TI5’s prize pool is closing onto 14 million dollars, and a few weeks ago 40 teams were vying to get a chance to grab a piece of it. Four teams qualified—one from each region: America, China, Europe, and Southeast Asia. In the shadow of these winners are the runner ups, and for them, they’ll get a second chance in Seattle to enter the main tournament.
North American Rejects plays under the tag “NAR v2,” to signify the recent iteration of their team. Once NAR, then Na`VI.US, and after some player reshuffling over the course of a year, this final roster is perhaps the strongest and the team’s best chance to succeed in TI5. With limited success and experience prior to TI5’s America Qualifiers, NAR was an unexpected pick to place in the top 2 of the American qualifiers.
Even though they’re a fairly new team, NAR’s players have experience and they’ve been able to show poise in crucial situations.
They were down in kills, but this game was a lesson that the team with the most kills isn’t necessarily the one in the best position to win. NAR understood this, and against megacreeps, they managed to withstand NoT’s sacrifice for the barracks and made one final push to win the game.
NAR was criticized for being limited in strategies, favoring split push lineups. In the grand finals match, they also had a few blunders, with misplays on Split Earth timings and out of position deaths. What NAR does have is potential (USH held the 2nd highest GPM, 575, and Last Hits per match, 387 ), team chemistry, and two months to smooth out their execution.
CDEC’s identity used to be that of a team built around their star player, Maybe, until LGD acquired him and Mikasa (coach) during the Chinese shuffle. CDEC, however, inexplicably roared through the group stages in the TI5 China Qualifiers. They were the only team to go undefeated, before falling to EHOME twice.
CDEC is a team that can play your disciplined, 60+ minute long game of Dota. But they’re also a team that can throw the occasional curveball draft pick, such as Ember Spirit in their one win against EHOME in the qualifiers, or sneaking in a Winter Wyvern or a N’aix in their lineup.
How a team responds in crunch time can be a defining moment of a team’s strength. For all the planning that goes in drafts, laning, and early-mid game objectives, it all leads into how you execute. For 60 minutes CDEC and Wings fought to a stalemate. CDEC then took an unorthodox path on their smoke gank to clinch the win by picking off Wing’s six slotted Morphling (Linken’s, BKB, AND Butterfly). You can call it a throw by Wings or great execution by CDEC. Usually, the answer is a little of both.
One of their weaknesses is their inflexibility. They can win many in a row or lose in the same manner. Part of this stubbornness in their drafts when they’re rattled. If it’s broken, they still don’t fix it. Juggernaut remains one of their highest picked cores in the last 3 months, yet he has a win rate of 38.9% in their lineup. They fourth picked him twice in their first two losses against EHOME in the qualifiers. For them to stick to the same losing lineup can be also a credit to their confidence, but they have erred in other ways before.
In MDL, after a win over Na`Vi, CDEC lost to Secret’s Techies draft. They stumbled afterward, losing their next four games. Two of these losses were in a series against VG, where CDEC unsuccessfully stayed with their core of QoP and Gyro. Though CDEC can be prone to tilting, their versatility, execution, and individual skill puts them as a favorite to win the wildcard round.