Cup Masters (2nd)
- DOTA Summit 7 (4th)
- TI7 NA Qualifiers 1st slot
Previous Ranking: 9 (+2)
Cloud9’s latest roster may be new, but only in the sense that they were recently picked up. Both the faces and playstyle are all reminiscent of the Cloud9 of old that became infamous for their innovative ideas and for finishing a handful of tournaments in 2nd place.
So far, they’ve managed to finish in 2nd place just once, which was at the ZOTAC Cup Masters, while they’ve also made deep runs The Summit 7 (4th) and The Manila Masters (3rd).
Provided they can stay consistent, Cloud9 has enough talent and experience to become the best Dota 2 team in the world, which is why they’re widely regarded as one of the dark horses at The International 7.
6. Team Secret
- EPICENTER 2017 (3rd-4th)
- DOTA Summit 7 (2nd)
- DreamLeague Season 7 (3rd)
- TI7 EU Qualifiers 1st slot
Previous Ranking: 6 (-)
For as long as Clement ‘Puppey’ Ivanov is on the team, you can always count on Team Secret finding a way to make it to The International. However, the days of him leading his teams to deep runs at a TI may have already long passed.
The truth is, nothing suggests that this year’s squad will do any better than any previous iterations of Team Secret. Although, they certainly have the talent to win the whole thing. Especially since Yazied ‘YapzOr’ Jaradat’s addition seems to have only done the team well.
It’s just that Team Secret finds themselves in a weird spot where it won’t come off as a surprise if they won the whole thing, but it wouldn’t really be much of a shock if they flunked out early either.
- The Boston Major 2016 (1st)
- Dota 2 Asia Championships (2nd)
- The Kiev Majors 2017 (1st)
- Mars Dota 2 League 2017 (4th)
Previous Ranking: 4 (-1)
Are OG’s days of being the best Dota 2 team behind them? Maybe. There’s enough evidence to show that their recent slump is most likely not due to them taking things easy. Case in point, their 13-18 record in 7.06 is the worst of all teams playing at The International 7.
Perhaps the four-time Major winners can right the ship at Seattle. Perhaps they were just showing up at LANs post-Kiev, taking their sweet time scouting their opponents, all the while eager to exit the tournaments early so they can spend more time with their fans.
Until otherwise proven, however, we’re sliding them down into 5th place in our power rankings in lieu of other more deserving teams.
- ESL One Genting 2017 (2nd)
- Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017 (3rd)
- StarLadder i-League Invitational #2 (3rd-4th)
- The Manila Masters (2nd)
- ZOTAC Cup Masters (1st)
- Galaxy Battles (1st)
- Mars Dota 2 League 2017 (3rd)
Previous Ranking: 5 (+1)
Newbee has been one of the most consistent teams post-TI6. They’ve won their fair share of titles and have made a couple of deep runs throughout the year. However, you can’t just look at their accomplishments and ignore their lack of success at Valve events.
Whether it’s a sign that the team fails to show up when it counts the most, we’ll never know for sure. But, it’s an uncertainty that does not bode well for the team as we draw nearer to the biggest Valve event of them all.
- ESL One Genting 2017 (3rd-4th)
- The Kiev Major 2017 (2nd)
- Mr. Cat Invitational Europe (1st)
- Russian e-Sports Cup 2017 (1st)
- DOTA Summit 7 (1st)
Previous Ranking: 3(-)
Virtus Pro is most likely a sleeper pick to win The International 7 this year; only a few seem to be cheering for the bears outside of their fans from Europe and CIS.
Not that they would probably care what anyone thinks of their chances of winning TI this year anyway. In their eyes, they are the Dota 2 team in the world, and you can’t exactly fault them for their confidence as they have the hardware to show for it.
2. Evil Geniuses
- China Top 2016 (1st)
- Mars Dota 2 League 2016 (1st)
- Dota Pit League Season 5 (1st)
- The Kiev Major (3rd-4th)
- The Manila Masters (1st)
- EPICENTER (2nd)
Previous Ranking: 2(-)
As we mentioned in our team profile of Evil Geniuses, the boys in blue have been so good for so long that it’s very easy to take them for granted. However, unlike in previous years, longtime lynchpins, Clinton ‘Fear’ Loomis and Peter ppd’ Dager, are no longer with the team this year; the former now their coach, while the latter now the CEO of the organisation.
So far, newcomer Andreas ‘Cr1t-‘ Nielson has done a fine job of making sure that the team lives up to what’s expected of them. But, as many will tell you, The International is a different beast altogether.
With Evil Geniuses not having finished below 3rd place since TI4, the pressure is now on Cr1t- to ferry the team to the promised land and make history as the first ever organisation to win two TIs.
1. Team Liquid
- StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3 (1st)
- StarLadder i-League Invitational #2 (1st)
- EPICENTER 2017 (1st)
- DreamLeague Season 7 (1st)
Previous Ranking: 1(-)
By any measure and metric of significance, Team Liquid is hands down, the best Dota 2 team in the world right now.
Captained by the winningest player of all time, Kuro ‘KuroKy’ Salehi Takhasomi, the team only becomes even more of a nightmare to play against when you consider they have four heroes – Io, Earthshaker, Keeper of the Light and Lycan – deserving of outright respect bans, as well as the much-improved Amer ‘Miracle-‘ Al-Barkawi on their roster.
Team Liquid may have taken a while to mesh together and hit their stride, but stopping them once they did has, so far, been an exercise in futility.
The Best Dota 2 Team In The World
The metrics may favour Team Liquid, but they’re not exactly as heavy of a favourite as most people would love to think.
As of the moment of writing, Virtus Pro and Evil Geniuses are both equally favoured (4.50) to win The International 7 outright, while Team Liquid and OG are tied (6.00) at a close second, according to bet365.
Who do you think is going to win The International 7 this year? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.
Stats and info courtesy of DatDota or Liquipedia.