The Dota 2 International 2016 – The Invited Teams Preview

We give you all the team news and our best bets for this Dota 2 tournament

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The International DOTA 2 Championships 2016 are Here!

On the 3rd to 13th of August 2016, this year’s Dota 2 International championship will take place. Sixteen teams will battle it out for a prize pot that currently stands at an incredible $18million.

The International DOTA 2 Championships 2016
The International DOTA 2 Championships 2016

In this year’s tournament there will only be 6 invited teams though, instead of the usual 8, with no team from America receiving an invite.

We take a look at these all below, before looking at the international DOTA 2 championships invited teams and the wild cards of the tournament in our next set of e-sports betting tips.

What that leaves us with right now is three European teams, two Chinese teams and one South East Asian team making up the six invites.

This is all in the hope of encouraging greater competition by keeping more top teams fighting it out in the regional qualifiers.

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We’ve also seen two of the biggest teams, Team Secret and Evil Geniuses, missing out on their invites due to breaching rules on roster swapping, though both qualified comfortably, in first place, in the qualifiers.

We’re undoubtedly in for an exciting tournament, so let’s look at the invited teams that are going to be there, and see who we think might challenge for the title.

The real contenders: Team OG

The European side OG are a team in great form. They’ve won two of the three majors this season; The Frankfurt Major back in November 2015, and the most recent Major, The Manila Major, which took place in June.

They did have the disappointment of going out in the first upper bracket round of the Shanghai Major, however this is a little deceiving. After all, whilst they did go out early, it was to the eventual winners Team Secret.

Other than the majors, they’ve also seen wins in ESL One Frankfurt 2016 and Dream League Season 5. They also came in second place in The Summit 5. So they really are looking like real contenders this year.

Having only come to exist in its current form in October 2015, this is a really impressive rise. They’ve kept a consistent lineup since their inception though and have founded their success on a great team spirit – exactly what makes a great e-sport team.

Currently they’re the favourites for this Dota 2 International tournament, sitting at 11/5 with Betway.

Ever the bridesmaids: Team Liquid

The next European side that has entered with an invitation is the well-established side of Team Liquid.

Having competed in both the 2013 and 2014 Dota 2 Invitationals, this will be their third showing. They didn’t compete in Dota 2 at all for over a year, which is why they missed out on the 2015 International tournament.

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Having returned to the Dota 2 competition in October 2015, they’ve shown massively improved form, compared to before their exodus and have gained some big wins. Most notably winning EPICENTER in May.

They were also the runners up in both of the two most recent majors in Manila and Shanghai. They failed to qualify for the Frankfurt Major, as the qualification stage was the first tournament they entered upon returning to Dota 2.

In the premier Dota 2 tournaments there is a bit of a sense of “ever the bridesmaid”, with many second and third/fourth place finishes, and little actual outright winning.

However they have a talented side and should not be ruled out of the running.

Currently they’re 4/1 second favourites with Betway sportsbook which could be a good bet to take if you’re looking for odds a little longer than OG.

Rising from the ashes: NewBee

After being founded in 2014, the Chinese side NewBee had a meteoric rise, winning the Dota 2 International 2014. However 2015 proved to be a very poor year and, in The International 2015, NewBee were knocked out early in the group stages without a single win.

Their poor esports form continued into this season with bad results in both The Frankfurt Major 2015 and Shanghai Major 2015, going out weakly in the group stages of both.

However, due to these poor results, NewBee made two changes to their starting roster, bringing in kpii and Kaka. This showed an almost immediate change in NewBee’s fortunes, qualifying for both EPICENTER and The Manila Major 2016 with ease.

They finished 2nd in the EPICENTER finals, and 3rd in the Manila Major 2016, after which they received their invite to The International Dota 2 tournament.

Currently if you bet at Betway they give you odds of at 6/1, they are the third favourites for the tournament. Having only lost out in premier tournaments recently to OG and Team Liquid, they’re a team on the rise.

A disappointing season: LGD Gaming

The second Chinese side to be invited is LGD Gaming who will be entering their 5th Dota 2 International Championship.

Unfortunately, despite appearing in all but one of The International championships, the best they’ve achieved is a 3rd place finish. This was in 2012, and last year.

The third place finish last year could still be a sign of real promise in this tournament, but their results in this year’s majors have been less than impressive.

The Frankfurt Major and Shanghai Major saw them knocked out in the group stages. The Manila Major was an improvement, where they finished 4th place, which helped to gain them their invitation to this year’s International championship. However this has still been a disappointing season with no wins in the Premier Dota 2 tournaments.

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On Betway, LGD Gaming are the joint sixth favourites with Evil Geniuses at 10/1, not great odds when considering how to bet on esports and on this tournament.

The very long shot: MVP Phoenix

The South Korean team MVP Phoenix are the only invited side from the South East Asia region.

Last season was the first time they competed in the Dota 2 International, when they qualified as a wild card.

Gaining an invited place in the 2016 Dota 2 Internationals shows what an improvement they have made this season.

It started off poorly with them failing to qualify for the Frankfurt Major, however a 4th place finish in Shanghai and making it to the upper bracket round 2 of the Manila Major shows good form. Especially as they were only knocked out of the Manila Major by the winners OG.

They’ve also claimed a few other good results, winning the WePlay Dota 2 League Season 3 for example.

They are without one of their starting players, March, who has left to do two years military service in South Korea. However since March left, their form has not fallen drastically.

Generally it seems that MVP Phoenix don’t really have too much of a chance in this years International tournament. Betway has them at 25/1 odds which places them at 10th favourite in the tournament.

The one to watch: Natus Vincere

The third and final European side to gain an invite is Na’Vi, who’ve competed in the Dota 2 International every year since its inception. Throughout all the esports games, Natus Vincere are consistently a top side, who compete for the major titles.

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In its early years they were absolutely dominant on the Dota 2 competitive scene, winning the International 2011 and coming in 2nd in 2012 and 2013.

More recent years have been more difficult but they are showing some improved form going into this year’s championship.

After failing to qualify for the Frankfurt Major 2015, Na’Vi took the drastic action of releasing it’s entire lineup.

SoNNeikO and Dendi promptly returned and took charge of the rebuild, which has seen a few changes happen over the last six months.

Initially they still struggled, and failed to qualify for the Shanghai Major 2016 as well, however since then they’ve seen a number of good results.

A 3rd/4th finish in the Dota Pit League Season 4, getting knocked out by winners Evil Geniuses, 2nd place at the StarLadder i-League Invitational, 2nd at the ESL One Frankfurt 2016, and 1st in the StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 2, are just some of the really positive results they’ve gained.

They also qualified for the Manila Major 2016 and made it through to the playoffs. They’re only losses in the tournament were to OG and Team Liquid, the winners and runners-up respectively.

Currently they sit at odds of 20/1 on Betway, making them 9th favourites.

Which eSports team should I bet on?

If you wanted to look at slightly longer odds bets, the one that grabs our attention is Natus Vincere. They’re sitting on the second longest odds of the invited teams, but are showing much improved form after their big roster changes.

However if we’re looking more realistically for a team to compete for the overall winner in the Dota 2 International 2016, obviously the favourites are the ones to look at.

OG and Team Liquid are both in the stand out form coming into this competition and have consistently competed in the final rounds of the premier tournaments this season.

It’s somewhat splitting hairs between the two but we’d go with OG.

Not sure how to place an online esports bets? We’ve got all the answers.

Keep an eye out for our future sports betting tips on this Dota 2 International championship, which is likely to bring plenty of surprises.

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