The most prestigious Dota 2 tournament of the year is quickly approaching. With a prize pool that has shattered all previous records, thus becoming the largest in esports history, The International 6 will gather some of the best Dota 2 players in the world. This year, a hefty 38 TI6 players from across four geographical regions will be making their International debut. Here are the eight debutants representing the European region!
Blinding stage lights. Rising heat. Raw nerves. Tiny drops of sweat spring forth. Your heart starts racing. A deafening crowd roar rips through the Key-Arena in Seattle. The walk to the booths feels like an eternity.
All eyes are now on you. A live crowd of 17,000. Millions of people from across the world are scrutinizing every step you take from the comfort of their homes. Millions of dollars are on the line. One play can make or break your dreams. One fraction of a second late on a click, one missed keystroke and it could all be over in the blink of an eye. Prayers can’t help you much now. The pressure can be insurmountable even for the most decorated of veterans.
The whole year culminates with The International. The bootcamps, the emotional roller coasters, the trials and tribulations. The path is long and arduous, and little can truly prepare a player for the magnitude of The International.
Most of the players who will ride the adrenaline rush of the TI6 wave are storied veterans. They’ve been there, they’ve done that. They have mastered negotiating The International path. However, this year, 38 new faces will be making their International debut. For them, emotions are at an all-time high.
Eight of those 38 star players will be representing the European region. Half of the six directly invited teams and a total of four out of six teams representing Europe have two players each appearing at The International for the first time.
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OG, Team Liquid, Na’Vi and Escape Gaming are all bringing fresh blood onto the TI6 stage. Albeit greenhorns to the International, all eight of these players have been integral parts of the success of their teams, helping them reach The International 6 spotlight.
Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi
Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi is most known for his 9k MMR and for being instrumental in OG’s recent success, with his exceptional plays.
Miracle- joined Balkan Bears at the beginning of 2015. However, only four months later, he was removed from the team. During the time he was teamless, Amer began gaining recognition, as he climbed the matchmaking rating leaderboards in pub games and eventually became the no. 1 player by MMR in Europe and the world.
Shortly after that, he was invited to join (monkey) Business – a new team formed during the post-TI5 reshuffle, that would later become one of the most stable and successful teams in world.
OG (formerly monkey Business) stunned the world when they climbed from the Lower Brackets to upset Team Secret and take the Frankfurt Major trophy. They have since claimed multiple titles and have become the first team to win two Valve tournaments.
Andreas Franck “Cr1t-” Nielsen
Andreas Franck “Cr1t-” Nielsen is an unassuming Danish player who has charmed and captured fans all over the world.
OG is the Dane’s first tier 1 team. Cr1t- has been making multiple short appearances on various teams since 2012, including teams such as Mousesports, Meet Your Makers and Lianghao – that was later picked up by Flipside Tactics after Cr1t’s departure.
It has become completely normal to see Cr1t- carrying out some of the biggest and most spectacular plays in OG’s game and creating excitement with his rotations. He has shown incredible synergy with OG’s captain, Tal “Fly” Aizik. The two players have become one of the top support duos in competitive Dota 2.
Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Borislavov
Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Borislavov is the lovable Bulgarian player who has been known to play carry, midlane and offlane with an equal amount of success.
Although he is still relatively new to the spotlight, MinD_ContRoL started his Dota 2 career in 2014 with Aftershock Gaming, before moving to Basically Unknown, where he has gotten his share of exposure.
Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi recruited him in August, 2015, and gave him the opportunity to demonstrate his previously underappreciated skills. Their squad, 5Jungz, was picked up by Team Liquid and has since become one of the best Dota 2 teams in the competitive scene.
After an onslaught of top three placements in premier events this year, Ivan and Team Liquid are primed for another top finish, at TI6.
Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen
Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen is well known for his quirky and fun personality and even more so for his role in the carry position on Team Liquid.
MATUMBAMAN first appeared on the circuit in 2014. He caught the eye of fans and other players after winning the Assembly Summer 2014 LAN tournament with the team Veni,Vidi,Vici – a squad he was a part of for only a few short months. He then moved on to 4 Anchors + Sea Captain – a Finnish team that he enjoyed considerable success with over the year.
