The International 2021 will be the 10th edition of Dota 2's premier tournament. It will take place in August 2021 in Stockholm, Sweden.
For the 2021 season, Valve announced a new Dota 2 pro circuit system. Teams will compete in regional leagues to determine the best teams from each region. Those teams will then compete in a Major on LAN. There will be 2 seasons with 2 Majors leading up to The International 10.
The first Dota 2 LAN event in over a year, The Singapore Major, has already taken place. China's Invictus Gaming won the tournament after defeating North America's Evil Geniuses in the grand final.
As the 2nd season reaches its halfway point, the strongest teams are slowly revealing themselves. These teams will contend for the Aegis of Champions at The International 2021.
Winning TI is the biggest achievement for any Dota 2 team. Teams plan their entire year focusing on this one tournament. The financial gain from winning TI is also huge, since the tournament has the highest prize pool in all of esports.
Disclaimer: This list solely reflects the opinions of the author
The 5 strongest Dota 2 teams contending for the Aegis
A few honorable mentions go to Alliance, Team Liquid, and Team Secret from Western Europe. Although the Western European teams are traditionally some of the strongest Dota 2 teams, the competition between them is too high this year to get a clear picture of the teams' strength in the international scene.
5. Invictus Gaming
Over the past year and two months, Dota 2 has had just one LAN tournament. Invictus Gaming won The Singapore Major. As a result, they are the only team that has won a LAN tournament in a long time.
IG's performance in season 2 has been subpar. They are currently 7th in the Chinese Upper Division, which means they can be relegated. However, the DPC points they accumulated during the 1st season should be enough to get them an invite to TI.
Although IG doesn't seem like a serious contender given their awful performance in the DPC League, their record on LAN gives them a distinct edge over all other teams in this Dota 2 season.
4. Virtus Pro
Virtus Pro are the strongest team in the CIS or Eastern European Region. At the Singapore Major, they finished in the top 8 and are virtually guaranteed a spot at The International.
Across both seasons in the Eastern European DPC League, Virtus Pro are undefeated. They finished 1st in season 1 with a 7-0 record and have a 5-0 record in season 2. They have dropped just two games so far, with a combined game record of 24-2, which is insanely dominant.
3. Team Aster
Team Aster have proven themselves to be one of the strongest teams in China. They finished 2nd in the Chinese DPC League season 1 and currently sit atop the season 2 table. Although Aster had a disappointing run at The Singapore Major, their performances in the DPC Leagues have been second to none.
Aster have a 4-0 record in the DPC League at the moment. They finished the 1st season with a 6-1 record and in 2nd place. They have been one of the best online teams in the world.
Losing just 1 game in the Chinese region, one of the strongest Dota 2 regions, across 2 seasons, would make any team a contender for the Aegis of Champions.
PSG.LGD are perennial powerhouses in the Chinese Dota 2 scene. The organization has finished in the top 4 of the last three Internationals. At the Singapore Major, they finished 3rd, losing to eventual champions, Invictus Gaming.
Their online record isn't the best. They qualified for the Singapore Major with a 4-3 record in the 1st season. They are currently tied for 2nd place with Elephant and Vici Gaming, with all 3 teams having a record of 3-2.
However, their above-average online performance and amazing LAN performance make them a serious contender for the Aegis of Champions.
1. Evil Geniuses
Evil Geniuses have been the best North American Dota 2 team this year. Ever since Iceiceice and Abed joined the team after Covid restrictions got lifted, EG have looked unstoppable.
Over the 2021 Dota 2 season, EG have lost 2 games - once against Quincy Crew during season 1, and once against Invictus Gaming at The Singapore Major finals. Their record across the two seasons is 10-1. They are yet to drop a game in season 2 and seem unlikely to do so.
Their stellar records, in both online and on LAN, make EG one of the favorites to lift the Aegis of Champions. If Arteezy's curse doesn't come back to haunt them that is.