posted by Smyke,
Na'Vi won the first TI and they are the only team to reach the Grand Finals three times - Natus Vincere is obviously one of the most known Dota 2 organizations out there. However, the results weren't that convincing over the last 2-3 years and it ended with Danil 'Dendi' Ishutin leaving the team.
The Ukrainian legend left Na'Vi in September 2018 and the organization used this empty space to reorganize the squad - with success! They qualified for the first Minor and came even close to winning at DreamLeague Season 10. Afterwards they finished second at MegaFon Winter Clash where they beat the reigning Major champion Virtus.pro and China's Finest at PSG.LGD.
Everything seemed to be perfect for the CIS squad, but they disappointed at The Chongqing Major qualifier and didn't even make it out of the group stage. Instead of qualifying for the Minor Na'Vi concentrated on the Winter Clash. This means we won't see Na'Vi in the second round of the Dota 2 Pro Circuit.
However, this doesn't mean that Natus Vincere's run ends here. The new team with Evgeniy 'Blizzy' Ree and Evgeny 'Chuvash' Makarov looks way fresher than the old squad. 2019 could be the year of Na'Vi's comeback.
Natus Vincere is not the only TI winner that enjoys a potential comeback - Alliance hasn't been that good in years. The team surrounding captain Aydin 'iNsania' Sarkohi is one of the best teams in Europe right now.
With a dominating performance we take down NIP 2-0! ʕ⊙ᴥ⊙ʔ— Alliance (@theAllianceGG) 2. Januar 2019
A 4-0 record today and now a well deserved days break, the Dota action will resume on the 4th!#LongLiveAlliance #KingsOfTheNorth pic.twitter.com/SmycTWQgV3
Especially their online performance underlines it: the Swedish squad qualified for both Majors by beating the top teams of the region. Only the LAN performance has to improve significantly. Neither at The Kuala Lumpur Major nor ESL One Hamburg 2018 did they win enough games to to reach the top 8 or better.
They'll get another chance at The Chongqing Major after beating OG twice in the qualifier. The Swedish organization trusts a young talented team supported by nobody else but Alliance's legend Jonathan 'Loda' Berg as the coach.
Since the German midlaner Max 'qojqva' Broecker joined in June 2018 Alliance is making huge steps forward. If the core stays together Alliance, could be a threat to the top teams throughout the whole season.
Tae Won 'March' Park's comeback in the Dota 2 pro scene after his military service was pretty calm at first. He just coached ex-Wind and Rain for the European The International 2018 qualifier and attended the event as an analyst after his team failed to make it to Vancouver.
Afterwards he started a team with his fellow countryman Sang-Don 'FoREv' Lee, Milan 'MiLAN' Kozomara as well as the two North American player David 'Moo' Hull and Jonathan Bryle 'Bryle' Santos De Guia.
They qualified directly for the first Major in Kuala Lumpur and got signed by J.Storm. The organization belongs to the basketball star Jeremy Lin.
They surprised China's hope Team Aster in the first round of the Lower Bracket, but ended up losing against Fnatic. The second amazement was the qualification for the second Major where they beat Forward Gaming and Evil Geniuses to get the first seed of North America.
Now they signed the NA legend Clinton 'Fear' Loomis to replace MiLAN. J.Storm
The competition in Southeast Asia is getting tougher and tougher, although veterans like Jacky 'EternaLEnVy' Mao and Co. left the scene again.
Fnatic, TNC Predator or Tigers are just some of the names who could win a TI for Southeast Asia at some point. Another one is a bit more unknown in the international scene, but is improving steadily: BOOM ID is the Indonesian hope.
The squad is actually playing together for quite some time already - three of them are at BOOM ID since May 2017. Captain Khezcute joined in July 2017 while Rafli 'Mikoto' Faturahman came in November 2018 later on.
The Indonesian squad attended the Chongqing qualifier and beat the reigning Minor champion Tigers. This success granted them a direct invite for The Bucharest Minor qualifier. On the way to qualify for the Minor they beat Clutch Gamers and Mineski.
It's highly possible that BOOM ID won't win the Minor, but 2019 could be their breakout year.
Which team could be the biggest surprise of 2019?
Photo credit: DreamHack - Jennika Ojala/ Freaks 4U Gaming GmbH