After being recruited by 5Jungz (that has later become Team Liquid) in August 2015, he dropped out of Sea Captain school to focus on playing Dota 2 full time. No doubt, Lasse has made the right decision and has since become one of the top Dota 2 players in the world.
Despite claiming to be very nervous when playing, he always seems composed and one of the most stable members of his team.
Dmitry “Ditya Ra” Minenkov
Dmitry “Ditya Ra” Minenkov has found much success as the newly appointed captain of the legendary organization, Na’Vi. Since joining, Ditya Ra has gained heightened popularity and has been instrumental in reviving Na’Vi’s motto, “Born to win”.
Ditya Ra started by playing Counter-Strike and other games for fun, moving over to DotA in 2007. He started playing at a professional level locally, with enough success to keep him motivated and moving forward. In 2011, he made the switch to Dota 2.
It took a bit of time and several mixes before he started to play more professionally and was signed to Power Rangers, in December 2014. For the next year, he gained experience and honed in on his skills, eventually receiving a nod from Na’Vi. The Ukrainian organization recruited him to join their lineup built around Danil “Dendi” Ishutin and Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev.
Ditya Ra has become unstoppable and one of the quickly rising stars in the CIS region and the world. Lycan, Terrorblade and Ember Spirit are among some of his finest heroes that invoke fear in his opponents and help to secure wins and comebacks.
Victor “GeneRaL” Nigrini
Victor “GeneRaL” Nigrini is still relatively new in the scene, having only started his Dota 2 career one year ago. In a short period of time, he has skyrocketed to fame with his engaging personality and his extraordinary plays.
GeneRaL has gained his experience and his reputation over the last year, after starting his career on Duza Gaming, in 2015. He had stints in Team Empire and ScaryFaceZ, as well as Elements Pro Gaming. Although he has been predominantly a midlane player, he has begun the shift to fill the shoes of the offlane position for Na’Vi.
There was much hype and excitement when Victor joined Na’Vi. The promising player exuded much confidence in his role change and the organization fully supported him, hinging their hopes on their new addition.
In an interview published when he joined, GeneRaL stated:
I will be playing in the hard-lane. For the last three days, I’ve been crushing all pubs playing this role, so our opponents will have to go through some difficult times.
His words have since rung true. Since then, Na’Vi have been declared as “back” – crushing opponents and seizing vastly improved results.
Maurice “KheZu” Gutmann
Maurice “KheZu” Gutmann transitioned from a highly successful career in HoN to Dota 2 with a similar caliber of success, in only one year.
The former HoN pro had an exceptional career previously, playing for some of the best HoN teams and received an award for the “Most Valuable Suicide Laner of 2014”. The mechanical skills and game understanding he developed in the HoN scene have made a full transition to Dota 2 offlane, giving him much success and recognition.
Maurice tried his hand at joining several newly formed teams during the roster lock time periods but was unable to settle with a squad until the end of December – falling into place with COOKISS. He stayed with the Swedish team for four months before being recruited to No Diggity – a mix spearheaded by Troels “syndereN” Nielsen.
Since then, he has gained much attention for his Timbersaw and Void performances, among others.
Yazied “YapzOr” Jaradat
Yazied “YapzOr” Jaradat has been hailed and revered for his outstanding Rubick and Earthshaker plays, as well as his overall support role performances.
Yapzor was co-opted by Monkey Freedom Fighters when the team was first established, at the end of August, 2015.
He had some commendable achievements while playing for Balkan Bears before that, but it wasn’t until he joined MFF that he truly stood out. Despite a respectable run and a notable sense of synergy with teammate WehSing “SingSing” Yuen, the team disbanded.
Yazied was not a free agent for long, and after catching the eye of Troels “syndereN” Nielsen, he was recruited to join No Diggity (now Escape Gaming), at the end of February.
Escape Gaming’s biggest claim to fame has been their stellar run through the TI6 qualifiers. They managed to seize The International 6 Wild Card slot and a chance to visit the main stage in Seattle.
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