I would like to start off by saying that I really think that keeping the field to just 16 teams was a mistake; as we walk through the direct invites as well as the qualifiers I think we're going to see very quickly that regions like EU are getting a bit screwed, but that's life! I would have brought 20 teams and paired it down to 16 teams for the group stage, but that's just me.
EG - Winners of Dota Pit and China Top 2016.
OG - Winners of the Boston Major.
DC - Winners of ESL One Genting.
Team Liquid - Winners of Starladder.
The Almost Certain
Newbee - Second place at ESL Genting and China Top 2016
TnC - Winners of WESG 2016, 3rd-4th at Starladder.
VG.J - Second Place at Starladder, online qualifier hotstreak.
Ad Finem - Second place at Boston Major, not very good since.
Outside Looking In
If either of these teams make it, it will most likely be at the expense of VG.J or Ad Finem. There's a small chance that TnC loses their spot, but if they do then Valve really screws over SEA for the qualifiers.
Wings Gaming - TI6 winners, recently fairly poor performances.
iG.Vitality - WCA winners, not so amazing since.
My guess is that the direct invites are going to be:
Regional Qualifier Invites
Given the above 8 teams receive direct invites to the Kiev Major, then we can begin to fill out the regional qualifiers. Some interesting stats on the regional qualifiers: Europe, China, and SEA each have 7 direct invites, 1 Champions Cup Champion, and 2 open qualifier teams. NA has 5 invites, 1 champions cup qualifier, and 4 open qualifier teams. SA has 2 invites and 8 open qualifier teams, while CIS has 8 invites and 2 open qualifier teams.
I don't have any idea how the Champion's Cup standings currently look, but I'm going to operate under the assumption that they won't mess with direct invites in anyway.
Ninjas In Pajamas
Elements Pro Gaming
Sanguine Sharks??? Team Alternate???
Horde would have had this last spot, but they lost one of their players since the roster lock. Now that I look at it, maybe you kick Ad Finem down here because there is a team missing from the 7 direct invites. If a team like Horde or Pro Dota stayed together, maybe they could have made this qualifier. Oh well! This qualifier has probably 5 teams capable of winning it all, not speaking of what random stacks come from the qualifiers, such as Horde or No Logic Gaming.
Na'Vi - They stated they wanted in the CIS qualifier rather than EU.
This qualifier, on paper, is tons better than the EU qualifier. There's a lot more depth here, and I could see 4 or 5 of these teams winning this qualifier handily.
Man, this qualifier is super stacked. Might see FTD_A instead of CDEC, but in general this qualifier is stupid strong. Again! The biggest thing here is that I'm pretty sure that EHome won't get a direct invite because their new roster is terrible. It's possible they might replace CDEC just for name factor, but new EHome is a terrible team and might go winless in this qualifier.
Lots of Filipinos! This qualifier has a lot of new blood, and there's a couple of really good teams here. For the first time in a long time, we see no Fnatic or Trust taking up a spot! I'm expecting a small surprise, and I'm predicting Team Faceless and Clutch Gamers will take the two spots. Open qualifiers for this region are going to be the hardest by far, with the former Signature Trust, Mineski - X, Entity, the Mongolz, EVOS, and others all participating. I could see literally any team in the qualifier besides RRQ taking that second spot, though Execration has also been bad recently.
Wheel Wreck While Whistling
This qualifier is bad, bad, bad. The second best team in the region, Complexity, will qualify through the open qualifiers. No idea who else might show up; you can always count on a Jenkins or Sneyking stack! I'm going to say that either NP or Complexity will take this qualifier pretty handily.
Midas Club Elite
Only the two Brazilian squads have kept their roster, so let's see what happens! The two best teams in SA are SG eSprots and Not Today, which is mostly made of the former players on Team Infamous.
Predictions for Who Gets Through
EU: Butt 9
CIS: Virtus Pro
China: iG.V, iG
SEA: Faceless, Clutch Gamers (Best chance of an open qualifier surprise here that isn't due to 8 teams like SA)
SA: Not Today (Best chance of an open qualifier surprise here, by default)