If there is one thing that can enhance your enjoyment of the International, it is having an emotional investment in a team. While there are many teams worth your attention, today we will focus on those with a rich history and a personal connection to the International.
Team Spirit: A Legendary Comeback
Team Spirit made history by winning the biggest International two years ago, but then seemed to disappear until a few months ago. However, their awakening was nothing short of spectacular. They achieved back-to-back victories at both Riyadh Master and DreamLeague Season 21, showcasing their impressive form and providing incredible entertainment for viewers.
What sets Team Spirit apart is their ability to create winning situations even when everything seems to be against them. They approach Dota as a game of bluffing rather than pure economics, especially when they are at a disadvantage. Like playing poker while everyone else is playing chess, they take big risks and make miraculous comebacks that leave audiences in awe. Given their consistent success, it is clear that skill, not luck, is on their side. As a result, they are the favorites to win it all. Or are they?
Gaming Gladiators: The Curse of Consistency
Teams that perform well throughout the season often struggle at the International. They become the prime targets for study and analysis, placing them under immense pressure. This may explain why Gaming Gladiators didn’t perform at their best in recent big third-party tournaments.
While they did achieve victory at BetBoom Dacha, this was a relatively small tournament with weaker competition. On bigger stages, their results have been less impressive. They were eliminated in the first round of playoffs at DreamLeague and only managed to secure fourth place at Riyadh Masters. Although respectable, this is not the kind of performance expected from a team that has won every Major this season.
It’s possible that Gaming Gladiators are saving their strength for the most prestigious tournament of the year, but it could also be a case of simple fatigue. Currently, they are still considered among the favorites, but they must regain their Major-winning form to have a chance at claiming victory.
Team Legacy and Team Honor: Legends in the Making
If the fate of the Aegis depended on a team’s contributions to the game’s history, it would be a tough decision between Team Legacy and Team Honor. Both teams have legendary players with rich histories and have consistently delivered incredible performances over the years. Yet, neither has managed to secure the Aegis.
Another team worth watching is Shopify Rebellion. Just a few months ago, they were seen as a B-list team at Riyadh. However, they have since learned from their mistakes and shown remarkable growth. Although they ultimately fell to Team Spirit in the Grand Finals of DreamLeague, their potential is undeniable. If they continue to learn and grow, they will be a force to be reckoned with.
On the other hand, Azure Ray is a dark horse in the competition. Few believed they would make it through the CN qualifiers, but here they are, with players like Somnus and Fy representing the team at the International. It’s difficult to assess their strengths based on regional performances, but they did manage to defeat formidable opponents in Team Aster and Xtreme Gaming.
Both Team Legacy and Team Honor have come agonizingly close to claiming victory, making them deserving contenders for the Aegis. While it feels right to root for them, be prepared for possible heartbreak once again.
Team Liquid: Consistently Second Best, But Hungry for More
Team Liquid finds themselves in a peculiar position of constantly being the runner-up in the tournament. This consistency is commendable and a testament to their high skills and discipline. However, can they go one step further and be crowned as the Champion?
It is our belief that they have the potential to do so. Team Liquid is not a dark horse team but rather a team that feels just one mental switch away from becoming the most dominant force in professional Dota. They display clean plays, solid laning stages, and rarely make mistakes.
What might be missing is that extra spark of madness and chaos to complement their discipline. They made attempts to venture out of their comfort zone at DreamLeague, but unfortunately, these attempts failed spectacularly. Hopefully, they have learned from their mistakes and adjusted their strategies accordingly. Taking such risks and adjusting their playstyle late in the season could be a game-changer for Team Liquid, propelling them out of the shadows and into the spotlight.
Join Us in Rooting for the Most Interesting Teams
These are our picks for the most captivating teams to support during the International. However, there is plenty of room for differing opinions. Feel free to share your favorite team in the comments below and tell us why you are cheering for them. Who knows, you may find others joining you as fans of your chosen team.