Steven R. July 15, 2018
The North American qualifiers for The International 2018 wrapped up on Monday and ended with the region’s strongest teams earning berths in Vancouver.
Vici Gaming J Storm, Evil Geniuses, and OpTic Gaming earned invitations to the biggest Dota 2 tournament of the year. They’ll join 15 other teams in competing for the biggest prize in esports.
While these qualifiers were expected to be an almost academic affair, the most stacked field in The International qualifiers also proved to be the most competitive.
The group stages saw multiple tiebreakers play out as teams fought tooth and nail for a direct invitation.
Competing for first-place and the invite to TI8 that came with it were 6-1 finishers VGJ Storm, OpTic and a resurgent CompLexity Gaming. Settled with a round robin tiebreaker, VGJ.Storm managed to take slot, forcing OpTic and CompLexity to fight their way through a four-team tournament for one of the two remaining spots.
Further down in the standings, 2-5 Immortals managed to keep itself alive by besting the unheralded Team Baidu in a best-of-one.
With the four-team playoff bracket set, the opening round started with a pair of upsets as the previously shaky EG toppled CompLexity 2-0, while Immortals upended OpTic. EG and Immortals faced off for the second qualifying spot in the upper bracket finals, which EG won in dominant fashion with another 2-0 sweep.
OpTic advanced to the lower bracket finals by eliminating CompLexity, and faced Immortals in the lower bracket finals for the last spot. Though Immortals had bested them in the upper bracket, lightning wouldn’t strike twice as OpTic denied Immortals a Cinderella story with a 2-0 win.
While it goes without saying that qualifying for TI8 is a huge achievement, this is particularly big for these three teams. Despite struggling with roster shakeups and slow starts to the Dota Pro Circuit season, all three are capable of making very strong runs in Vancouver, something not all qualifier teams can boast.
The International group stages kicks off on August 15.