As we know the names all the teams participating to The International 5 in Seattle, we are getting ready for the tournament the whole Dota 2 community has been waiting for. Who will be the crowned team that will win the grand prize of over 6 million dollars? The total prize pool of over 17 million, 2 more then what Valve had as a high expectation, will be distributed to the rest of the teams. Will it be Team Secret, the best team in the world at least for the last two or three months, Evil Geniuses, that looks like the only one capable to compete with Secret, Vici Gaming, the best team as 2015 started, but with lower than expected results for the last period, or will it the someone least expected.
As Vega and MVP Phoenix are playing for the last and 16th spot of the International, after CDEC Gaming already secured their place with two victories in the wild card qualify matches, we will take a look on the teams participating for the biggest tournament of their lives.
Starting with the least favored teams of the competition, Newbee, MVP Hot6ix, CompLexity Gaming, alongside the wild card teams are the ones that pop. CompLexity Gaming and MVP Hot6ix won their region qualifiers to get here, but it looks like they are not on the same level as the rest of the teams, as for Newbee, although they are last year champions, this is basically the only reason they were directly invited to this tournament. Ever since TI4 ended and their captain Xiao8 left for LGD, things started to go south and after the transfer of their carry Hao to Vici Gaming, performances were below mediocre. If they were to play a qualifier for TI, they would have probably wouldn’t make it.
The X factor teams are very interesting to keep track with. EHOME is considered by many as one of the teams to finish on the last places, but this might be deceiving: they won the Chinese qualifier among very good competition, and having a highly experienced TI 4 finalist captain in R0tK and an awesome veteran support player in LaHm can make a team very competitive. Fnatic got a direct invite which came as a surprise for some people, but the newly acquired very tested Malaysian squad, with great TI experience, can prove to be hard to beat. The Cinderella team of the tournament will be without doubt, Na’Vi. Probably the most renowned team in Dota, with one TI victory in 2011, two more finals in 2012 and 2013 and popular players like Dendi and XBOCT, they can compete with anybody when least expected. FuniK is a talented and tested offlaner that makes the most surprising plays and ArtStyle, their captain is one of the craziest players in the game. A lot of things make Na’Vi one of the teams to watch,.
Moving on to teams with a high level of competitiveness, Virtus Pro is one of the first to mention. The Russian squad had very good performances the last few months, and seems to finally got stability with the addition of Fng and DKPhobos, alongside talented players like G and Illidan. Invictus Gaming is a famous name in Dota, especially after winning TI 2 in 2012 and with bringing probably the most famous player in Dota in BurNing to play the carry position among three members of the championship team three years ago, they looked like one of the strongest teams. Their performances were not as expected, still trying to adapt to the new 6.84 patch, which seems to keep them out of the favorite’s race. LGD Gaming is probably the biggest name in Chinese Dota, and showed they can compete with the best teams. Although they still don’t seemed to actually beat the top 3 or 4 teams the last months, a squad with top Chinese players and especially Xia8 as a captain, who led Newbee to TI 4 final victory, can never be counted out.
This might sound like a bold prediction, but among the top 4 favorite teams, Team Empire must come to mind. They have a great play style combination of the crazy typical very aggressive Russian team, but also the balance and discipline to not over extend too much. They dominated Europe after Dota Asia Championship in February and then disposed of Evil Geniuses and Vici Gaming in two consecutive LAN finals without losing a game. Even if their performances the last few months were way below the usual standards, Vici Gaming remains among the favorites: a sensational offlane player in IceIceIce, top mid China player in Super, one of the most famous support duos in Fy and Fenrir and last year TI winner Hao as a carry, make a great team on paper, but they need to find their groove. Cloud 9 always seems like the team that never goes for the middle. Either their loved or hated by viewers, either they pull out amazing wins or throw away easy games. In 2015 they seem as one of the top teams with Fata on the middlane proving himself as one of the best players in the world at his position.
Without question, the most favored two teams to win it all are Evil Geniuses and Team Secret. EG won the last major tournament, Dota Asia Championship 2015 and then continued with very good performances to get 1st place in Dota Pit, and two 2nd places in ESL One Frankfurt and The Summit 3, being defeated by Team Secret. Although beating Secret right now seems very hard to manage, EG looks like the one most capable to do it. They are famous for their adaptability and the creativity of the team’s captain PPD in drafting, so the last two defeats against Secret can prove not to be such a bad thing, helping them finding the right formula to beat them. SumaiL has the talent and now the some needed pro experience to become the player of the tournament, Fear is always a very stable carry player, AUI 2000 gets the most farm out of support players almost anytime and last but definitely not least, Universe on the offlane is arguably the best player in Dota right now in terms of pure performance on their own position, with stellar level of play the past few months.
Finally, Team Secret, the team to beat in Dota 2 right now, has been on a tear lately. Being already established as a top team, winning 3 LAN tournaments in 2 months and a half made them the favorites for TI 5. They have great synergy as a team and in their drafts and the talent and experience level is amazing. Puppey is a veteran and skillful support player with 3 TI finals as a member of Na’VI, Kuroki is arguably the best support player, with high level performances on any hero he is given, Zai on the offlane is a huge talent at 17 years old, already among the elite players in the world, S4 on the mid is a TI champion in 2013 with Alliance and as a carry, 19 year old Canadian Arteezy established himself as the top carry in the world, after being considered the best player in 2014.