OG, Liquid, Newbee, LGD, MVP and Na`Vi invited to The International 6

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Thumbnail image courtesy of Valve

OG, Team Liquid, Newbee, LGD Gaming, MVP Phoenix and Natus Vincere are the six invited teams heading to The International 6, Valve announced Sunday.

OG, Liquid, Newbee, LGD and MVP all placed within the Top 6 at The Manila Major. Na`Vi placed in the Top 8 at the Major, but most recently placed second at ESL One Frankfurt 2016.

With six invited teams, there are ten slots open to teams from the various regional qualifiers. While the top two teams from each regional qualifier will advance to TI, the third place teams from each region will compete in a wild card phase, where two teams will advance to the Group Stage.

Valve also revealed the teams that were invited to the regional qualifiers. Europe, China and Southeast Asia will feature ten teams participating, with eight invites and two open qualifier slots. The Americas qualifier will only contain eight teams, with six invites and two open qualifier slots.

The Open Qualifiers will run from June 21-24, while the Regional Qualifiers will run from June 25-28.

Americas
Digital Chaos Friendship Dedication Love
compLexity Gaming Not Today
Vultur Gaming Drinking Boys
Open Qualifier Slot #1 Open Qualifier Slot #2
China
Vici Gaming.Reborn TongFu
CDEC Gaming Wings Gaming
Invictus Gaming CDEC.Youth
EHOME IG.Vitality
Open Qualifier Slot #1 Open Qualifier Slot #2
Europe
Alliance Power Rangers
Team Empire Ad Finem
Vega Squadron Flipsid3 Tactics
Virtus.pro No Diggity
Open Qualifier Slot #1 Open Qualifier Slot #2
Southeast Asia
Fnatic Rave
Mineski Signature Trust
Warriors Gaming.Unity Execration
Orange.Taring The MongolZ
Open Qualifier Slot #1 Open Qualifier Slot #2

Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

The Best of Miracle-: The MMR God of Dota 2

theScore esports Staff

Since exploding onto the scene as a founding member of OG, Amer "Miracle-" Al-Barqawi has been a force in the world of Dota 2, leaving opponents in the dust and fans speechless with his unbelievable talent.

With two Major titles under his belt and record-setting MMR, Miracle- is the undisputed best player in the world. From his breakout as a member of (monkey) Business to now on Team Liquid, check out the best of what Miracle- can do.

For more video interviews and highlights, be sure to subscribe to theScore esports on YouTube.

OG, Ad Finem, among eight teams invited to Kiev Major

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Thumbnail image courtesy of Valve

The eight invites to the Kiev Major have been revealed, with reigning Major champions OG and Boston Major runners-up Ad Finem joining Wings Gaming, Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses, Digital Chaos, Newbee and Team VG.J at the first CIS Major.

The invites were revealed one at a time in the Dota 2 client to owners of the Winter 2017 Battle Pass. Valve has not revealed what the criteria behind the invites are.

Of the invited Teams, Wings Gaming are the reigning TI6 champions, while OG, Ad Finem, Evil Geniuses and Digital Chaos were the Top 4 teams at the Boston Major. Team Liquid recently won StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3, which Team VG.J placed second in, while Newbee won the Dota2 Professional League Season 2 in December, alongside second place finishes at ESL One Genting 2017 and China Top 2016.

It's a very strong lineup, one that William "Blitz" Lee, Digital Chaos' coach, believes that this is one of the best invite lists for a Valve event.

"This sounds super PC, but I think all the teams that were invited are insanely good," Blitz told theScore esports. "The team that looked the weakest coming into this tournament knocked us out of the first major, and so nobody is to be overlooked. These are all fantastic, proven LAN teams, with experience under their belts. For me anyways this is the most stacked invite list I've seen in a while."

With eight invites, eight teams will advance through the regional qualifiers to the main event. While previous Majors featured two qualification spots for each region, the addition of the South America and CIS qualifiers has resulted in the China and SEA qualifiers having two qualification spots, with every other region only having one spot.

