We officially have all 18 teams that will attempt to claim the prestigious Aegis of Champions. Oh, and of course their share of the the International 2019 prize pool which is currently just over $29,000,000. Forward Gaming, Royal Never Give Up and Chaos Esport Club are the final 3 teams to qualify for TI9, joining Mineski, Infamous and Na’Vi who have all qualified through the Regional Qualifiers.
The NA qualifiers are always interesting, especially with teams such as J.Storm, Complexity Gaming and of course Forward Gaming. FG were dominant throughout both the group stage and playoffs, only dropping one game all tournament to J.Storm. Their pressure and aggression never allowed for their opposition to settle. It was the perfect strategy as this allowed naturally gifted and aggressive players such as Yawar and CCnC to showcase their skills. This proved to be too much for a lackluster J.Storm who crumbled under the pressure as FG took the GF 3-1 and booked their tickets to TI9.
Royal Never Give Up managed to live up to their name, falling from the upper bracket instantly thanks to a resurgent CDEC 2-0. RNG had to earn their spot in the GF by defeating iG and EHOME to set themselves up with a rematch against CDEC. This time RNG ensured it would go the entire 5 games, losing game 1 but claiming games 2 and 3. CDEC responded in game 4, crushing RNG. But game 5 was a different story as it was a tough game where neither team wanted to make a mistake. CDEC looked in control until RNG swung the game in their favor, wiping out CDEC in a big team fight and took the initiative, applying ample pressure to ensure CDEC couldn’t get back in the game. This would end the dream run for CDEC as RNG took not only game 5, but their spot at TI9.
Despite a disappointing clean sweep in the grand final, the Europe qualifiers were my favorite. A 3-way tiebreaker saw the end of syndereN’s stack Anti-MagE-, allowing Chaos Esport Club and Aachen City Esports through to the playoffs. The Final Tribe looked fantastic, powering their way through the upper bracket and into the GF. While Chaos finally showed their class after barely qualifying for the playoff stage. This is where Chaos began to build momentum as they had little problems eliminating Aechen City and open qualifiers Hippomaniacs. This grand final had the potential to match the Chinese GF and go the full 5 games. Instead MATUMBAMAN showed why he is one of the best players in the world, Misery put on a Bane masterclass and Chaos together showed that they shouldn’t be taken lightly at TI9, easily defeating TFT 3-0.
Who’s your pick for TI9? Home town favorites PSG.LGD or Vici Gaming? DPC dominating Team Secret? 3rd place specialist Evil Geniuses? Or can one of these 6 open qualifiers replicate OG’s TI8 run and go all the way? In just over one months time we will have all the answers!