5 Teams to Watch in the Upcoming 2018 DOTA 2 Season

By Chris Blain
Published on December 20, 2017
Dota 2 Tournament

The bushes begin to shake as the approaching soldiers make haste to the center of the field to reinforce their allies already engulfed in the onslaught of battle. Infantrymen crash into one another, swords weaving in between shields to taste the flesh of their opponents.

Suddenly the battlefield is engulfed by blinding flashes as fireballs explode all around the soldiers, engulfing them in the absolute destruction that drops scorched opponents to the ground. Hero characters charge onto the scene in a roar of thunder as explosions erupt all around them.

One attack after another is thrown at each opposing force until, finally, one begins to have the upper hand over the situation. That is until one of the teams casts an ultimate spell, sending waves of dark energy across the field and leaving only death in its wake.

The team uses this advantage to make their move and advances into the enemy base to obliterate the last of their fortifications. They see the primary structure and go for it, tearing brick after brick apart until it finally crumbles to dust. Match over. Team Liquid wins.

Today you will learn about five of the top teams to watch in the upcoming 2018 DOTA 2 season and why they are important. If you are an esports gambler, it’s wise to gather your information on these teams so that you’re prepared when placing your wagers.

The Teams to Watch

The Defense of the Ancients 2 competitive scene has been filled with much intrigue ever since the glorious conclusion of The International 2017. Teams have been busy little bees shuffling and reforming their rosters so that they can hit the 2017/2018 DOTA 2 season like bosses.

While there are many impressive teams out there that deserve to have their names mentioned in the glorious text of my writings, there is only so much time. Together we shall go over some of those teams which you will want to watch for the upcoming season, so that when you place a wager, you will go in prepared.

Team Liquid

Team Liquid is almost a household name at this point, and you will want to know what this team is doing in the scene. Most notably, they won The International 2017 and are the reigning #1 esports organization in the world.

When it came to that tournament, the 2017 DOTA 2 roster for Team Liquid did not have an easy go by any means, because they had to come back from a first-round loss. They did just that, and fought their way through the bottom ranks to face Newbee in the final, and took them down 3-0.

The current roster consists of the great captain Kuro “Kuroky” Takhasomi, Amer “Miracle” Barqawi, Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Ivanov, Lasse “Matumbman” Urpalainen, and Maroun “GH” Merhej. These guys should be observed all year to see if they can repeat what they managed at TI17.

Evil Geniuses

Evil Geniuses was one of the top predicted contenders expected to have a very good shot at winning the entire TI17. They were viewed this way because of their impressive squad make up containing some of the best players in the scene.

They had performed well all season leading up to the huge event, had multiple first place wins, and seemed poised to continue this process. Unfortunately, that is not what occurred, and they came in a disappointing 9th-12th place.

The unimpressive placement caused ripples throughout the organization and resulted in Ludwig “Zai” Wahlberg taking his leave from the team. However, that was not the only loss that EG suffered from the tournament shuffle. CEO and former DOTA 2 powerhouse captain Peter “ppd” Dager also left EG.

There was some positive news from the team reshuffling, specifically the return of Clinton “Fear” Loomis as the new captain for Evil Geniuses DOTA 2 team. Fear is a veteran in the DOTA 2 scene and also acted as the coach during the 2016/2017 season.

The process of acclimating the team into working as a cohesive unit and bringing the skill they showed during the 2016/2017 season to the upcoming 2018 season will be essential. The team has competed in tournaments a few times since TI17 and they have had decent rankings.

Unfortunately, they were defeated in the Midas Mode North America tournament by their former teammates Ludwig “Zai” Wahlberg and Peter “ppd” Dager, who are now playing for Optic Gaming. Not necessarily the start Evil Geniuses is looking to have this year.

The current team make up consists of Clinton “Fear” Loomis as the captain, followed by Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Arora, Artour “Arteezy” Babev, Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan, and Andreas “Cr1t” Nielsen. If the team can find their stride, they may have the potential to accomplish great things in the 2018 season.


Newbee is one of the strongest teams that China has ever put together, and they continue to place highly in every event that they compete in. Their claim to fame, of course, comes from their TI14 victory, where they were noted for receiving the largest prize pool of any esports team in history.

That was until TI15, since the prize pool has continued to grow each year. Newbee suffered from some bad luck during the 2015 season, and the team came in the last place in the DOTA 2 Asian Championships. 2015 was not Newbee’s year by any means, and neither was the start of 2016.

Their fortunes began to change slowly but surely after the acquisition of KaKa and Kpii, and they began to get themselves poised for success. They got a direct invite to TI16, where they came in 9th-12th place, which was not where they wanted to be, but better than 2015.

