As you all probably have seen, the invites to this year’s TI were announced yesterday. I already wrote on Twitter that I was a bit disappointed and frustrated that we weren’t invited and I will elaborate on why here.
Knowing if you are gonna get invited or not is impossible unless you have performed really well right before an invitation is out for a Major or TI. You don’t know if there is gonna be 6, 8 or even 12 invites so unless you are top 6 (or even top 4 to be absolutely sure) you don’t really know. There are no indications or rules of how Valve think when they are deciding which teams they are going to invite so you can just make assumptions on your own of how they think. Personally I thought that the reason for having the Majors was to get more stability in the scene and that Valve would base their TI invites partly on the performances on the Majors. TI is bigger than all Majors combined so during the whole year you are playing to get invited to TI and I would probably rather play at TI and miss all the Majors than the other way around.
I though we were gonna get invited to TI assuming they would invite 10 teams. First of all, we have participated in all the Majors. We weren’t invited to the first one so we qualified there through the qualifier and showed that we deserved a spot there. After that we won two big tournaments, WCA and Starladder. Our performance hasn’t been the best the past months, I don’t deny that, but we have still shown that we are able to take a game of almost every team we face. Almost all losses have been 1-2. At the Manila Major we ended up at 9-12th place with a 6-6 score in games which were far more wins than other teams that ended up at the same placement.
Now I understand that I had a totally different view on which and how many teams that deserved to be invited to TI, that Valve only want to invite the current top teams and let the rest of the top tier teams fight for the remaining spots regardless of their performance throughout the year. I.e. if you have one really bad day and fail in the qualifiers you will miss the one tournament you have been fighting to enter for a whole year. In contrast, I thought they would look at the bigger picture of how the Majors went and how teams performed during a longer period of time.
Right now, going to a tournament and perform bad can have a negative effect on your invite if it’s close to when the invites are announced, but I don’t think going to a tournament should be able to hurt you in any way like ESL probably hurt Fnatic. As it is now, the system might encouraged teams to skip events because it can give Valve a reason to not invite you. You can say that Fnatic didn’t deserve an invite because they finished last at ESL but if they didn’t show up to this tournament you could say that they do deserve an invite because they finished top 6 in the last 2 Majors and no one could argue against that. The fact that Liquid probably got knocked down to the lower bracket because they played without Fata the first day and then later on eliminated Fnatic playing with Fata the day after disturbs me as well but that’s another story (I don’t blame Liquid though since they obviously rather played with their original lineup but rather how the bracket unintentionally could have been “manipulated” when players are swapped in the middle of a tournament).
Hopefully Valve can be more clear in the future on how the invites works. For now, let’s enjoy the upcoming bloodbath a.k.a. the European qualifier! #PJSalt :D