China’s best hope for bringing home the Aegis of Champions isn’t who most were expecting.
PSG.LGD looked exceptional in the group stage of The International 2019, taking first place with a 13-3 record. The team is in a strong position to avenge its loss in the grand finals of The International 2018, where it suffered a heart-wrenching 3-2 loss at the hands of OG.
PSG.LGD has been solid throughout the year but exceeded expectations by taking 2-0 wins over powerhouse teams such as Team Secret and Team Liquid. While they split three of their series during the group stage, not a single team managed to take a 2-0 win at their expense.
Dota Pro Circuit leader Team Secret ranks second. Clement “Puppey” Ivanov and his crew started off groups with a perfect 8-0 record, which wasn’t broken until day three by TNC Predator. They finished the group stage at 11-5.
The other two upper bracket slots were taken by the surprisingly solid Newbee and TNC Predator. Both teams entered TI9 as unknown commodities but managed to hold their own against some of the game’s best.
On the other end of the rankings, Chaos Esports Club was eliminated from the event after finishing ninth in Group A. The team fell behind early and never truly recovered, despite picking up wins over TNC and Team Secret.
The loss was undoubtedly a painful one for the lineup of veteran players.
Lasse “Matumbaman” Urpalainen was kicked from Team Liquid after nearly four years with the organization and was replaced by Aliwi “W33” Omar. The former champion landed in a good spot with Chaos, joining a number of tested European players. Unfortunately, they were not able to live up to their potential and were eliminated with a 3-13 record.
Team Liquid did not fare much better either, finishing the group stage with a 6-10 record. This is a legitimate shock, given the fact the team’s last outing was a second-place performance at the Epicenter Major.