Steven R. November 29, 2019
T1 looked a lot better in the DreamLeague Season 13 open qualifiers than it had in prior events. But it still wasn't good enough to make it to the major.
The Dota 2 division of the fabled esports organization debuted its new roster in a bid to qualify for the second major of the 2019-2020 Dota Pro Circuit season. Though it was a marked improvement from the team’s disastrous first showings in southeast Asian events earlier this year, the team still fell short of the regional qualifiers.
T1 worked its way through the best-of-one phase of the open qualifiers in solid fashion, notably defeating Execration in the round of 16 as well as the lesser-known Impunity and Miraculum. This set up T1 with a best-of-three series against Alpha x Hashtag for a spot in the regional qualifiers.
The series started with a competitive opening game. The action was back-and-forth in both the early and mid game, with T1 carry Christian-John "Skadilicious" Abasolo getting solid farm while Lee "Forev" Sang-don and James "XemistrY" Lee racked up kills. Alpha x Hashtag drafted a lineup that boasted stronger scaling and pushing however, which allowed them to gain an advantage and close things out after the mid-game.
Though T1 looked every bit Alpha x Hashtag’s equal in game one, game two was a trainwreck. All of Alpha x Hashtag’s cores got a strong start in the early game and had no trouble in turning that advantage into objectives with a draft that included Lone Druid and Leshrac. That gave Alpha x Hashtag a quick and easy game two victory to seal up the series and take a spot in the SEA regional qualifiers for the DreamLeague Season 13 major.
What can T1 do with DreamLeague Season 13 gone?
Changes to the qualifier format in the Dota Pro Circuit prevent T1 from competing in the qualifiers to the WePlay! Bukovel Minor. Because of that, the loss to Alpha x Hashtag ends T1’s hopes of making it to the DreamLeague Season 13 major.
Though the ending was disappointing, T1 did show some hints of being a competitive team in regional events.
Alpha x Hashtag isn’t widely known, but the team features former Complexity Gaming players Adam Erwann Shah "343" bin Akhtar Hussein and Galvin "Meracle" Kang Jian Wen and recently released EHOME carry Cheng "vtFaded" Jia Hao. With the thinness of the region right now, both teams seem like they could be solid going forward.
But solid isn’t good enough for T1. The organization has a brand associated with winning, which has been perpetuated through legendary StarCraft players like Choi "iloveoov" Yun Sung and Lim "BoxeR" Yo Hwan, and a three-time world champion League of Legends team.
Though T1 could pan out to be good, the organization will likely have to look elsewhere if it wants to bring that legacy to Dota 2.