Jabz: Thai Dota 2’s rising star

posted by Abelle,
Thailand isn't the first country that comes to mind when thinking high profile SEA Dota 2 players. A few have made their names known in the Southeast Asian scene but th Anucha 'Jabz' Jirawong is the first to make a major mark on international competition.

Young and full of potential

Just 19 years old, Jabz has been playing Dota 2 professionally for about three years now. His first two teams were Thai squads. He started off with a very brief stint on a team called Everlast before he was picked up by the newly created merger between team Signature and Trust, the former sponsor of high profile Thai team MiTH. They were known as Signature.Trust.

Team Signature.Trust
Source: Facebook

Jabz played with Signature.Trust for over one and a half years, from early 2015 through the post-TI6 shuffle, during which time he developed his skills as a support. The team competed at a high level within Southeast Asia but never managed to qualify for any big LAN events. Shortly before Jabz left the team, they took 2nd place in the Mr. Cat Invitational.

An awkward step onto the world stage with Team Faceless

world Team Faceless* was formed in September 2016 as a new organization funded by captain sg Daryl Koh 'iceiceice' Pei Xiang’s past tournament winnings and streaming income. The team was a mix of old friends and Dota 2 veterans, with Jabz the sole young blood.

Joining Faceless was a big step for Jabz because the common language would be English, but he'd been playing on all-Thai teams up to that point. He also moved away from his home to Singapore, where the team house was located.

After playing mostly support for his professional career (with a few games on core roles peppered here and there), Jabz switched to the midlane in July of 2016. On Faceless, he kept the new role, even occasionally playing typically support heroes in mid, such as this Rubick mid game from the ProDota cup in October 2016.

Team Faceless started out their season as the Southeast Asian powerhouse team. They became gatekeepers of SEA qualifiers, taking spots at The Summit 6, The Boston Major and Dota Pit League Season 5 before they’d even made their first LAN appearance. Unfortunately for them, things didn’t go so well at their first two LANs. They finished dead last in both The Summit and Boston without winning a single series.

The struggle for a Bo3 win

Source: Facebook

Things looked dire for the team, but Faceless got down to business improving themselves. When Dota Pit finally rolled around in January 2017, they finally put up a good fight and made it to 3rd place by winning three lower bracket single-game series.

That took nerves of steel, but after losing to OG in the lower bracket final, Faceless still hadn’t actually won a best-of-three on LAN despite being arguably the best team from SEA. In fact, their first best-of-three victory on a LAN stage didn’t come until The Kiev Major in late April 2017, when they took series off both SG e-sports and TNC before losing to OG in the Semifinals.

Despite this small victory, things weren’t looking great for the team. Their sole LAN qualification after Kiev was The Manila Masters, where they silently decided to switch roles after their opening game, sending Jabz to support and putting Black^ middle. The gambit netted them 4th place but after all that time, it seemed that the rest of SEA had started to catch up. Faceless failed to qualify for TI7, finishing 6th in the qualifier.

From Faceless to Mineski

Not making it to TI was the final blow that ended Team Faceless’ one-year existance, but iceiceice and Jabz were both picked up by my Mineski for the new season. The Filipino organization had been rebuilding since early 2017, when they signed my Chai 'Mushi' Yee Fung and began trying out various players.

Nothing had really worked for Mineski, until August, when the current roster came together. That roster is:

my Kam 'Moon' Boon Seng (Carry)
my Chai 'Mushi' Yee Fung (Midlane)
sg Daryl Koh 'iceiceice' Pei Xiang (Offlane)
th Anucha 'Jabz' Jirawong (Support)
ph Michael 'ninjaboogie' Ross (Support)

Jabz stuck with the support role, and he’s flourished in it ever since. Mineski, like Faceless, have been the dominant force in SEA qualifiers so far this season. Unlike Faceless, they’re actually holding their own at LAN events as well. This isn’t so surprising for veterans like Mushi and iceiceice, but it’s a major step for Jabz.

Currently, Mineski have already secured themselves 720 Qualifying Points. Before The Perfect World Masters ended, that was enough for 4th place overall. If things continue in a similar vein for Mineski this season, we could be celebrating Jabz as one of this year’s most valuable up-and-coming players.

If you want to get to know a bit more about Jabz from his former teammates in Thailand as well as his mother and girlfriend, check out this short documentary from 2016. The original version is in Thai, but this version was reuploaded with English subtitles by a fan.

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    Annabelle Fischer
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