The International 2019 will start tomorrow on August 15. The highest prize pool Esports tournament takes place in Shanghai, a global financial center in the East. Today on

August 14, The International 2019 Dota 2 Championships has revealed the group stage.

The International 2019 Groupstage 05
The largest prize pool event in the history of Esports

A deadly group with 3 giants

Group A seems to be the clash between the big 3 forces in the current Dota 2 scene. Team Liquid, Team Secret, and PSG.LGD is the most notable names in the group. TNC Predator and Alliance are the rising stars and should not be underestimated.

The International 2019 Groupstage 03
The group stage

Team Secret is one of the heavy favorites to win The International. Under the leadership of Clement “Puppey” Ivanov, Team Secret has been impressive throughout the year, winning 2 Major Tournaments this year in 2019. With the latest addition of the young carry talent Michał “Nisha” Jankowski, Team Secret has maintained their position at the top. Though they fell off in the latest EPICENTER Major, Team Secret is still the #1 seed in the tournament.

The International 2019 Groupstage 06
Team Secret still looks solid even after 1 bad tournament

Team Liquid

The sea horse logo has been around in the Dota 2 scene for quite a while. Through ups and downs of the game, they retained a top position in the scene. Kuro Salehi “KuroKy” Takhasomi has led the squad to win The International 2017 and a top 4 finish in TI8. Though they got a shaky time earlier this year and eventually kicked Lasse Aukusti “MATUMBAMAN “ Urpalainen, Team Liquid has recently “solidified” their roster with Aliwi “W33” Omar. They are still among the top 5 teams in the scene.

The International 2019 Groupstage 07
Team Liquid in 2017 was impressive

PSG.LGD, the last year’s TI runner-up had a bad grand final. They could have won it in some way but had to settle for the second-best. The Chinese squad looks determined to claim The International this time. They are the best in China currently, rivaled only by Vici Gaming.

The International 2019 Groupstage 08
Unable to secure The International 2018 championship, PSG.LGD looks set to come back this year

Group B – Playground for the Russian Panda

Contrary to group A, group B is pretty peaceful with most teams of the same level. and Evil Geniuses seem to stand out as the tier1 teams. Vici Gaming with their latest impressive performance in the EPICENTER Major is also a pretty solid contender. The last year’s TI champion, OG may have to fight for it if they don’t want to stay behind. has played with the same lineup since the addition of Vladimir “RodjER” Nikogosyan in February 2018. Since then, they have been at the top level of the Dota 2 scene. With their diverse and adaptive hero pool, is a force to be reckoned with. The Russian Polar Bear has changed its logo recently exclusively for TI9. They now look more like a Panda, still solid and resilient.

The International 2019 Groupstage 09
the Russian Bears look even more fierce with red themed logo

Evil Geniuses

The Geniuses are the North America powerhouse. They have been at the top level of Dota 2 since forever. The Geniuses have claimed The International 2015 and attended every TI since then. This year will be the 5th time SumaiL and Co. have attended the biggest annual Dota 2 event. How will they fare this time?

The International 2019 Groupstage 10
Will Evil Geniuses break the #3 curse this time?

Vici Gaming has been dominant in the latest EPICENTER major. The Chinese squad defeated Team Liquid convincingly in the grand final and won their 2nd Major trophy this year. Will they keep up their performance in this big tournament?

The International 2019 Groupstage 11
The #2 Chinese team currently, Vici Gaming has some tricks up their sleeve

The last year’s champion has been shaky earlier this year with the departure of Anathan “ana” Pham. However, the carry has come back with his teammates, looking to claim the second Aegis this time. Will they break the “TI curse” to become the first-ever 2-time TI champion?

Interesting Matchups

Team Liquid – MATUMBAMAN +4

Since the departure of MATUMBAMAN, Team Liquid has found a suitable candidate to fill the void. With W33, they reached the grand final of EPICENTER Major and finished #2. MATUMBAMAN has found a new home with Chaos Esports Club. Both Team Liquid and Chaos Esports Club will play in the same group.

Moreover, W33 is an ex-member of Chaos Esports Club Let’s see if MATUMBAMAN can do well with his new teammates or just crumble.

Team Liquid – TNC Predator with Heen

Also, group A sees another interesting matchup between Team Liquid and TNC Predator. The former coach of Team Liquid, Lee Seung “Heen” Gon left the team on November 14, 2018 saying they no longer had the surprise factor in the game. He would then join TNC Predator on April 26.

The International 2019 Groupstage 12
TNC Predator is famous for their Huskar pick in the competitive scene

The Filipino squad improved significantly with their draft and tactics. They finished #4 in EPICENTER Major and secured a direct invite in The International 2019. Will the coach Heen transform the TNC squad into a top contender in the world of Dota 2, strong enough to beat his former Team Liquid?

Possible El Clasico in the grand final?

Alliance and Natus Vincere were placed in different groups. The two giants in The International 2013 have declined in power since their peak. However, every time the iconic matchup took place, people would cheer for it. The International is where most surprises and upsets happen. Who knows if we can finally see another El Clasico here in the grand final of The International 2019.

The potential names and dark horses

The International 2019 Groupstage 13
Dota 2 is now more about drafting

Dota 2 has evolved well into a balanced game. Some overpowered heroes may enjoy one patch and completely vanish in the next. One team cannot be just dominant the whole time with the same playstyle. They always have to invent and adapt. The skill gap among players and teams are now not too significant as before.

With that, the competition is now more drafting-oriented. With the right set of hero selection, each team can defeat another convincingly. Aside from the big names like Team Secret, Team Liquid,, Evil Geniuses, many other squads can have good upset potential.

The International 2019 Groupstage 14
Which heroes will make history this year?

Alliance and Natus Vincere are on the rise with their unique style. Fnatic and Vici Gaming are more structured and may keep up their performance well. In a good day, they can beat any team. And do not forget last year's champion with their underdog run, OG. OG remains a mystery as they did not perform much this year. With their strong performance in EPICENTER Major, eliminating both EG and Team Secret, OG has a huge upset potential.

This is the first time Infamous and Royal Never GiveUp attend a TI. They may be called the dark horse as their run in the qualifier was mostly thanks to luck. However, Wings in The International 2016 was quite an unknown entity. Hardly anyone knew Wings before the event. However, the rest is history. Wings won the $20,770,460 tournament to engrave their names on the Aegis. Will this TI turn out to be another surprise? Stay tuned for more update on the event.