China and SEA share top seeds at ESL One Thailand: Asia

By Kenneth WilliamsAugust 31, 2020
International competition between China and Southeast Asia has been tested at both Moon Studio Asian League and OMEGA League: Asia. Both events were won by an underdog, the first from China and the second from Vietnam. Both regions have been isolated for most of patch 7.27, so seeing their metagames collide has made for exciting and unpredictable Dota.
However, ESL One Thailand: Asia is the most important event among them all. For the first time since March, a top Chinese team will be competing against SEA’s elite. Sparking Arrow Gaming entered this tournament the clear favorites, but teams from Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and especially Thailand won’t give up easily on home turf.
The playoffs of ESL One’s third event of 2020 have been finalized with the lower bracket starting off tomorrow. These are the teams to watch and the storylines to follow at ESL One Thailand: Asia.

TNC and BOOM butt heads in Group A

After a string of mediocre finishes, the former jewel of Southeast Asia TNC Predator is setting themselves up for a championship in Group A. Korean captain Park “March” Tae-won has led the team to a 4:1 finish, going 9:3 in games. Their one match loss to Fnatic didn’t stop them from achieving top seed with the best games record of the tournament. They shouldn’t get too comfortable there; BOOM Esports is lurking right behind them in second place.
The Indonesian roster also put up impressive numbers, lagging just a single game win behind TNC. Carry player Randy "Dreamocel" Sapoetra has been putting in overtime, going 96-28-117 across groups, including some spicy games of Position 1 Wisp. TNC’s spot in the SEA pecking order has grown vulnerable since the switch to online. TNC did win their group stage showdown 2:0, but a comeback in the playoffs could solidify BOOM’s status as a top Southeast Asian threat.
The lower bracket teams from Group A include Thai stack Motivade.Trust Gaming and, surprisingly, Fnatic. Group A was the group of death for ESL One: Thailand, but Fantic was expected to be a shoo-in for the upper bracket. They’ll have to take the scenic route towards the $135,000 USD prize pool. Adroit Esports and Team Trust have both had their road trips cut short.

Geek Fam and Neon chase Sparking Arrow in Group B

Sparking Arrow Gaming was originally expected to take silver at ESL One Thailand: Asia. Fellow countrymen and expected champions Royal Never Give Up were forced to withdraw due to roster changes at the last second. SAG has made the most of their newfound top seed, losing only one match to underdogs T1. Their recent addition of midlaner Deng "Dstones"' Lei poses questions about the future of current mid Gao "Setsu" Zhenxiong, something that should be resolved after this tournament.
Group B featured close competition for the second upper bracket slot. Geek Fam were expected to overperform with stand-in Abed Azel Yusop, but rough losses on matchdays four and five led to a lower bracket berth. Neon Esports has taken the second seed in their place. The plucky Filipino stack made waves with a bronze finish at OMEGA League: Asia. A solid result at Thailand could make them a permanent fixture of SEA’s top circuit.
Geek Fam themselves are in the lower bracket alongside T1. The latter managed to upset both SAG and Aster.Aries, giving them a 100% winrate against Chinese teams. We’ll see if their luck continues past their first-round match against Fnatic. Aster.Aries themselves have bombed out alongside startup Thai stack Question Mark.

Fnatic and Aster.Aries both stumble hard

Of the SEA teams at this event, Fnatic had the most hope of contesting Sparking Arrow. However, between the recent addition of Marc Polo "Raven" Fausto and Lee "Forev" Sang-don standing-in for team paragon Daryl "iceiceice" Pei Xiang, they just haven’t found their footing. It’s a disappointing showing, but they still have a chance to redeem themselves in the lower bracket.
That’s a luxury that won’t be afforded to Aster.Aries. The junior team managed fifth place at both Moon Studio Asia League and OMEGA League but it looks like the SEA teams had figured them out. Their one 2:1 victory prevented them from completely busting out, but Aries had a lot of time to prepare for this event.
Watch Sparking Arrow take on the sultans of SEA in the ESL One: Thailand Asia playoffs.
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