'Our biggest goal is to represent the Philippines': Blacklist Rivalry captain Tims
One of the most hyped teams heading into the 2023 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season is Blacklist Rivalry, the Filipino all-star Dota 2 squad fielded by Philippine esports giant Blacklist International.
With a roster consisting of Marc Polo "Raven" Fausto, Karl "Karl" Baldovino, Carlo "Kuku" Palad, Timothy "Tims" Randrup, and Nico "eyyou" Barcelon, Blacklist Rivalry are arguably the best all-Filipino Dota 2 roster ever assembled.
For team captain Tims, the squad came together under the Blacklist banner with one goal in mind: bring the Philippines back to the forefront of Dota 2's biggest stages.
"I feel happy [playing for Blacklist Rivalry] because Blacklist International is a big company here in the Philippines. Our biggest goal is to represent the Philippines, so that’s why we stuck together and went with a Philippine org," Tims said in an exclusive interview with Yahoo Esports SEA during Blacklist Rivalry's media launch event on Sunday (4 December).
Despite its star-studded team, Blacklist Rivalry's roster was assembled rather spontaneously during the Dota 2 scene's post-The International 11 (TI11) roster shuffle.
According to Tims, he was approached by his teammates to form a new all-Filipino squad. It wouldn't be his first time being in one, having played for renown Filipino esports organisations like Execration and TNC earlier in his career.
After playing with a mixed squad of players from different parts of Southeast Asia in BOOM Esports last season, Tims agreed to join what would become the Blacklist Rivalry team as "one last shot" of playing in an all-Filipino squad.
"What happened was, after TI, we had different offers as individuals. In my case, I was suddenly invited by eyyou. They're forming a team, there are already four of them then he just invited me like, 'Tims maybe you want to join us? Here is our team.' So I went with it because for me it’s one last shot of playing for Team Philippines," said Tims.
Being trusted with the captaincy nothing new for Tims
As one of the best position 4 support players in the world, Tims was chosen by his teammates to be Blacklist Rivalry's captain.
With Kuku and eyyou — who have captained their own teams before — also on the squad, Tims said Blacklist Rivalry will be collaborating during drafts but will leave the shot-calling to him.
It's nothing new for Tims, who said he has been the in-game captain for his previous squads.
"They chose me to be the captain, the four players. So I just deal with it, because being the in-game captain is not new to me. In my previous teams I was already like the in-game captain, so it’s not a big adjustment for me," said Tims.
Blacklist Rivalry's captain added that he relishes the opportunity, as he will get to flex the leadership skills he developed over his career.
"I would say the late game calls and giving my teammates a boost are what I really got to develop. Because last time I would only think about myself but from my experience I learned how to boost my teammates before myself," said Tims.
"I focus on my teammates more so I can help them elevate, I’m the support after all."
But before they can actually play their games, Tims said there's still a lot of work to be done. Blacklist Rivalry still needs to find their team identity and prepare for the upcoming DPC season.
With that said, there's a foundation for a good team already in place. Tims has already played with Raven, Kuku, and eyyou before during TNC's glory days. While Karl didn't play in those TNC squads, he did play together with Kuku in T1 from 2020 to 2022.
Tims thinks that it won't take much time for Blacklist Rivalry to come together and click. Once that happens, the sky's the limit for this Filipino all-star squad. Whether it's the DPC regional leagues, Majors, or even TI itself, Tims is confident that Blacklist Rivaly will be there to fly the Filipino flag.
"We don't need that much time to know each other because we already know each other and have been teammates before, so it’s easier to adjust. I guess we just need a little bit of time, since we did just come from different teams, and then we’ll click," said Tims.
"For now, we need to balance ourselves and gel as five first. I would say we already look good on paper, it just takes time before we develop our chemistry as a team. I feel like we can do it, we just need to do our best."
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