Heading into TI10, North American team Evil Geniuses could finally take the Aegis again. This time, however, it will be a completely different squad made up of only one North American.
I'll admit I have a bias for the team, since Daryl "Iceiceice" Koh is playing for EG. But that's not the complete picture here.
Ice merely is the trollish icing on the cake that already has stellar players in the form of Artour "Arteezy" Babaev, a godly mid player in Abed "Abed" Yusop, a seriously good Andreas "Cr1t-" Nielsen, and a rocksteady captain in Tal "Fly" Aizik.
Apart from Arteezy, who remains the uncrowned king, all the other players have won Valve tournaments, and have the chops to handle pressure at the highest levels.
The squad is currently on form, having taken the most Dota Pro Circuit points, as well as coming in second in both Majors this year.
That puts them in the right position to peak at TI10, where they will no doubt do well, especially against the other teams.
OG, two-time TI winners, have lost their famed carry, and their form doesn't bode well for a three-peat. I could be wrong, and OG's never-say-die spirit could put them in the champions seat yet again, but I highly doubt that.
EG, who will no doubt have a good run at TI, will have to watch out for their kryptonite: China.
While they've easily conquered SEA, Europe, SA, and NA regions during their run, they seem to stumble at the Bo5 matches. Sure, they will beat a Chinese team during a Bo3, but then their strategies seem to get figured out and they can't seem to adapt.
It's something they have to watch out for — because once you get figured out, other teams will be able to execute the same strategies against you.
And at the TI level, you better believe all the teams will be able to play to their best for a chance at the life changing US$40 million prize pool.
But perhaps the chips will fall in EG's favour, with the Chinese teams falling to the other regions, such as SEA and SA, who have a reputation for upsets against the more disciplined Chinese squads.
Then again, with the Aegis in western hands for the last two years already, it's possible we will see a return to China. After all, Chinese squads want the honour of reclaiming the title for glory.
Still, I have my hopes on EG. They have the right combination of players and play style. They are peaking at the right moment.
If their coach Bulba can draft a tad more unpredictably to take advantage of their strengths, there's no doubt in my mind Arteezy will finally claim a title, and in style at that.
That is, unless he gets trapped on a cliff in a big team fight in game 5 of the Grand Finals. There I jinxed it.
Aloysius Low is an ex-CNET editor with more than 15 years of experience. He's really into cats and is currently reviewing products at canbuyornot.com