The International 2019 Group Stage Preview
The International 2019 is starting tomorrow and the two groups have finally been revealed. The 18 teams have been divided and the battle for the Upper Bracket and Lower Bracket spots is about to begin. In this article, I will give you a brief analysis of The International 2019 group stage with predictions about who I think will qualify for the Main Event and who will get eliminated.
The International 2019 Group A
Group A of The International 2019 has the following competitors:
- Team Secret
- Team Liquid
- TNC Predator
- Keen Gaming
- Chaos Esports Club
I’ve listed these teams based on what their strength is relative to each other. This, of course, may have changed in the six weeks of preparations that took place prior to The International 2019. But the data that we currently have clearly indicates this pecking order. Should changes happen, they will likely involve Alliance and PSG.LGD at the top, and possibly Chaos and Mineski at the bottom.
This group contains two of the potential dark horses of the tournament: Alliance and TNC Predator. Both have the potential to produce some shocking upsets and in TNC’s case, I fully expect that to happen. The team had a rough start of the season but then quickly recovered and turned into a world-class competitor.
The addition of Heen, Liquid’s former coach, was clearly felt both at ESL One Birmingham (5th – 6th) as well as EPICENTER Major (4th). This final tournament of the Dota Pro Circuit clearly proved that TNC is a scary team right now. They not only won their group, but then went on to play in the Semifinals of the Upper Bracket and almost defeat Vici Gaming, who then went on to win the entire tournament.
The International 2019 Group B
Group B of The International 2019 has the following competitors:
- Vici Gaming
- Evil Geniuses
- Ninjas in Pyjamas
- Royal Never Give Up
- Natus Vincere
In this group, the first three teams are vastly stronger than the rest, while the final two are vastly weaker than the rest. In between, anything could happen. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing OG, RNG and Fnatic compete. All these teams have a lot of potential, but we haven’t seen them do very well throughout the season. They all had their moment in the spotlight, but the consistency was certainly not there.
One big question mark in this group is NiP. The team’s captain, ppd, is famous for his consistency at The International, where he won once, placed 3rd two more times and finished 7th – 8th last year with OpTic Gaming. The fact that he managed to bring such a low-skilled team into the top eight was nothing short of a miracle.
This year, pdd has a much stronger team and everyone will be watching. One thing to consider however is the fact that NiP as an organization has recently gone through a large-scale scandal, after it was revealed that they made a lot of questionable decisions over the last 5-7 years. It’s hard to say how that might affect their Dota 2 team, but if the roster starts playing bad, one of the causes will likely be the one I’ve just mentioned. Nevertheless, keep an eye on these guys because they could go either way: to the heights of glory or to the depths of failure.
Thanks for joining us for a closer look at The International 2019 group stage! Stay tuned for more coverage as the event continues!