Raven and Abed: SEA’s greatest get one more showdown
By Kenneth WilliamsAugust 26, 2020
Southeast Asian Dota is known for many things; big teamfights, late-game-centric pub lineups, and superstar offlaners. While players like Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang and Damien "kpii" Chok show no signs of giving up their spotlight, more and more international attention is being paid to the other cores of the region. The search for hidden SEA talent has surged in no small part thanks to Abed Azel L. Yusop’s relocation to North America.
Marc "Raven" Fausto is finally settling into his new role as the carry for Fnatic. Meanwhile, Evil Geniuses’ star midlaner Abed is standing in for Raven’s old team Geek Fam. The two teams have effectively swapped players for ESL One: Thailand’s Asian division. As Raven seeks to prove himself as a top carry of SEA, Abed seeks to remind his home region that he’s still their most iconic player.
Raven: A legend still being written
Southeast Asia is a region of little victories in Dota 2. SEA squads don’t wind up on the podium at TI, but they can knock teams off it thanks to their specialized metagame. The greatest upset yet from an SEA team is undoubtedly TNC Predator’s 2:0 victory over OG in the lower bracket of The International 2016. Raven’s legacy began with one of SEA’s most prized moments, and in 2020 he’s still one of his region’s most prized carries. His time on TNC brought him to the forefront of Dota and he’s done his darndest to stay there.
Raven’s hero pool revolves around taking advantage of positional mistakes. For teamfight drafts he defaults to his well-practiced Gyrocopter, regularly racking up 800+ GPM and 78,000 hero damage. His Morphling is similarly farm-focused, with an average XPM of 821 on Patch 7.27. While greedier than his rivals, Raven is incredibly skilled at finding farm from disadvantage whether it comes from jungle camps or enemy supports. Fnatic is where Raven will begin finalizing his legacy as one of SEA’s greatest carries.
Abed: Bringing a gun to a knife fight
Abed is Dota’s closest equivalent to a rockstar. Abed gained his fame by grinding to absurd 5-digit MMRs in the roughest pub region in the world. His move to Evil Geniuses to replace Syed “SumaiL" Hassan in September of 2019 was a massive blow to SEA’s competitive strength. He’s now subbing in as the carry for Geek Fam, who would probably make fourth with a regular stand-in.
His previous career on his home continent saw him play with nearly every flagship team; Filipino roster Execration, Digital Chaos prototype Team Onyx, and even SEA superteam Fnatic. In fact, Raven’s position on Fnatic was being filled by Abed until late 2019. Geek Fam has yet to sign a fifth player since Raven’s departure on July 28.
While Abed is equally as greedy as Raven if not more so, he takes a very different approach to playing the midgame. Abed’s comfort pick has been Naga Siren, a hero almost ignored by other teams. While Raven maximizes the space his team creates, Abed prefers to stake a whole quarter of the map as his territory, cutting off the enemy team and maximizing Naga’s farm potential. If his penchant for Ethereal Blade is anything to go by, he also values her item flexibility. It's no secret that Abed is the best player at Thailand, but he’s playing his secondary position with brand-new teammates. Abed will need to overperform to meet expectations.
Their impact at ESL One: Thailand
The newfound North American might not be in his comfort zone, but Geek Fam still massively benefits from Abed’s play. Captain Carlo "Kuku" Palad has even warped the team’s playstyle around the stand-in for this event, playing more sacrificially to Abed’s benefit. It’s paid off so far; he currently sits at an average 29 KDA. Whoever finally signs on to carry after this event will have very big shoes to fill. A 4:1 game record has Geek Fam at the top of Group B.
Group A features both TNC Predator, BOOM Esports, and Fnatic. All three are solid contenders for the championship. We got to see Raven flex his late-game muscles in game 3 against TNC, going 15/2/18 on Slark to counter Kim "Gabbi" Villafuerte’s Spectre. Fnatic is currently set for the upper bracket, but their current 2:1 record is no guarantee.
Since Fnatic and Geek Fam are in separate groups, we’ll have to wait for the playoffs to see their showdown. Both teams are solid picks for the podium, but they’re likely to meet well before the grand finals. Any matches between the two teams will be a must-watch. With Abed’s return to his home region, he and Raven have one more chance to face off on home turf.