SEA Dota 2 has come leaps and bounds in 2019. The region has started to consistently hold their own against Western and Chinese Forces. With great plays from lots of great players, even other regions have started to realize the wealth of individual talent that exists here. As a result, we’ve seen SEA players make their way to Western and Chinese teams.
However, for the sake of simplicity, we’re only considering players who plied their trade in SEA for a significant chunk of 2019. So you will not find players like Jian Wei "xNova" Yap or Yeik "MidOne" Nai Zheng on this list.
I have also picked out the players in this ranking on the basis of both their achievements in 2019 as well as their individual skill.
I'm sure many of you will disagree with this criteria. In fact, Floki from our video team disagrees too. Here's what he thought the list should look like, including players like MidOne.
However, if you’d prefer my (obviously superior) criteria. Here’s a ranking of the 10 best players that the region has to offer.
We kick off the list with Jabz. The captain of Fnatic displayed immense tenacity to lead Fnatic to a Top 6 finish at The Chongqing Major and a 3rd Place finish at Dreamleague season 11. He may not be the flashiest support player in the scene, but he’s certainly proved himself to be one of the best.
However, his results were lukewarm for the rest of the season. But it looks like things are starting to look up for the young Thai star as Fnatic has started showing glimpses of their world-class play, to close out the year.
The young Thai star also lead his team to a Silver Medal placement at the 2019 SEA Games.
Image Courtesy: Valve
Next on the list, we have Jabz's partner in crime: DJ. The Filipino superstar was a force to be reckoned with in 2018, dazzling the world with his sheer skill and playmaking. However, the player has definitely mellowed down this year and has become a tad bit inconsistent.
He started off the year with strong performances at The Chongqing Major and The DreamLeague Season 11: Stockholm Major. However, like Jabz, a lacklustre year in terms of results following these two events, especially at TI9, means that he takes only the number 7 spot in our list.
Image Courtesy: Valve
It’s been a difficult year for Kuku, who still suffered from the ‘inappropriate remarks’ he made in 2018. He was banned from attending both the Chongqing Major and the WESG 2018: World Finals.
But he came back with a fury, winning the Asia Pacific Predator League 2019 and secured high placements with TNC at the Epicenter Major and ESL One: Birmingham 2019. He started looked immense, outplaying the likes of OG in the Epicenter Major and single-handedly lead his team to multiple victories on the backs of his signature heroes like Batrider and Sandking.
After a relatively poor performance at TI9, he has since switched rosters to GeekFam, where his play continues to be some of the most explosive we see in the SEA region.
Image Courtesy: Valve
Abed is touted as one of the most mechanically gifted players coming out of SEA and his rise to fame right from the days of Execration has been a treat to watch. To this day, his Meepo and Invoker strike fear in the hearts of enemies.
The player didn’t have the most successful start to the year with Fnatic, but he was perhaps the best of the bunch, showcasing his sheer skill and smart gameplay to book a place in the Evil Geniuses roster for the rest of 2019.
With the NA super-team, the player has already secured a 4th Place finish at the MDL: Chengdu Major and a runner up finish at the World Pro Invitational Singapore alluding that great things will follow, in 2020.
Copyright: ESL | Bart Oerbekke
It might be somewhat of a surprise for many to see Moon’s place, this high up the list. But he is one of the most mechanically skilled players in the scene. His achievements in 2019 back that up.
He managed to secure a 2nd Place Finish at ESL One Mumbai 2019 and also performed extremely well in the two Majors that Mineski qualified to. He then followed that up with some of the best performances we’ve seen in the mid lane at The International 2019, going toe-to-toe against the likes of MidOne, W33ha and Armel and held his own.
His performance was one of the key elements which lead his team to secure the highest placed finish amongst SEA teams at TI9. After joining Fnatic, the player continues to shine and has the potential to carry the team to Top 3 finishes at DPC Majors.
Image Courtesy: Kpii
The Australian offlaner has had quite the topsy turvy year. He kicked off 2019 with an underperforming Mineski squad which looked like a downgrade, compared to his previous Newbee roster.
