The International 2018: Groups, Favorites and Predictions
The groups of The International 2018 have finally been decided and we now know who’s playing who in the Group Stage.
- Invictus Gaming
- Evil Geniuses
- Team Liquid
- Winstrike Team
In Group A, the battle will be fierce as no less than 3 teams are top contenders for winning the Aegis of Champions this year. PSG.LGD, Evil Geniuses and Team Liquid are almost guaranteed to secure a ticket for the Upper Bracket of the main event. At the other extreme, OG, Winstrike Team and Invictus Gaming will probably struggle to stay in the tournament and get a chance to play in the Lower Bracket. Chances are very high that one of these 3 teams will finish in 9th place and will be eliminated after the Group Stage.
- paiN Gaming
- Vici Gaming
- Team Secret
- TNC Predator
- OpTic Gaming
- Team Serenity
In Group B, Team Secret, Vici Gaming, Virtus.pro and VGJ.Storm are the main candidates for the top 4 positions that lead to the Upper Bracket of the Main Event. Among the participants who will be struggling to avoid elimination will no doubt be paiN Gaming, TNC Predator and Team Serenity.
Is this balanced?
Upon seeing the groups, part of the community remarked that Group A is much tougher than Group B. And while that certainly seems to be the case, the first question that comes to mind is this: how did Valve decide who goes where? Were the groups randomly formed? Was there some ranking order followed in deciding their composition?
Initially, I thought the two groups would be determined based on the Dota Pro Circuit rankings, at least when it comes to the top 8 teams. So number 1 goes in Group A, number 2 goes in Group B and so on. That would have meant that Virtus.pro and PSG.LGD should be playing in the same group. That’s obviously not the case, so it’s a complete mystery how we arrived at this result.
Schedule for the Group Stage
The Group Stage will be played over a period of 4 days, starting this Wednesday (August 15th). On each day, the matches start at around 7-8 PM (European Time). A total of 20 Bo2 series will be played per day, with 4 of them running simultanously each time. So 5 series of 4 matches in total. On the fourth day, only 12 matches will be played.
The tournament itself takes place in Vancouver, Canada, so if you’re not from Europe, you might have an easier or harder time watching the matches.
Expectation versus reality
Right now, many of the participants seem to be of roughly the same strength and it is still unclear who the potential dark horses may be. But the first day of the tournament will probably clarify things and let us know what the pecking order is. The data we have prior to the event points at 3 main favorites to dominate and win the tournament: Team Liquid, Virtus.pro and PSG.LGD. Everything else is a big question mark for now.