Now that the Chinese teams, Wings Gaming and EHOME, have occupied the final two spots via the wildcard qualifiers, the 16-team lineup for The International 2016 is finally complete. That said, let’s take a look at the biggest underdogs and dark horses heading into the main event.
Quite probably the biggest surprise of the qualifiers, the team hailing from the Philippines almost didn’t make it after their VISA applications were denied – only to be approved one day before their flight to this year’s The International 6.
With American star Jimmy “Demon” Ho in their lineup, TNC Gaming went on to post a 7-win 2-loss record during the Group Stages of the South East Asian Qualifiers. The team then secured their spot in this year’s International by dispatching SEA fan-favorites, Fnatic, and Execration.
While many have criticized the SEA region for the lack of top-level competition, TNC could come in and turn a lot of heads in Seattle, thanks in part to their relatively unknown play style and gameplay.
Thanks to their unstable play in recent months and a roster reshuffle, the team that’s considered as one of Chinese Dota’s powerhouses and one that placed high in last year’s International, have gone from heavy favorites to win the title to underdogs who had to battle it out for one of the two wildcard spots available in this year’s International. But, you really shouldn’t count them out just yet. After all, the team still boasts Dota Veterans such as iceiceice and LanM.
Look to EHOME to play with a chip on the shoulders and prove to everyone that they’re still one of the top Dota teams in the world.
Speaking of teams with plenty to prove, count Natus Vincere as another previous powerhouse that has a lot to prove.
Coming off its first LAN and major win of the year (or the last two years for that matter), Na’Vi has a lot of momentum coming into the main event. Of course, with longtime Na’Vi mid-laner and fan-favorite Danil “Dendi” Ishutin still in its roster, Na’Vi will always have a fighting chance of upsetting top teams and earning themselves a top spot.
Of all the teams in this year’s International, Natus Vincere is perhaps the one team that has the most chance of making an upset run for the grand prize.
Although their recent majors showing hasn’t exactly been strong, or to put simply, lackluster, Alliance still boasts the same squad that won TI3 a few years ago. This is something definitely worth taking note of, even though it hasn’t really resulted into something good. At least, not yet.
If the crew can somehow find a way to draw upon their superior experience of having played together longer than most teams in this tournament, a solid showing at TI6 isn’t exactly that far off.
Digital Chaos / Fnatic
Although both teams boast plenty of potential and skill going into the main event, the lack of consistent results just can’t be denied. As such, this spot is pretty much a toss-up between these two teams.
Should either of the two teams (or hopefully, both), hit their stride in the days leading up to the main event, look for them to make a strong push and make some noise in this year’s International.
Written by Ray Ian Ampoloquio