posted by Abelle,
Open qualifiers for The International 2018 will be like no TI before. Big names will play in every region, fighting through the uncertain and volatile single elimination format for a chance at regionals. Here's a look at some of the teams to watch. Thanks to Valve's soon to be defunct roster lock system, only a few teams have been invited to each regional qualifier and several slots are available to open qualifier teams. After a couple of post-announcement additions, we're left with this distribution of open qualifier slots and invites by region:

China: 6 Regional Slots (1 Invite)
Southeast Asia: 5 Regional Slots (3 Invites)
North America: 6 Regional Slots (2 Invites)
South America: 6 Regional Slots (0 Invites)
Europe: 4 Regional Slots (4 Invites)
CIS: 6 Regional Slots (2 Invites)

China is the only region with an odd 7-team regional qualifier. Every other region adds up to eight. Still, having so many slots from opens to regionals doesn't mean that making it through will be easy. The event follows the same format it always has - a single elimination bracket with single-game series all the way through to the semifinal round.

It's still unclear whether the full bracket will be played out in cases where multiple teams advance from a single open qualifier, but that format is the one listed on FACEIT's registration page.

With hundreds of teams joining each region, a single misstep can threaten any team's chances of making TI. Thankfully there are still two open qualifiers per region, so even though there is no lower bracket there's still a second chance for everyone.


LGD.Forever Young
Du 'Monet' Peng
Xie 'Super!' Junhao
He 'InFlame' Yongzheng
Soon Chuan 'ah fu' Tue
Yao 'Yao' Zhengzheng
Keen Gaming
Guo 'Eve' Yuhang
Zhai 'Ying' Jingkai
Song 'dark' Runxi
Jiang 'Tianming' An

Chen 'Cty' Tianyu
Wang 'Old chicken' Zhiyong
Hu 'Guvara' Sen
Zhang 'Faith Bian' Ruida
Zhang 'y`' Yiping
Honorable mention: DK*
Xu 'BurNIng' Zhilei
Ou 'Op' Peng
Lu 'Cold Bird' Kang
Xu 'hym' Zhi
Weng 'Another' Wenjun

China may already have four teams through to the main event of TI8 but there's still a ton of talent left in the pool, most of whom have shuffled at some point since the roster lock. That means a crazy stacked open qualifier for us to enjoy! The likes of LFY, who even took some DPC points this season, will face against strong contenders like EHOME and KEEN.

There's even reports that a reborn Team DK exists, with BurNIng at the helm. We'll believe it when we see it, but can't resist getting more than a little bit excited at the possibility of seeing such a legendary squad return.


Clutch Gamers
Lai Jay 'Ah Jit' Son
Kim Villafuerte 'Gabbi' Santos
Haris 'SkyLark' Zafiriou
Marvin 'Boomy' Rushton
Vladimir 'Yol' Basov
Entity Gaming
Dominik 'Black^' Reitmeier
Jure 'Pingvincek' Plešej
Mikki 'Hestejoe-Rotten' Junget
Danny 'NoiA' Junget
Job Real 'JobeeEZy' Ramos

Tho Van '458' Trinh
Muhammad 'inYourdreaM' Rizky
Lee 'Ky.xY' Kong Yang
Kenny 'Xepher' Deo
Theeban '1437' Siva

The Southeast Asian scene this season has mostly been overshadowed by either Mineski or, to a lesser extent, TNC. With Mineski through to Vancouver and TNC waiting patiently in regionals, we're excited to see how the talented teams toiling away in the shadows have shaped up. These three are just a sampling of the talent waiting to show us what they've got in this open qualifier.

North America

Evil Geniuses
Artour 'Arteezy' Babaev
Sumail 'SumaiL' Syed Hassan
Gustav 's4' Magnusson
Andreas 'Cr1t-' Nielsen
Tal 'Fly' Aizik
Forward Gaming
Yawar 'YawaR' Hassan
Roman 'Resolut1on' Fominok
JingJun 'Sneyking' Wu
Arif 'MSS' Anwar
Avery 'SVG' Silverman

compLexity Gaming
David 'Moo' Hull
Linus 'Limmp' Blomdin
David 'Moonmeander' Tan
Zakari 'ZfreeK' Freedman
Adam Erwann 'Adam' Shah

Remember North America, the world's most competitive region? They like competition so much that they've all shuffled rosters to ensure even footing going into TI. Not even the titans of EG will bypass the open qualifier this year. It's going to be crazy, it's going to be hype. You're not going to want to miss it.

South America

paiN Gaming*
William 'hFnk3' Medeiros
Omar 'w33haa' Aliwi
Otávio 'tavo' Gabriel
Danylo 'KINGRD' Nascimento
Heitor 'Duster' Pereira
Gira de Venganza
Clinton 'Fear' Loomis
Enzo 'Timado' Gianoli
Alexis 'Greedy' Ventura
Joel Mori 'MoOz' Ozambela
Kyle 'Kyle' Freedman

SG e-sports
Guilherme 'Costabile' Silva Costabilé
Adriano '4DR' Machado
Rodrigo 'Lelis' Santos
Francis 'FLee' Lee
Stanley 'Stan King' Yang


Christian Eduardo 'Alucard' Kimura Trinidad
Grigorios 'Keyser' Kallianiotis
Maurice 'KheZu' Gutmann
Martin 'Saksa' Sazdov
Rasmus 'rASmus' Fillipsen
Michael 'm`ICKe' Vu
Max 'Qojqva' Broecker
Samuel 'Boxi' Svahn
Tommy 'Taiga' Le
Aydin 'INSaNIA' Sarkohi

Anathan 'ana' Pham
Topias 'Topson' Taavitsainen
Sebastien 'Ceb' Debs
Jesse 'JerAx' Vainikka
Johan 'BigDaddyN0tail' Sundstein

Europe was the region that managed to keep the most teams together from the roster lock this year, meaning there are an even four invites and four open qualifier slots. All three of these teams could make it through to regionals, but they're just a few stand-out names.

The European qualifier is loaded with recognizable faces. Will the likes of OG or Misery's new stack might not even make it to regionals. Even though the teams are big names, the recent shuffle means we have no way of knowing if they'll have stabilized in time.


Natus Vincere
Vladislav 'Crystallize' Krystanek
Danil 'Dendi' Ishutin
Viktor 'GeneRaL' Nigrini
Fedor 'velheor' Rusihin
Ilya 'Lil' Ilyuk
Team Spirit
Ilya 'Illidan Stormrage' Pivtsaev
Sergey 'God' Bragin
Olexandr 'DkPhobos' Kucherya
Malthe 'Biver' Winther
Artem 'fng' Barshack

Team Empire
Aibek 'Naive-' Tokayev
Rostislav 'fn' Lozovoi
Andrey 'Ghostik' Kadyk
Evgeny 'Chuvash' Makarov
Yaroslav 'Miposhka' Naidenov

Unfortunately for the CIS, only one squad from the many talented teams in opens and the two teams invited to regionals will make it to The International. Competition in the region is as fierce as ever, and former superstars can be found left and right in open qualifier teams. Take Team Spirit for instance - almost the entire lineup once competed together on stage at TI5, and now here they are.

With so many big names competing this week, we want to know - Which team will you be following most closely during the upcoming open qualifiers? Let us know in the comments!

  • Abelle


    Annabelle Fischer
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