TI9 sees China retain top spot in nation representation for 9th year

Neslyn A. July 17, 2019

For the ninth year in a row, China will boast the highest number of representatives at Dota 2’s The International.

A total of 18 Chinese players will represent their region at The International 2019. Three Chinese teams in Vici Gaming, PSG.LGD, and Keen Gaming were directly invited to the event through the Dota Pro Circuit while Royal Never Give Up won the regional qualifier to earn a spot in Shanghai.

The news comes as little surprise to longtime Dota 2 fans. Though the region is not as dominant as South Korea has been in League of Legends or StarCraft, China has long boasted the largest talent pool in Dota 2 and the greatest stability among organizations.

This has seen Chinese teams routinely perform well in the professional Dota 2 scene, with players such as Zhang "xiao8" Ning, Xu "BurNIng" Zhilei, and Luo "Ferrari_430" Feichi becoming some of the game’s top stars.

That success translated to a longstanding tradition of Chinese and Western teams taking turns winning The International. However, OG broke the tradition at The International 2018 and beat Chinese favorites PSG.LGD to complete their Cinderella run.

While China remains deep in talent and will be sending some of the favorite teams to win the tournament, this year marks something of a downturn for Chinese Dota 2.

The number of Chinese players competing at The International dropped by nine from the 27 seen at The International 2018. This partly stems from the Dota Pro Circuit inadvertently penalizing China for its long list of tier two teams, which resulted in strong organizations being unable to consistently qualify for majors. Alongside this, historically elite organizations like Invictus Gaming and Newbee experienced sharp downturns in 2019.

Past China, the next strongest nation is the Philippines which will be sending nine players to Shanghai with TNC Predator, Fnatic, and Mineski. From there, Sweden is the third best-represented with six players on four teams.