Southeast Asian squad, TNC Predator, are on the warpath for their first Major championship as an organization, taking down North American team J.Storm, 2-0, to proceed to the Upper Bracket Finals and lock up a Top 3 finish at the MDL Chengdu Major.

Game one

TNC opened game one by snatching up the Alchemist-Chen combo for Kim “Gabbi” Villafuerte and Park “March” Tae-won, with Timothy “Tims” Randrup on a surprising support Bounty Hunter alongside an offlane Omniknight for Damien “kpii” Chok and mid Ember Spirit for Armel Paul “Armel” Tabios.

Meanwhile, J.Storm opted for a heavy teamfight composition with David “Moo” Hull on Gyrocopter, Leon “Nine” Kirilin on a mid Slark, Braxton “Brax” Paulson on offlane Kunkka, and Clinton “Fear” Loomis on Warlock.

The laning phase ended with J.Storm leading in kills — including four on Gabbi’s Alchemist — but TNC had the gold advantage as they were able to acquire most of the bounty runes. That helped Gabbi get both Radiance and Heart of Tarrasque by 16 minutes, which led to TNC taking over most of the map.

J.Storm were able to delay the game thanks to Nine’s elusive Slark continuously cutting waves and split pushing to slow down TNC’s advance.

The game wore on long enough that it seemed like there was a 30-minute standoff by the Radiant mid tier-three, even as TNC’s gold lead ballooned up to over 60 thousand gold as the game breached the one-hour mark.

Despite their massive lead, TNC couldn’t just march up to the high ground and take mega creeps while J.Storm stood little chance in a full-on teamfight outside of their base.

The stalemate was eventually broken when J.Storm ventured out of their base under Smoke of Deceit to try and get a pick off, which backfired on them when TNC was able to take out Fear’s Warlock without buyback.

That let TNC finally get mega creeps and force a teamfight, which resulted in forced buybacks from J.Storm’s cores. A desperate push by the North American squad up to TNC’s base ended in disaster, and they were forced to call GG after an arduous 70 minutes.

Game two

TNC looked to take it late again in game two, with Gabbi on Naga Siren, Armel on Lina, and kpii on Venomancer. J.Storm countered with a high-damage midgame lineup, with Moo on Leshrac, Nine on a mid Chaos Knight, and Brax on Axe.

While J.Storm was in the lead after the laning stage and were looking to go on the offensive, TNC punished their aggression to wrest the momentum away from them — with Nine’s Chaos Knight notably getting killed back-to-back before he could hit his crucial midgame timing.

TNC’s success in the midgame gave Gabbi enough space to come online before J.Storm’s cores could, which further solidified their lead as they continuously picked their opponents off around the map.

While TNC were able to break into J.Storm’s base soon after, the North American squad were able to kill Gabbi just under their tier-four towers to give themselves a fighting chance. However, their attempt to push down mid ended badly as Nine was killed without buyback, thus giving TNC a chance to claim mega creeps and close the series out.

TNC’s assured Top 3 finish gives them at least US$110,000 and 2,100 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) points, which means they should have enough points to be among the first teams to secure a direct invite to The International 2020 (TI10) in Sweden.

It also marks their best performance at a DPC Major thus far, as their previous best was a 4th place finish at the EPICENTER Major back in June.

Even so, the hungry SEA squad are surely gunning for the Major championship and will have to prove themselves against Chinese favorites Vici Gaming in the Upper Bracket Finals.

Meanwhile, J.Storm have been knocked down to the Lower Bracket, where they will be facing the winner of the match between Invictus Gaming and Beastcoast.

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