Road to The International: American Qualifiers

The International 7's group stage is underway. To get you prepared, I'll be previewing each of the teams at the event. Next up are the 3 teams that qualified through the American Qualifiers. This year the qualifiers were split among 4 regions (Americas, Europe, Southeast Asia, and China) with both the Americas and Europe regions split into two sub-regions. Still with me? Good.

North America Qualifer #1: Cloud 9

The Cloud 9 brand is back in the Dota scene after they acquired the North American qualifier team, NP. Funnily enough, every one of NP's players has played for Cloud 9 at some point in the past. NP is led by their captain, TI5 champion Jacky "EternalEnvy" Mao. He was a member of the original C9 team and is joined by other original members, TI5 Champion (with EG) Kurtis "Aui_2000" Ling and Johan "pieliedie" Astrom. Adrian "FATA-" Trinks played with C9 at TI5 and Arif "MSS" Anwar played for the short-lived C9 team that formed after TI5 when the original squad disbanded.

Cloud 9 went 8-1 in the Round Robin stage of the North American qualifier which tied them for first place with Team Freedom. First place came with an automatic qualifying spot into TI so it came down to a 1-game playoff which C9 won. C9's preferred style of play is to focus on farming all 3 of their cores and even their 4-position support, usually played by Aui_2000. Pieliedie is often left with very little farm or items but still finds a way to have an impact in the game (oftentimes the impact is dying to save a teammate).

Cloud 9's biggest competition at TI7 may just be themselves. The team, especially EternalEnvy, has the propensity to throw away leads. C9 is able to get away with doing that in the relatively weak NA Dota scene but TI is a different level of competition. EternalEnvy's throwing, his love of anime, and his awkward personality has made him into one of the more enigmatic players in the Dota 2 professional scene.

PlayerRoleCountrySignature HeroesBest TI Finish
Jacky "EternalEnvy" Mao (C)CarryCanadaDrow Ranger, Terrorblade, Luna5th-6th (TI4 - C9)
Adrian "FATA-" TrinksMidGermanyPuck, Queen of Pain, Razor7th-8th (TI6 - Liquid)
Arif "MSS" AnwarOfflaneUSABeastmaster, Clockwerk, Puck11th-12th (TI4 - Mousesports)
Kurtis "Aui_2000" LingSupportCanadaVisage, Chen, Naga Siren1st (TI5 - EG)
Johan "pieliedie" AstromSupportSwedenIo, Rubick, Bounty Hunter5th-6th (TI4 - C9)

North American Qualifier #2: Digital Chaos

Digital Chaos were the runners-up last year at TI6, however, that roster departed the organization just before the Kiev Major and DC acquired the newly-formed Team Onyx to replace them. Onyx seemed like it would just be another short-lived team for their carry, Mason "mason" Venne. Mason had been an injury replacement for EG at TI4 but had not played with a team for more than a couple months since then. He teamed up with other American Dota veterans, Jimmy "Demon" Ho and Kanishka "BuLba" Sosale to form Onyx for the Kiev Qualifier. The difference with Onyx compared to Mason's other teams was that they brought in young phenom, Abed "Abed" Yusop, who rose to fame with his incredible Meepo play last year, and South Korean support player, Kim "DuBu" Doo-young. They helped Onyx qualify for the Kiev Major where they were then acquired by DC.

For the TI qualifier, Jimmy "Demon" Ho was replaced by veteran offlaner Lee "Forev" Sang-don. Forev had played with DuBu with MVP Phoenix at TI6. The Round Robin stage was a little shaky for DC and they were forced to play in two rounds of a 3-way tiebreaker just to make it to the knockout round. In the knockout round, they were down 1-0 to Complexity and on the brink of elimination when they went on an incredible run of 5-straight wins to eliminate Complexity and shock Team Freedom in the final to claim their spot at TI7.

PlayerRoleCountrySignature HeroesBest TI Finish
Mason "mason" VenneCarryUSAWeaver, Lifestealer, Sven3rd (TI4 - EG)
Abed "Abed" YusopMidPhilippinesMeepo, Invoker, Shadow FiendWild Card (TI6 - Execration)
Lee "Forev" Sang-donOfflaneSouth KoreaBristleback, Tidehunter, Dark Seer5th-6th (TI6 - MVP Phoenix)
Kaniskhka "BuLba" Sosale (C)SupportUSAClockwerk, Elder Titan, Batrider7th-8th (TI3 - Liquid)
Kim "DuBu" Doo-youngSupportSouth KoreaEarth Spirit, Disruptor, Witch Doctor5th-6th (TI6 - MVP Phoenix)

South American Qualifier: Infamous

This was the first TI where South America had their own qualifier (in years past, South American teams had to compete on North American servers with bad ping). This makes Infamous the first South American team to make it to an International. Since the South American region is fairly young, Infamous has very little experience against international competition. Their inexperience at this level of competition means that they come into TI with very little expectations and just getting out of the group stage would be a major accomplishment. That does not mean they should be taken lightly. SG E-Sports represented Brazil and South America at the Kiev Major in the Spring where they upset Team Secret.

PlayerRoleCountrySignature HeroesBest TI Finish
Benjamin "Benjaz" LanaosCarryPeruJuggernaut, Lifestealer, UrsaFirst TI
Enzo "Timado" GianoliMidPeruQueen of Pain, Ember Spirit, PuckFirst TI
Renato "Kingteka" Garcia (C)OfflanePeruBatrider, Faceless Void, SlardarFirst TI
Farith "Matthew" PuenteSupportPeruEarth Spirit, Rubick, ClockwerkFirst TI
Christian "Accel" CruzSupportPeruDisruptor, Rubick, Crystal MaidenFirst TI
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