As the Epicenter Major heads to its closing stages, the final direct invitations to The International 9 are being decided as teams are knocked out of contentention.
OG, TNC, and Keen Gaming have all secured direct invitations to The International in the past few days of play, with the final direct invite still in play.
TNC was the first team to claim one of the four spots at TI that were available heading into Epicenter. Finishing at the top of Group D above PSG.LGD and then taking down Royal Never Give Up in the first round of the upper bracket guaranteed them enough pro circuit points to make it to TI. TNC is still in the Epicenter Major and due to play the winner of OG vs. PSG.LGD in the lower bracket.
OG also have their spot at TI confirmed, and will be looking to become the first ever back-to-back TI champions after a surprise win at TI8 last year. Taking last place in Group D made things look a little scary for the defending champions, but wins against Evil Geniuses and Team Secret mean they now are guaranteed enough points to lock in a spot at TI.
The third team to lock in a direct invitation is Keen Gaming from China, who aren’t even competing at Epicenter. Thankfully for them, it is now impossible for multiple teams to score more DPC points than they’ve accrued, meaning they are also guaranteed a spot at TI.
The only two teams remaining in the competition that could overtake Keen are Alliance and Gambit. The two sides will face off tomorrow, making it impossible for both to overtake Keen.
The match between Alliance and Gambit in the lower bracket tomorrow is going to be perhaps the most important match of the DPC season thus far. While they are of course playing for their tournament lives, the two sides are also playing for the last direct invitation to TI.
Whoever wins the best-of-three competition will take the final invite with the loser having to go through the qualifiers. Both teams have been looking good and playing some entertaining Dota, so this match could be quite the spectacle.