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The International 10: China Region

Mary C

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China Region

Vici Gaming
Team Aster
Invictus gaming





LGD is the favorite team here to win the TI10. 

It is becoming increasingly difficult to claim that anyone else is more deserving of the #1 slot right now. Many had low expectations for the new PSG.LGD after months of dismal results following TI9, and then key players Somnus and fy quitting the squad to create Elephant last summer. Their subsequent efforts, on the other hand, have been nothing short of outstanding, with them finishing in the top four at every tournament they have entered. They finished third in the Singapore Major and then won the AniMajor after crushing EG 3-0 in the grand finale, finishing second on the DPC table. 

PSG actually benched Ame for several months. LGD was one of numerous swaps used by the company during a period of poor performance in early 2020. It is quite the storyline that he will be attending TI10 on a prominent favorite team while some of his old teammates who left him behind have not even qualified. Ame has consistently looked like one of the top three carries in the world for the previous few years, and he appears to be the best right now this season. 

XinQ, a long-time rising support star who has now entered his prime, and TI6 champions y and Faith bian, the banished princes of Chinese Dota who have finally returned to prominence after a long exile in relative obscurity, are among Ame's new companions. Faith bian's offlane talent, as well as captain y's notoriously erratic drafting, helped the former Wings Gaming combo win TI6 as young adolescents. Now, on PSG.LGD, Xiao8 – TI4 champion and perhaps the greatest Dota tactician China has ever produced – is mentoring him, adding to his already immense strategic genius. 

NothingToSay, the world record holder for the highest MMR ever obtained, completes the new lineup. PSG. LGD looked absolutely world-class even without NTS while Xiao8 temporarily filled in for him recently, and with their midlane maestro now reunited with the rest of the squad, they have a lot riding on their shoulders. Many teams have fallen in the face of the TI-favorite curse in the past, but this powerhouse squad instills hope that PSG.LGD will finally be able to claim their long-awaited Aegis this year. Can LGD end OG's back-to-back TI Win? 





Vici Gaming 

Surprisingly, VG has not won a single tournament since 2019, and unlike the five teams listed above them on our list, it appears doubtful that they will be raising the Aegis at TI10. However, it also appears implausible that they will go early, given they have been a consistently high-performing squad that rarely suffers upsets. They finished 3rd in both Chinese regional leagues this year, went 7-8th at the Singapore Major, and finished a strong 4th at the AniMajor. This summer they have also been the runner-up in two Chinese domestic tournaments, indicating that they are not showing any signs of dropping their current impressive form 

Their consistent results are a result of their consistent play. Ori, the midlaner, and Dy, the hard support, are practically one club men, having spent nearly their entire careers with VG and so always seeming to know exactly what their team requires of them in any given game. old eLeVeN is now one of China's most experienced offlaners, with years of LAN experience gained as a member of many high-performing teams, and post-TI9 acquisition Pyw has looked like the team's MVP for the majority of the last two years. 

Despite being regarded as VG's weak link, poyoyo has steadily developed into a reliable late-game force over his time with the squad. At least in part, his progress can be attributed to VG's great new coaches, Fenrir and QQQ. Both had exceptional playing records at The International, with three top-six finishes and a grand finals appearance between them. While Fenrir is making his coaching debut, QQQ was the driving force behind LGD's dominance from TI7-9, and was also VG's coach when they finished second at TI4. 

Vici Gaming should be on track for another good finish at this year's International with such smart minds and their cocky strategies. 





Team Aster 

Failing to qualify for TI9 and never making the top eight at any of the Majors they have competed in, Team Aster has never had much success at major events. Aster has been plagued by squad changes since its beginning due to the team's failure to live up to the high expectations of its demanding fanbase. They appear to have found a successful formula now however, following the acquisition of LaNm back in November last year. 

Their new captain is one of the most experienced players in the game, having spent the majority of Dota 2's existence in China as one of the top players. LaNm came in second place at the inaugural International in 2011, and he and Puppey are the only two players from that tournament to have qualified for TI10. His illustrious career has featured appearances at nine Internationals (all but TI7), a feat only KuroKy, iceiceice, and, of course, Puppey have achieved. 

