TI5 Preview: Favourites, Wildcards and Dark Horses

The International is just a few days away and the groups have been announced, so it’s time to take a quick look at some of the favourites, the wildcards and dark horses. In a tournament with so much on the line and so many incredible teams in the field, it is harder than normal to get any idea of how the teams will fair. You’ll probably have to get quite lucky with your main event compendium predictions but here is a feel for what to expect.

The fact that Team Secret is nearly unanimously considered to be the favourite to win TI5 should be a surprise to no one. They are coming into this tournament off the back of 4 consecutive LAN victories with a stable roster that has had plenty of time to practice. SInce their reshuffle, picking up Arteezy and zai, the already allstar team has looked more or less unstoppable.

However, with that said, every team in Seattle knows their record. They are the ones to beat. The close competition like Vici Gaming, Evil Geniuses and, to a lesser extent, Invictus Gaming will have been practising specifically for Secret. After the ESL One Frankfurt between EG and Secret, ppd is likely to be thinking that they are the one barrier to their International victory. It’s no secret that Puppey’s allstar line up are the favourites, but can they actually convert hype into victory?

With the runners up in all of the regional qualifers getting a chance to make it to the groupstages and the main event, the wildcard tournament is an interesting part of the tournament to watch. Two of the teams in the bracket will be able to make it to the main event, giving teams that people may underate a chance to shine. Back at TI3, Team Liquid almost made the qualifying dream come true, so always be ready to see what these teams have to offer.

In the European qualifiers Vega Squadron looked very solid and only just managed to lose to Na’Vi after the former TI winners made a huge comeback. In the EU scene they are just under Team Empire and Virtus.Pro in some of their aggressive tactics and execution. With former Team Empire offlaner Mag as a core part of the team, they have the experience and drive to try and compete with certainly the other EU teams and SEA/China threats in the wildcard. If they can run over the farming style of the likes of CDEC they have a good chance to make it to the main event and show what they’ve got.

There is a running joke that Cloud 9 are fated for 2nd place in every LAN event they take part in. Whilst it is true that they have taken the runner up spot in many tournaments, that actually speaks positively for their record and consistency. They have a very solid line up with the additions of N0tail and MiSery as an experienced support duo. They have ironed out some of the recklessness that was present in the days of SingSing’s mid plays and coordinated as a team effectively.

They have arguably taken this TI more seriously than former ones, as they have been bootcamping for what looks like much longer than the other teams in Seattle. They are surely planning strategies for the big teams like Secret, VG and EG. If they have a few favourable match ups that they can take competently there is no reason for them to not have a decent finish, if not compete for the top spot.