The full list of invited teams to the regional qualifiers is as follows:

China South East Asia Europe CIS North America South America
iG.Vitality Clutch_Gamers Elements Pro Gaming Comanche Team Freedom SG eSports
Cavalry Team Faceless Team Secret Vega Squadron Team NP Midas Club Elite
Vici Gaming Potential Execration Ninjas in Pyjamas Team Empire Team Onyx Open Qualifier #1 Team #1
Invictus Gaming Rex REgum Qeon B)ears Virtus.pro Team Red Open Qualifier #1 Team #2
LGD Gaming Geek Fam ALETNATE aTTaX F.R.I.E.N.D.S WanteD Open Qualifier #1 Team #3
CDEC Gaming TnC Pro Team Cloud9 Natus Vincere Spring Major Champions Cup Winner Open Qualifier #1 Team #4
LGD.Forever Young Mineski Alliance Team Spirit Open Qualifier Team #1 Open Qualifier #2 Team #1
Spring Major Champions Cup Winner Spring Major Champions Cup Winner Spring Major Champions Cup Winner Effect Open Qualifier Team #2 Open Qualifier #2 Team #2
First Open Qualifier Winner First Open Qualifier Winner First Open Qualifier Winner First Open Qualifier Winner Open Qualifier Team #3 Open Qualifier #2 Team #3
Second Open Qualifier Winner Second Open Qualifier Winner Second Open Qualifier Winner Second Open Qualifier Winner Open Qualifier Team #4 Open Qualifier Team #2 Team #4

The Kiev Major will run from April 27-30, and will feature a $3 million prize pool.

Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports whose journalism idol is Dino Ghiranze. You can follow him on Twitter.

10 invite predictions for The Kiev Major

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Thumbnail image courtesy of Valve

It's been relatively quiet in the Dota 2 scene since The Boston Major, but with The Kiev Major Qualifiers on the horizon, that's about to change.

With the first matches set to begin on march 6, Valve has yet to announce which teams will secure a coveted invite to the Major and avoid the ever-perilous qualifiers.

Compared to past Major qualifiers, two additional regions will be competing for a spot at Kiev. The South American and CIS Qualifiers have been split off from the North American and European ones, creating six qualifying regions.

Keeping that in mind, here are the 10 teams we think will be invited to the Kiev Major. For this prediction, we'll be working under the assumption that one team from each region will qualify for the Major, resulting in a total of 10 teams to receive invites

OG

OG ended 2016 by proving that even with a new roster, the team was just as strong as they were before. With their win at Boston, OG have won three of the four Majors Valve have hosted since the introduction of the system, and they show no signs of stopping their domination anytime soon. OG will be at Kiev, and every other team should be prepared to face this juggernaut.

Reasons why they might not make it

As the champions of The Boston Major, OG will receive an invite to Kiev. If they don't, heads will roll.

Evil Geniuses

As competitive as North American Dota is at the moment, Evil Geniuses are still the undisputed kings of the region. Placing 3rd/4th at The Boston Major, EG followed that strong performance up by winning the invite-only China Top 16 in December and Dota Pit League Season 5 in January. By winning both LANs they played in following Boston, EG are all but guaranteed to attend the next Major.

Reasons why they might not make it

Valve forgot to push the correct button and accidentally invited another team instead. Once again, this team is a near lock for getting an invite.

Digital Chaos

From Top 4 at The Boston Major to their first premier LAN win at ESL One Genting 2017, Digital Chaos have had a good couple of months. While there's been some losses along the way, DC have proven to be a tier 1 team that is fully capable of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the greats. And while we are far removed from The International 2016, DC's runner-up status may still hold some sway over whether they receive an invite to Kiev.

Reasons why they might not make it

Though DC won ESL One Genting, their results since have left a lot to be desired. The team fell to last place at Dota Pit League Season 5 and StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3, and failed to qualify for Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017. If DC were to receive an invite, it will be primarily based off of their Boston Major finish and win at Genting.

Team Liquid

Team Liquid have recovered from a terrible October that saw them fail to qualify for Boston and The Summit 6 and are now one of the stronger teams in Europe. They have just won their first LAN since DreamLeague Season 6 at SL i-League Season 3, and if that momentum continues to build, Liquid will rightfully secure a spot as one of the best teams in the world at Kiev.

Reasons why they might not make it

Beyond their win at SL i-League Season 3, Liquid's only other notable accomplishment was to qualify for DAC 2017. But as we've seen in the past, LAN wins are far more likely to get a team an invite to a Major than anything else.

