Dota 2 The International 10 Team Profile: SG Esports

by in Dota 2 | Sep, 29th 2021

As North American organizations and teams depart from games like CSGO and Dota 2, it seems as though the South American region is left with the titles that the United States and Canada no longer have interest in. The growth of the South American market can be attributed to the increased stability of internet infrastructure in key areas like Brazil. According to Internet World Stats, the percentage of internet penetration in Brazil is 74.8% in 2021 with a total 160 million Brazillians actively using the internet at any time, making it the largest population in South America actively online. With the rise of internet usage comes more players, but the staples of Brazil’s gaming past, Counter-Strike and Dota, still see active play and popularity. Brazil has a long history with Valve titles as many Brazilians have fond memories of games like Counter-Strike 1.6 and teams like Made in Brazil. However, Dota 2 has often played second fiddle to Counter Strike in the region, and nowadays the Brazilian Dota 2 scene is overshadowed by Peru, despite Brazil’s larger internet penetration, active population, and the ubiquity of PCs in most Brazilian homes. As an organization, SG Esports’ involvement in Dota 2 represents a dedication to Brazil’s gaming past, an infatuation with highly competitive games that could run on simple PCs and offer endless hours of entertainment. Now, they’ll be the second Brazilian team to ever compete at The International for Dota 2, with The International 10 being the first TI for some SG esports players. But what is about SG Esports that sets them apart from other South American teams competing at this year’s TI? What’s so significant about them and the Brazilian region that makes them captivating as a story, let alone competitors?

We’ve been doing team profiles on Dota 2 teams participating at The International 10. Leading up to the first day of group stages, the goal is to provide detailed team profiles on all teams competing to give new viewers and returning fans improved insight for this year’s event. If you’re curious, check out profiles we’ve published on Team Undying, Elephant, OG, Team Spirit, and Fnatic. As always, stay on the lookout for more blogs on The International 10 to come in the future.

Who are SG esports? The Lone Hope For Brazil and a Monument to Brazil’s Gaming Past

SG Esports is one of the few Brazilian esports organizations participating in Dota 2 at the highest level. PaIN Gaming, the first Brazilian team to qualify for The International back in 2018, was also active in South American Dota 2 prior to their disbanding in 2020. NoPing e-sports, founded in 2018, still remains active, but it seems as though the top level of Dota 2 in the Brazilian region is immensely tight-knit. 

Back in 2017, SG esports became the first Brazilian team to both qualify and participate in a Valve Major tournament when they qualified for the Kiev Major. They would surprisingly beat Team Secret during the main event of the Kiev Major, but this achievement should be taken with a grain of salt as this roster of Team Secret can be considered one of the weaker iterations of the team in their history. SG esports would exit the Kiev Major with an impressive 8th place finish. 

SG esports’ achievement at the Kiev Major wouldn’t be replicated throughout the rest of the 2017-2018 season as the team fell short of qualifying for The International 2017 and fail to qualify for events like EPICENTER XL, Dreamleague Season 8, and the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018 despite taking 2nd place during qualifiers. SG esports’ would see dwindling performance and disappointing results leading to the organization disbanding the team and ceasing operations in 2019. SG esports would announce their departure from the esports scene in a Twitlonger, only three years after the creation of their Dota 2 team.

However, an announcement from Valve regarding the restructuring of the Dota Pro Circuit would bring SG esports back to Dota 2 competition. 

Near the beginning of 2020, Valve announced the removal of Minors and the introduction of Regional Leagues. The Minors typically presented a challenge for teams coming from less developed regions like South America as they would have to compete against teams from more competitive regions like China and CIS for the opportunity to compete at Majors. The creation of Regional Leagues meant that the top teams in South America now had better chances to qualify for Majors and compete for larger prize pools, even if it meant that they would wash out against more experienced teams. While SG esports would remain dormant for most of 2020, they would return to Dota 2 competition at the beginning of 2021.

