China retains the highest amount of competitors from any single country for The International 2019 with 18 players, but it’s a record low for any edition of TI.
A tweet by Paul “Redeye” Chaloner, a Dota 2 panel host and likely candidate for the job at TI9, revealed that China simultaneously holds both the highest and lowest player counts for TI—highest for the current edition and lowest in history. Considering that this is the first International held in China, it’s likely a disappointing result for fans of Chinese Dota.
The record for the most players from a single country was set at TI5 and TI8, which hosted 27 Chinese players. While TI5 had four Chinese teams in the top six, TI8 had PSG.LGD as the lone representative in the top eight.
Curiously, both events were won by Western squads against Chinese teams. Evil Geniuses took home the TI5 trophy against CDEC, while OG completed a Cinderella comeback against PSG.LGD in 2018.
Additionally, one of China’s most famed organizations will be going to TI with a North American roster. Newbee’s main Chinese squad failed to qualify for The International and they’ll be watching from home while the ex-Forward Gaming team head to TI wearing Newbee’s colors.
The Philippines takes the second spot for the second year in a row with nine players attending TI and rising star Kim “Gabbi” Villafuerte making his TI debut. Sweden is in third with six players. Legendary Swedish organization Alliance is making its return to the event with an overhauled roster, along with Norwegian Tommy “Taiga” Le, who helps Norway make its debut at the event.
The top five spots are rounded out by Malaysia and Russia with five apiece. All five Malaysians are from different teams, with only Kam “Moon” Boon Seng playing for a Southeast Asian team, while Russian organization Virtus Pro is responsible for four of its brethren.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. This doesn’t spell the end of Chinese Dota. If China couldn’t bring home the Aegis with 27 players, maybe 18 competitors with home-field advantage will be the lucky charm.
The International 2019 starts on Aug. 15. The grand finals will take place on Aug. 25, regardless of whether a Chinese team makes it that far.
For a full list of players attending The International and their nationalities, check out Liquipedia’s event page for TI9.