Once considered one of the least competitive regions, North America is now far from it, with squads such as Planet Odd, and of course, the TI7 NA Qualifier winners, Team NP and Digital Chaos, calling it home.
Team NP – Cloud9 2.0
The International 7 Roster:
- Jacky ‘EternaLEnVy’ Mao
- Adrian ‘FATA-‘ Trinks
- Arif ‘MSS’ Anwar
- Kurtis ‘Aui_2000’ Ling
- Johan ‘pieliedie’ Åström
Composed of former Speed Gaming players, who brought along with them their loyal fan base, the TI4 roster of Cloud9 stood out from their competition throughout 2014 mostly thanks to their synergy and cohesion as a team, as well as their willingness to innovate and try out crafty strategies that looked, to put it bluntly, stupid but often worked out well for them.
Yet, despite the team’s strong year-round play, they rarely were able to secure a 1st-place finish at any LAN tournament. In fact, the team finished in 2nd-place 9 times and won a tournament just once, which was at Nvidia Game 24.
The unusual number of 2nd-place finishes prompted many of their fans to believe that the team had fallen under the “2nd-place” curse.
Two years after that team disbanded, EternaLEnVy decided to call out to his former teammates to give it a go together once again, giving birth to
Cloud9 2.0 the current reiteration of Team NP.
Right from the start, the team’s cohesion was evident as they posted one strong performance after another; coming in 3rd at The Manila Masters, 2nd at the ZOTAC Masters CUP and 4th at The Summit 7.
Of course, it wouldn’t be EE’s squad if they didn’t make questionable in-game decisions every now and then, as has been the case throughout their many LAN appearances.
At the TI7 NA Qualifiers, however, the team had minimised such reckless plays, dropping only a single game during the group stages to take NA’s 1st TI7 slot.
Digital Chaos – Dark Horses Once Again
The International 7 Roster:
- Mason ‘mason’ Venne
- Abed Azel L. ‘Abed’ Yusop
- Lee ‘Forev’ Sang-don
- Kanishka ‘BuLba’ Sosale
- Kim ‘DuBu’ Doo-young
The previous iteration of Digital Chaos came into TI6 as huge unknowns with no LAN titles to show and a mishmash roster.
Captained by longtime veteran Rasmus ‘MiSeRy’ Filipsen, who had then been to every TI, that Digital Chaos squad turned a lot of heads with their performance throughout the event where they dropped the defending TI5 champs in the lower bracket finals en-route to setting up a Grand Finals matchup with Wings Gaming, who, like them, were also huge unknowns heading into the event.
This year’s roster is heading into TI7 with pretty much the same expectations, or lack thereof at least.
Plus, when you compare both team’s accomplishments and games from last year and this year, you’ll be looking at mirror images of each other – lacklustre finishes at LAN tournaments with the occasional flashes of brilliance.
We are going to TI7!
Posted by Team Digital Chaos on Thursday, June 29, 2017
Just like last year, the team has a longtime veteran as their captain once again in BuLba, as well as the same weird mix of proven and talented players.
There’s their carry player, mason, who had played for Evil Geniuses when the team finished in 3rd place in TI4. Then, there’s also Forev and DuBu, former teammates from MVP.Phoenix who finished in 5th-6th place at TI6.
Finally, where last year’s squad had the high-MMR player w33 striking fear into their opponent’s hearts in the middle lane, they now have Abed, who recently became the first player to reach 10K MMR.
Abed is, no doubt, the star player of the team, much like w33 was and his stellar performance at TI7 NA Qualifier Playoffs was key to securing Digital Chaos’ slot at TI7.
The Dark Horses of The International 7
Both team’s playstyle differs; Team NP play around EE’s aggressiveness while Digital Chaos’ play style revolves around Abed, as they expectedly should, with their subsequent success and downfall pretty much depending on how his laning phase goes.
Yet, both teams find themselves known for their inconsistency where they’ll pull off an amazing performance that makes them look like the best team in a tournament only to follow it up with a mediocre performance that has them looking like the worst and there’s no way of knowing which of the two will show up.
For that very reason, Team NP and Digital Chaos are dark horses who could easily flop or make a deep run at The International 7.
Of course, being a dark horse ain’t so bad, look at how that turned out for Digital Chaos last year. Although that was with a totally different roster, you can’t just rule out the possibility of the same thing happening again.
Now that both teams have been able to boot camp and presumably shored up their weaknesses while improving on their strengths, all we can do now is to wait for The International 7 to start to see which versions of either team shows up at KeyArena in August.
Be sure to follow us here at Esportsranks for the latest on your favourite Esports titles and for our next “Road to Seattle” feature, where we’ll talk about the teams who will represent China at TI7.