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TI7 profile: Rebuilding an Empire

TI7 profile: Rebuilding an Empire

July 29, 2017 0 comments

Players have come and gone, results have waxed and waned but the one constant has been the persistence of the Empire to rebuild each time it has been knocked down.

After missing out on The International 6 last year, Team Empire will once again fly their banner in the halls of Key Arena in Seattle – this year sending in five International debutantes to wage war. No doubt they are arriving as dark horses, all hopes pinned on their unpredictable and extremely versatile strategic arsenal.

Rise and Falls of an Empire

Team Empire is one of the premier teams in Russia and the CIS across all esport titles. Situated in Moscow, the organisation was established in 2004 and would switch its HON (Heroes of Newerth) division over to Dota 2 in December of 2011 with a roster that included player Roman ‘scandal‘ Sadotenkov.

Almost one year later with insufficient results and after a few roster changes, the team went through a major overhaul in September 2012 and enjoyed a dominant few months, seizing almost exclusively first and second place finishes in eight matches in approximately ten weeks. Unexpectedly, Gleb ‘Funn1k‘ Lipatnikov left the team in February 2013 and both Airat ‘Silent‘ Gaziev and  Artur ‘Goblak‘ Kostenko followed suit in April, citing poor results. The team had fallen from grace and a new roster was once again recruited and assembled.

Being only a shadow of the team it was, the new roster would not have any achievements since their inception. Their TI3 qualifier results were devastating, ending last in their group phase without a single victory. Exit stage left – another major shuffle in the roster occurred.

Silent returned to the team and rebuilt the roster, achieving minor success in smaller cups and tournaments – enough to keep afloat. But with the addition of Roman ‘Resolut1on‘ Fominok in mid November the team would start to rise again. Starting in December of 2013, the team would conquer tournament after tournament with eight first place championship titles, three second place finishes and another couple of third place positions in the 14 tournaments played together until The International 4. A surprising and disappointing finish of 13th at TI4 would mark yet another significant roster change.

Once again in the wake of the new year of 2015 Empire would assume control of the entire CIS region and dominate in the vast majority of tournaments they attended. In early January they would assert their power and seize first and second place finishes at major LAN events over the course of the next few months. As had been the pattern, the team was not able to translate their success through the year into a notable achievement on the International arena floor. The team took a disappointing 9-12th place finish at TI5 and opened the gates to another changing of the guard.

After several months of revolving door roster changes, almost too numerous to keep track of, he 2015-2016 season was riddled with peaks and valleys of success. Resolut1on parted ways to play with the North American team, Digital Chaos in a surprising and unprecedented move. The team struggled to fill the gaping hole left by the carry player and the consequences were dire –  another dissolution of the lineup during the Manila Major/TI6 roster lock period.

Team Empire had rebuilt their entire roster in March 2016, including bringing back Scandal. Initial results were promising and strong, but the team failed to sustain their efforts and clinch the titles when it mattered most. The decorated and veteran player was let go after a subpar and disappointing team performance at the TI6 qualifiers. Shortly after, Roman ‘Ramzes666‘ Kushnarev – the young star of Team Empire moved to Virtus.Pro and the cycle started up again.

For the new Fall Major 2016 season, Team Empire began to form their squad around their two remaining players Yaroslav ‘Miposhka‘ Naidenov and Rinat ‘KingR‘ Abdullin. The team again struggled to make any progress – including falling short in the Boston Major open qualifiers and the inevitable shift was once again upon them.

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