The International 5 (TI5) Recap

Hey there, nice of you to come out from that rock you were living under. What’s happened in the past week? Not much, besides the biggest eSports tournament in history. Yes, in fact, the main event of the biggest Dota 2 and eSports tournament prize pool to date, The International 5 (commonly referred to as TI5) was held just last week.

Now, I understand most of you don’t have time to watch every single match so allow me to make this easy for you. All you need to do is sit back, relax, and allow me to recap the journey that was The International 5.

SPOILER WARNING

Day 1 of TI5

The first day of TI5 was also one of the most intense. The first four teams would be eliminated and some of the weaker teams from the upper bracket would be swiftly making their way to the lower bracket. The first team to do so was Empire. Despite a great performance in Game 2 of the series against LGD, they simply could not match player xiao80’s leadership and fell to the lower bracket. They were followed by Cloud 9, a fan favorite, who got crushed by CDEC, the wildcard team. The aggression from the Chinese team was simply too much for Cloud 9 to handle and Notail’s disappointing performance on one of his best heroes did not help at all. Cloud 9 went for some creative strategies, like the courier snipe with Nature’s Prophet, but got caught out way too often and seemed to not know when to engage in team fights. Ultimately, it was a stomp.

In the lower bracket, teams were fighting for their life in the BO1 elimination matches. Last year’s champion, Newbee, was the first to go down against wild card runner-up MVP Phoenix with an insane performance by QO. Afterwards, Fnatic got easily eliminated due to the amazing teamwork demonstrated by Virtus Pro, Na’Vi lost to Vici Gaming as expected, and iG managed to squeeze in a victory against MVP Hot 6.

They manage to destroy the TI4 champions.
The team that took out the TI4 champions.

Day 2 of TI5

This was  a big day for many of the tier 1 teams as both Empire and Cloud 9 would be playing in the lower brackets to attempt to save their runs. In the upper brackets, the match-ups continued and while Complexity Gaming seemed to give Evil Geniuses a run for their money at first, EG quickly stomped them after a brief pause. Meanwhile, Ehome managed to destroy Team Secret in their best-of-three with a clear superior draft and strategy. Not only did Team Secret let the Gyrocopter pass in both of the games, they also got crushed by a Winter Wyvern and Phoenix combo in the first game.

In the lower bracket Empire flopped against MVP Phoenix due to a questionable performance by the team which evidently lacked leadership and due to the fact that QO and March were, once again, outstanding players. Cloud 9 also lost terribly to Vici Gaming, as expected, and went home without winning a single match of the main event. This match did, however, include one of the most insane Rubick plays to date by fy.

This is the godly man.
This is the godly man.

Day 3 of TI5

Now, with many of the favourites already out of the tournament, the remaining teams have to duke it out. This time, it all starts in the lower bracket where the prodigies from America, Complexity, have to win a BO3 match against Virtus Pro. The first game started swimmingly by Virtus Pro but their inability to finalize the game results in their loss. The second game seems to be the last nail in the coffin for VP, but they manage to barely squeeze out a win through an impressive use of the mid-Silencer and a beautiful control of the Naga by fng. Their team fight coordination was nearly flawless, bringing them to victory in the third game. Meanwhile, Secret loses a game against Invictus Gaming who seem to be recovering their form but still end up losing the best of three due to the superior individual skill of the Team Secret players.

Then, following with the winner brackets, the Chinese monster that is LGD dropped down to the lower bracket’s due to an insane performance by CDEC. Aggressif’s Phantom Lancer in Game 1 and Q’s Silencer in Game 2 manage to make fools out of the LGD team whom are forced to restructure their team. Then, for the last match of the day, EG lost their first game against Ehome but creative picking by ppd and an insane performance by Aui_2000 as Techies led them to victory 2:1 in the last series.

The loss of the Eul's by swindlemelons was a huge mistake the inevtiably let to complexity's defeat.
The loss of the Eul’s by swindlemelons was a huge mistake the inevitably led to complexity’s defeat.

Day 4 of TI5

Day 4 brought in a lot of surprises. First of all, the fantastic run of MVP Phoenix was swiftly stopped by Vici who defeated them 2:0. Then, Virtus Pro accomplishes an insane victory against Secret due to their insane coordination and drafting errors by Team Secret. Despite them winning one out of the three games, they seemed unable to match Illidan’s Silencer or God’s Storm. Thus, the favourites were brought crashing down and out of the tournament.

Sadly, Ehome was kicked away from the tournament by Vici Gaming in the lower bracket, Vici putting on a fantastic performance during the main event of the day by destroying their Chinese rivals 2:0. Once more, it seems like Vici Gaming is on top of their game and ready to face their next opponent for the lower bracket semifinals and make their way through a championship run.

Virtus Pro emerge victorious against the TI5 favourites.
Virtus Pro emerge victorious against the tournament favourites.

Day 5 of TI5

Day 5 started us off in the winner’s bracket where Evil Geniuses are demolished by the Chinese wonder, CDEC, and seem unable to counter their aggressive play style without Naga or Techies. The questionable Razor pick didn’t aid them much and their attempt at a lane dominating draft did nothing to stop CDEC’s calculated attack. CDEC, thus, moved to the finals.

As for the lower brackets, LGD destroyed Virtus Polar with superior captaining skill by xiao8 aiding greatly. Despite their amazing run in this year’s international, the Russians were no match for the Chinese due to a lackluster performance by God and near perfect execution from LGD, who also decided to swap Yao and xiao8’s roles temporarily. You simply cannot give xiao8 the Clockwerk and Virtus Pro learned this the hard way.

LGD then move on to decimate their Chinese rivals of Vici Gaming once more with a fantastic Tusk performance by Yao and great strategic leadership.

This man captains LGD to victory at TI5
This man captains LGD to victory at The International 5

Day 6 of TI5

Final day for this year’s tournament and also the most intense as both the Loser’s Bracket Finals and the finals are being played. First, Evil Geniuses were in a must win against LGD and do so without breaking a sweat with standout performances from ppd’s Dazzle and Suma1l’s Lina in the first game, then from Suma1l’s Leshrac and most notably UNIVERSE’s Clockwerk in the second. Great game by MMY’s Rubick yet not good enough to stop the American invasion.

This invasion proceeds to the finals where EG fought against CDEC for the 6 million dollar prize. CDEC seems to be with their back against the wall this time as EG has finally figured out their strategy. They force CDEC to ban Techies and Naga as they simply can’t play with those heroes, and even give them the almighty Leshrac, a hero which neither suits CDEC’s style nor can they play well. This is made obvious by the fact that Leshrac is positioned as a support the first game despite there being no need to do so. Though CDEC managed to win the second game, ppd’s analysis, Fear’s outstanding and almost flawless – no deaths – performance, and UNIVERSE’s insane Clockwerk games allow for EG to decimate the Chinese team. The last nail in CDEC’s metaphorical coffin comes in a team fight near Roshan where CDEC are desperately trying to find some foothold in the game but were decimated with a 5-man Echo Slam by UNIVERSE. What an amazing final.

Here are you TI5 Winners! #bleedblue
Here are you TI5 Winners! #bleedblue

Final Thoughts

TI5 was one of the most insane events of the year. With Deadmau5‘s performance to top it off and the amazing prize pool that was actually crowdfunded by the community, it made me proud to be a Dota 2 player. Not only were the plays fantastic, many of the games were as well, and a lot of the underdogs showed what they were made of being able to eliminate top teams like Empire, Cloud 9, or Team Secret. However, there is a bitter aftertaste as perhaps many of the Western teams did not perform as well as they should have but, hey, they always have TI6 and the upcoming majors.

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