Steven R. February 11, 2020
TNC Predator is not going to the ESL One Los Angeles Major. At least not yet.
The MDL Chengdu Major champions have been on a bit of a decline since winning that event, and that skid continued in the qualifiers for the LA Major. The team posted an underwhelming 3-5 record in the group stage. That puts TNC out of contention for a spot in the major, and may even prevent them from reaching the minor.
TNC Predator split its two-game series with Reality Rift, Neon Esports, and IO Dota2.
The Lee "kYxY" Kong Yang's Reality Rift team is something of a known commodity, thanks to the side’s qualification for the DreamLeague Leipzig Major. Neon Esports and IO Dota2 are less known for fans outside of southeast Asia, however.
Neon Esports established itself as a serious contender on the SEA circuit in 2019, winning a number of regional leagues and smaller tournaments. The team recently lost carry player Rolen Andrei Gabriel "Skemberlu" Ong, which was likely a huge factor in the team’s last-place finish in its group.
IO Dota2 was formed specifically to compete in the qualifiers to the LA Major. The team features a number of veteran stars including Khoo "Ohaiyo" Chong Xin, Chai "Mushi" Yee Fung, and Ryan "Bimbo" Jay Qui. The squad largely came out of nowhere, but has looked very solid in the regional qualifiers thus far.
Rounding out TNC’s group stage run was a 0-2 loss to Team Adroit. Adroit previously competed in the MDL Chengdu Major, but fell short of qualifying for Leipzig. The squad has clearly pulled things together since, amassing a 7-1 group stage record that has them established as one of the top candidates to earn a spot in the major.
TNC can still qualify for LA Major
TNC Predator still has a pathway to the ESL One LA Major, but it’s a treacherous one.
TNC will play against Reality Rift in a best-of-one tiebreaker for third place in Group A. If they win, they will earn a spot in the qualifiers to the StarLadder Season 3 Minor. If they lose, they will have to compete against either Cignal Ultra or Low Key Esports to earn a spot in the minor qualifiers. If TNC can qualify for the minor and win the event, they will earn a spot in the major.
The fact that things are coming down to the wire for the team is worrisome on its own.
TNC looked ready for an historic season early on. Before winning the MDL Chengdu Major, the team won a stacked ESL One Hamburg. Those victories were arguably the biggest victories in the organization's history and seemingly had them poised for big things in 2020.
That white hot start has cooled considerably, and now the team might be fighting just to stay relevant.