MANILA, Philippines – On Saturday, January 18, Philippine Dota 2 team TNC Predator gears up for the year’s first big Dota 2 tournament, the Leipzig Major.
Expectations are high as the team is coming off a sterling 2019 that saw them set a team record for earnings, take home about $1.5 million, repeat as the World Electronic Sports Games champion, and win the Chengdu Major in late 2019. Coming into 2020, there is reason to believe and bubbling optimism that this may yet be the best year for the Filipino stalwarts – and perhaps in more hushed tones, talks of victory at the annual grand championships, The International (TI).
There would be great appeal in winning competitive gaming’s most prestigious plum, namely: a prize of around $15 million. They’ll be set for life. That, and the validation that your team truly is one of the greats in this generation – a place in competitive gaming history. Of course, that’s the dream. For fans, seeing the team top its best-ever finish in the tournament may prove satisfying enough. The team, in its TI debut in 2016, finished 7th-8th, punctuated with a surprise win over powerhouse OG – a win many pundits deem to be the sport’s most incredible upset ever.
In the years since then, TNC has been somewhat of a dud in the tournament. Its vanquished, OG, has since gone on become repeat TI champs in 2018 and 2019, and likely remains the favorite in this year’s version. TNC, on the other hand, finished 9th-12th twice and 13th-16th once. The team, with the consistency they had shown in the past year, is certainly looking to buck that trend.
But before all that: the Leipzig Major. TNC is actually looking to correct a few things. In December, they floundered, nearly falling in the Leipzig Major qualifiers to fellow Philippine team Cignal Ultra. In the deciding match, a bad internet connection prevented the latter from reconnecting in time, losing by default. Later that month, TNC, at a Singapore invitational, was nearly eliminated too in the group stages before falling in the first round of the playoffs to the eventual champs, China’s Vici Gaming – the very team they defeated at the Chengdu Major.
TNC’s run at Leipzig is a chance for them to prove that their bad December was just a fluke, and they could be real TI contenders this season. If TNC’s going to build upon their 2019, they’ll have to start here, recover the confidence, and restart the momentum leading up to the 3 other Majors in the year (Los Angeles, Moscow, and Singapore) and finally, August’s TI. – Rappler.com