Travel to The International impacts almost all of the teams. The change in time zones, the distance, unfamiliar surroundings all cause each team to try and compensate. Some teams shift their training schedules to get ready – Zenith also shifted their schedule but for another reason.
As an independent team, they are forced to make due and adjust to their daily lives. With xy- still finishing his national service, they can’t play during the day. They have to play at night after he is done working. While an inconvenience then, it pays off now as their schedule is perfectly matched to Seattle.
For them, it is all about Seattle and The International. As they competed this past year, they have become known for their unconventional draft choices and not blocking other team’s choices. While it may seem bizarre to outsiders at other tournaments, it makes perfect sense to them – there is only one tournament they are training for – The International.
All other tournaments are just training, time to experiment, try new things, play against a different mix of heroes.
How confident are they that this strategy will pay off? When discussing the Compendium’s contribution to the prize pool they wished it all went to the first place team for one simple reason – so they would win more money.
But the money isn’t why they play – the prestige of winning The International, holding up the Aegis over their heads will be the reward for their singular focus.