The International 2019 main event kicked off with the opening ceremony welcoming the tournament to Shanghai, China for the first time in Dota 2 history. We say goodbye to the group stages and instead, set our sights on the 15 million dollar grand prize as N0tail returns the Aegis to center stage to await it's next victors.
We also say goodbye to 4 teams that fought for their lives in the first round of the lower bracket.
Spoilers ahead for Day 1 Main Event games
16 teams entered on day 1, and with 4 teams being sent home and 6 advancing their bracket positions, we look towards day 2 where 12 remain.
PSG.LGD managed to 2-0 Virtus.pro in a dominant performance against one of the top teams at the event. PSG.LGD look strong and their motivation to win it all might be the highest of any team after losing in the grand finals last year, and having a thunderous stadium chanting their name whenever they walk on stage.
Game 1 was a 76 minute slug fest, game 2 was a tight 61 minutes, and game 3 was 34 minutes for over 171 minutes of non-stop high-intensity tier 1 Dota!
Vici Gaming came into this tournament as one of the favorites to win it all and had the most DPC Major tournament wins with 2 (tied with Team Secret).
TNC Predator were always a strong team and were 9th in DPC points this season. TNC was the only team booed during the opening ceremonies because of the drama surrounding Kuku. It’s TNC VS the world at this point.
After TNC added Heen as their coach they look like they’ve leveled up. At the Epicenter Major, TNC defeated PSG.LGD 2-0 and placed 4th.
The series was very competitive but Vici Gaming managed to hold on for their game 2 victory and then won handedly in game 3.
There is one goal for Dota 2 players and that is to win The International. Winning a Major or Minor feels great but everything leads to this tournament. Day 1 ended with 8 teams playing a best of one for a chance to continue on to the next day.
Alliance had the saddest elimination because iNsania accidentally drafted Gyrocopter for their last pick when he meant to ban it. The team was quick to rally around their captain and give support and positive energy despite this mistake. Alliance even had a net worth advantage against Royal Never Give Up during the first phase of the game, and carried that through to a tight late game where either team had a chance down to the very last moments.
After the wacky group stages which saw Io carry and support Invoker, the opening games of the main event were more normal.
Tidehunter went 4-0 in the main event. 2 wins for PSG.LGD, 1 win for Vici Gaming, and 1 win for Team Liquid. If tanky initiators are in meta, then there is no better pick than Tidehunter. Your teammate might even pick him in your pubs! Better than first picking support Invoker right?
Shadow Demon went 5-0 in the main event. 1 win for PSG.LGD, 2 wins for Vici Gaming, 1 win for Royal Never Give up, and 1 win for Mineski. This makes Shadow Demon the 2nd most picked hero at TI9, just behind Ogre Magi.
Shadow Demon is a little bit harder to play than blinking in and pressing R on Tidehunter but going 5-0 is solid. Shadow Demon was huge in the comeback victory for Mineski.
So far there were no wacky strategies deployed by teams in day 1. Day 1 is for surviving, and as the tournament progresses, teams will likely begin to pull out some rare strategies to gain that slight competitive edge.
As well as more lower bracket elimination games, good and sad times are ahead.