By beating PSG.LGD, Team Liquid became the eighth team to secure a spot in The International 2019.
Though Liquid has long been regarded as one of the top teams in Dota 2, the champions of TI7 haven’t looked great to this point in the season. The team failed to qualify for the Kuala Lumpur Major in 2018 and suffered surprisingly early exits from both the DreamLeague Major and the Chongqing Major.
The good news for Liquid is that while they have looked shaky, Virtus.pro and Team Secret have both performed brilliantly. The duo faced off in the grand finals of the Chongqing and Kuala Lumpur Majors, and placed highly in both the DreamLeague Major and Disneyland Major. That has seen a huge percentage of the available Dota Pro Circuit points gobbled up by only two teams during this season, lowering the bar to the point where any team that has made the top three of a major has earned a spot at TI9, a mark which Liquid has now hit.
That isn’t to take away from Liquid. The team returned to 2017 form in Paris and navigated a treacherous lower bracket that also included matches with Vici Gaming and OG. Consecutively beating that level of competition isn’t something a pretender could have pulled off, and Liquid left no doubt that it remains an elite team.
Entering the MDL Disneyland Paris Major, there were only four teams that had spots at The International 2019 locked down. In addition to Virtus.pro and Secret, Vici Gaming and Evil Geniuses had already booked tickets to Shanghai by the end of the DreamLeague Major.
In addition to Liquid earning a spot, Ninjas in Pyjamas’ strong major cycle that included a first-place finish at the OGA Dota PIT Minor and a fifth-place finish in Paris put them over the hump. Meanwhile, the threshold for DPC points dropped down far enough during the event that PSG.LGD and Fnatic both made the cut.
Barring any surprise roster moves, there are just four more direct invitations available to The International 2019. Keen Gaming and OG are best positioned to win their way into the event, but past that, almost any of the remaining contenders could make the cut.
The Epicenter Major is the last opportunity for teams to earn a direct invitation to TI9. The qualifiers begin on May 15.