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| 29. June 2021

The International 10 – Southeast Asia Qualifier Predictions

The International usually features 3 exceptional SEA teams but The International 10 will only have 2 of them. And since the competitor that is already qualified is not one of the famous names in the region, the Southeast Asia Qualifier for TI 10 will be extremely harsh this year.  Three strong teams are locked in a battle for just one ticket. And if we add SMG, they’re actually four. But how did it come to this?

SEA Results During Dota Pro Circuit 2021

DPC 2021 had two seasons followed by two Majors. In the first of these seasons, the top 3 teams were Fnatic, Neon, and T1. In the second one, they were T1, TNC, and Execration. Based on these results, combined with the fact that the SEA teams, with the exception of T1, didn’t do well at the Majors, it’s immediately obvious why only T1 has received a direct invite to The International 10.

The number of qualification points offered for each of the seasons is not high enough to allow for inconsistent results followed by a mediocre performance at the Majors. The winner gets 500 points but the next 4 teams get only 300, 200, 100, and 50 points respectively. This is significant because you’d have to win a Major to get another 500 points. And that’s really hard to do.

The International 10 offered 12 direct invites. And to be among the top 12 teams this year, you had to have at least 800 points. That’s the equivalent of one Major title or one regional title plus 300 points, which could have come from finishing 2nd in the other season (regionally) or from getting a top 6 result at one of the two Majors. Since none of the SEA teams (apart from T1) managed to achieve enough consistency this year, they are now forced to fight against each other for the one remaining spot at TI 10.

Southeast Asia Qualifier Details

The Southeast Asia Qualifier for The International 10 is scheduled to take place between June 30th – July 3rd. The tournament features 15 teams and uses the double-elimination format. Eight of these teams will start in the Upper Bracket while the other seven will start in the Lower Bracket. Fortunately for fans, all of the favorites got an Upper Bracket spot, including SMG.

Here’s a list of all the competitors:

  • TNC Predator
  • OB Esports x Neon
  • Fnatic
  • Execration
  • BOOM Esports
  • Omega Esports
  • Trust Gaming
  • Team SMG
  • Lilgun
  • Ex-South Built Esports
  • Galaxy Racer
  • 496 Gaming
  • Army Geniuses
  • Team Mystery
  • Cignal Ultra

Favorites

The top 4 favorites are TNC Predator, Neon, Fnatic, and SMG. I will also add BOOM Esports to this list, even though they’re not at the same level, just to make sure that I’m not missing anyone important. Here’s a brief analysis of these competitors.

TNC Predator

TNC Predator started the year with a poor result: 4th place in the Upper Division of SEA’s Season 1. This meant that they were going to miss the Singapore Major. The team did make a comeback in Season 2, finishing 2nd and then getting a top 8 results at WePlay AniMajor. But it was too little, too late. Ultimately, TNC finished the year with 572 points, more than 200 below the top 12 limit.

In terms of its roster, TNC has a lot of great players. Among them, Tims, Armel, and Gabbi and quite famous not just regionally but also worldwide. Because of this, and also because they won’t be facing T1 in this tournament, I expect TNC to win. They seem to be the strongest competitors here (at least on paper) and should at least play in the Grand Final if they’ve managed to maintain the form that allowed them to beat the likes of Nigma, beastcoast, and Aster at the recent WePlay AniMajor.

Neon

Despite being a regional nobody, Neon started the year with a great series of results. First, they somehow managed to finish Season 1 of DPC 2021 in 2nd place, right behind Fnatic. This earned them 300 points and the respect of every other competitor. Then, even more surprisingly, Neon finished 5th – 6th at the Singapore Major, a tournament in which they defeated the likes of Liquid, Fnatic, and Vici Gaming. They even came close to beating Secret.

It’s not clear what happened, but Neon lost a lot of strength in the break between the two seasons of DPC 2021. When they came back for Season 2, they just weren’t the same. The team finished this season in 5th place and missed the Major. So all of those qualification points for The International 10 that they had one in Season 1 were useless, because they couldn’t guarantee them a top 12 spot on their own.

Going into this regional qualifier for TI 10, I expect Neon to finish in the top 6. But I don’t think they can win. Unless of course they’ve trained really hard and managed to regain their former strength.

Fnatic

For Fnatic, this is a huge tournament. The team took part in the last 7 editions of The International. And even though they often finished last, they were present in every single one of them. A TI without Fnatic would feel rather strange. And it would also lead to huge changes inside the organization. At least one or two players would get kicked, as well as members of the staff.

Fnatic started the year well, with a victory in the first season of DPC 2021. But at Major that followed it, they failed to get any points. And it all went downhill from there. In Season 2 they finished 4th in the SEA region and missed the Major completely. So just like in Neon’s case, all that hard work from Season 1 went down the drain.

One of Fnatic’s strong points is its leadership and roster. Jabz is known to be a formidable captain and his entire crew looks great. Players like DJ and Raven have been around for many years and they only need a strong leader to take them to victory.

SMG

This team is a no-name for now. But it could absolutely shock everyone and qualify for The International 10. The reason is simple: some of the world’s best players were either kicked from their former teams or couldn’t find a suitable organization for what they wanted to achieve, so they simply got together and started playing for SMG. The team’s roster includes MidOne (former Secret player), kpii (former TI finalist), and ah fu (former LGD.Forever Young, RNG, and Keen Gaming player).

With this collection of bright stars, SMG is perfectly capable to dominate a region like Southeast Asia. The only thing that’s in question is their leadership and synergy.

BOOM

BOOM is worth mentioning here because the team had a lot of great results in 2020, with an almost identical roster. So if they manage to play as they used to not that long ago, they can pose serious problems.

In 2021, BOOM finished Season 1 in 5th place and Season 2 in 7th place. Overall I don’t expect them to actually qualify, but they shouldn’t be regarded as one of the weak competitors either.