SEA’s icons stumble in BTS Pro Series Season 3

By Kenneth WilliamsSeptember 23, 2020
With impromptu godstacks ripping up the group stage and longtime threats failing to make it to playoffs, BTS Pro Series Season 3: SEA is the most off-kilter event I’ve seen all year. The skill gap ranges from open qualifier stacks to literal globetrotters, meaning the upsets and underdog stories are almost guaranteed. Beyond the Summit’s third event in the Pro Series has brought new storylines to the forefront of Southeast Asian Dota, so here are a few to keep in mind once the playoffs begin.

Among Us hang over BOOM, TNC Predator

The temporary superteam of Southeast Asia has gone an unprecedented 17-1 in the 11-day group stage. With an incredibly stacked roster of the biggest names in Southeast Asia, Among Us is the SEA flagship team Fnatic has strived to be since 2018.
Their podium speedrun is aided by phenomenal play from their cores. Evil Geniuses’ Abed L. Yusop has wreaked havoc in the mid lane, reminding his former compatriots that he’s the best mid laner of SEA regardless of where he’s officially competing. The team’s single loss to Neon Esports came as a surprise, and the latter will have to go beast mode in the rematch to prove it wasn’t a fluke.
The upper bracket also features SEA titans TNC Predator and BOOM Esports. TNC is still fresh from their championship at ESL One Thailand 2020: Asia, and BOOM is still looking for a big win in 2020. Both teams have momentum, but they can’t all earn the lion’s share of the $50,000 USD prize pot.

Neon and 496 fight for survival

While the elite of SEA are sitting comfortably in the upper bracket, the rising stars of the regions are forced to fight for their lives in the lower bracket. Neon Esports has the most impressive win of the tournament so far with their 1-1 match against Among Us, but their 10-8 games record still puts them just one loss away from elimination. Their breakout performance at OMEGA League: Asia put them on the map, but a single rough matchup could knock them back off.
They aren’t the only underdogs logging into the Singaporean servers; 496 Gaming fought tooth and nail to secure a playoff berth. Their hour-and-change stomp over Filipino squad Execration is proof they can hang with the big boys, but they’ll need to put on that clinic four more times to reach grand finals.

Fnatic and Execration fall flat

When news broke that superstar offlaner Daryl "iceiceice" Pei Xiang and Position 5 paragon Nico "eyyou" Barcelon would be leaving Fnatic’s roster, it was clear that the team would take a power hit. While their spots are currently filled by stand-ins (including ESL One: Thailand backup Lee "Forev" Sang-don,) nobody expected it to be this bad. The former flagship won’t even make a playoff appearance due to their abysmal 2-16 games record. Fnatic’s staff is probably already in talks with the unsigned half of Among Us.
Execration’s roster changes are less numerous but equally declawing. New mid laner Karl Jayme is having trouble adjusting to his new teammates, and his apparently wide hero pool appears to be a symptom of lacking a real comfort pick. XctN has worked hard to steal TNC’s title as the flagship of the Philippines, but this sets them back quite a bit. Only time will tell if the roster change was a good move, but Execration’s has already run out at BTS Pro Series SEA Season 3.
SEA’s most unprecedented playoffs kick off September 23 at midnight ET / September 24 6:00 AM CET
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