Why T1 is still SEA Dota’s best shot at TI10 Glory

Vignesh Raghuram
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<div class="paragraphs"><p>T1 Dota 2 at TI10</p></div>

T1 Dota 2 at TI10

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AFK Gaming

A rebuild doesn’t guarantee success— a lot of things have to go right in order for a Dota 2 team to excel and become truly elite to compete against the best of the best. For T1, a lot of things did go wrong after it dived into the realm of Dota 2 trying to replicate the success of its legendary League of Legends roster, having to undergo 14 different roster changes in the last year before finally settling on one that could hold its own.

The result is a young Dota 2 team on the rise that showed a lot of potential in a tough 2021 Dota 2 Pro Circuit (DPC) Season. T1 has had no hand outs this season and had to scratch and claw its way into the International 10, leaving the team with tons of battle scars. But they’ve grown with each endeavour stitching together a playstyle that has surprised many and impressed more, and in the process became one of SEA’s best hopes at a TI title.

But wait. Isn’t this something that we’ve all heard before? Every year it’s the same story with SEA Dota 2 ever since the onset of the DPC structure. Every season there is one chosen favorite who fans put all their hopes and dreams on.

Pre DPC: This looks like the year of SEA Dota 2. This team is unbelievably skilled. They just need some experience, then they’ll have the potential to take TI.

Start of the DPC season: This team looks about as good as we expected. They’re just building experience.

Mid DPC-season: SEA Dota 2 is finally doing it. We finally have a team capable of bringing us our first Aegis of Champions.

End of DPC season: Well we finally managed to get there. It’s all about peaking at the right moment at TI now

At TI: Get eliminated before reaching Top 8.

Post-TI: They did what? X Player needs to be kicked, next year is our year.

And on and on it goes. One could argue that T1 is following the same blueprint that SEA Dota 2 has invariably managed to follow every year since TI6. But there is something different about this squad. Something unique that elevates them above the rest of their predecessors and pushes them to a higher tier, making them worthy of carrying the hopes and dreams of SEA Dota 2 fans. That something is their journey - a road to TI10 that has not been easy. Almost everyone in the team has had to overcome numerous hardships to make it here and become one of the two teams that will be carrying SEA’s banner in Bucharest, Romania when the tournament kicks off on 7th October.

Position one player Nuengnara "23savage" Teeramahanon was all set to occupy the carry role in ViCi Gaming, one of the most historic and biggest esports teams in the world, before he was left stranded, teamless due to extraordinary circumstances. Coach Park “March” Tae-won was booted from his previous team despite leading his team to numerous titles including a triumph at a DPC Major just a year prior.

Carlo “Kuku” Palad had to leave a team that he had called home for several years because his past actions were beginning to affect his teammates. The pandemic had also snatched away his new home, Geek Fam, right when they were beginning to find some success. The same applied for his fellow compatriots Karl “Karl” Jayme, Kenny “Xepher” Deo and Matthew “Whitemon” Filemon.

T1 is their shot at redemption. These former rejects have somehow combined to form the perfect storm of raw talent, crazy aggression, assured late-game play and masterful experience that puts their potential well beyond the reach of any other recent SEA TI attendees and amongst the top global teams that are gunning for the title. Perhaps not as favorites, but certainly as dark horses.

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