Why T1 continues to be SEA Dota’s greatest shot at TI10 Glory
A rebuild doesn’t assure success— numerous issues should go proper to ensure that a Dota 2 group to excel and grow to be really elite to compete towards one of the best of one of the best. For T1, numerous issues did go improper after it dived into the realm of Dota 2 making an attempt to copy the success of its legendary League of Legends roster, having to bear 14 completely different roster modifications within the final yr earlier than lastly selecting one that might maintain its personal.
The result’s a younger Dota 2 group on the rise that confirmed numerous potential in a troublesome 2021 Dota 2 Professional Circuit (DPC) Season. T1 has had no hand outs this season and needed to scratch and claw its manner into the Worldwide 10, leaving the group with tons of battle scars. However they’ve grown with every endeavour stitching collectively a playstyle that has shocked many and impressed extra, and within the course of turned considered one of SEA’s greatest hopes at a TI title.
However wait. Isn’t this one thing that we’ve all heard earlier than? Yearly it’s the identical story with SEA Dota 2 ever for the reason that onset of the DPC construction. Each season there may be one chosen favourite who followers put all their hopes and goals on.
Pre DPC: This appears to be like just like the yr of SEA Dota 2. This group is unbelievably expert. They simply want some expertise, then they’ll have the potential to take TI.
Begin of the DPC season: This group appears to be like about nearly as good as we anticipated. They’re simply constructing expertise.
Mid DPC-season: SEA Dota 2 is lastly doing it. We lastly have a group able to bringing us our first Aegis of Champions.
Finish of DPC season: Effectively we lastly managed to get there. It’s all about peaking on the proper second at TI now
At TI: Get eradicated earlier than reaching High 8.
Submit-TI: They did what? X Participant must be kicked, subsequent yr is our yr.
And on and on it goes. One might argue that T1 is following the identical blueprint that SEA Dota 2 has invariably managed to observe yearly since TI6. However there’s something completely different about this squad. One thing distinctive that elevates them above the remainder of their predecessors and pushes them to the next tier, making them worthy of carrying the hopes and goals of SEA Dota 2 followers. That one thing is their journey – a street to TI10 that has not been straightforward. Nearly everybody within the group has needed to overcome quite a few hardships to make it right here and grow to be one of many two groups that will probably be carrying SEA’s banner in Bucharest, Romania when the event kicks off on seventh October.
T1’s journey via the Dota 2 Professional Circuit
T1’s journey to TI10 began when the Korean mastermind behind SEA’s solely latest DPC Main victory, Park “March” Tae-won, was introduced in to construct a Dota 2 lineup that might cling with the perfect that SEA needed to supply. Underneath his management, a ragtag group of Dota 2 gamers who had been left at the hours of darkness after the disbandment of Geek Fam had been recruited.
The Filipino star Kuku was introduced in because the group’s offlaner and de facto captain, while Karl joined them as their eccentric midlaner. The dependable Indonesian supporting forged of Xepher and Whitemon shaped the spine of this new-look T1 lineup. All 4 gamers performed underneath the Geek Fam banner, which had its goals of competing at a DPC main (ESL One: Los Angeles 2021) snatched away by the onset of the pandemic.
The 4 gamers had already confirmed their capabilities with their success in varied on-line tournaments together with the ONE Esports Dota 2 SEA League and the BTS Professional Sequence Season 2: Southeast Asia. All they wanted was a dependable carry to spherical out the lineup. Rising Thai star Souliya “JaCkky” Khoomphetsavong was introduced in to fill these sneakers.
Early jitters: 2021 DPC Season 1 and Singapore Main
The group began off the primary season of 2021 SEA DPC comparatively nicely, managing to ebook a spot for themselves within the Wild Playing cards of the Singapore Main. Nevertheless, in a controversial transfer, the group changed JaCkky with 23savage simply earlier than heading into the foremost. Followers had been in uproar about this ‘injustice’ accomplished to JaCkky and had been very skeptical of how nicely 23savage would show to combine into the T1 equipment.
Sadly, catastrophe struck as captain Kuku was left unable to compete within the Singapore Main as a consequence of well being points, forcing the group to go into the event crippled. With out their shotcaller, T1 had a catastrophe of a efficiency and headed residence with zero factors added to their DPC factors kitty.
Rise to kind: 2021 DPC Season 2 and WePlay AniMajor
Nevertheless, it appeared like T1 had not gone residence empty-handed from the Singapore Main. The group discovered from its defeats, ironed out the chinks in its armor and headed again into the second season of the 2021 SEA DPC, wanting like a totally completely different group. Gone had been the unintended throws and overaggressive performs.
They had been now changed with calm, collected and confident play with managed aggression which as a rule broke down their regional opponents and pushed T1 to safe the highest place this season.
This additionally put them simply inches beneath securing a direct invite to TI10. All they wanted was one victory on the WePlay AniMajor!
