There is a total of 18 massive teams heading to The International 2019 and while it is clear that there are a lot of new faces from many teams taking part – there are also singular players from a host of teams that will be at their first TI event ever.
These final five players all are part of some of the best teams in the world for Dota 2 and you would never expect this to be their first TI – but this past season has treated them well and The International 2019 could be exactly what they require to shine above the rest.
Michal ‘Nisha’ Jankowski
Probably the most well-known player on this list, Nisha has been a part of the Dota 2 world since 2014 – however, he only really begun to make his way to the top with the Polish Team Kinguin squad. That was up until last year when Team Secret captain and stalwart of Dota 2, Clement ‘Puppey’ Ivanov, decided to bring Nisha into the squad. The Dota 2 Pro Circuit this season has been almost entirely dominated by Team Secret and while it was a full-team effort, Nisha has definitely proven exactly what he can do. At only 18 years of age, Nisha has been a part of Secret’s victories at;
- The Chongqing Major
- MDL Disneyland®
- ESL One Katowice 2019
- ESL One Birmingham 2019
As well as a second-place finish at The Kuala Lumpur Major and a fourth place at The Stockholm Major. There is absolutely no denying that Nisha is on the road to the top and with Team Secret at his back (and being one of the favourites for TI9) the Aegis could definitely be in his hands shortly.
Kim ‘Gabbi’ Villafuerte
The Southeast Asian region has produced some magnificent Dota 2 players and this season we really got to see Gabbi and TNC shine. While the squad did have an unfortunate start to the season with the drama around The Chongqing Major – TNC were still always on the ball with their dominance. After joining TNC in late 2018 after brief stints at multiple SEA teams, Gabbi quickly found his place among them as they raced into The Kuala Lumpur Major. He helped the squad take an extremely strong 5th/6th place finish before their season went a bit off-the-track.
However, even with the small hiccup, TNC came back fighting at EPICENTER, even eliminating TI8 runner’s up PSG.LGD and finishing in fourth to secure a direct invite to The International 2019. While it may be Gabbi’s first TI, he has an insanely strong team behind his carry role and one that is looking to show the true power of the SEA region.
Ding ‘Dy’ Cong
Support players can often be overlooked, especially when it comes to MVP votes in events but Dy has shown just how brilliantly he can play the role. Vici Gaming had almost faded away last DPC season and with a slow start to this season, it seemed that things might go the same way. However, the team picked up Dy late in 2018 and since then have not looked back. Their Minor victory at StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Season 1 rocketed them into a Major victory at DreamLeague Season 11 before EPICENTER saw them claim the top spot too.
With a very short history of Dota 2 for Dy, VG is definitely looking like the team where a TI-dream could come true. His counter-part support on the team, Pan ‘Fade’ Yi may get a lot of glory, but Dy is definitely a massive part of the squad and with a team full of stars too, he could be hoisting the Aegis of Champions on home turf.
Nikolay ‘Nikobaby’ Nikolov
Mineski’s DPC season has been extremely poor and after major roster changes it seemed as though they would never really make it to TI9. However, the addition of Nikobaby to the squad just prior to their SEA regional qualifier run seemed to really lift their spirits and the team came together extremely well. While he may be a Bulgarian, Nikobaby has spent a long period playing among the Southeast Asian teams and is probably most well-known for the time he spent with WarriorsGaming.Unity before moving over to Mineski.
Even though it is set to be a tough road for Mineski, their squad seems to be in a much better place than they were early in 2019 and with Nikobaby performing admirably in the carry position, Mineski are set to make a great showing at the event.
Cheng ‘vtFαded’ Jia Hao
Progressing through the European qualifier for TI9 was no easy task with so many massive teams on show and fighting for a spot at the prestigious event. For Chaos Esports Club, it seemed as though they were already done-and-dusted before the event even kicked off when they dropped their South American roster and opted to play from EU instead. However, this also found them an interesting roster filled with players from all around the world, vtFaded being one of them. The young Malaysian carry was most recently seen playing alongside Chan ‘WinteR’ Litt Binn on the SEA roster of Power of MYSG+AU – a team which came close to reaching a DPC event.
Even after that failure, vtFaded took to the qualifiers with Chaos and even against opposition like The Final Tribe and Aachen City Esports, they flourished to give him his first ever showing at a TI event. With a TI winner and a runner-up on the squad, this Chaos squad are not to be underestimated and Shanghai is going to be an epic event for all involved.
That wraps up our look at every single newcomer to The International 2019 – and you can find every article, as well as much more information on the upcoming event on our amazing TI9 hub.