Wonderful Wings: What we learned from the Summit 5
The big winners and losers, and how it will affect preparation for The International 6
Wings Are Flying
After the Chinese underdogs Wings Gaming shocked the Dota 2 world back in April by winning ESL One Manila, there was an expectation that, like so often before, it might just prove to be a fluke.
This opinion was only strengthened in the minds of plenty when they couldn’t even get out of Group B in the subsequent Manila Major, doomed to burn bright and then sink without a trace.
How wrong they were.
Fast forward to The Summit 5, where Wings strode into Los Angeles and stomped their way through the winner’s side of the bracket.
Their convincing 3-1 win in the final, against Dota’s most in-form side, OG, left jaws gaping all round.
Who would dare bet against them for The International 6 after this? With over 20 heroes used in the final, we’ve got them at 8.00 to take TI6 by storm as they did TS5.
How Will OG Respond?
As mentioned, OG were perhaps the top Dota 2 side on the planet, and hot favourites for the Summit title.
In fact, they’re still clear favourites by some way for TI6 at 3.20.
Considering how hard they found it to adapt to Wings’ game plan in the Summit final - and in two smaller tournaments since - that is a surprise.
One of OG’s strengths has always been their ability to do effective homework on their opponents, and backing that up with strong drafts.
As we saw, Wings’ rapid hero rotation prevented OG getting a bead on them, and because OG didn’t have any specific strategy to stick to, they were blindsided by Spirit Breaker in Game 4.
Before TI6, they must pick one way of dealing with the whirling dervish that is Wings Gaming, and don’t chop and change.
Ukrainian powerhouses Natus Vincere have been all but written off recently.
Coming into last weekend’s Star Series, they hadn’t won a medal or trophy of note in almost two years.
There have been signs of life recently that have given fans hope, however.
They narrowly finished second in ESL One Frankfurt, before cementing a sense of resurgence with fourth place at the Summit 5.
Even so, no-one could have expected what they saw from Na’Vi at Star Series.
Faced with easily the hardest route to the final, with every series but two against previous The International winners, they navigated almost every pitfall with skill and ease that belied their two-year absence from silverware.
Fnatic? Stomped. Evil Geniuses? Crushed. Even when knocked into the lower bracket 2-0 by Team Secret, they rallied to win it and get sweet revenge on Secret in the Grand Final with a barnstorming 3-1 victory.
Everyone mocked Valve when Na’Vi got a direct invite to The International 6. After that display, they’re not laughing now.
Despite that, they’re still seen as a long shot at 21.00 to take the TI6, so they are worth backing quickly before the price tumbles.
What was your standout performance from The Summit 5? Who do you fancy to win TI6? Let us know @BetwayeSports today!