With The International 2017 only a few weeks away, it’s time that we take a look at the 18 teams who will be battling it out for the $20 million ++ prize pool, starting with the TI7 SEA representatives.
The International Déjà vu Vu
In an unexpected turn of events, the three teams – TNC Pro Team, Fnatic and Execration – representing SEA this year at TI7 are the same teams who represented the region last year at TI6. Albeit, all three teams have gone through notable changes since then.
TNC Pro Team, the Philippine-based team behind arguably the biggest upset in Dota history at TI6, are no longer the underdogs heading into Dota’s biggest annual event.
The team still plays with the same hyper-aggressive playstyle revolving around their mid-player, Carlo ‘Kuku’ Palad. Yet, they’re now more disciplined and their execution is much better.
In recent months, TNC Pro Team have placed 2nd at the StarLadder i-League Invitational #2 and 3rd at Galaxy Battles 2017 before dominating the TI7 SEA Qualifiers en route to taking the region’s 1st slot.
With a roster bolstered by newcomers, Theeban ‘1437’ Siva and Timothy John ‘Tims’ Randrup, TNC Pro Team have proven that they are a full-fledged powerhouse with the talent, skills and experience to go toe-to-toe with any team.
— TNC Pro Team (@TNCProTeam) May 16, 2017
SEA’s second representatives, Fnatic, have gone through their fair share of changes as well. Gone are most of the squad that placed 4th at TI6, with Chong Xin ‘Ohaiyo’ Khoo the only one remaining. Replacing them are notable names, including former MVP.Phoenix player, Kim ‘QO’ Seon-yeop.
Fnatic’s newest iteration hasn’t accomplished much just yet, but they’ve proven themselves strong enough to give arguably SEA’s top team, TNC Pro Team, a run for their money during the TI7 qualifiers.
EVERYONE! Huge clash up next – if we take down @TNCProTeam, we qualify for Ti7!
LET'S GO TEAM!
— FNATIC (@FNATIC) June 27, 2017
The third and definitely not the least, Execration, brings a different roster from their unsuccessful wildcard run at TI6. Gone are Tims and the former pub star, Abed Azel ‘Abed’ Yusop. Replacing the two are James Palatolon ‘CartMaN’ John and Ryan Jay ‘Bimbo’ Qui.
Despite having a roster filled with Philippine Dota veterans, Execration will be heading into the event as the weakest of the three TI7 SEA representatives.
TNC Pro Team – From Underdogs to Powerhouse
- Marco Polo Luis ‘Raven’ Fausto
- Carlo ‘Kuku’ Palad
- Samson Solomon Enohosa ‘Sam_H’ Hidalgo
- Timothy ‘Tims’ Randrup
- Theeban ‘1437’ Siva
TNC Pro Team first started showing signs of becoming the powerhouse they are now today two years ago.
Back then, John Linuel ‘Teehee’ Abanto was still the team’s longest tenured player prior, who joined the team in January 2015. The team then added ‘Sam_H’ and Nico Manalaysay ‘eyyou’ Barcelon the following month.
The roster was rather unstable until they picked up Raven and later on, Kuku, to serve as their carries.
Looking back, there were already flashes of the team’s now-signature playstyle. It was just clear that they needed help, which would soon come from a very unlikely source.
I'm a pinoy now :O
— Jimmy Ho (@DotaDeMoN) June 18, 2016
In June of 2016, Jimmy ‘DeMoN’ Ho took the risk and flew over from the United States to replace Teehee at the last minute to round out the team’s roster for the TI6 Open Qualifiers.
That one move would prove to be the catalyst that the team needed.
Serving as the team’s captain, DeMoN would help TNC Pro Team go undefeated throughout the Open Qualifiers, eventually finishing on top of the SEA Main Qualifiers group stages.
Along the way, TNC Pro Team took down the heavy favourites, Fnatic and the-then much more heralded Philippine Team, Execration.
TNC Pro Team will now look to improve on their impressive 7th-8th place finish from The International 6. And, unlike last year, they’ve actually had more time to practice and play against international competition as a team.
Lest we forget, this is essentially the same squad that took down Alliance and Cloud9 to win WESG 2016.
With 1437 taking the reigns as captain and drafter, Kuku can now focus solely on dominating his matchup in the middle lane and help take his team to newer heights.
Fnatic – Rebuilt and Revitalised
- Lai Jay ‘Ahjit’ Son
- Kim ‘QO’ Seon-yeop
- Chong Xhin ‘Ohaiyo’ Khoo
- Kim ‘Febby’ Yong-min
- Djardel Jicko B. ‘DJ’ Mampusti
Fnatic has seen its fair share of changes since its inception as a Malaysia-based squad ahead of TI5. However, the core members, Chai Yee ‘Mushi’ Fung and Chong Xin ‘Ohaiyo’ Khoo had always remained with the team.
