We’re done with the Group Stages and now we enter into the business end of The International 2016 – the Main Event. Some big teams are on their last legs as they battle it out in the lower bracket, while we also have some surprise entrants looking to progress in the upper bracket. Let’s take a look at the upcoming games and who’s gonna make it through!
MVP vs OG (2-0 OG)
MVP run an incredibly aggressive dual core strategy and I’ve written them off against OG - Just like Na`vi. OG is the greatest team in the world against aggressive early or mid game strategies and it’s not even close. Cr1t and Fly excel at rotations to assist Miracle in the mid lane, who is already any extremely difficult player to punish. OG’s weakness, the chink in their very very dense armor, is the formulaic and methodical approach of Chinese teams like LGD and Newbee and to some extent Ehome and Wings. In my eyes, MVP should be grateful they play OG, their direct counter, on the first day. When they lose to OG they are capable of making a deep losers bracket run against virtually all other teams, with the potential of losing to OG again in the grand finals.
DC vs Wings (2-1 DC)
DC are looking incredible in this event and their synergistic style is finally coming together. W33 and Resolut1on are looking like quite the dynamic duo and despite me pegging Wings Gaming as #2 to win this event, I’ve got to say I think DC will win this series. My criteria for a team to win is how on point they are, consistently and repeatedly, and DC is showing the best consistency. When this team was formed we saw Misery leading the pack of a lot of young, unproven, and sometimes egotistical talent. I’m expecting Wings to heavily ban Resolut1on’s heroes such as Faceless Void and Morphling as he’s shown he of the is elite level on those two in particular. In the end, Wings have generally been a letdown this event with their losses to TNC and goofy picks against EG. Wings is a team that seduces you with flashes of brilliance and then lets you down, making you feel humiliated.
TNC vs VGR (1-0 TNC)
VG.R are the runt of the Chinese litter this year and with TNC slaughtering LGD and Wings, one would assume they could pull the same kind of win here. Both teams don’t mind going to the late late game and picking greedily, it’ll be quite the interesting series. I’ve picked TNC not only based on the premise that they’ve crushed superior Chinese teams and have a great track record against China, but additionally because I think they are far more of a wildcard as far as the event goes, a much less readable and known team. Expect alchemist to make an appearance in this best of one, be it as a pick or a ban, as both teams love him.
LGD vs Team Secret (1-0 LGD)
Team Secret chose the wrong tournament to have any identity crisis. Repeated losing has broken this team and the result is desperate. EternalEnvy, a player who benefits greatly from internal structure, looks totally uncomfortable on his newfound role of space-creator. This is a player whose career has been defined by excellence on split pushing and effective farming and you’re putting him on Batrider and Death Prophet.These five players are not on the same page. They are not working as a machine and they don’t have a functioning model for success.
There is no doubt that Team Secret contrasts greatly against LGD, who are restrained and tactically disciplined. We’ve seen LGD outclass numerous teams with their late-game conservatism, including tournament favorites OG. Stylistically, LGD has a huge advantage due to their structured teamwork versus a team that’s going through an identity crisis.
Fnatic vs Escape (1-0 Escape)
The team at The International that should have the most empathy and understanding of Team Secret’s identity issues is Fnatic. While not quite as desperate, Fnatic have shown that they greatly misunderstand each others’ strengths and weaknesses. Swapping Mushi’s role several times in the recent weeks leading up to TI has proved fatal for any sort of upper bracket contention, and from my perspective, this team is totally mismanaged and captained badly. You have an excellent elite tier aggressive support in DJ, you have a superstar explosive core player in Miduan, and you have a phenomenal playmaking offlaner in Ohaiyo. Mushi needs to step back and see the broader picture - he cannot play the invoker and he must recognize his role in the team is to be more farm oriented and less of the lynchpin for Fnatic.
All of Fnatic’s recent success is when Mushi is on a reserved and static type carry such as Medusa and Juggernaut, leading me to believe his role is best kept as the more conservative carry type and less the playmaker of old days. I am expecting Escape to pull out heroes like Lone Druid, Tiny, or Invoker for Qoqvja and then build the team around finding him success.
Liquid vs Na`vi (1-0 Na`vi)
I’ve chosen Na`vi for one simple reason: Na`vi is bold and best of 1’s favor the bold. Anything can happen with players of this caliber but unfortunately, when you make a prediction like this you have to trust your gut, and my gut says Na`vi will come out swinging. My gut says that Liquid won’t be ready for it. I don’t know what either team is going to draft, possibly Huskar if it’s not banned but that’s very unlikely, but I do know that Na`vi will try to go aggressive with it. I’m expecting Mirana, Chen, and Wisp bans against Na`vi as well leaving them still with signature heroes like Batrider and Invoker and Drow.
I’m anticipating the possible resurgence of Matumbaman’s staple hero, Lycan. I called for it earlier in the tournament and Newbee beat it once and they put it back in recycling. Interestingly enough when Liquid lost to EHome, Ehome was banning the Lycan which leads me to believe that they may have tested it in scrims. This was a hero I felt they put back on the shelf after winning series after series with it at Manila, in order to gain experience on other compositions. I’d be very surprised if Liquid went through the International only picking Lycan once.