Tundra Esports took home the crown at The International 2022 and look poised to stomp out the competition in the upcoming season.
OG was spawned when former (monkey) Business players banded together under a new banner. Their first breakthrough on the world stage took place in November 2015 during the Frankfurt Major. Pushing through the lower brackets, the then two-year-old team knocked TI5 champions Evil Geniuses and runner-ups CDEC Gaming to take home the grand prize.
In 2018, OG became the first team ever to win The International from the qualifier stages without the fast track afforded by a tournament invite. The gritty nature of OG's style have earned them a huge fan following over the years and they are expected to be a massive draw at the upcoming Western European Division 1 tournament.
Peeking into team performances from the last two years, we can see that OG have racked up significant tournament wins. Having come a long way since their humble origins as a scrappy new team, OG have two impressive ESL One wins from 2022, with the first taking place in Stockholm in May, and the next taking place three months later in Malaysia.
All eyes will be on DM, who joined the European team to replace the outgoing ATF. Despite the inactivity in 2022, DM found himself on the top step of the podium on 5 different occasions in the last two years. How will he fare in his first tournament with a new team since departing Outsiders? We will find out this year.
Tundra Esports was formed when they signed the entire mudgolems roster after the team had qualified for DreamLeague Season 14 DPC EU Upper Division in the Dota Pro Circuit. In their ‘debut’ season under the new name, Tundra rapidly established themselves as a mid-pack team under the able leadership of the veteran Fata, who is widely regarded as the best midlaner in Europe. At the end of the season, Tundra fell just short of qualifying for The International 2021 when they crashed out of the Western European Regional Qualifiers.
They went into 2022 with the same tenacity they had in their first year of competition, picking up coach Aui_200 along the way. In 2022, Tundra would go on a rampage to qualify for all three majors and also finish first in Tour 3. However, they would continue to fall just short by being unable to top third place at the Stockholm Major. Things looked pretty grim when Tundra finished last at the Arlington Major, prompting the team to controversially replace Fata with Saksa.
Despite the grumblings from the community, their tough decision-making would pay off as they topped their group in The International 2022 and only lost a single game throughout the entirety of the playoff stages. At the end of the season, they beat Team Secret 3-0 to become the first team to sweep the Grand Final of The International since the venerable Team Liquid, who swept Newbee in 2017.
Team Liquid has significantly more wins than losses against Team Secret, making them our pick for this matchup.
Team Liquid is categorically one of the biggest and most successful Western Teams. Having been founded at the turn of the millennium in 2000, Team Liquid would grow to gargantuan proportions over the next 20 or so years, racking up more than $24 million in prize winnings to date.
The team’s Dota division wouldn’t be established until 2012, shortly after Teamliquid.net announced its expansion into the coverage of Dota 2. Team Liquid’s Dota effort would turn into a multi-year grind before they would taste gold. They only reached the finals of The International in 2017 as favorites alongside established legends like LGD Gaming, EG and Team Secret.
A 13-3 overall score over LGD gaming would allow Team Liquid to pick their opponents among Virtus.pro or Invictus Gaming. This would prove to be for naught as Team Liquid would go on to lose 1-2 to iG.
Like we mentioned earlier, Team Liquid would go on to sweep The International 2017. We’re stoked to see the only two teams who have swept the International finals competing side by side. Team Liquid have not had a major DPC tournament victory in a while but did finish the last International in a strong 3rd place against their rivals, Team Secret, making them our pick.
Fortunately for Team Secret, their opening match of DPC Western Europe Division 1 is against the team they beat in the finals of The International 2022. However, the team that beat Team Liquid is no longer the same, with Nisha leaving the team to make room for BOOM. Despite their close win over Team Liquid, we have them as underdogs in this matchup because it remains to be seen how they will perform with the new roster.
Team Secret proved the doubters wrong when they made it to the finals of the 2022 International, having clawed their way up from the Last Chance Qualifier only to suffer heartbreaking defeat in the finals. However, second place at the International is no mean feat and Team Liquid will have to be on their toes to comfortably put Team Secret Away.
Before the internationals, Team Secret had two solid third-place performances in ESL Malaysia and in the Riyadh Masters to cap off their 2022 season. 2022 was the team’s best year since their 9-tournament winning stream from 2020. We’ll closely be watching BOOM to determine whether he is the secret ingredient that can help Team Secret finally win gold consistently over an entire season.
Gaimin Gladiators look set to oust the upcoming Indian team in Entity.
Gaimin Gladiators have to bear the burden of being the new kid on the block. 2023 will be only the second season of active competition for the European team. Despite entering the DPC only in 2022, Gaimin Gladiators firmly established themselves as a team to watch out for and are currently ranked #10 in the world.
Their strongest performance to date came during The International 2022, where they placed a respectable 9th-12th place in their first appearance at the tournament. Gaimin Gladiators also finished ESL Stockholm in 4th place, which earned them valuable DPC points and an eventual invite to The International.
Late in 2022, Gaimin Gladiators’ star player would quit to join Team Secret, with Quinn taking his place. This will be the first time the American player will be on a European squad, making it interesting to see whether there really is a difference in the levels of competition between European and American Teams.
Despite having a roster of European players, Entity hold the distinction of being the only non-European team competing in Division 1 of DPC WEU 2023 Tour 1. Formerly known as Entity eSports and Entity Gaming, the Indian team have been grinding away at Dota since 2016 and have finally reached the top tier of international competition.
In 2022, Entity fought their way up from Tier 3 competitions by winning the DPC WEU Tour 1 and the Dota 2 Champions League Season 8 tournament. The team would go on to finish 5th-6th in ESL Malaysia, before winning the qualifiers of The International 2022, where they would finish in a respectable 9th-12th. Despite this string of decent performances, Entity may have their back against the wall against the rising sensations in Gaimin Gladiators. They will need to get creative to find a win in the early stages of the tournament.
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With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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