TNC Predator is one of the strongest teams in Southeast Asia, and won the first Major of the 2019-2020 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season, the MDL Chengdu Major.
The team is the leading Dota 2 organization in the Philippines and has played at every The International (TI) since 2016, all of which was more than enough to earn them a direct invite to the ONE Esports Dota 2 SEA League.
ONE Esports caught up with TNC’s captain, Park “March” Tae-won, to discuss his team’s season thus far and their expected performance at the ONE Esports Dota 2 SEA League.
ONE Esports: After winning the Chengdu Major, TNC’s results have been a bit inconsistent. What do you think is the reason behind that?
March: Some of our recent results were not that great but we have been doing better. I think it had something to do with the meta. I didn’t think we were fighting the meta too much, but we are slowly figuring it out. Sure, we weren’t doing that great in tournaments before but we did get second place behind Fnatic [at BTS Pro Series: SEA Season 1]. So, yeah, we can get second place or last place, but hopefully we can do better this time.
Does that mean that the team has struggled to figure out the meta?
No, we weren’t clueless. When you are really behind the meta, then you don’t know what’s going on, you don’t know what you picked wrong, you don’t know what to play against, and so on. But right now, whenever we lose, we know the reason for it. Like, “Oh, we messed up with this pick, we did this wrong, and we did that wrong.”
So, we understand what we should have done better. I think we’re not behind the meta in that case. Yeah, we’re not ahead, but we do understand the meta.
So, how has the team tried to improve from that?
We just go about it step by step. Like, whenever we are playing bad we first go through the draft and try to fix it. Then we do the laning phase, the midgame, the late game, and so on. We just cycle through everything. I don’t think there’s any magic to it, you just put all your efforts into it and improve step by step.
Are there any specific adjustments that the team has done to help its improvement?
We’re trying to do everything in a more organized way. Before this, we had a whiteboard and printouts about the opponents we’ll be facing in LANs. I brought those to tournaments and they helped us out a lot. Recently we just haven’t been able to do it because all the tournaments are online. But now we’re really trying to do it again. Our coach, [Kim “Febby” Yong-min], is organizing everything on an Excel sheet and sharing it with me, so it’s easy to check on that during a draft.
Has the team’s morale been affected by your inconsistency issues?
TNC’s players have always been very mature and professional. I think that’s what I’m proud of the most about my team. Our morale is always high and our atmosphere is always good. I think we have everything we need to win and to be a good a team, we just need to play some good Dota.
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When you won the Chengdu Major, you were basically guaranteed a direct invite to TI. But now that it’s been delayed to next year, what has been the team’s outlook on TI?
It’s funny because right now is around the time that TI invites should be out. If everything was like last year then it’s like the last Major just ended and everyone knows for sure who’s in. Then you feel that TI is coming and you get a lot of energy because it’s so close.
But right now, TI is still very far away and we’re not even sure when it’s happening. We are very disappointed for sure, but it doesn’t really change anything.
With every tournament now being online and regional, the current competitive landscape for Dota 2 can be seen as a preview for the next DPC season that will introduce Regional Leagues. What can you say about more online competition and less LANs then before?
I miss LANs. They are much more fun for sure, especially because you’re playing against the best teams from other regions. But right now I don’t have much to say about how pretty much every tournament is gonna be online from now on, so we’ll just see. For me, you just gotta do what you gotta do with what you’re given.
Let’s move on to the SEA League itself, what can you say about the level of competition here in the league?
For a long time, TNC and Fnatic were really dominant over the other SEA teams and we wouldn’t really lose that many games to them. But now I think it’s more interesting because we have been losing more to them recently.
So, right now, anyone can take a game off of anyone in this tournament, even though some teams still have really high win rates. I think it’s the most interesting and competitive that SEA Dota has been, more than any other time recently.
How do you rank your team against the rest of the competition in the league, especially against Fnatic?
We’re rank one! This time, we’re gonna win 2-0 against Fnatic, or however many games it will take.