The qualifiers are over and we know our top eighteen teams. Qualifiers gave us some of the most intense matches, but also some of the most predictable outcomes and today we would like to discuss how some of the qualified teams got to glory.
Probably the only big upset of these qualifiers. Gambit, a top8 team of the previous Major, couldn’t even get through the group stage, which allowed Na’Vi to go through the qualifiers with relative ease.
The region as a whole is still highly valuing Centaur Warrunner, but Na’Vi is one of the teams that mostly ignored the hero, instead going for Axe as their most popular offlaner. Templar Assassin from Na`Vi.Magical was also one of the keys to victory for the squad with a 100% win rate whenever she was picked.
Treant Protector is the other hero that stands out for both Na’Vi specifically and the CIS region as a whole. While there were attempts to play the hero in other regions, he only found success in the CIS and generally only in the hands of Na’Vi.
The hero was mostly used in a similar fashion to Nyx Assassin—another popular Na’Vi hero: a relatively survivable scout who finds targets for his team and allows ganks to happen. Whether it is a good idea to try the hero out in pubs is still uncertain, but if you can get your team to coordinate in the early game, Treant Protector can be even more devastating than Nyx, since he comes online as a gank-seeker faster.
China really valued their Spirit Breaker. An incredibly disruptive position four or five support with multiple ways of piercing BKB and a built-in initiation tool is finally finding his place in the game outside of Dark Seer pairing.
While the hero was incredibly popular in the region, even outdoing Ember Spirit—the most popular hero of the qualifiers internationally, the qualified team didn’t rate the hero highly. Their most popular hero was Tidehunter, closely followed by Ancient Apparition and Shadow Demon.
Despite rating the hero highly, RNG didn’t find much success with Tidehunter and their winrate with the hero is ~10% lower than their winrate with other offlaners. Perhaps it is too early to promote Tidehunter for general pub play, though pub games are generally slower and longer cooldowns are not as punishing.
Overall, it is safe to say that much of the region’s power now comes not from extremely efficient position one and two cores, but rather from the supports. It is true for both RNG and China as a whole and we are excited to see RNG.LaNm show his prowess on the biggest stage of the year.
SEA is known for their Enigma players. From DJ back in the day to an already qualified Tims, Enigma from SEA teams always felt like a win condition and the trends for the region reflect that. While Ember Spirit is still the most popular pick in the region, Enigma is the most contested hero.
Once again, however, the qualified squad was the one to go against the grain. They’ve played Enigma once, highly rating Shadow Shaman and unconventional Juggernaut and Timbersaw instead. The latter was relatively unsuccessful, but Juggernaut proved to be a natural fit for a region that is still aggression-oriented at its core, despite top teams heavily diversifying their strategies in the current season.
After relatively shaky performance in the qualifiers and throughout the year, Mineski are not going to TI as favorites. However, it is one of the squads that still doesn’t shy away from experimentation and that could be a deciding factor this TI. With a wide open hero pool, this roster with Mski.kpii is at a natural advantage.