The pride of America, of the West. They stood alone as the final hope in the Top 4, with VG, LGD and CDEC all threatening to snatch the Aegis for themselves. But ppd and EG took revenge against xiao8, the leader of Newbee who had sent EG into a downward spiral in TI4 last year. And they didn’t stop there. After taking a heavy blow in Game 2 and CDEC’s surprise Broodmother, EG took the decisive Game 3 with the series locked at one apiece, and showed us the heart of a champion.
They closed out the series with Sumail’s magical Storm Spirit electrifying the crowd. But the shining moment was the old guard coming through: a massive 4 man instant-wipe from an Ice Blast/Echo Slam combo. They came through, and lifted Aui’s second place curse to boot. They did it to the roars of the loving crowd, and gave us the defining moment of NADota.
It was the story of the tournament, one of the most incredible runs in the history of our game. CDEC went from sideshow of the Chinese scene, a pleasant ‘youth’ team that was a holdover for the young stars before they earned their stripes. Started from the bottom now we’re here. CDEC has changed the game, earned the respect of the entire world, and rewritten the story of boring, ricing, Chinese Dota. It’s almost too easy and too simple to talk about how damn aggressive they are.
They went undefeated in Key Arena’s main stage, all the way to the Grand Finals against EG. And there they faced their first true test: could they pick themselves back up? They dropped the first game, and then the third. They had to rally, they had to fight from behind, and they simply couldn’t in the end.
They’ll be back.
LGD was a common third-place call for pre-tournament predictions. Their stable drafting patterns backed by strong Chinese play but could hardly be called trend setting. While LGD did occassionally play some of the success-story heroes of this tournament, including Yao ‘Yao’ Zhengzheng on Dark Seer, Yao ‘Maybe’ Lu on Ember Spirit, and Lio ‘Sylar’ Jiajun on Luna, none of those heroes were first or even early played by LGD. With heavy reliance on their top four heroes, LGD made themselves succeptible to denial strategies and draft counters. In the end, they were eliminated on the final day by Evil Geniuses who had clearly read the playbook ad shut down Gyrocopter while denying in at least one game Dazzle, Lina, and Tuskar.
Zhang ‘xiao8’ Ning is also the highest-placed former Aegis winner at TI5 due to LGD’s impressive run this year.
Vici Gaming were expected by many to pull into The International 2015 stronger than they did, and their drop to the lower bracket during the group stage caught many, including likely the team itself (based on an Daryl ‘iceiceice’ Koh interview with Kaci), off-guard. Out of the lower bracket, however, they pushed to the top four, making them the highest-placed bottom-bracket seed a TI5.
Vici Gaming have been having a hot-and-cold execution going back to last fall where they were neck-in-neck with EG and Secret for top-performing team in the world. That wavering execution was definitely visible through the group stage, but their main-stage performance was largely dominating–the only games they lost were the two which eliminated them (and that series still went to three games against LGD).
5th/6th: EHOME and Virtus Pro with $1,194,558
7th/8th: MVP Phoenix and Team Secret with $827,001
9th-12th: Team Empire, Cloud 9 G2A, compLexity Gaming and Invictus Gaming with $220,533
13th-16th: Fnatic, Natus Vincere, Newbee, MVP HOT6 with $55,133