Newbee finally found their footing in 2017, where they came in top placements in multiple tournaments and were poised to win TI17 with their dominating display of skill. That is until Team Liquid got ahold of them in the finals, taking it with a score of 3-0 – an unfortunate turn of events for Newbee.

That has not gotten the team down by any means, just the opposite it seems, and they have been competing hard ever since TI17, earning over a quarter of a million dollars. They won the Perfect World Masters and took home a cool $150,000.00. Not a bad haul at all for the team.

No one can deny that Newbee intends to push this upcoming season with obvious ferocity, and that may be based on their second-place finish at TI17. Newbee has something to prove, and they may just have that opportunity with the upcoming season.

The current team roster contains Xu “Moogy” Han, Song “Sccc” Chun, Damien “Kpii” Chok, Hu “Kaka” Liangzhi, and captained by Zeng “Faith” Hongda. The current roster of Newbee appears to be one of the strongest since their dominating 2014 season. Only time will tell how 2018 will shape up for them.


Many consider Virtus.Pro’s current DOTA 2 roster one of the most skilled teams in the scene, having impressive players that, when things go as planned, can stand against the absolute best. It has been said that their issue is putting that skill into play, but when they do, it is glorious.

That display of talent was recently showcased at the ESL One Hamburg, where they took first place over powerhouses such as Team Secret, Newbee, Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses, and more. They have yet to claim any TI thrones, but that could change.

As it stands, Virtus.Pro is going into the new season in the lead on the road to TI18, but the season has only just begun. It cannot be denied that Virtus.Pro finds themselves in a very good position to start the ball rolling, and they need to keep that momentum going if they intend to stay in the lead.

Their current roster contains Pavel “9pasha” Khvastunov, Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev, Vladimir “No[o]ne” Minenko, Ilya “Lil” Ilyuk, and finally, Captain Alexei “Solo” Berezin. If their current success continues into the season, they appear to be one of the top contenders.

Optic Gaming

Optic Gaming is well known in the first-person-shooting community and has been around for well over a decade. The organization found much of their success playing such games as Halo, Call of Duty, Gears of War, and CS: GO, and will be participating in the Overwatch league.

With such an impressive FPS repertoire, it’s curious that they are now just stepping foot into the DOTA 2 MOBA scene. They have recently chosen to throw their hat in and which is formed of multiple high-end esports talents in the scene.

The team includes such players as Quinn “CC&C” Callahan, Per Anders Olsson “Pajkatt” Lille, Ludwig “Zai” Wahlberg, Rasmus, “MiSeRy” Filipsen, and none other than the great Peter “ppd” Dager as captain. That is correct, former Evil Genius players Zai and EG CEO Peter Dager are now playing for Optic Gaming.

This team could potentially be the new force in the scene under the leadership of Dager, because it is arguable that he was one of the key components to EGs success at TI15. They have hit the scene running, and came in first place at the Midas Mode North America, where they beat former teammates of EG.

Whether the unfavorable TI17 results occurred because Dager was not leading the squad is up for debate. The 2018 season may answer some of those questions with “ppd” back in a captain role and competing once again in the competitive scene.

Wrap Up

There are many important teams to watch in this upcoming 2018 season, and as an intelligent bettor, you will not want to disregard any of them. Whether the teams listed above will make their way down the road as powerhouses or utter failures will only be told by time.

Regardless, the teams should all be observed, whether you intend to place a bet on them or not, because you will want to understand the competition that is out there. Optic Gaming is a team that should be watched especially, because there are some extremely powerful players on their roster.

Optic Gaming has not had a DOTA 2 MOBA division, and in some of their early tournaments bookmakers may not be aware of their potential strength until they make a name for themselves. Since the team is being led by Peter “ppd” Danger, a former TI winner and runner-up, they cannot be ignored.

Many times, people will only look at the rank or record of a team to decide whether they want to put a bet on them or not.

When you are deciding to put your own money down, you should be aware of what each team brings to the table.

A team may be considered the underdog in a matchup because of the odds placed on their opponents, but those odds may be distorted. The less favored team could contain extremely talented players that have yet to compete under their newly acquired flag and therefore lack the stats for the team.

In the world of esports, you cannot rely solely on how strong the team’s earnings rankings are, but you must also consider the players they are utilizing to represent their organization. Remember, when researching your bets, do not only study teams themselves.

You want to look into the individual players, since you never know who you will see show up on a roster, and their previous accomplishments may go unnoticed. Always be aware of who you are betting on and who their opponents are if you want to be successful in the esports gambling scene.

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