LaNm recently lead Royal Never Give Up to a surprising 7th-8th place finish at The International 9, thanks in large part to Monet's outstanding contributions for the squad. Monet has been one of the more underrated Chinese carry in recent years, despite coming third at TI7 in his International debut, yet no one can disagree that he appears to be at his best when playing in combination with LaNm. 

Long-time colleagues Xxs and Borax, who have already played the second most games together of any pair in Dota 2, and whose ease familiarity with one another's style of play is obvious from their well-synchronized laning in the offlane together, are also featured on Aster. White Album, the team's midlaner, is still a relative newcomer to top-level competition, and as such is frequently viewed as a weak link; nevertheless, Aster's strong sidelanes usually compensate for any deficit in the midlane. 






PSG.LGD and Vici Gaming reigned supreme as China's finest teams, and by extension, two of the best in the world, for nearly two years. Then, this summer, rumors began to circulate that two of each team's finest players would be teaming up to form a new super-squad. Given the stellar service records of the fan-favorite athletes involved, the excitement surrounding this new all-star team was palpable. Elephant, like so many other similar ventures that aim to bring together the best individual talents, has so far fallen short of expectations as a whole. 

They got off to a fast start, coming second in their first tournament and then won two consecutive online events to end the year. Despite their great start, they were unable to maintain their position in the Chinese DPC leagues this year, finishing fifth in both and therefore missing out on either of the Majors. Elephant made a roster change as a result of the poor results, dropping RedPanda — the team's only relative unknown – and replacing him with Super as their new hard support. This decision paid off immediately, as the strengthened roster won the second Chinese TI qualifier, clinching their spot at TI10. 

Elephant's players have all competed in The International before, and they have all had outstanding results. Along with Puppey and KuroKy, Super, Somnus, and fy are three of only five players to have finished in the top four on four separate occasions, and all three have previously reached the grand finals. While Eurus and Yang do not have the same TI history as their more experienced teammates, they are both two-time major champions, an accomplishment that would easily be the highlight of most other teams. 

Elephant's absence from this year's majors can be partially excused when one considers that the other Chinese teams who gatekept them went on to win both competitions. Even if they are only China's fifth best team, they are likely better than most of the international opponents they will currently face. Given these players' remarkable recent accomplishments, particularly at The International, it is difficult not to have high hopes for them at TI10.  

Somnus and fy are two of the best players in the game's history, and being part of such an incredibly skilled team, it would be a dream come true to get to see them eventually win the most prestigious title of them all. 



747 LIVE THE INTERNATIONAL 10: Invictus Gaming


Invictus Gaming 

With the addition of TI7 silver medalist Kaka, the current generation of iG was completed in late 2019. With his arrival, the squad rapidly made a name for itself, placing third and then fifth and sixth at the Chengdu and Leipzig Majors, respectively. They had a relatively quiet pandemic season last year, but with the reintroduction of DPC events this year, they have risen to new heights, finishing first in the Chinese regional league and then winning the Singapore Major in a stunning 3-2 reverse sweep over Evil Geniuses. 

They have been less successful in the second half of the DPC, but this appears to be due to iG relaxing after having already secured their TI qualification rather than the squad truly falling down. To their credit, their unexpected early exit from the AniMajor was due to a BO1 tie-breaker loss in the wild card stage where the surviving Vici Gaming and Team Nigma both finished in the top six. Not to mention the fact that they were forced to play with their coach as a stand-in after Oli contracted Covid-19 as a result of their tireless support. 

We have seen iG play seriously and with their entire roster, and they have looked fantastic. Many of their players had not previously been highly rated as individuals, but when they are combined in this lineup, the squad appears to be far greater than the sum of its parts. Perhaps the only exception is Emo, the team's youngest player and a tremendous talent who appears to be on his way to becoming China's top midlaner right now. With such a well-coordinated team surrounding their talismanic young star, iG have demonstrated that they are capable of defeating the world's finest teams. 

iG, on the other hand, has a losing record versus all of the other Chinese teams competing at TI10 — with the exception of Elephant (still only 11-9 in their favour). And, with so many of their regional opponents looking like they will go all the way in the competition, iG could find themselves dropping important series to their compatriots. Also, Kaka is the only member of the team who has already participated at an International, and even their Major experience may not be enough to prepare them for the TI mainstage which is a totally other beast. 

We can say that Invictus Gaming will give us a heck of a fight. 

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