The International 2018 – Hype, Predictions and Participants

The Regional Qualifiers for The International 2018 are over and we finally know who’s going to this year’s TI. Arguably, this is probably the most stacked International “in the history of Dota”, with around a third of the teams being fully capable of reaching the Grand Final and even winning the Aegis of Champions. And if you want to add some fun by taking a bet on Dota 2, you should check our esports betting guide first!


The 18 TI 8 participants were selected from 6 different regions:

  • China: PSG.LGD, Vici Gaming, Newbee, VGJ.Thunder, Invictus Gaming, Team Serenity
  • Europe: Team Liquid, Team Secret, OG
  • CIS:, Winstrike Team
  • North America: Evil Geniuses, OpTic Gaming, VGJ.Storm
  • South America: paiN Gaming
  • Southeast Asia: Mineski, TNC Predator, Fnatic


If I had to split these 18 teams into 3 separate tiers, with tier 1 teams being the strongest and tier 3 teams being the weakest, I would probably do it like this:

Tier 1

  • Team Liquid
  • Team Secret
  • VGJ.Storm
  • OpTic Gaming

Tier 2

  • Vici Gaming
  • Evil Geniuses
  • Newbee
  • paiN Gaming
  • Mineski
  • Fnatic

Tier 3

  • OG
  • VGJ.Thunder
  • Invictus Gaming
  • Team Serenity
  • Winstrike Team
  • TNC Predator

Of course, all of these teams are strong in their own right, otherwise they wouldn’t be here. But some of them are simply better than others at the moment. However, there’s a long way to go until The International 2018 and almost two months of preparation combined with the latest patches can change the pecking order quite dramatically.

With everyone having ample time to analyze the game and prepare drafts and never before seen tactics and strategies, the outcome is likely to favor the strongest captains and the strongest team compositions. Which is why I selected PSG.LGD,, Team Liquid, Team Secret, VGJ.Storm and OpTic Gaming as the 6 tier 1 candidates.

Dates and competitive format

Just like last year, The International 2018 will be played in two stages: Groups and Playoffs.

For the Group Stage (August 15th – 18th), the 18 participants will be divided into 2 groups of 9. In each of these groups, every team plays a Bo2 match against every other team. At the end, the top 4 teams from every group advance to the Upper Bracket of the Playoffs. The next 4 teams advance to the Lower Bracket, while the last placed teams are eliminated.


The Playoffs Stage will take place between August 20th and August 25th and will be played in a double-elimination bracket format. However, just 8 of the remaining 16 teams will start in the Upper Bracket and have two lives instead of one. The first round of the Lower Bracket matches will consist of Bo1 encounters, so the teams will definitely want to avoid that situation. Every other series until the Grand Final (Bo5) will be a Bo3.

All things considered, the most likely teams to win The International 2018 are PSG.LGD, and Team Liquid. But with so many other participants playing so well, having such incredible rosters and going into the greatest tournament of the season with such an impressive collection of top results, this will definitely be the most disputed TI ever.

Check out our Esports Tournaments Wiki section for the latest in the TI9 predictions