TNC Predator retake the crown at ESL One Thailand

By Kenneth WilliamsSeptember 6, 2020
After a thrilling five-game grand final over BOOM Esports, TNC Predator have been declared the champions of ESL One Thailand’s Asia division. They’ll be bringing home the lion’s share of $135,000 USD along with their gold trophy. Their success marks the first big win for TNC in 2020.
Thailand was the third tournament to bring Chinese and Southeast Asian talent together after Moon Studio Asian League and OMEGA League: Asia. TNC’s victory puts the score at 2:1 in SEA’s favor, but most of the Chinese competition has been on the weaker end. Still, seeing how each region has developed in the current patch is fascinating to watch. Here are the major takeaways from ESL One Thailand 2020: Asia.

TNC’s rises from their slump

A top threat in Southeast Asia since 2017, TNC Predator had a hard time adapting to the online era. They’ve shown signs of life, like a silver finish at BTS Pro Series Season One and bronze at ONE Esports SEA League, but 5th and 7th places have been common since February. This championship marks a big turnaround for the Filipino organization.
While they focused on outlasting their opponents in the group stage, captain Park “March” Tae-won switched to mobile tempo drafts to catch BOOM Esports off guard in the grand finals. Their drafts hinged on Magnus, who could be taken mid by Armel Tabios or piloted by Damien "kpii" Chok in the offlane. The two players combined for an 81.8% win rate including three games in the grand finals.
TNC has reclaimed their status as a top tier SEA squad, but time will tell if this was a fluke or a true return to form. March’s quick drafts and Armel’s monstrous midplay point to the former, but they’ll have to prove it at the next Asian tournament.

BOOM and Fnatic work through the pain

BOOM Esports and Fnatic are common teams to see in SEA playoffs, but both had major roadblocks on the way to the podium. BOOM faced Sparking Arrow Gaming in the first round of playoffs and Fnatic’s lineup included a brand new carry in Marc Polo "Raven" Fausto and Lee "Forev" Sang-don in place of legendary offlaner Daryl "iceiceice" Pei Xiang.
BOOM pulled off the first upset of the tournament with a 2-0 over SAG in less than an hour. A perilous 2:1 victory over Fnatic secured their place in the grand finals where they fought to the final game. Their only losses were to eventual champions, TNC. The team is quickly becoming a fan favorite in SEA, helped by their spicy Io carry.
Fnatic themselves were the terrors of the lower bracket, knocking out Geek Fam, Sparking Arrow, and Neon Esports to get to top three. Their loss to BOOM Esports was hard to call ahead of time. Fnatic is looking very strong despite the roster chaos, and the next tourney could very well be theirs if they attend with iceiceice.
##Sparking Arrow Gaming misses their mark
With Royal Never Give Up dropping out due to roster changes, Sparking Arrow became the sole representative of China’s upper Dota echelon. Despite earning a top seed out of groups, they went 0:2 in the playoffs. SAG are going through their own lineup troubles with the recent acquisition of midlaner Deng "Dstones"' Lei, formerly of Team Sirius.
Their rough performance could be a result of the anticipated Chinese shuffle. The next mixup is gearing up to be the biggest in years, with new organizations entering the scene and longtime veterans finally dropping their banners. SAG have already remade two jerseys since June, and a third is likely coming soon. Still, their rough performance at Thailand couldn’t have helped any of the players’ buyout prices.
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