Both players had stuck it out even after a disappointing 13th-16th finish at TI5 and their decision eventually paid off, as the team, with a new roster, placed 4th the following year at TI6. Instead of running it again with the same roster, however, the team decided to go with another overhaul.
Both Mushi and Ohaiyo remained as the team added Raven, eyyou and DeMoN from TNC Pro Team. However, the move didn’t go as planned, as all three left the team just after two months.
A couple of roster changes later and Mushi was gone, off to build another powerhouse team with Mineski. Meanwhile, Ohaiyo chose to stay behind and saw the roster’s empty slots get filled one by one.
WE'RE GOING TO #Ti7! ✊✊✊ Awesome work from the team to secure the second spot – time to do the SEA region proud!
Posted by Fnatic Dota on Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Now, the current roster boasts four members who each have made deep runs at The International. The lone exception and the team’s latest addition, Lai Jay ‘Ahjit’ Son, has quickly proven himself to be just as capable as his battle-hardened teammates.
Fnatic’s latest iteration may not have much success as a team just yet, but their collective experience at the game’s highest level is outstanding.
With stable role players such as Febby and DJ, who is now the team’s captain, providing support to QO, who does not like to “back”, and the similarly aggressive Ohaiyo, the 2nd of the three TI7 SEA representatives is looking like one of the dark horses primed to make yet another deep run.
Execration – The Philippine Dota Veterans
- Fernando ‘Nando’ Mendoza
- James Palatolon ‘CartMaN’ John
- Ryan Jay ‘Bimbo’ Qui
- Ralph Richard ‘RR’ Peñano
- Kimuel ‘Kim0’ Rodis
Formed by longtime Philippine Dota veteran, Kim0, Execration has long been a staple within the SEA Dota competitive scene. The team has been quite successful in the Philippines and within the SEA region as a whole.
Yet, for all their successes and for all the notable Filipino players that have played for them, Execration has never been able to qualify for TI.
Execration are going to Seattle. #TI6
— Wykrhm Reddy (@wykrhm) June 28, 2016
The closest Execration got to TI was in TI6 where they played for one of the two spots reserved for the wild card teams.
The team ended up falling short and finished in 3rd place.
That won’t be happening this time around, as Execration finally secured their slot at TI7 via the TI7 SEA Qualifier Playoffs.
We Have Just Qualified for The International 7!Huge Shoutout to our Big Boss Behoand thanks to all who supported our team until now.
Posted by Execration on Thursday, June 29, 2017
Much like TNC Pro Team a year ago, Execration will be going to TI7 as a team of virtual unknowns to the rest of the world. They probably find themselves in an even worse position as the team lacks the guidance and leadership of someone like DeMoN, who has had years of experience playing Dota at the highest level.
Only time will tell if these veterans of the Philippine Dota scene will crumble under the pressure of The International stage.
The TI7 SEA Representatives
First, it was Singapore and Malaysia, then Korea, now the Philippines. SEA has definitely become one of the most competitive regions in Dota, arguably 2nd only to their next-door neighbours, China.
Now that Team Faceless are no more, a spot as the region’s next powerhouse has just opened up, but that’s a story for another time.
Right now, we must focus on all three TI7 SEA representatives, who each have something to prove at Seattle in August.
— FNATIC (@FNATIC) June 28, 2016
For Fnatic, this will be their third straight year representing SEA at TI.
Last year, the team placed fourth, losing to the eventual TI6 runner-ups, Digital Chaos. Both DJ, who returned to the team after a brief stint with Execration, and Ohaiyo will be looking to finally immortalise themselves as TI champions. The same goes for former MVP.Phoenix members, Febby and QO, who each have made deep runs at TI in the past two years but never were able to go all the way.
— Wykrhm Reddy (@wykrhm) August 10, 2016
TNC Pro Team, meanwhile, will look to prove that last year’s run 7th-8th place finish was not a fluke and prove that they’re a legitimate powerhouse that will go on to represent SEA in tournaments in the years to come.
Finally, a surprise run from Execration will help prove critiques and their doubters wrong, as well as vindicate their decision to become an Esports athlete in a country where it’s not as profitable to do so just yet.
Be sure to follow us here at EsportsRanks for more Dota news and for our next “Road to Seattle” feature, we will be talking about the TI7 EU Qualifier winners, Team Secret and Planet Dog.