T1 Dota at TI10

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T1

“In the past tournaments, we were not in good shape but right now I think we can face them” - T1 Kuku on PSG.LGD

Key talking points from T1's press conference summarized

Vignesh Raghuram
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Highlights
The team was struggling on Day 1 because it was choking and didn't understand the meta.
Kuku explained that their strong mentality allowed them to recover from this setback and that they always knew that they could make a comeback even when they were 0-4 in groups.
T1 acknowledged that PSG.LGD was a strong first opponent but remained optimistic about its chances

SEA’s favourites, T1 will be facing its toughest challenge yet when it makes its way onto the main stage of The International 10 (TI10) on Wednesday (13th October). The SEA team will be facing tournament favourites PSG.LGD in the BO3 Upper Bracket showdown. Ahead of this match, the players and coach of T1 spoke to the media giving us some valuable insights about their performances so far and what fans can expect from them in their match against PSG.LGD. The players from T1 explained what went wrong on Day 1, what they've done to recover from it, and how they are planning on tackling the rest of TI10.

T1 explain Day 1 struggles and how they’ve recovered

T1 did not have a good start to TI10. The SEA team suffered back-to-back losses against Invictus Gaming and Evil Geniuses, pushing them down towards the lower end of the table on Day 1. “I think on Day 1, we kind of choked and our gameplay was lacking,” explained Matthew "Whitemon" Filemon. He said that the team was trying to identify the mistakes it was making and trying to plug the holes.

At first, I was kind of confused about the meta. But after the team discussions and after watching other teams playing, we’re kind of figuring out the meta. But I cannot say what it is.”
- Nuengnara "23savage" Teeramahanon

Kuku explained that their strong mentality allowed them to recover from this setback and that they always knew that they could make a comeback even when they were 0-4 in groups. “The first day against IG and EG, we kind of threw. I think we fixed the problem after that, then we kept talking about what we all need to do, be normal and keep calm and collected,” he added.

T1 recovered and managed to secure eight wins on the trot to finish with a 10-2 win-loss record, securing an upper bracket slot at the TI10 playoffs. However, they’re up against Chinese powerhouse PSG.LGD, a team that many consider as the odds on favorite to win the tournament.

March and Kuku explain T1’s chances against PSG.LGD

Despite the overwhelming odds, the players and the coach remain confident about T1’s chances against PSG.LGD and that they have a good chance of coming out on top if things go their way.

“We played against LGD many times in officials and scrims, so we know what they do, what their playstyles are,” said Park "March" Tae-won, T1's coach. “We are very aware that they’re a strong team, but they’re not out of our reach. If we perform well and maybe they have a bad day, we have a really good day, I am sure that we will be able to beat them.”

March also added that T1 had to beat PSG.LGD eventually, if they hoped to win the tournament. He said, “Our aim is to win TI and we have to go across them. We’re meeting them a little early, compared to other teams, but it is not a problem for us.”

Unfortunately, T1’s recent record against PSG.LGD is a little dismal. The team has suffered three consecutive 2-1 losses against their Chinese counterparts in the WePlay AniMajor, ESL One Fall 2021, and the OGA Dota PIT Invitational.

However, Captain Kuku believes they can turn it around. He said that it was hard to out draft PSG.LGD, as it's hard to ban all their heroes because of the Chinese team’s overall hero pool and so would focus themselves in the drafts. However he too believes that T1 has what it takes to take down its Chinese counterparts stating, “In the past tournaments, we were not in good shape but right now I think we can face them.”

Kuku is the key for T1’s success

T1 is carrying the bulk of SEA fan’s expectations as we head into the main event of TI10. With four of its five players being TI debutants, the team will be looking toward Kuku to lead the lineup through these high pressure situations.

March explained the pivotal role that Kuku plays in T1, from a strategic perspective. “Usually most of the ideas come from Kuku. Xepher and I help the most, the rest of them just play Dota. They just tell them about their feelings,” he said.

The way we want to play Dota in T1 is Kuku’s leadership and Kuku’s idea on Dota, we just support and follow. Doesn’t matter if it is right or wrong.”
- March

T1 certainly has an uphill battle on their hands when they take on PSG.LGD later this week. But it is not an impossible task. The SEA team, equipped with the momentum they garnered from its 8-game-win streak and the calming influence of Kuku can beat any team on its day, and the Chinese powerhouse is certainly a challenge it can overcome.

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Vignesh has been covering the esports industry for nearly 5 years starting with the early days of the DPC. His industry expertise includes experience in Dota 2, CS:GO and Mobile Esports coverage.