The Epicenter Major is over and with that, the 12 direct invitees to The International 2019 are officially locked.
Teams still have the opportunity to work their way in through qualifiers, but some will have an easier path than others. The open qualifiers begin on July 3, but several teams have been given the chance to cut the line and jump directly into the closed qualifiers. The full list of teams was revealed on Twitter by Wykrhm Reddy.
There are few surprises on this list with the majority of selections being teams that have competed at majors or minors during the season.
J.Storm has not competed in a Dota 2 major since the DreamLeague Major and has struggled to stay competitive with pro teams in the months since. Even teams that have done little besides qualifying for a single event like Team Empire and Thunder Predator earned a nod.
Roster turnover also didn’t seem to be a factor. Chaos Esports Club was invited to the European closed qualifiers despite the fact that the roster today has only one member of the squad that played in multiple majors as a South American team. The same goes for Beastcoast, as the squad has experienced a number of shakeups since its surprising berth in the MDL Disneyland Paris Major.
The list still includes a number of legitimately formidable teams. Natus Vincere, Gambit Esports, and Royal Never Give Up all have looked the part of high-end teams at different points during the season.
One interesting note is that the closed qualifier invitations seemed to ignore tournaments that were not part of the Dota Pro Circuit. Invictus Gaming received a surprising snub from the closed qualifiers. Though the team hasn’t competed in a Dota Pro Circuit tournament this season, IG has been on a hot streak in regional tournaments and have beat most of the other invitees in recent weeks.
That said, few will be able to question whether Valve is giving teams preferential treatment based on name value. Past TI-winning organizations like IG and Newbee will have to work their way in through open qualifiers alongside popular brands like Ad Finem.