The International 9 Open Qualifiers: Any dream will do

Legends never die, as they say, and it’s that time of the year again when many of the greats and just goods of Dota 2 come out of retirement, sort of. Mix teams for The International Open Qualifiers start springing up around the world, some with the aim of making the biggest show on earth, and some with the desire to just have a bit of fun and maybe grab a few more subs on Twitch along the way.

There is an argument to say that these teams somewhat devalue the qualifiers, and it is a bit odd to have semi-serious sides up against people trying to make a career out of the game alone, but that’s for another time. Today, we just want to bring you a few of the more interesting groups you might see competing in Open Qualifiers, as esports’ biggest tournament approaches.

Related: TI9 qualifiers live streams and bets

The Pango

You can’t really have failed to hear of young Dendi if you follow the dotes, but logic tells us that Ghostik is the man this team is built around, with the other four including Yamich brought in basically this month. They’ve made some big changes recently, and in Chappie there is definitely a ‘big’ personality on this team too, so there is a chance they could creep through the qualifiers under the stewardship of Misha, if they don’t implode.

Team Solid

We all know BurNIng, who at 31 spends a lot of his time coaching these days, but for a lot of early Dota fans he’s a massive name and a true legend. Teaming up with TI2 champion YYF, who also happens to be one of China’s biggest Dota 2 streamers, will help not just in-game but with the views too. When you consider both bLink and iceice won TI6 with Wings, and LongDD is a former DK team-mate of BurNing, this might be one of the most storied and experienced teams anywhere in the system right now.


Team Gas

ZSMJ is a name from way back in the days of Dota 1, but this team is one to watch. Their (and Team Solid’s) name is a Team Liquid joke, but Axx is China’s best female player, and no joke herself in terms of level of play, and SanSheng already has a medal in his house from TI4. Aquarius and former LGD and Newbee man Chisbug round out the five, who need to play better to have even an outside shot, according to local sources.

Geek Fam

The highlight of this team is going to be Mushi for a lot of fans, but there is more to Geek Fam than just the veteran. The five have already made a few ripples in Chinese events, and Raven is already a talent at just 20 years of age. Xepher has had recent spells with TNC while Velo is a former member of the family returning for another shot at TI, with NothingToSay the unproven, and unpredictable part of the equation.

There will be plenty more odd mixes announced in the coming days, with AdmiralBulldog still not having confirmed the group he intends to have a pop at the qualifiers with, but for now that’s not a bad start. We’ve got plenty of former TI champions, as well as the likes of Newbee, CDEC and IG in the Open Qualifiers, so it’s safe to say there are going to be plenty of tears shed and no small amount of blood bled before we find out who the final four are for TI9.