With only four teams locked in for The International 2019, the second to last Major of the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit has a lot on the line for the other top contenders.
Evil Geniuses, Team Secret, Vici Gaming, and Virtus Pro have already punched their tickets to Dota 2’s biggest event, but the MDL Disneyland Paris Major is host to 12 others who still need to make the cut.
The 16 teams competing in the event have been divided into four groups, with most of those lineups looking set for a tough opening stage. Group A hosts Virtus Pro, the current top team in the world, along with Team Liquid, Keen Gaming, and the recently-signed beastcoast roster.
Virtus looks like they have a relatively easy road to at least the upper bracket, if not a top seed, but both Liquid and Keen have given them trouble in the past. The former Team Team roster that just signed with beastcoast has yet to fully prove themselves on a Major stage, but they do have several players with a history playing in big events.
Group B is by far the most top-heavy, leaving Secret as the heavy favorite to come out of the opening stage as a top seed. Ninjas in Pyjamas, the winner of the OGA Dota PIT Minor have some good momentum going in and Chaos Esports Club have performed well throughout their DPC appearances this season.
The big question mark in this group is Team Empire, who are competing in their first DPC event of the season. Secret might be the heavy favorite, but they did suffer an upset in the last tournament, which opens the door for it to happen again here.
In Group C, things balance themselves out again, leaving viewers with a group that will likely trade matches throughout the event.
Vici and LGD Gaming have both played well as of late, with Vici already headed to TI9 after their insane win at DreamLeague Season 11. Mineski and the newly-signed paiN Gaming lineup, formerly Butterfly Effec, have some ground to make up, but nothing is off the table in this group.
The final group might just have the most talented lineup of any single group this season. Featuring EG, Fnatic, OG, and compLexity Gaming, there will be no easy matches in Group D.
CompLexity is by far the weakest of the three rosters in their group, but despite holding top positions in the DPC rankings, neither EG or Fnatic have looked unbeatable this season. That leaves some room for both compLexity and the former TI8 winners, OG, to make a move for the upper bracket.
Teams competing at this event are battling for their share of $1,000,000 and 15,000 Pro Circuit Points that make up MDL Disneyland’s prize pool.
Any placements in the top three will likely ensure a team makes it into TI9 if they aren’t already guaranteed a spot. For teams like Fnatic and LGD that are right on the verge of qualifying, this could make or break their entire season.
The first Dota Major to be held in Paris will run from May 4 to 12, with the first match pitting Virtu against the new beastcoast roster at 3am CT. The main event will be held at the Disney Events Arena starting May 9.