The European and CIS Dota 2 scene is on pause at the moment, but Southeast Asia is still continuing at a brisk pace with the ONE Esports SEA League. The event is currently in its group stage, with 10 teams competing in a round robin format.
T1 is one of the few esports organizations that has a real brand, and that brand is all about winning.
Fans that haven’t been keeping up with StarCraft 2, Hearthstone, or League of Legends can be forgiven for not knowing this, because its Dota 2 team was generally awful for a long stretch.
T1’s approach to Dota 2 was signing former MVP Phoenix player Lee “Forev” Sang-don and trying to build a roster around him. Putting the whole stack of chips on a player that has historically been a journeyman was a questionable decision, and that showed as T1’s roster basically changed from event to event.
Things finally settled down in May when the team locked down this lineup:
Since then, T1 has actually won two smaller leagues and posted a respectable performance in BTS Pro Series Season 2. The team has clearly turned a corner, but it’s unclear where their ceiling really is.
When TNC Predator won the MDL Chengdu Major and ESL One Hamburg 2019 back-to-back to start the season, it looked like the team was set to be an elite side for the remainder of the year. The team’s performance dipped considerably from there, en route to TNC Predator failing to qualify for the ESL One Los Angeles Major, something that would have had a big impact on the Dota Pro Circuit standings prior to the DPC being scrapped for the year.
The transition to online play hasn’t helped the team, with TNC posting underwhelming placements in almost every league and tournament it has competed in. Outside an occasional change, the team has played with its normal roster:
TNC has shown it remains a force in the regional scene, but it looks as though the ship has sailed in terms of the team being in the same discussion as the best from Europe and China.
TNC Predator has already locked up an upper bracket start to the ONE Esports SEA League playoffs, with its map record standing at a strong 11-3. T1 is on shakier ground at 7-9 and will be looking to avoid elimination near the bottom of the group stage standings.
On Winners.bet, TNC is likely to open up as a decided favorite. TNC and the current iteration of T1 have faced off twice, both times in BTS Pro Series Season 2. Their group stage showdown was a 1-1 draw while TNC got the better of their rematch in the playoffs in 2-0 fashion.
T1 has been able to take wins in SEA leagues and events, but the team is yet to knock off TNC or regional leader Fnatic. Taking a 2-0 win over TNC Predator would be a huge coup for the team and is quite unlikely to actually happen as a result. Markets will likely be available for a 2-0 win for TNC and a 1-1 draw, and those would be the best options.