Ad Finem

The Greek team's stellar performance at The Boston Major catapulted them into a solid second place, earning the underdog team plenty of fans along the way. As the runners-up to Boston, Ad Finem stand a strong chance of receiving an invite based solely off of their performance at the last Major, though time will tell if Boston was more than just a one-off performance.

Reasons why they might not make it

Ad Finem's performance at Boston is the biggest argument for the team to receive an invite. They've had disappointing placements in the qualifiers they've competed in since, struggling to carry their momentum at Boston into other tournaments.

Newbee

As competitive as China has been in recent months, Newbee has been one of the few to have strong results against both Chinese and international teams since Boston. At ESL One Genting, Newbee handily defeated Team NP, Virtus.pro and Wings Gaming before falling to Digital Chaos in a close 3-2 series, which speaks well to the strengths of both teams. More importantly, Newbee won the Chinese-only Dota2 Professional League Season 2 - Top League, placing them above the other Chinese teams who are also gunning for an invite.

Reasons why they might not make it

Newbee have not played a single professional match since Genting. Taking their performance at DPL into account, it seems unlikely for Newbee to miss an invite to Kiev, but it is not outside the realm of possibility.

Virtus.pro

Virtus.pro came out of the post-TI6 shuffle as one of the hottest teams in Europe, qualifying for tournament after tournament and winning The Summit 6 in short order. After they fell out of Boston in the Top 8, VP went on to take a comfortable 3rd/4th place at ESL One Genting in January. With the introduction of a CIS qualifier and the fact that the next Major is taking place in that very region, VP are a sound choice to represent CIS at the tournament.

Reasons why they might not make it

VP have not done much to inspire confidence in them since January. Besides Genting, they performed poorly at Dota Pit League Season 5 and very quickly fell out of the qualifiers for DAC 2017. VP's invite to Kiev is contingent on a CIS team receiving an invite, as they are the most logical choice.

Team VG.J

It took several months, but Team VG.J are finally showing just what their stacked roster is capable of when everyone is playing at their best. It started with a DPL Season 2 - Secondary League win in December, followed by successful qualifications to both DAC 2017 and SL i-League Season 3 in January. It was their second place finish at the latter event that solidified VG.J as being one of the most promising team deserving of an invite in China.

Reasons why they might not make it

SL i-League Season 3 was the only premier tournament VG.J competed in this season, and while their performance was strong, it was not a LAN win. Their performance against other Chinese teams may very well be what makes or breaks VG.J's chances at getting an invite.

TNC Pro Team

Put simply, TNC Pro Team's fall season was abysmal. The post-TI6 roster shuffle did not work out in their favor, as their dismal placements at qualifiers show it. But in the winter, TNC returned to prominence by winning World Electronic Sports Games 2016. Coupled with their wins over Team Secret and iG.Vitality at SL i-League Season 3, and TNC have the best shot at receiving a coveted invite out of all the other SEA teams.

Reasons why they might not make it

Due to the rules at WESG, TNC did not face a high level of competition on their path to victory. Furthermore, their placement at SL i-League Season 3, while strong, may not be high enough to warrant Valve's attention when it comes to invites.

Wings Gaming

As the current TI champions, the absence of Wings Gaming at Kiev would be surprising. Since Boston, Wings' greatest accomplishment has been Top 4 at ESL One Genting, and they haven't played a game in the time since. But with their past record to look at and no roster changes in the months since, an invite for Wings would be a safe bet for Valve, who have invited far worse teams to past Majors.

Reasons why they might not make it

Were Wings to receive an invite to Kiev, it would more than likely be based off of their status at TI6 champions rather than anything else. If Wings did not win TI6, it would be very difficult to justify why they should be invited over other Chinese teams.

Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports whose journalism idol is Dino Ghiranze. You can follow him on Twitter.

ana on community criticism: 'I either take it as a joke or as constructive criticism, or don’t look at it at all depending on my mood'

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Thumbnail image courtesy of OG

Death, taxes and community criticism are three constants that every Dota 2 will have to face at some point in their career, and Anathan "ana" Pham is no exception.

Whether it was about his laning phase or his perceived struggles in winning head-to-head matchups, OG's mid laner came under fire during the StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3 LAN even though the team only lost the final two games that they played.

For his part, however, ana doesn't let the criticism get to him.

