The International 2019 bracket predictions

Riley is a Dota 2 fan and Luckbox community member. With The International 2019 Playoffs brackets now set, he looks back on the teams' performance during the Group Stage and shares his TI9 Bracket Predictions.

Updates: TI9 bracket and results throughout the new tournament

With Chaos E.C. and (surprisingly) NIP eliminated from TI9, 16 teams proceed to the Main Stage of The International 2019. Advancing through the Upper Brackets are PSG.LGD, VP, Vici, TNC, OG, Newbee, Secret, and EG, while the teams that will start through the dreaded Lower Brackets are Alliance, RNG, Fnatic, Liquid, Infamous, Keen, Mineski, and Na'Vi - beginning with a notoriously scary best-of one.


Now with the starting matchups in picture, on to my TI9 bracket predictions...


Lower Bracket - Round 1 (Bo1)

Alliance vs Royal Never Give Up

Winner: Alliance
Thoughts: Alliance have been increasingly impressive at a rapid pace coming into TI, and this group of talented boys have shown to be able in keep being on-par with the big names during the groups, forcing ties with all of their opponents excluding Secret. RNG, on the other hand, had shown its glimpse of promise too coming into TI, but even with the legendary LaNm and LFY hotshots Monet and ahfu in their roster, RNG have unfortunately been lackluster in groups, and should falter to the ever-growing strength of Alliance.

Fnatic vs Team Liquid

Winner: Team Liquid
Thoughts: The troubled SEA supersquad blew everyone out of the water with their tweaked roster when they 2-0ed EG in the opening series, but reverted back to their dwindling form as the groups progresses. Seeing Fnatic is this position gave me deja vu of last year's Fnatic, where a spectacular start (remember 39-1 Liquid?) is followed by a less-spectacular groups performance, before finally crashing out at the first round of playoffs. Liquid's looking just as precarious, being unable to win games against teams that are supposed to be on par with them nor take more 2-0s that expected. However in the end, with much more experience and things to prove after altering their TI-winning roster, I feel the odds will fare better to Liquid.

Infamous vs Keen Gaming

Winner: Infamous
Thoughts: Infamous have been an absolute surprise this TI. Although its core lineup have been growing quite a reputation for themselves in the last two Minors, no one expected them to go toe-to-toe with some of biggest teams in the groups. Yet they managed to take games off EG and tournament favorites VG, something unexpected coming from a new roster, especially from SA. This roster of SA pubstars, led by SA veteran StingeR, have been the best performing squad at TI coming from the region, and as long as they maintain the stride of confidence they brought on the group stage, they should be able single out the more-established yet less-inspired looking Keen.

Mineski vs Natus Vincere

Winner: Mineski
Thoughts: This one is the toughest to predict amongst Bo1's, as both Mineski and Na'Vi have also been performing way outside expectations during the group stage. Both teams started their TI qualifiers unconvincingly, before managing to break through in the end and punch their tickets to Shanghai. However, their true breakouts are at the group stage, where both manage to consistently score wins against formidable names on each of their respective groups. In the end, I slightly favor Mineski, for being able to score ties with Secret, Liquid, Newbee, and win a series against rising powerhouses TNC. Also, their addition of Mushi as coach could prove to be the deciding factor making the ultimate difference.

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Upper Bracket - Round 1 (Bo3)


Winner: PSG.LGD
Thoughts: Even with their stable yet silent performance throughout the season, LGD still proves they are a TI powerhouse like last year, confidently securing top seed on Group A, surpassing TI favorites Secret. VP, meanwhile, apparently struggles even further than last year, with the CIS juggernauts unable to show the dominance they're so known for and barely making the cut into the Upper Bracket after a dreadful start in the group stage. Knowing this, the better-faring LGD should be able to win against their opponent of choice. I would even call for a 2-0.


Vici Gaming vs TNC Predator

Winner: Vici Gaming
Thoughts: As tenacious and increasingly-scary TNC is as a team, VG is an extremely well-disciplined team, which shows with their ability to close out most games at around the 30 minute mark during the groups. Against a team as persevering as TNC, this could bring VG out of their comfort zones and drag out a longer-lasting game, especially with Armel and Tims beast-like ability to constantly make plays. However, the opposite could be said--with TNC focusing less on the laning stage and more on their superior ability to exploit mistakes during mid-late game, playing against such a disciplined team like VG could prove difficult when there are little mistakes to exploit. Thus, I favor VG to take this one.

OG vs Newbee

Winner: OG
Thoughts: The defending champions showed haters that their win wasn't a fluke in confidence and style, winning almost every single match in their groups with some of the wildest drafts one could ever imagine. Newbee's shape in groups have also been robust, with a performance reflecting its roster of some of the most persevering players from NA, dropping a full series only against Secret. Yet, as shown in the groups, OG is too puzzling of an opponent to face right now, knowing how unafraid they are to play anything and their uncannny ability to make everything work. Not knowing what exactly will they face, I'm afraid the warriors are not ready to face the bulls' charge.