However, the player showed us why he was considered as one of the world’s best offlaners at TI9 where he consistently held his own against Western and Chinese carries to claim a 9th-12th Place finish at TI9 (The Highest amongst SEA teams).
His performance allowed him to book a place at TNC, replacing Kuku. There he proved to play a pivotal role in transforming the team into world-beaters. His signature heroes, such as the offlane Naga Siren and Venomancer still prove to be the ultimate spacemakers allowing Gabbi and Armel to shine.
Kpii is a key component of the TNC juggernaut heading into 2020.
Gabbi is flexible, able to play a variety of different heroes with the same level of consistency. He is someone who you can count on to lead the team to victory from unwinnable positions while he is also someone who can close out a game without any 322 shenanigans. He is a pillar of consistency who can routinely find farm, avoid ganks and get the items they need to ensure TNC’s success.
Although the player has been performing well ever since he joined TNC, he truly ascended into a superstar carry in 2019. He kicked off the year with wins at the Asia Pacific Predator League 2019 and the WESG 2018: World Finals and gradually revved up his play on his road to TI9.
Although he had a disappointing finish at TI9, he more than made up for it in the tournaments following it. He carried his team to victory at ESL One Hamburg 2019 and The MDL Chengdu Major and even secured the MVP Trophy in the latter.
Copyright: ESL | Helena Kristiansson
It might be surprising to see a player who was a coach for the first months of 2019 on this list. But his impact after joining TNC is simply too monumental to ignore. His leadership has completely transformed TNC, making them the best team in the world at one point.
Although he plays the position-5 role, designated to do the most work with the least available resources. March is a player who finds space, finds opportunities, and can make any hero work with a strikingly low amount of resources.
His clever drafting and his movements in the early part of the game were essential TNC’s success. He has proven himself as one of the finest in-game shot-callers in World Dota by leading his team to win 4 LAN titles in a row.
He also won a Mercedes earlier in 2019, at ESL One Hamburg 2019 for his MVP Award-winning performance at the tournament.
Image Courtesy: Epicenter
One of the most fabled and celebrated SEA players, Armel is perhaps the most mechanically gifted midlaner in the world. He has had a fantastic 2019, leading TNC Predator to multiple trophies and has truly held his own against the best midlaners in the world.
He regularly dominates his lane. And against weaker players, if left in a one-on-one situation, he can beat them to a point where they have so little farm that they are no longer relevant to the game. His phenomenal performances in the midlane, have played a huge part in pushing TNC to win four straight LAN titles in a row in 2019.
While SEA has been unable to Triumph at the biggest tournament of them all: The International, with Armel at the helm, TNC Predator looks like the most likely SEA candidate to claim the Aegis of Champions.
We at AFK Gaming have run out of expletives to describe Tims. To put it simply, Tims is simply the best player in the SEA Dota 2 scene.
He is just an unbelievable monster at Dota, stretching the limits of what you can do on a 4-position role. The scariest thing about him is the amount of pressure he puts on the opponent during a draft. His play on picks like Earthshaker, Rubick and Mirana drew bans throughout the year, but he’s been able to consistently perform despite being targeted.
He is arguably the most reliable and consistent position 4 supports in the world, always in the right place at the right time to enable his team, pushing the limits of his hero, even against the best teams in the world.
In terms of achievements, TIMS has done it all, this year. He kicked off the year with some respectable performances at the Chongqing Major, ESL One Birmingham 2019, ESL One Mumbai 2019 and The Epicenter Major. The player also won the Asia Pacific Predator League 2019, WESG 2018: World Finals, ESL One Hamburg 2019, WESG 2019: SEA Finals and the MDL Chengdu Major.
He is on pace to have an even better 2020. Will that be enough to enable his team to capture SEA’s first ever Aegis of Champions at TI-10?
Some of you might not agree with the top five entries on this list, solely consisting of TNC Predator players. It would be a disservice to the players if it was any other case, considering the sheer achievements they’ve pulled off to close out the year.
Do you agree with our rankings? Did we miss out on someone? Let us know in the comments down below.