"I either take it as a joke or as constructive criticism, or don’t look at it at all depending on my mood," ana told theScore esports.

But regardless of what his critics may say, ana's rise to the top of Dota 2 has been meteoric, especially when you consider that the he only began his professional career last March, when he joined Invictus Gaming as a substitute. Since being acquired by OG in the post-TI6 roster shuffle, ana has been a key contributor to OG's success, which includes winning The Boston Major, the biggest tournament of the winter season. .

Looking back on the biggest win of his professional career, ana recalls being so overcome with emotions that he needed to take a few minutes to process it all.

"I went back to the hotel with the team and I went to my room and talked with Seb (7Mad) and was shocked," ana said. "I needed some time to fully understand what happened that night. It was very surreal."

In the time since that win, though, ana has barely had a moment to himself. Though OG did not win either SL i-League Season 3 or Dota Pit League Season 5, they did finish in the Top 4 for both events. And on a more personal level, ana has breached the much coveted 9k MMR barrier, and is currently ranked second on the EU leaderboard with 9144 Solo MMR at the time of publication.

Now, ana is already looking ahead to the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017 and the Kiev Major, both of which OG will be bootcamping for. But while he and the rest of his team will have the added pressure of defending their Major title once they land in Kiev, ana sounds ready for the challenge ahead.

"[I'm] feeling more challenged," ana said. "I know that there are teams that want to beat us but I’m feeling confident and excited to play in the next Major."

Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

kpii: '[In China] you will always see the meta heroes and people trying hard to pick the best lineups, whereas...in US you will see some offlane Abaddons and Omnis, etc'

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Thumbnail image courtesy of EPICENTER

Damien "kpii" Chok is the Australian offlaner for Newbee, a position he has held since the post-Shanghai Major shuffle. Following a successful winter season that saw Newbee win Dota2 Professional League Season 2 and place second at ESL One Genting 2017, Newbee received one of the coveted invites to the Kiev Major.

Shortly after the invites were announced, kpii spoke to theScore esports about the Chinese Dota scene and his time with Newbee.

You originally joined Newbee following the Shanghai Major last March. With your one year anniversary with the team approaching, how would you sum up the past 365 days with Newbee?

I would have never believed anyone if they told me I was going to be in a tier 1 Chinese team. I can say it had been one of the most eye-opening experiences I have had which was at the same time really enjoyable. We had great runs and bad runs, the good being our 29-win streak and our qualifications to Majors and TI, while we had trouble with series nearing the finals of tournaments (epicenter 2nd, Manila 3rd, MDL 2nd, ESL 2nd). We do seem to have been doing well in the China region though.

Following the Boston Major, Newbee would go on to win DPL Season 2 and place second at China Top 2016 and ESL One Genting 2017. How satisfied are you with Newbee’s performance?

Not really satisfied but at the same time not that disappointed. Would have been nice to take an international LAN win.

What do you think of the current state of Chinese Dota?

I feel like Chinese pubs are the most team oriented, I'll give an example. Miracle relied on individual skill to climb to 9k, most games were 1v9 and I assume he didn't really communicate too much in pubs (just my guess can't really confirm), whereas someone like Kaka more relied on captaining the team (communicate as though it was a scrim), using his in-game knowledge to work as a team.

I was surprised how no one was talking in the pubs I played during Boston Major. Even though we play RD and people think we have more diversity it is not necessarily true, you will always see the meta heroes and people trying hard to pick the best lineups, whereas for example in US you will see some offlane Abaddons and Omnis, etc.

Are there any international teams that you have been impressed by in the past few months?

OG. During MDL they were weak but they quickly improved within a short span of time which impresses me.

You were one of the players profiled for the Boston Major. What did you think of the final product?

I thought it was really nice, nothing else I can say about it, nothing bad about it.

How would you describe each of your teammates?

faith - Happy.

sccc - Kind hearted.

kaka - Smart, logical.

uuu9 - Hardworking.

Newbee’s last professional match was at ESL One Genting in January. What have you been doing in the time since? What has Newbee done?

We have just been training mostly and watching tournaments when they are on (e.g. star ladder).

At Boston, Newbee were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs due to the single elimination format. With the format returning for the Kiev Major, what do you think of it?

I think the group stage is the biggest problem, groups did not matter too much. although almost all teams prefer double elimination I guess single elim' is still acceptable.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

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