Throughout 2017, Team Empire has made a few waves. The play in more tournaments than most teams in the EU and CIS, so the law of averages is definitely on their side. TE averages nearly one qualifier victory per month (in part because they’re the second be team from the CIS by a hefty margin).
Virtus.pro has played so well that they’re receiving direct invites to every premier tournament. If a tournament decides to separate the EU and CIS into different qualifiers, TE is in position to win. This hasn’t always been the case, but Natus Vincere is in terrible form lately. After losing in the finals of their EPICENTER 2017 qualifier, NaVi was voted in and lost every game. I haven’t seen anything impressive from them since, but I’m sure they’ll be back eventually.
Team Empire’s TI5 run
Team Empire had two chances to advance after the group stage in 2015. A 2-3-2 group stage record was good enough to earn TE 4th Place (the final slot of the upper bracket. Of course, that meant a matchup against LGD Gaming (the 5-2-0 winner of Group A).
LGD Gaming lost Game 2 to Team Empire, but they left Game 3 victorious. Having just pushed LGD to near-elimination in the winners’ bracket quarterfinals, I thought Empire would make easy work of MVP in the losers’ bracket. Such was not the case, as Team Empire were nowhere to be found. They were swept by an MVP squad that got beat down during the group stage and sent home in a hurry.