The regional qualifiers for The International 2017 offered some spectacular matches, multiple surprises and upsets, and a great show overall. Unlike last year’s qualifiers, this year we had competitions held in six different regions instead of four. This gave everyone a chance to earn a ticket for the final and most important tournament of the 2016-2017 competitive season.
With six teams being directly invited (OG, Virtus.pro, Evil Geniuses, Team Liquid, Invictus Gaming and Newbee), a total of 60 teams (10 per region) competed for the 12 remaining spots at this year’s event. Two of these spots were reserved for the North American region, three of them for China, another three for Southeast Asia, two for Europe, one for South America and one for CIS.
All six qualifiers followed a similar format, which had two phases:
- In phase one, teams played 9 Bo1 matches against their opponents. The winner of each group qualified directly, if its region had more than one spot reserved. The next four teams (2nd – 5th) qualified for phase two. For regions that only had one spot reserved, the first four teams (1st – 4th) went on to the second phase of the qualifier.
- In phase two, the four remaining teams played a mini-tournament with a GSL format (double elimination bracket). Where one qualification spot was left, the winner of this mini-tournament earned it and got invited to The International 2017. Where two spots were left, both the upper and lower bracket winners got invited.
Here’s the brief story of what happened in The International 2017 regional qualifiers:
With many strong teams and only two qualification spots reserved, the competition in the European regional qualifier was fierce. Ultimately it was Team Secret who qualified directly after phase one, defeating everyone except Mousesports in the group stage and finishing with 8 wins and just one loss.
The next four teams (Team Singularity (7-2), Planet Dog (6-3), Danish Bears (6-3) and Mousesports (6-3)) qualified for phase two. And, to everyone’s amazement, the winner of this phase was Planet Dog, a team who had earned a spot at the regional qualifiers by winning the second open qualifier in Europe. The result is remarkable and they are definitely a team to watch at this year’s TI, where they will be competing under the HellRaisers banner (the organization signed their roster shortly after they qualified for TI).
The CIS region had only one qualification spot reserved. Of course, almost every Dota 2 fan hoped for a miraculous Na`Vi performance, after the team had disappointed throughout the year. But unfortunately it wasn’t to be. Na`Vi finished 5th in their group and didn’t make it to the second phase of the CIS qualifier. The teams that did however were the following: Vega Squadron (7-2), Team Empire (7-2), M19 (7-2) and Team Spirit (7-2). Out of these four contenders, it was Team Empire who emerged victorious without losing a single game.
The North American qualifier was very dramatic and produced one of the biggest upsets of The International 2017 regional qualifiers. Two qualification spots were reserved for the region and it was Team NP who won the first, after winning their group (8-1) and defeating Team Freedom (who also finished with a score of 8-1) in the subsequent tiebreaker.
The other four teams that qualified for phase two were Team Freedom, Planet Odd (the former Digital Chaos roster), compLexity Gaming and Digital Chaos (the former Team Onyx roster). A lot of people were expecting Planet Odd to win, because four of their members had played in the Grand Finals of The International last year. But it was Digital Chaos that emerged victorious and secured a spot at The International 2017.
The region had a single qualification spot reserved and it was supposed to go to SG e-sports, the team who had participated in The Kiev Major and had defeated Team Secret in the tournament’s round of 16. However, it was Infamous who claimed it after defeating SG e-sports with a 3-0 score in the Grand Finals of the second phase of the South American qualifier.
Out of the three qualification spots reserved for this region, the first went to iG Vitality, who won their group with seven wins and two losses. The LGD sisters (LGD Gaming and LGD.Forever Young) claimed the remaining two, after winning the upper and lower brackets of the second phase tournament.
Like China, Southeast Asia also had three qualification spots reserved. TNC Pro Team secured the first one, winning their group by defeating everyone except Clutch Gamers. Four other teams (Fnatic (7-2), Mineski (6-3), Clutch Gamers (6-3) and Execration (5-4)) qualified for the second phase of the competition. Here, it was Fnatic and Execration who obtained the remaining two spots.
Against expectations, neither Team Faceless (who had had pretty good results throughout the year) nor Mineski (Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung’s new team) managed to qualify for this year’s TI. As a result of this failure, Team Faceless decided to disband shortly after the end of The International 2017 regional qualifiers.