TNC Pro Team
Members: Raven, Kuku, Sam_H, eyyou, DeMoN
Origin: Philippines, USA
Heroes to look out for: Tinker, Enchantress, Beastmaster
World-roaming American support player DeMoN joins an array of talent from the Philipines including former Mineski midlaner Kuku. This is a roster that has proven itself to be competitive within the SEA region—after all, they won the SEA qualifier—but whose viability on the world stage is questionable. They've not competed in many events of this scale, although DeMoN has been a fixture at the International as part of many different teams over the last couple of years.
What TNC have going for them is the fact that they're very likely to be underestimated by their opponents, and doing so can be fatal at the International. This proved to be the case in the group stage, as TNC surprised viewers with 2-0 victories over both Wings and LGD. They fell short elsewhere, however, and will begin the main event in the lower bracket: but having begun the event in relative obscurity, there's reason to believe that they could survive to cause further upsets in the lower bracket.
Vici Gaming Reborn
Members: Mikasa, Zyf, Nono, fy, DDC
Origin: China, Macau
Heroes to look out for: Queen of Pain, Rubick, Weaver
Formerly Vici Gaming's second team Potential, Reborn have performed solidly lately although they're like to be seen as a weaker team than Chinese counterparts LGD and Wings. There's a lot of storied talent in their roster, however, including legendary support players fy and DDC. Midlaner Nono is newer to the scene, having only played professionally for a year.
Like LGD, Vici Gaming Reborn have been hit with visa problems. Offlaner Yang failed to secure his in time to compete in the tournament, so he'll be replaced by coach Mikasa for the duration of the tournament. Mikasa has a lot of history with the team, having filled in effectively for Nono earlier in the year at the StarLadder i-League Invitational, which VGR won. The last minute substitution does appear to have hurt VGR, however, as they came last in their group with a 4-10 record.
Members: Resolut1on, MiSeRy, Moo, w33, Saksa
Origin: Ukraine, Denmark, USA, Romania/Syria, Macedonia
Heroes to look out for: Meepo, Invoker, Lion
DC is a team with a tremendously diverse roster, a grab bag of talent from different teams and regions. Support misery is one of the longest-serving and most versatile players in Europe, while Ukrainian carry Resolut1on joins after a long stint with Empire. w33 is a high level midlaner who became part of DC after falling victim to another Team Secret reshuffle, while Moo and pubstar Saksa are relatively new to the scene.
In that sense, Digital Chaos are a happy byproduct of the Dota 2 scene's instability: an unlikely alliance that is nonetheless capable of placing respectably at top-tier events. And they have emerged as this year's surprising underdog success story, going on a 11-3 tear that is only surpassed by the equally-surprising performance of EHOME. Almost everybody underestimated DC, but they won't any more: they're a rogue's gallery of talent and now they've provided that they've got the coordination and the ideas to translate it into consistent success. Beginning the main event in the upper bracket, they stand to go far.
Members: Mushi, MidOne, Ohaiyo, DJ, 343
Origin: Malaysia, Philippines
Heroes to look out for: Puck, Batrider, whatever Mushi wants to play today
South East Asian team Fnatic have had a consistent run of mid-table finishes at premier events over the last year, with their disappointing early exit from the Frankfurt Major eventually giving way to better results in Shanghai and Manila. This is a talented but inconsistent team that lives perennially on the fringe of the top tier.
Carry Mushi is one of the legends of the game, an extremely versatile presence with a deep hero pool. He's joined by former pubstar MidOne and veterans Ohaiyo, DJ and 343. Expect diverse picks and impressive role flexibility. If we're very lucky, we'll get to see Mushi play all five positions before the end of the tournament: although a disappointing 5-9 performance in the group stage means that they face elimination on the first day.
Keep reading PC Gamer Pro for news and highlights from the International as it happens.