The strain was on T1 to ship on the AniMajor. If the group couldn’t safe a direct invite, then SEA would solely be represented by one group at TI10. The group surpassed all expectations as they stormed via the event, beating out a number of the greatest groups within the event together with Workforce Aster and Quincy Crew with its disciplined ganks and mastery of the late-game proving to be the distinction makers.
Though the group would go on to lose to the 2 finalists PSG.LGD and Evil Geniuses, T1 had confirmed that it had all of the instruments to go toe-to-toe with one of the best esports groups that Dota 2 has to supply.
Victory street: ESL One Summer time 2021
Regardless of their spectacular efficiency on the AniMajor, T1 nonetheless had a couple of doubters. A number of claimed that the run was a fluke and that they solely beat the straightforward a part of the bracket. The quickly rising SEA group had an opportunity to show their non-believers improper at ESL One Summer time 2021, one more worldwide event.
Frankly, T1 took each group (bar a surging Virtus.Professional) to the cleaners successful virtually each single considered one of their video games in decisive style. Groups merely couldn’t work out find out how to play towards T1’s playstyle. Their technique of delaying the sport via intelligent map actions and choose offs with robust tanky heroes like Kuku and Karl’s Doom and Dragon Knight.
With intelligent break up pushing and choice making, 23savage would later take over the sport on his late-game laborious carries like Medusa, Luna and Faceless Void to beat down T1’s opponents and simply safe the late recreation win for his group.
Even Virtus.Professional (who managed to be the one group within the event to have found out an efficient method to taking part in towards T1’s playstyle) couldn’t totally shut down the SEA Dota 2 group. Regardless of being crushed within the Winner Bracket Finals 2-1, T1 managed to climb its manner again into the grand finals.
The 2 groups traded blow-for-blow with some immaculate teamfighting and jaw-dropping performs within the Grand Finals. It was an in depth sequence, however in the long run, T1 managed to prevail, as soon as once more due to its late-game proficiency on the again of 23savage’s dependable Faceless Void and Karl’s overwhelming Leshrac.
Indicators of decline already?: ESL One Fall 2021 and OGA Dota PIT Invitational 2021
Sadly, even earlier than T1’s followers might really relish within the group’s success, the group started to point out indicators of faltering. After a brief break, they headed again to bootcamp in Europe to arrange for TI10, carrying a ton of expectations from its followers.
The group entered ESL One Fall 2021 as one of many favorites to take all of it. However the champions’ sheen wore off, actual fast, following defeats to the likes of Workforce Spirit and Tundra Esports. The group barely managed to qualify for the playoffs the place they had been as soon as once more bested by PSG.LGD. Solely this time, the Chinese language group was taking part in with its coach Zhang “xiao8” Ning as a stand-in. T1 solely managed to safe a fourth place end. This wasn’t a one-off failure. The SEA group additionally disenchanted on the OGA Dota PIT Invitational 2021, as soon as once more dropping video games to SG Esports, Workforce Spirit and a weakened PSG.LGD solely securing one more fourth place end.
The group’s close to invincible late-game prowess was gone. Hastily, groups had been in a position to match T1’s map actions and counter-play them. The group was noticeably much less confident with its drafts and its sense of route appeared to go a bit haywire when issues acquired a bit tense.
Sadly, Patch 7.30 which dropped a couple of days after T1’s success on the ESL One Summer time 2021 appears to have hit the SEA group more durable than most of its opponents. The group appeared unable to correctly adapt to the brand new meta and therefore regarded removed from their greatest in these tournaments.
T1 continues to be SEA Dota’s greatest shot at TI10 Glory
So is T1 falling down the trail that nearly each single SEA TI hopeful has adopted in recent times? Are we doomed to see one other repeat of the area’s failures at TI? Will SEA’s 10 yr anticipate a TI title be prolonged?
Maybe. Most would even say that it’s possible. However, as OG proved with their miraculous win in The Worldwide 8, with sufficient grit and dedication there may be all the time that probability of a Cinderella story.
T1 isn’t a favourite heading into this event – a sentiment expressed by AvoPlus in a latest dialog with AFK Gaming. They’re neither essentially the most in-form group nor have they got the most important names on their lineup. What they do have is synergy and a novel bond between its members. A bond solid via hardships that every one of them have skilled, in come what may. The group must leverage this to push itself into turning into extra than simply the sum of its components, simply to actually have a probability to win this event.
All mentioned and accomplished, the very fact is that the favourite hardly ever wins at The Worldwide. Previous performances are hardly ever indicative of who claims the Aegis of Champions on the Worldwide. Peaking on the proper second, having the suitable mentality, one of the best bonds between gamers, figuring out and evolving with the meta are way more vital points of championship successful groups. And if the yr passed by is any indicator of what’s to come back, T1 has proven that it possesses these instruments in its equipment.
Vignesh has been overlaying the esports trade for almost 5 years beginning with the early days of the DPC. His trade experience consists of expertise in Dota 2, CS:GO and Cellular Esports protection.