No changes: More teams than ever are sticking together post-TI

posted by Abelle,
It's been a somewhat familiar sight in this post-TI7 shuffle period: "No changes". Several of the teams that competed in Seattle have decided to stick together, and its more than any of the last few TIs.

This year, three teams have announced their intent to stay together, while two have yet to make any kind of roster change announcement.

This year's unchanged rosters come largely from the top teams at the tournament. cn Newbee came 2nd while ru came 5th-6th, both strong results. The logical next step is to keep the band together.

Team Liquid and cn LGD.Forever Young (1st and 3rd, respectively) haven't announced changes, but both seem likely to stay together.

The rest of the Top 8 have all made changes however. LGD picked up Fy from Vici Gaming, cn Xu 'BurNIng' Zhilei stepped down from Invictus Gaming to take a break, Resolut1on was never a permanent member of Team Empire and he's joined OG to take over the place of Ana, who's also taking a break this season. actually got ahead of everyone else, announcing that they'd keep the roster together through 2018 in July, but they also made a short video after TI7 confirming that this was still the case.

There is no questions about disband: @dotaSolo and his team are ready to confirm this to you personally!— (@TeamVirtuspro) August 14, 2017

"Stable" rosters from three previous TIs
So how does this differ from TIs in the past? The difference isn't huge, but it's still more teams sticking together than any of the last three events. Of the last three TIs, TI5 had the most teams stay together during the shuffle.

Escape Gaming

Vega Squadron
MVP Phoenix

TI7 didn't have a “wildcard” or similar system this year, but neither of the two teams that dropped out in groups kept their roster, and none of the 13th-16th place teams stayed together either. In contrast, each of the past three TIs had one Wild Card (or, in TI4's case, "Playoffs Phase One") team stay together. That's Escape Gaming at TI6, Vega Squadron at TI5 and MVP Phoenix at TI4.

There may have been three teams to stay together after TI6, but none of them had amazing track records in the months following. Both Na`Vi and Escape Gaming lost members of their roster in early November, leading to an eventual disband for Escape and mediocrity for Na`Vi. Even the TI champions were not immune to problems, and Wings Gaming became Team Random before disbanding entirely, unable to even defend their championship at TI7.

Four teams stayed together after TI5, the highest number on this list. TI5 was also the last TI before there had been any Valve Majors, so it's possible that teams saw the Majors as a good reason to stick it out. In fact, three of the four teams stayed together until March 2016, during the post-Shanghai Major roster shuffle period. Only crumbled more quickly, losing Illidan in December 2015.

TI4 had the worst track record on the list. Only Titan and MVP Phoenix stayed together, but four of five of Titan's players moved on to become Team Malaysia in October. MVP stuck it out until February 2015 before losing kr Sang-Don 'FoREv' Lee and kr Soung-Gon 'Heen' Lee.

A hopeful new competitive season
The upcoming season has something in common with post-TI5. The community has been introduced to a brand new system that promises stability and more money injected into the scene. Unlike 2015/2016's Majors, which limited things to Valve's three events that year, the upcoming season is even more promising with events practically every week and myriad chances for teams to compete.

This is probably part of the reason that so many strong teams have decided to stick together. Where past seasons have given teams the chance to experiment and find their footing for almost an entire year with the ultimate goal of The International on the horizon, this new year will reward teams that are successful all year long.

Valve may not have given us any details on this year's roster lock system, but it seems like they might not even need to. With the Majors and Minors system, they've developed a delicious carrot for teams to chase, instead of the stick that was the threat of open qualifiers should teams break the rules.

Header photo credit: Valve

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    Annabelle Fischer
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