Click to read Skrilla's guide to the Dota 2 teams to watch within the 2018-2019 season, from OG to Fnatic to Team Liquid, understand who to pay attention to.
When it comes to esports, Dota2 is one of the best and if you haven't picked a team to follow yet, well, you suck. But suck no more my comrade. Here is an overview of the Dota2 teams that are bound to do some damage in the 2018/19 season which will help you in picking a team you can get behind. And if you already have a favourite team, well read on anyway, you may find some pointers which you could use to your advantage when placing Dota2 bets.
As you watch games you'll probably spot players that you like too. This is a good thing to do, as many Dota2 teams are constantly changing rosters, so you don't want to be left following a team full of players that don't really grill your cheese. Many long-term fans follow their favoured players from team to team, but picking a roster or two to keep an eye on is a great way to get introduced to the scene, so let's dive in.
VP's origins trace back to the first truly dominant team in competitive Dota2, Na'Vi. They have inherited their predecessor's aggressive style, mixed it with a pinch of discipline, resulting in a very potent roster.
Watching a VP game is as much fun as it is educational. VP are the dominant force in the CIS region, and have been for some time now. With stellar performances throughout the year, ranking #1 on the Dota2 Pro Circuit standings, VP was set to launch into TI with the wind in their sails.
However, VP have had problems sealing the deal, and this has earned them a reputation for choking in clutch rounds when playing The International (TI). TI8 was unfortunately no different, VP came in 5th-6th, which would be a great result for many teams but a major let down for VP who were widely considered the clear favourite heading in to the event. Now they've changed their coach, but kept the same line-up and the VP bear is primed for the the new season, their eyes ever fixated on TI.
Team liquid is a well known franchise in the esports world with teams across all the major titles. When it comes to Dota2, Team Liquid never really found any success until they picked up Kuroky’s freshly formed stack in 2015, following some internal issues between Kuroky and Puppey.
Liquid has seen some of the most consistent success among the top teams in recent years. Liquid was a strong team from inception, coming second at 2 majors. They then picked up Miracle- and GH to round off their line up. This gave Liquid some of the highest MMR players in the scene at the time and they were able to beat high level teams purely on mechanical skills. Liquid dominated the scene leading to TI7, beating Chinese titans Newbee in the TI7 final to claim the Aegis.
Since then Liquid has had no further roster changes and has staved off the “TI curse” that has previously cursed championship teams to a rapid fall from grace. TI8 saw liquid take 4th place, getting knocked out by EG after a powerful season. Since then Liquid has gone on hiatus citing health concerns from the players, but I expect great things when they return.
OG was formed when good friends Notail and Fly decided to part from the then superstar line-up of Team Secret. OG has seen massive success, boasting the largest amount of valve Major tournament victories.
Australian player Ana joined the team after Miracle- departed for team Liquid, filling the gap in the midlane and producing some great performances. OG saw much success with this new roster, becoming the major kings and holding many world records. 2018 started shakily for OG, with many analysts declaring the team to be stagnant and struggling. Coupled with roster issues, OG looked set to have a rough outing at TI8.
However, some late dramatic roster shifts saw founding members Fly and s4 leave the team a month before TI, setting OG up for the greatest Cinderella story in Dota2 history. In a stunning rebuke of widespread community and expert doubt, OG managed to win TI8 in spite of the last minute roster shuffles. After the stress of TI8, OG has gone on break, missing the 1st major of the season.
Large and loud is how I’d describe EG. Winners of TI5 under the leadership of PPD, EG have long dominated the North American scene. While not an all-American team, everything they do screams USA.
The teams' climb to infamy spawned off the back of PPD, who wasn’t a stranger to a bit of twitter drama. In an unlikley twist he could actually back up his online chat with strong performances, reforming the volatile NA scene into a force to be reckoned with. PPD has long since left the team, but his leadership and propensity to speak his mind has lived on, ingrained forever in the EG culture.
EG now boast some of the largest talent in the scene, including arguably the strongest mechanical midlaner in the world, Sumail. TI8 saw this newly formed squad in action, surprising critics and securing a top 3 finish after its formation a month prior. EG now look to the new season, ever improving, ever looking to dominate, ever looking to stir the pot.
