Steven R. February 4, 2019
Danil "Dendi" Ishutin’s run with Tigers is off to a rocky start.
Fans of the legendary Ukrainian player were interested to see how his team would look upon Dendi’s debut. Tigers made its competitive debut in the Southeast Asia open qualifiers to both the DreamLeague Major and ESL One Mumbai. Despite facing a thin field of opponents, Tigers failed to advance to the regional stages of either event, dropping games to largely unknown foes.
Tigers’ run in the DreamLeague Major open qualifiers ended early as the team fell in the round of 16 to DeToNator. There, Tigers squandered an early lead to the stack of SEA veterans, losing the best-of-one series and washing out of the tournament as a result.
The team seemed poised for redemption in the ESL One Mumbai qualifiers, working its way to the finals at the expense of such SEA stalwarts as Execration and Alpha Red. Unfortunately, just one series away from advancing, Tigers was swept 2-0 by 496 Gaming.
Despite looking strong initially, Tigers has struggled to find consistency. A top finish at the DreamLeague Minor in November was followed by a last-place showing at the Kuala Lumpur Major, which led to an extended layoff and partial split for the team.
It rolled out its new roster in January, adding Dendi and fellow Dota 2 legend Chai "Mushi" Yee Fung to its remaining trio of veteran talent. Despite looking formidable on paper, these latest struggles may raise questions about the long-term viability of this lineup.
Tigers now finds itself on the outside looking in. With February slowing down in anticipation of a hectic stretch of events that includes ESL One Katowice, the DreamLeague Major, WESG 2018, and ESL One Mumbai, there are few near opportunities for the team to right the ship in the near future.