The International 11 (TI11) concluded with Tundra Esports convincingly crowned as the new Dota 2 world champions after sweeping Team Secret 3-0.
Their innovative drafting style, which focused on closing the map out on their enemies, helped Tundra claimed the grand prize of over US$8.5 million, as well as the coveted Aegis of Champions.
Of course, a TI wouldn't be a TI if we didn't have the chance to see how teams in different regions approach the game, with every region having its own take on the metagame and strategies that worked for them.
Let's take a look at each region's performance in Singapore. If you're wondering how we ranked them, check out our previous article on the Arlington Major.
6. Eastern Europe
Team placements: BetBoom Team (19th-20th), Team Spirit (13th-16th)
Eastern Europe had a pretty uneven 2021-2022 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season, with the region rocked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and instability that followed, severely affecting the performance of teams in the region.
Eastern Europe also had the fewest representatives at TI11, with just TI10 champions Team Spirit and regional qualifier winner BetBoom Team.
It wasn't a surprise when BetBoom Team was eliminated in the Group Stage, as they were a dark horse entering the tournament, and not every dark horse goes the distance.
Team Spirit's performance, on the other hand, caught people off-guard. The defending champions went 9-9 in the Group Stage and then got upset by BOOM Esports in their best-of-one elmination match in the Main Event, sending them home early in the tournament.
In hindsight, it's not too surprising that Spirit went out when they did. The defending champions always have a giant target on their back, and after they won the Arlington Major, every team had to have come up with ways to go up against them.
Eastern Europe had the weakest performance among all regions, with an average team placement of 17th place. The good news for the region is that it can only go up from here, so it'll be interesting to see what happens in the next DPC season.
5. North America
Team Placements: Soniqs Esports (17th-18th), TSM (19th-20th), Evil Geniuses (9-12th)
If there's one region that was full of surprises at TI11, it was North America.
In both Majors this past season, one North American team always came last in the group stage. The region's best performance was at the ESL One Stockholm Major, where TSM finished in second place.
TSM were expected to continue to do well at TI11, or at least not come in last place in the Group Stage. Soniqs had the same result, bombing out in 17th-18th place.
Not all the North American surprises were negative though, as Evil Geniuses (EG) managed to overwhelm their group and emerge as one the strongest teams.
As the lone representative of their region in the Main Event, EG were expected to make a deep run after starting out so strong.
Unfortunately, the good news didn't last for North American fans, as EG returned to their former four-protect-one drafts and ended up losing every game in the Main Event.
Making it to the Top 12 is impressive, but it's definitely a far cry from what many expected after their dominant Group Stage display.
4. Southeast Asia
Team Placements: Talon Esports (17th-18th), Fnatic (13th-16th), BOOM Esports (9th-12th)
If there's one thing viewers can bank on at every TI, it's that Southeast Asia will be right in the middle of the pack in terms of regional strength.
Expectations for Talon Esports weren't high entering the tournament, as they qualified for TI11 through the regional qualifiers.
Fnatic, on the other hand, have been a staple on the big stage, and every year Southeast Asian fans pray that the team makes it to the Top 4 as they did in 2016.
Unfortunately, Fnatic were eliminated in the first round of the lower bracket in an entertaining match against Western Europe's Gaimin Gladiators.
Southeast Asian fans had placed their hopes on BOOM at the start of TI11, as they dominated the region throughout the whole DPC season.
It was an extremely tense Group Stage for BOOM, as they had to win four games in a row on the last day in order to qualify for the Main Event.
BOOM then pulled off a massive upset over Team Spirit before ultimately getting eliminated by PSG.LGD
As a Southeast Asian Dota fan, disappointment is an all too familiar taste.
The region did better than Eastern Europe and North America, but not by much. The average team placement for the region at TI11 was 14th place.
3. South America
Team Placements: Hokori (13th-16th), Beastcoast (7th-8th), Thunder Awaken (5th-6th)
How many times does a region need to "overperform" before they are recognised as strong?
While South America may have dropped the ball at TI10, the region has consistently improved since then.
Regional qualifier winner Hokori were a pleasant surprise. They were a Division II team that came into TI11 and went 9-9 in the Group Stage, with just one victory separating them from a spot in the upper bracket.
Beastcoast were the second best-performing team throughout the year and it was no surprise to see them make it to the Top 8 at TI11.
The team might have made an even deeper run had it not been for COVID-19. Their coach was absent from the drafting stage in their match against PSG.LGD, a disadvantage that proved too much for the team to overcome.
The most impressive achievement of the region had to have come from Thunder Awaken. They became the first South American team to start a TI Main Event in the upper bracket, as well as the first to make it to the Top 6. And, as Team Liquid might admit, they very well almost made it to Top 4.
As a result, South America had the third-best regional performance at TI11, and it's also miles ahead of the previous regions, with an average team placement of ninth place.
Team Placements: Royal Never Give Up (13th-16th), PSG.LGD (5th-6th), Team Aster (4th place)
China had the second-best regional performance at TI11, and yet somehow it still feels like the region underperformed.
While some teams suffered due to bad luck, other teams struggled a lot more than they had in the past.
Let's start with Royal Never Give Up (RNG), which had four members of the team hit by COVID. This meant only one of their players showed up on stage, Yap "xNova" Jian Wei, with the rest replaced by teddy bears.
It's not too hard to imagine that the team's communication and overall gameplay suffered from being sick.
Yet RNG's fighting spirit was indomitable, as they fought Entity for 107 minutes before being eliminated in the longest Main Event game in TI history. And it was a match they might have won with some really sneaky tactics.
PSG.LGD's Top 6 finish was a surprise, as they have had a podium finish in their last three TI's, with two of them being second-place finishes.
PSG.LGD had perhaps the worst match-up in the lower bracket against fellow Chinese squad Team Aster, who have been almost undefeatable by other Chinese teams.
Speaking of Team Aster, after years of dominating their region but failing on the international stage, they stepped it up big time at TI11.
They made it to the upper bracket after a strong showing in the Group Stage and proceeded to defeat both Team Liquid and PSG.LGD. The fourth-place finish for the team is their best showing yet.
1. Western Europe
Team Placements: Gaimin Gladiators (9-12th), Entity (9-12th), OG Esports (7-8th), Team Liquid (3rd Place), Team Secret (2nd Place), (Tundra Esports 1st Place)
Western Europe had twice as many representatives as any other region at TI11, courtesy of their incredible performance during the DPC season and the Last Chance Qualifier.
But the region didn't just send the most representatives, it also utterly dominated TI11.
It was the first time in history that the Top 3 teams in the tournament were all from the same region. The only teams that were able to eliminate a Western European team from TI11 were another team from Western Europe, which should tell you everything you needed to know about their dominance.
With four out of the last five TI winners hailing from the region, it's no surprise that Western Europe had the best regional performance at TI11. And it looks like the region's dominance won't be stopping any time soon.
Otomo is a long-time gaming enthusiast and caster. He has been playing games since he was 10 and is the biggest Dota 2 fan.
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