Team secret formed as an all-star team in the wake of TI4 with the intention to give power back to the players. Since then Team Secret has hosted some of the greatest talents in Dota2 with incredible bouts of skill and dominance. However a TI victory has eluded Secret, proving that individual mechanical skill isn’t everything.
Led and founded by captain Puppey, legendary captain of Na'Vi, Team Secret are always a formidable unit. Many in the know attribute Secret's success to Puppey's force of will and leadership abilities, marshalling players of varied nationalities and levels of experience into a cohesive outfit.
However, consistency remains the biggest issue for the team. Although Secret have managed a Major win, they have hovered in the middle of the pack in most other tournaments. TI8 saw this trend continue with Team Secret finishing a respectable 5th-6th. Secret once again reshuffled their roster in the wake of their TI performance, with the return of Zai and a fresh face in Nisha. It will be interesting to see if this most recent reshuffle will finally take them to the top.
Originally an EU organisation, Fnatic stepped into the South East Asia region in 2015 after acquiring Team Malaysia. They’ve always hovered around the top teams but have struggled to maintain consistent success.
Fnatic became more of an international team in late 2017. Hosting stars like American player Universe, winner of TI5, and Canadian EternalEnvy, the polarising talent known for his highly unorthodox strategies and mercurial performances. After a considerable amount of good results but no tournament wins, they came into TI8 looking a solid contender. However after a disappointing performance they ended up being eliminated in the 1st round of the main stage and finished 13th-16th.
The international stars have since left leaving a more local team with some of the best South East Asia players. The young talent of Abed and Dj have remained and are now joined by SEA veterans like the fan favourite IceIceIce and the stoic MP who provides leadership and stability to the team. They’ve performed well in the 1st Major qualifiers, impressively only dropping 1 game, reminding everyone why they’re a force to be reckoned with in SEA.
An organisation best known for success with a team in CS:GO, they originally came to Dota2 in 2015, picking up a relatively unknown Nordic roster. Disappointing results lead to NiP dropping and reforming their roster multiple times. NiP was a constant second fiddle to Alliance in the European region, and they never saw meaningful success outside of EU tournaments.
Dropping their last squad after their failure to qualify for TI7, NiP has picked up a more international roster including ex-Team Secret players Fata and Ace. The squad possess a lot of talent, but more interestingly it is being captained by American PPD, captain of the TI5 winning EG. Nicknamed the Salt Lord, PPD is considered one of the greatest captains of all time, every team he touches seems to turn to gold. We saw this last season with his Optic Gaming squad, and I’m interested to see where he can take NiP. It will be worth keeping an eye on NiP this season.
LGD is China’s premier team. Both the oldest and most consistent, LGD figuratively and literally runs the Chinese scene. With outstanding performances like 3rd place at TI5, 4th at TI7, and a recent 2nd place at TI8, LDG boast an impressive record.
Currently led by the legendary support player FY, LGD were the favourites to win TI8 after taking over the scene in March securing a Major victory. They pulled up just short going down to OG in the final. With a multitude of lower tier teams producing players for them, LDG possess the youngest and greatest talent the Chinese scene has to offer. While the Chinese scene is often isolated from the rest of the world it can be tricky to gauge their current standings, however you can always be sure LGD will give you their best and will always be a tough opponant.
Lead by the popular Sccc, Newbee is a more stylistically western Chinese team, playing at a faster tempo with a greater capacity for adaptation than Chinese teams have historically shown. This style of play has placed Newbee amongst the top tier of teams for the past 3 years.
TI7 saw Newbee take 2nd place to a near unstoppable Liquid, being featured in Valve's own documentary 'True Sight'. A win would have marked for the first time, a team or player winning two TI’s, as TI4 saw a Newbee victory. Leading up to TI8 Newbee really struggled to find any consistent success, only winning 1 event in January of 2018. This led to an incredibly disappointing performance, ending 13th-16th, eliminated in their one and only main stage game. The team has reshuffled after TI8 with Kpii leaving the team. A now purely Chinese roster lead by Sccc, they will be hungry for redemption.
My tip for The International 2019 winner: Virtus Pro