This article is part of “Under the SEA (League)” a preview of the teams that will be competing for the US$100,000 prize pool at the ONE Esports Dota 2 SEA League.
TNC Predator started the 2019-2020 DPC season as Major champions and the top dogs of Southeast Asia, however, they have fallen into a slump and shown mixed results since then.
Here’s a quick rundown of the team’s performance this year, and a closer look at the TNC roster and how it matches up against its SEA rivals in the ONE Esports Dota 2 SEA League.
TNC roster shuffle post-TI9
Shortly after a disappointing 9th-12th place finish at The International 2019 (TI9), TNC underwent a roster shuffle that saw the departures of longtime members, Carlo “Kuku” Palad and Nico “eyyou” Barcelon, as well as coach coach Lee “Heen” Seung Gon. Joining the team to replace the two departing players were Damien “kpii” Chok and Park “March” Tae-won.
Such a move was reminiscent of the TNC’s signing of American veteran Jimmy “Demon” Ho in 2016, which notably led to the team’s breakout performance in TI6 that saw them eliminate then two-time Major champions OG in one of the biggest upsets in TI history. Once again, TNC has looked overseas for players to supplement its highly-talented core of Filipino players, Kim “Gabbi” Villafuerte, Armel Paul “Armel” Tabios, and Timothy “Tims” Randrup.
2019-2020 DPC season
It didn’t take long for TNC’s decision to sign kpii and March to pay off, as the team started the 2019-2020 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season by winning ESL One Hamburg 2019 last October. They then followed that up by defeating Chinese rivals Vici Gaming to win the first Major of the season, the MDL Chengdu Major, in November.
TNC’s hot start ended after the metagame shifted away from their preferred style of play with the release of the massive Outlanders Update to Dota 2 shortly after the Chengdu Major. The team has seen mixed results since then, including two 7th-8th place finishes in the ONE Esports Dota 2 Singapore World Pro Invitational last December and the DreamLeague Season 13: The Leipzig Major in January this year.
TNC looked to end their slide by adding Kim “Febby” Yong-min as their new coach. Even so, the team’s slump reached its lowest point when they failed to qualify for both the ESL One Los Angeles Major and the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Season 3 in February.
The team’s inconsistent showings only continued, however. While TNC finished second in the BTS Pro Series: SEA Season 1 behind Fnatic, who have now taken their place as the top team in SEA, in April, they followed that up by bombing out of the ESL One Birmingham 2020 – Online: SEA group stage in May.
TNC’s highly-talented core of Gabbi, Armel, and Tims remains the lynchpin of the team’s success. Both Gabbi and Armel are two of the most aggressive core players in the game, and both are capable of taking over given the chance, while Tims remains one of the most dynamic playmakers in the scene from the Position 4 support role.
Meanwhile, kpii and March provide a steadying presence to the team. Both players often relinquish farm to their Filipino teammates to help drive their aggression, though they are still able to make impactful plays from the sidelines.
TNC Predator Roster:
- Kim “Gabbi” Villafuerte
- Armel Paul “Armel” Tabios
- Damien “kpii” Chok
- Timothy “Tims” Randrup
- Park “March” Tae-won
TNC will surely be looking to reclaim their spot as the top dogs of SEA as they take on Fnatic and eight other contenders from the region.
The ONE Esports Dota 2 SEA League starts on June 18.