Coming into The International, EG were looking strong, if a bit unsteady. While they had performed well at several tournaments early in the year, a poor performance at The Manila Major still haunted them. Ultimately, the team came to the conclusion that the formula had to change. Outside of the accepted trade window, they brought in former players Saahil “Universe” Arora and Ludwig “Zai” Wahlberg to fill out the core roster of Peter “ppd” Dager, Clinton “Fear” and Syed “SumaiL” Hassan. Returning to a more classic lineup forced the team to rethink their core strategies and reevaluate their play, with improvements coming immediately. EG breezed through TI6 Qualifiers, walking over the rest of the North American competition (including the EU transplant squad of Digital Chaos). As TI6 began, the multinational squad looked as strong as ever as they dominated their group in group stages.
Their first match of Upper Bracket was no different. EG utilized the talents of Zai and Universe to the fullest. With both players’ skill in initiations, ppd drafted brilliant lineups focused on constant aggression and big, high impact teamfights. The decisions were easy to make, as EG’s deep hero pool left multiple cohesive lane pairings open for the taking, with Newbee’s bans squandered on respect bans. Zai’s rotations and constant map movement opened up multiple ganks for EG, establishing a strong economic lead for the lategame, where their lineups could truly flourish if need be. This was a necessary allowance, as EG played a straight up NA killfest, focusing on incremental pushes after large teamfights, pushing Newbee to the edge mentally.