SG esports – Recent Results & Roster Changes

Roster reshuffles are pretty standard in the South American region, and it has become commonplace for players in South America to travel to regions like CIS or North America to try and learn from more developed regions. Teams like B8 saw Brazilian players like Sexyfat, Duster, and RdO on the roster, and SG esports’ Costabile and Tavo found themselves on North American teams like Chaos, Demon Slayers, and Team Team.

At the tail end of 2020, SG esports would sign Team Brazil, consisting of former players from the inaugural days of the team, along with NoPing’s KJ. Kingrd would be replaced in early march by Tavo, who had also played with Team Brazil and with SG esports in the past. For Brazilian fans, the 2021 roster of SG esports saw many of Brazil’s best players reunited on the same squad. With the inclusion of KJ as the new team captain and in-game leader, it’s possible that this may be the best fully Brazilian team that SG esports has had on its roster in a long time. Recent results for SG esports are unfortunately quite disappointing, as the team failed to qualify for both Majors this year. SG esports came in third during the first season of the OGA DPC South America Regional League and utterly washed out against most of the South American tier 1 teams in the second season, taking 6th place out of a total of eight competitors.

Their biggest achievement of the entire year for SG esports was winning the South American qualifier for The International 10. Their win against Team Unknown saw them shutting down the relatively young squad 3-1, utilizing popular meta picks like Slark, carry Axe, and roaming support duos like Mirana, Nyx, and Lion. The win at the South American qualifier could be considered a fluke, as the biggest challenger to all SA teams, NoPing e-sports, would see themselves eliminated early during the upper bracket of the tournament in crazy quick games by Infinity, who honestly won their games based on superior drafts that utilized far more active core heroes.Afterwards, SG esports would compete in the OGA Dota Pit Invitational 2021 where they were quickly knocked to lower bracket by Team Tundra, the European dark horse challenging some of the best teams in the world despite not making it to The International 10. A 1-2 loss to southeast asian team T1 (perhaps the best team in SEA right now) would see them eliminated from the tournament and take 6th place. 

Based on these results, what can we expect from SG esports at The International 10?

SG esports – Predictions for The International 10 for Dota 2

SG esports play style embodies what the South American region is most known for: extremely volatile drafts that will aggressively dive towers and fight the opponent. The team relies a lot on 4dr to make plays from the midlane that allow Costabile to farm and for the team to snowball off of teamfight gold and early tower kills, opening the map up for more aggressive rotations. An unfortunate obstacle for SG esports lies in how they’ve been slow to adapt to patch changes that have routinely been coming out week after week leading up to The International 10. SG esports likes to experiment with heroes like Io and Zeus but oftentimes will fail to capitalize on these heroes’ strengths. Most of their hero variety comes from the midlane, which makes counter picking around SG esports’ other lanes easy for opponents.

Aggressive support plays are typical for SG esports as Thiolicor and KJ seem kind of uncomfortable playing sustain or defensive supports like Shadow Demon or Winter Wyvern. The team really seems to enjoy attempting unusual support picks like the support Tidehunter and Windranger as they suit SG esports’ aggressive playstyle, but they unfortunately fall short using these heroes. SG esports will have to contend against superior teams coming from their region as well as teams coming from more competitive regions like Europe, CIS, and especially China. They could see good results against teams like Undying and Thunder Predator, but even the weaker teams from China like Elephant and Team Aster will be able to dispatch SG esports quite readily.

If SG esports are able to make it to the main event of The International 10 for Dota 2, that in itself will be a great accomplishment for them. However, the likelihood of them going all the way remains highly unlikely. Brazilian fans will no doubt attach themselves to SG esports and support them in their run for the Aegis at The International 10. South America is a developing region, and with Brazilian gamers looking at newer, competitive titles and transitioning to mobile gaming, this may be the last opportunity for SG esports to win The Dota 2 International. Should they somehow manage to do so, it’ll be a story for the ages.


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