Team Secret vs Evil Geniuses

Winner: Team Secret
Thoughts: Entering the tournament as the frontrunners, Team Secret have shown that their frighteningly consistent strength throughout the season will surely be felt on the biggest stage left for their taking. While unable to obtain the top seed of the groups like most people expect them to do, Puppey and the boys still fared unquestionably well in groups, and was unflinchable during the first two days of groups. On the other hand, the NA powerhouse EG, whose groups' starting performance are anything less than steady, still managed to bounce back into a decent spot in the groups thanks to their players' individual playmaking abilities. Yet Secret is still undeniably the better team, and I don't think even SumaiL or Cr1t- will be able to singlehandedly win a series against a titan like Secret.


Lower Bracket - Round 2 (Bo3) vs Alliance

Thoughts: As much as how improved Alliance have looked coming into this TI, the Russian bears (or pandas?) have shown to unleash a dramatical increase in strength and ferocity when left in a vulnerable position like the Elimination Rounds, looking at how they bounced back immediately in groups once the threat of starting of starting in the Lower Brackets became increasingly real. Although Alliance's ability to play the early-mid game have reached the level on-par with the best teams, their difficulty in closing games against more experienced teams out would make it difficult for them to win this series against the ferocious beast VP would be in such a position.

TNC Predator vs Team Liquid

Winner: TNC Predator
Thoughts: As this is one of the first re-matchups from the groups that we will get on the Main Stage, and that the fact that this is elimination rounds, it won't come to a surprise if this ends as one of the fiercest series in the tournament. Looking at the two teams' performance earlier, what is potentially the first upset in TI is somewhat projected previously where the ever-tenacious TNC 2-0ed a bewildered-looking Liquid. While it is true that groups shouldn't always be the indicator of a team's performance coming to the Main Stage, especially talking about a team with such high performance ceiling like Liquid, not to mention the things Liquid's new roster had to prove, I still feel TNC is hungrier for this. Watching both TNC and Liquid's games showed inconsistency, but in TNC the drive and tenacity to win is clearly more resoundingly felt than the TI7 champions. So, in the end, I favor the Filipinos to rule out their coach's former illustrious team to a gut-wrenching early exit at TI.

Newbee vs Infamous

Winner: Newbee
Thoughts: Infamous has been performing admirably, but so is Newbee. I feel like at this point, being their first TI, Infamous have achieved everything they needed for--making a name for themselves, and showing just how much the SA region have to offer. Newbee, being a squad filled with NA veterans that have went past a huge number of TIs with mixed success, have also huge things to prove by showing the strength of relegates that keeps persevering through, and their perfect TI qualifier runs is exemplary on how important winning is especially for them. Thus, Infamous will have to make way to a longer-standing cause.

Mineski vs Evil Geniuses

Winner: Evil Geniuses
Thoughts: As commendable as Mineski's performance is, I still don't think they will topple the powerhouses once at Main Stage, especially when we are talking about a team with an ego as huge as EG. Because I'm pretty sure the last thing they want is a repeat of their humiliating TI7 early exit against the at-that-time revitalized Empire, all bars should break loose on the side of EG.

Lower Bracket - Round 3 (Bo3) vs TNC Predator

Thoughts: While it's true that VP's performance is way more underwhelming than TNC at this point, I think by the time this matchup would come the ferocious bears will still overpower the rising phoenixes. With Heen on-board, TNC's superior teamfight and playmaking ability have now been supplemented with clear and decisive game-closing decisions (something TNC have been struggling in the past). Yet, I feel this TI is still the beginning for what's greater to come for them. VP on the other hand, have been showing with the nearly-same core lineup for 3 consecutive TIs, and we've yet to see the team's full potential at TI. To be honest, I'm not quite sure how this match will go (other than it will be full of blood), yet I feel this match is the potential catalyst to reinvigorate VP's drive for an impressive showing at TI, which we all know they're more than capable of doing.

Newbee vs Evil Geniuses

Winner: Evil Geniuses
Thoughts: The ultimate showdown of NA Dota, a battle between the NA superteam and what NA fans should agree on as a representation of NA Dota at its unadulterated form. This is a fight Newbee wouldn't go down without fighting, but as Newbee is essentially the spiritual successor of VGJ.Storm back TI8, I feel this is where their run will end in similar fashion. This is the point where EG's players will already play at their highest functional level, especially taking note that this is the first time EG goes into TI with an exact same roster without any modification, thus there are larger stakes in place.

Upper Bracket - Round 2 (Bo3)

PSG.LGD vs Vici Gaming

Winner: Vici Gaming
Thoughts: The battle between one Chinese juggernaut with another revitalized one, this matchup is the precursor to what I believe will be the Grand Finals of TI9. VG comes into this tournament never short of prowess and confidence but always disciplined, yet LGD comes also with a resurgence of energy in their performance, showcasing clear and confident picks, exceptional performances and discipline identical to their TI8 performance. Being two highly-disciplined teams with precise yet rousing aggression, highlight of this matchup would definitely between the two support playmakers fy and Fade, as they could be the make or break factors in one team's path to victory. Ultimately, I still favor Vici since they've been keeping up this prime form for a couple of months already, while LGD have just re-experienced their stride which makes it a tad bit more unsettled.

