By Dane Angelo M. Enerio
FILIPINO Dota 2 team TNC Predator on Monday afternoon bounced back against a 25,000 gold deficit and a two lane barracks disadvantage to secure a spot in the game’s biggest annual tournament, The International (TI) 2018.
Tied 1-1 in the Southeast Asian (SEA) qualifiers’s final best-out-of-three series with their sister team TNC Tigers, Predator rallied halfway through the 74-minute long final match and snowballed their way to the $15-million tournament to be held in Vancouver, Canada between Aug. 15 and 25 by the game’s developer, Valve Corp. (Valve).
Right as the Tigers could fully consolidate their victory, Predator’s position four support player, Timothy “Tims” Randrup, popped his character’s ultimate — Song of the Siren — stopping the Tigers dead on their tracks at the game’s most contested area to snatch all of their prizes: Roshan’s Aegis of the Immortality and Cheese, victory, and their plane tickets to Vancouver.
The gold and experience graphs, which the Tigers lead up until that point, suddenly started to reverse and to favor Predator, with the team concluding the series with a 32,000 gold lead.
Overwhelmed with joy, Predator’s position two player and semi-carry Armel Paul “Armel” Tabios celebrated the victory by slamming his keyboard on the table — effectively breaking it. The celebration was well earned as he carried his team in their two wins against Tigers with commanding games as Bloodseeker.
“We will once again represent the Philippines at The International Dota 2 Championships!” Predator announced on their Facebook and Twitter pages minutes after the victory.
The remaining members of the team are position one and carry Marc “Raven” Fausto, position three support Sam “Sam_H” Hidalgo, and position five hard support Carlo “Kuku” Palad.
Sought for comment, the Tigers told BusinessWorld in a Facebook message, “[i]t was a heartbreaking series to lose, being that close to go to Vancouver, but not being able to close out the game.”
They, however, praised their Filipino counterparts, saying, “[p]rops to them for not giving up, and ultimately getting the well-deserved spot at TI.”
“We’d like to thank all our fans for supporting us from the start and through our run this year, and will look forward to another year ahead,” they added.
Predator will now compete with 17 other international teams for the Aegis of Champions trophy and for a majority slice of the growing prize money — with the current pool being $15,487,900. Following tradition, 25% of the game’s “Battle Pass” sales are added to the initial $1.5-million prize pool.
The eight teams given direct invites by Valve were Virtus.pro, Team Liquid, PSG.LGD, Team Secret, Mineski, Vici Gaming, Newbee, and VGJ.Thunder for earning the most points in the Dota Pro Circuit.
The remaining half are filled by the winners of the regional qualifiers which include Predator, OG, Winstrike Team, Team Serenity, Invictus Gaming, Fnatic, VGJ.Storm, Evil Geniuses, OpTic Gaming, and PaiN Gaming.
Predator made global headlines in 2016 when they performed one of the biggest upsets in TI history and eliminated European juggernaut and then-reigning champions OG in a 2-0 rout.
With both teams present in the upcoming tournament, the stage is set for another clash between the two regional giants and for another memorable TI.
By Dane Angelo M. Enerio