TNC Predator earned a much-needed 2-0 win over BOOM Esports to climb up the standings of the upper division of the Dota Pro Circuit’s (DPC) Southeast Asian regional league on Wednesday (10 February).
In game one of the series, TNC managed to pull off a huge comeback win despite facing a 34,000 gold deficit thanks to their signature Morphling-Earthshaker combo in the hands of dynamic duo Kim “Gabbi” Villafuerte and Timothy “Tims” Randrup.
In the pivotal clash of the game by TNC’s bottom set of barracks at the 50-minute mark, TNC somehow teamwiped BOOM despite being down 22,000 gold at the time. The key to their victory was the strength of their two Earthshakers; the true Earthshaker himself controlled by Tims and the Morphling that morphed into Earthshaker at the hands of Gabbi.
While TNC were trying to keep their opponents at bay with a barrage of Fissures, BOOM Esports jumped on Gabbi’s Morph-Shaker and were just about to take him down. However, that left them open to a counter-initiation from Tims’ Earthshaker and Kim “Febby” Yong-min’s Disruptor, which allowed Gabbi to escape the clutches of three BOOM heroes.
With their opponents now committed fully to the fight, Damien “kpii” Chok’s Mars trapped them in his Arena of Blood ultimate to give Gabbi the opportunity to go ham and secure the teamwipe.
All of BOOM’s core heroes were left dead without buyback, which allowed TNC to waltz into their base and snatch victory away from the jaws of defeat after 53 minutes of action. By the time their Ancient exploded, BOOM was still up 8,000 gold and held the kill lead 29-20.
In the post-match interview, TNC offlaner kpii said he was a bit surprised they were able to pull out that game one win since they had not practiced how to play with the Morphling-Earthshaker combo.
Gabbi and Tims, the two players who played the two heroes that essentially handed TNC that win, however, did not seem all that fazed.
“To be honest, I don’t recall a game where we practised that specific combo. So I think we were kinda shocked, at least I was a little bit,” said kpii.
“But for Gabbi and Tims, I’m sure they’ve seen it before. For them it was another day in the office.”
Of course, those two heroes — no matter how strong, if not outright imbalanced, they were together — would not have been enough to guarantee TNC the win.
BOOM Esports held the gold lead the entire game after TNC badly lost the laning phase. BOOM was up by almost 12,000 gold as early as the 20-minute mark. That grew to 22,000 after 30 minutes before reaching well over 34,000 by the 47-minute mark, just before things started to turn in TNC’s favour.
With his team facing such a huge deficit, kpii said they had to play defensively and stall things out just to get a chance at winning.
“We kinda knew that we were [30,000 to 40,000 gold behind] and there was no way we could win a fight outside our base. So, we just turtled,” said kpii.
TNC could have lost the game before the Morphling-Earthshaker combo reached its full potential if BOOM had been able to press their overwhelming advantage. But since they were allowed to turtle to the point where their win condition was at the peak of its power, TNC ventured out of their base to take back control of the game.
They found their opening in an extended skirmish around the top lane at the 47-minute mark, where they picked off four of BOOM’s heroes to swing the game’s momentum in their favour.
At that point, BOOM held their largest gold lead of the game. But it didn’t matter when the Morphling-Earthshaker combo just stunlocked them to oblivion and killed them off one by one.
TNC could have stayed in their base and turtled forever, but kpii said that it was that kind of aggressive move that ultimately won them the game.
“In the end, you can’t just win the game by turtling forever. Sometimes you just have to make the YOLO plays, you can’t win by just staying in your base the whole game,” said kpii.
After letting what looked like a guaranteed win in game one slip from their fingers, BOOM looked discombobulated in game two.
Seemingly riding high from their game one victory, TNC closed out their opponents in a 35-minute stomp with a very lopsided 42-9 lead on the kill score.
With that much-needed win over BOOM, TNC move up to third place in the standings of the upper division of the DPC’s Southeast Asian regional league with a 3-2 match score and 7-5 game score.
While TNC still sit behind Neon Esports and Fnatic, they are in good position to secure a spot in the upcoming ONE Esports Singapore Major in March.
If TNC remain third in the standings, they will have to start the Major from the wildcard stage. If they can leapfrog Fnatic for second place, they will start in the group stage. And if they can wrest the top spot away from Neon Esports — admittedly a long shot — they will be directly seeded to the playoffs.
TNC still have two matches to give themselves a better shot at the Major. They will face 496 Gaming on 20 February before taking on rivals Fnatic in a high-stakes showdown on 24 February.
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