Steven R. March 22, 2019
TNC Predator is prepared to make some tweaks to its Dota 2 roster.
The organization announced on Twitter that it has signed support player Nico "eyyou" Barcelon through the end of the 2018-2019 Dota Pro Circuit season. He will also take over captain duties from offlaner Carlo "Kuku" Palad.
Eyyou has had an on-again, off-again relationship with TNC throughout his Dota 2 career. Making his professional debut with the team in 2015, he helped the organization become a force in the Southeast Asia region. He departed after a top-eight finish at The International 2016 and became something of a journeyman, playing with Fnatic, Mineski, and Happyfeet.
He took much of 2018 off, but served as TNC’s coach for most of the 2017-2018 season. He returned to active competition after The International 2018 with Team Lotac, but wound up back with TNC as a stand-in following the departure of captain Michael "ninjaboogie" Ross. Eyyou has helped the team continue its solid start to the season, with TNC taking first-place finishes at the World Electronic Sports Games 2018 and Asia Pacific Predator League 2019.
Those results have convinced the team to buy fully into Eyyou increase his workload.
Captain duties initially fell to Kuku following Ninjaboogie’s departure from the team. While Kuku is a fine talent, this proved to be a problematic situation for the team. In addition to the fact that the captaincy usually falls to support players who ideally have more attention to give to the general game state, the controversy surrounding Kuku’s use of racially insensitive language during a pub game in 2018 has lingered for months.
Kuku was banned from competing at WESG 2018 by local government officials, a fact which raises questions about his ability to compete at any live event hosted in China, most notably The International 2019.
While Kuku remains a part of TNC, this move has the look of TNC giving itself greater flexibility to potentially compete without him.
The revised TNC lineup is currently set to make its live event debut in April at ESL One Mumbai.