A good start to TI8, but a disappointing end…
Roster shuffle was in full effect after The International 2018, and it was no different for TNC Predator. They began the tournament well, narrowly missing out on the Upper Bracket of the Main Event after finishing one game behind a three-way tie for third in a stacked Group B.
In a best-of-one shootout with fellow SEA side Mineski, they built up a steady 17k lead. Their place in the next round looked good, but a four-for-none teamfight ultimately cost them the game. With that, they exited the tournament in a disappointing 13th-16th place.
Changes made for the new season
As with several other teams, TNC made changes in the post-season. They released long-serving players Marc Polo Luis 'Raven' Fausto and Samson E. 'SamH' Hidalgo, and brought in young prospect Kim Villafuerte 'Gabbi' Santos from Clutch Gamers and Michael 'ninjaboogie' Ross from TI8 conquerors Mineski. They also moved Carlo 'Kuku' Palad from support to offlane.
Judging by early form, the changes have worked a treat.
Two qualifiers, two successes
GGs to Lotac as we take the series and the ticket to the #KualaLumpurMajor! Keep your tabs in our upcoming rematch vesus Fnatic which will determine our seeding at the LAN event.— TNC Predator (@TNCPredator) September 21, 2018
Thank you all and God Bless!#RiseofthePhoenix#SummonYourStrength#NimoTV#WeartheColorsProud pic.twitter.com/EDINlkKSSx
TNC have a steady record of taking part in the biggest tournaments, attending TI three times and four Majors last season alone. However, they often played second-fiddle to their more illustrious SEA rivals Fnatic and Mineski — who even won the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018.
This season they have hit the ground running with the new, all-Filipino line-up. Qualification for The Kuala Lumpur Major was secured at the first attempt, defeating Lotac to make the final of the SEA Qualifier and seal one of the two spots on offer. They ended with a series loss to Fnatic, but claimed a 9-4 record overall.
They then went on to qualify for ESL One Hamburg 2018, winning all six of the games they played to sweep past their rivals for the single place available. Wins over former stable-mates Tigers, as well as two series wins over EVOS Esports, did the trick.
While it’s disappointing that in the end TNC will not be attending Hamburg (due to a schedule conflict with the WESG Philippine Finals), these successes have established TNC as ‘the best of the rest’ in the region — for now.
Can TNC take the next step?
There we have it! We are going to the grand finals of the Asia Pro League after a 2-0 win. Well played to Invictus Gaming for a great series!#RiseofthePhoenix#SummonYourStrength#NimoTV pic.twitter.com/CKYUEZxiv3— TNC Predator (@TNCPredator) October 13, 2018
Momentum is everything, and TNC have kept it going. In the recent Asia Pro League — a 14-team tournament bringing together the best of China and Southeast Asia — TNC showed they can mix it up with bigger teams.
They lost just one game on their way to the Grand Finals, finishing with an 11-1 record in the Group Stage. Playoff series sweeps against both DeathBringer Gaming and Invictus Gaming led to a showdown with EHOME for the title. Despite losing 3-0 in that match, they showed that they can string a series of results together and make an impact.
However, the question now remains — can they go on to make a similar kind of impact on the biggest stages? They’ve shown they can do it before, and with this new roster looking settled and playing positively, there’s no reason why they can’t cause an upset or two in Kuala Lumpur in a few weeks' time.
What do you think of the new, improved TNC Predator? Can they step up?
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