Europe had the fewest high-level teams competing in the closed regional qualifier for The International 2019, but Chaos Esports Club still had a lot of trouble during the group stage.
Chaos was the heavy favorite going into the event despite having an almost completely new roster from when they were competing in early Dota Pro Circuit events this season. Their only real competitor when looking at the brackets on paper should have been The Final Tribe, a veteran stack.
With the addition of Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen, Chaos finished their complete rebuild of their roster. Rasmus “MISERY” Filipsen also got a partner to help him plot out drafts and strategies for their opponents. The problem with that here is that most of the other teams don’t have a history playing together.
Because of that, they had a much harder time countering teams like Team Singularity. They managed to take care of every stack built solely for this qualifier, but they dropped games to both of the other top competitors, TFT and Hippomaniacs.
Chaos lost an extremely close game to TFT in the opening match of the event and then split their next four games to end the first day at 2-3. It honestly looked like they were in danger of being eliminated, but they clutched in their final two games to force a tiebreaker with Aachen City Esports and Anti-MagE- for the final two spots in the playoffs.
They again bested both Aachen and Anti to secure the third seed, while Aachen won the final game to eliminate Anti and slide in at fourth. That second-day run saved Chaos’ season and puts them in a good place to fight for one of the final three spots left at TI9.
Hippomaniacs is the big surprise of the tournament thus far, coming in from the open qualifiers to claim the top seed in groups by beating both Chaos and TFT. It is unclear how they will fare when their opponents have time to counterpick them in multiple games, but so far they have been very impressive.
Unfortunately for Chaos, they will have to face their main rival for that final spot in the first round of playoffs. There is no question TFT has the experience and drafting ability to go head-to-head with Chaos so there is no chance to take advantage of the three-game scenario.
The clear advantage Chaos has is that their squad hasn’t played together in many big events, which allows for their strategies to go relatively undetected. TFT is more likely to counter Matu or MISERY rather than a specific strategy, so that may work in their favor.
The playoffs begin at 5am CT on July 13 when Chaos plays TFT and Hippomaniacs will challenge Aachen to see who will move on in upper bracket.