Why is the WePlay AniMajor the Most Decisive Tournament of the Year for SEA
A strong presence of SEA Dota 2 has always been noted at TIs, with at least three teams representing the region at each Dota 2 World Championship since 2013. However, in 2021, we may end up with only a single SEA team flying out to Stockholm for TI10 come August. Shifts in the roster, consistency problems, and casual attitudes have all contributed to the change in tradition this year. The regional qualifiers, scheduled for later this summer may give us the solitary SEA team competing at TI10 unless either T1 and TNC Predator or even Execration manage to put up a stellar performance in the upcoming WePlay AniMajor. It is the region’s last opportunity to have a second team competing at TI10.
The one who prevails will leap on the coveted train to TI10 while the ones who falter will board the less desired train to the dreaded regional qualifiers.
Here is a more detailed look at the current TI10 SEA quandary, the performance of T1, TNC Predator, and Execration in the SEA DPC Season 2, and the expectations from them going into the WePlay AniMajor.
The Awkward TI10 Qualification Scenario of SEA Dota 2
SEA Dota 2 is bracing for challenging times. With no team guaranteed a TI10 slot so far, the region is at risk of getting underrepresented at the Avicii Arena in Stockholm, Sweden. Other regions are comparatively in a better spot. This is because the four teams that have guaranteed a TI10 slot so far are – Invictus Gaming from China, Team Secret from Europe, Virtus.pro from CIS, and Evil Geniuses from North America. So, four out of the six regions already have one team booking a slot at TI10.
Top 12 of the 2021 DPC Rankings
|Rankings||Team Name||DPC Points (801 threshold)|
In addition, six teams currently have 800 points with the qualifying threshold being 801 points. Five of these teams – Alliance, Quincy Crew, beastcoast, PSG.LGD and Team Aster are playing at the Major and so, have a 99% plus chance of qualifying for TI10 as per stats from Dota 2 statistician, Ben “Noxville” Steenhuisen. Though Thunder Predator is missing the Major, they still have a fairly high chance of 88.5% chance to receive a direct invite. So, South America also finds itself in a sweet spot.
T1 and OB.Neon occupy the final 11th and 12th spots respectively. OB.Neon’s failure to qualify for the Major, which may be because of its “chill” attitude in the initial phases of the SEA DPC, has massively dented its chances. They can now only watch the games from afar and hope that the eight teams below them in the DPC rankings do not surpass them in points.
T1 has the easiest route of the three SEA teams competing at the WePlay AniMajor as they sit on 670 points. They will begin in the playoffs and will require just one series win to book a TI10 slot. This will ensure a top-eight finish, meaning T1 gains 200 DPC points and climbs to a total of 870 points, surpassing the 801 points threshold. Although this may seem fairly straightforward from an outside view, the flip side is that they lose a couple of series and find themselves knocked out of the Major. Fnatic had such a sad state of affairs at the last Major when they lost back-to-back series against Evil Geniuses and OB.Neon which saw them finish in 9th to 12th place.
TNC Predator will definitely have a harder time qualifying for TI10 considering that the Filipinos need to reach the grand finals of the Major to guarantee a slot. They currently have 372.25 points, so a top-two finish would take them to 822.25 points. As TNC begins in the group stage and will have a number of games to play in such a situation, they will have to maintain a strong level of performance and stay strong through all series.
What excruciates SEA’s chances more is the fact that Execration finished third in the regional league but has a negligible chance of securing a direct invite even if they win the Major. Unfortunately, because of the flawed format, Execration would have been better off losing the tiebreakers to Fnatic as the latter was highly placed in the DPC rankings and had a better chance of directly qualifying for TI10. Execration would have a better chance of making the regional qualifiers for TI10 if one top-tier team was subtracted from the field. Execration has the least amount of points amongst the teams competing at the Major, with just 200 DPC points against their name. A championship run would net only 500 points more which takes their tally to 700. Such a score may secure a TI10 direct invite, but it is not guaranteed to do so.
So realistically, only two SEA teams are competing for a direct invitation to TI10, with TNC still needing to put together a series of stellar performances. SEA teams’ chances may face further deterioration due to the possibility of T1 and TNC facing each other in the first round of upper bracket or the lower bracket playoffs.
Additionally, T1, Fnatic, and OB.Neon qualified for the Singapore Major while T1, TNC Predator, and Execration have qualified for the WePlay AniMajor. On the other hand, other regions have almost similar teams qualifying for the two Majors. SEA has also been hurt by this consistency gap, as DPC points have been split among more teams, causing their ranking to fall.
How are T1, TNC Predator, and Execration looking, heading into the WePlay AniMajor
T1 enters the international Dota 2 foray as the most in-form team from SEA. Master Kuku and his teammates have excellent momentum and good form coming into the AniMajor, having won six series on the trot. T1’s camp seems to have a great atmosphere as players bond over off-topic activities like Whitemon’s Ignition and Dota o Ako.
All of this combined with the fact that Kuku is available for this Major and 23savage has had enough time to jell with the team reflects the possibility of some great performances from T1. Kuku has been a world-class leader for young players like Xepher, Whitemon, and Karl for a long time. 23savage, will all the innate talent, seems to be a great fit into the T1 roster.
One of the few factors that can lead to a disaster like Fnatic’s run in the Singapore Major is a lack of experience coupled with an inability to manage high-pressure situations. So, it remains to be seen if T1 can replicate their excellence in the regional leagues against international teams like Aster and Alliance.
All in all, TNC looked great in the SEA DPC. In most departments, they were better than their competitors and exhibited hints of their former clinical self. All players also had their fair share of MVP gameplays and the team did not look to be out of sorts like many other teams in the region. The one series against Lilgun was the only time when TNC choked and were completely outplayed by the opponents.
With their experience from LAN events, Gabbi, Tims, and Armel come into the Major as the key members of TNC Predator. Boomy and Bok looked in fine form coming into the Major, but they are yet to showcase their skills at the biggest LAN tournaments.
The drafting stage will be very interesting to watch as Boomy is still inexperienced against top-tier international competition and will likely have to respond to the curve balls from captains like Puppey and Fly.
Historically, TNC has done well at major LAN events, but a top-two finish to guarantee a TI10 spot is still extremely challenging.
While Execration has shown signs of excellence in the SEA DPC series they have won, lack of consistency has been one of their defining characteristics. This time, they improved upon it and came out on top on multiple occasions. Nikko’s performances on Doom and Palos’ overall carry performances were the driving force behind Execration’s massive success.
The more consistency Execration can develop, the better they will be able to resist their enemies. However, their chances of moving past the wild card are still slim with opponents like Secret and Nigma.
Nevertheless, this is Execration’s first Major appearance and with nothing really to lose, so they can give their all and enjoy the challenge of competing against international teams.
WePlay AniMajor is scheduled from June 2-13 at the WePlay Esports Arena Kyiv, Ukraine. The wild card will take place on June 2-3, the group stage on June 4-7, and the playoffs from June 9-13. The games will be played on LAN at the WePlay Esports Arena Kyiv, but spectators will not be able to attend in person, similar to the Singapore Major. A total of 18 teams are going to compete in the event that offers a total prize pool of $500,00 USD and 2700 DPC points.