OG vs Team Secret

Winner: OG
Thoughts: This series will definitely go down as the ultimate oddball of the tournament, if not ever in TI history. Knowing the two teams' hero pool and picks, we shouldn't be surprised by anything since drafting is just an abstract concept at this point. Both teams also have highly superb teamfighting ability, and are unafraid to be placed in extremely uncomfortable positions due to having extremely-reliable carries in ana and Nisha. On a playmaking point of view, I feel Secret have an edge since MidOne, zai, and YapzOr are all amazing at it, but knowing OG, they will probably bounce back from every one of them and still figure out a way to win. Also at this point, OG is definitely the crazier team, so I might as well throw an oddball on this one. Let's go carry Io!

Lower Bracket - Round 4 (Bo3)

Team Secret vs

Winner: Team Secret
Thoughts: This is a classic matchup of the season, and much of like the season, I feel this will just turn out classically as well--Secret will best out VP. Even when VP's unleashing their dominance in a tournament, Secret is always there to stand upon their way, and with VP not even in their prime form (although this definitely could change depending if VP will raise their game), Secret at its best is simply the superior team. Secret also favors sustainable heroes, and with the team so in-sync with each other, it's challenging for VP to apply their signature aggressive playstyle on them, so this series should go on Secret's favor.


PSG.LGD vs Evil Geniuses

Winner: PSG.LGD
Thoughts: LGD, with its consistency in performance, should take this series off EG, who are too inconsistent for me to favor. Yet still, EG with their players' playmaking ability could definitely turn anyone off-guard like when they 2-0ed VG in the group stage. At a point this deep into the tournament however, there are almost no room for error, against a team like LGD, relying that as an X-factor and not on overall team cohesion would be their downfall. So, unless EG can reach a better consistency of team, then LGD is just too unswerving of a team for EG.

Lower Bracket - Round 5 (Bo3)

Team Secret vs PSG.LGD

Winner: PSG.LGD
Thoughts: Secret is guaranteed to bring the best of their game coming into this decisive match, yet the same can definitely be said about LGD. LGD won a decisive 2-0 series against Secret in groups, winning both games at around the 30 minute mark. Yet at this point of the tournament it feels trivial, knowing Secret is undoubtedly gonna apply all the things they've learnt and developed as a team coming to this game--from its peerless drafting, focus, teamwork, and playmaking. The outcome of this game is more indistinguishable than ever. This game can definitely go either ways, I'm just taking my chances with LGD after witnessing how cleanly their current form played against Secret earlier.

Upper Bracket - Finals (Bo3)

Vici Gaming vs OG

Winner: Vici Gaming
Thoughts: Gauging OG against the surgical teams like VG is always a tough affair, knowing how differently and off-the-books they played from other teams (LGD would agree). A 1-1 tie against VG shows that both teams balance each others out, with OG's unconventional playstyle placing VG out of their comfort zone against VG's precise, quick-paced aggression and ability to close games challenging OG's penchant for longer, more exploitable games. This definitely will be a close game like how all the OG-LGD games have been the past TI, but my gut feeling is for VG, mainly because they play their games at even a smaller margin of error than LGD, thus OG can't exploit as much.

Lower Bracket - Finals (Bo3)



Winner: PSG.LGD
Thoughts: A much-awaited rematch of last year's Grand Finals, yet this time on China's home soil. OG is definitely a scarier team coming to this TI, where they aren't bound to a set of limited niche picks like last year and got everything in their arsenal this time, while still bringing the erratic element to their games like last year. LGD is a master of precise and quick aggression, but OG somehow manage to survive and topple it against them. Since this is a previously-established matchup already, LGD should be prepared not to repeat the same mistakes like they did last year, especially in front of the home crowd. Discipline will be the deciding factor whether the result of this matchup would change or not from last year, thus if LGD manage to apprehend this then we're looking for an All-Chinese Grand Finals.

Grand Finals

Vici Gaming vs PSG.LGD

Winner: Vici Gaming
Thoughts: I'm calling it. China vs China grand finals. Haters be dismayed, this matchup is fortunately a blast to see, and we won't have either a silent nor an extremely one-sided crowd for the finals of a 33+ million USD tournament. All jokes aside, both teams have been absolutely phenomenal. Each teams have their unique style of aggression, yet both are very precise and decisive, making each conflict never a dull affair. The level of plays the players shown have also been through the roofs. Either way, this matchup would be a great conclusion to the Chinese TI.

Ultimately, this should be VG's win for the taking, which I favor in due to the incredible shape and discipline they have impressively shown consistently throughout the entire season; which would mean another heartbreaking runner-up for LGD, especially fy. The amount of prowess and discipline VG have been honing and consistently displaying throughout the year have all been for this moment. A TI victory to encapsulate their stellar season, and finally bring home their mentor rOtK's his long-awaited Aegis.


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