This DPC season might have been the best we’ve seen TnC performed so far, and they also won the WESG tournament without having one of their key player, KuKu, and this is the best run they have in group stage since TI 2017 (where they also manage to get in the upper bracket). Without a doubt, the team has one of the best players in SEA and have been dominating the SEA scene since TI6, and I think what they needed the most is someone who can give them an entire new perspective or approach on the game, especially when pitted against top tier teams.
Enter coach Heen, which was hired by TnC on April of this year. We might not have seen the impact of this new coach at first, but we’ve seen how the team improve as they go along. One of the key person of how Liquid was able to win TI7 in spectacular fashion (which I don’t see we will be able to see same thing anytime soon) he was able to offer the team new approach on the game. He didn’t even gave them really high hopes as he stated that they’re going to take it slowly, one game at a time. This, I think, what made them playing the game without having that burden or pressure that they still have to prove something in the Dota scene. Without that mentality, we’ve seen some amazing talents displayed in front of us. Combined to what they have learned from their previous coach and captains, this year’s TnC has the best chance ever to place at the top in this International.
TnC’s group stage run is pretty much similar to TI7 on paper but there’s some big difference in terms of how they actually played the game. For one, KuKu is playing 4 from 1 which he has done some amazing plays we’ve seen. They went even against some of the teams that is the favourite to win this year’s TI, Secret and PSG.LGD. Although, they got 2-0 by Mineski, but I think that’s because they’re on the same region which gives Mineski an edge on how to play against TnC. The best example for this was when TnC was up against PSG.LGD in Epicenter where they lost 2-0, where it’s likely that TnC wasn’t really in their radar, this doesn’t mean that they underestimated the team though, it is more likely that they’re focus on teams on top of the DPC list. Plus, Ninjaboogie also played TnC before and that is a big factor as well. They ended their group stage run by wining against Liquid 2-0. Granted that Liquid didn’t really have a good run before their match, but that game 2 says it all. They just crushed Liquid, and it was a one-sided game even ODPixel wasn’t able to grasp what just happened.
MAIN STAGE PREDICTION
Yes, we’ve seen this before where TnC did amazing things during the group stage but weren’t able to perform on the main stage. However, with what they’ve shown us so far, my best bet is that they can easily achieve top 5 on this tournament. I would love to see them lifting that Aegis but, as what coach Heen reiterated to them, don’t get your hopes so high up. That is putting unnecessary pressure on your shoulders which will hinder you on focusing your game but instead, focusing more on winning and not losing. If you look at OG last year’s TI they were completely at a disadvantage. Nobody expected them to win the entire thing, even the players. They’re just ready for anything, and because of that they ended up winning.
In the end, no matter what happens on this tournament, even if the team dropped early on the main stage, I am satisfied of what they’ve shown so far. Coach Heen has been with them just for a few months and I am really looking forward on seeing how far will they go under Heen’s guidance.
I am rooting for either PSG.LGD or Team Secret for this tournament. I’m kind of more towards LGD aside from the fact that they have the home court advantage, they are just one shy away from winning last year which I think will make them hungrier this time.