T1 is considerably new in the Dota 2, but delivered on expectations in record timing. T1 debuted at their first championship, the International 10 after only one year. They instantly became a powerhouse in the SEA region, and now face pressures to uphold their reputation into the new season.
After a lackluster start to 2022, the organization decided to change the roster and tryout new players, in hopes of a better showcase this season.
T1’s roster changes
The T1 roster receives a major overhaul days before the regional finals. The week long debate of who the next carry will be has created plenty of leaks, and T1 decided to put a stop to it all. Kim “Gabbi” Villafuerte is the newest addition to the team, taking the spot of 23savage from the team, although temporarily.
T1 underperformed at the Dota Pro Circuit 2021-22 (DPC2021-22). They placed third, surpassed by BOOM Esports and Fnatic, two SEA rivals that didn’t even qualify for TI. On a recent stream, Kuku accidentally leaked info that Anathan “ana” Pham’s is participating in their offline scrims. It raised plenty questions about the HumbleGod’s return to Dota. It seems it was either all a ploy, or the team decided to go with Gabbi instead for the upcoming period.
Or maybe Ana is just stuck getting the paperwork ready, and T1 has to stand-in a player in the meanwhile. Either way, the new T1 lineup is:
- Kim “Gabbi” Villafuerte
- Karl “Karl” Baldovino
- Carlo “Kuku” Palad
- Kenny “Xepher” Deo
- Matthew “Whitemon” Filemon
Nuengnara “23savage” Teeramahanon is still considered part of the organization, but has been moved to the inactive roster. He will however be competing with MG.Trust for the upcoming BTS Pro Series 10: Southeast Asia.
T1 at the BTS Pro Series S10 SEA
Before we head into the next event for T1, it’s a good idea to look back at T1’s ups and downfalls since TI10. With Gabbi joining T1, he is replacing 23savage, arguably one of SEA’s best carry players of this DPC season.
23savage was the whizz kid, whose sheer talent is enough to overwhelm opponents. The young prodigy delivered play after play as an aggressive carry player, making him a reckoning force. There are many ways to deal with overconfident players, who always steal the spotlight. Generally, many teams have taken initiatives to cripple 23savage in the early game, so that he doesn’t have a good game. Couple that with his short-tempered demeanor if he doesn’t enjoy his lane, 23savage’s talents can be a double-edged sword.
In contrast, Gabbi is skilled but measured, and does not shy away from trying different styles of play. He prefers to be the late game insurance for the team, and hardly ever is the coin toss for team. How this pans out for T1 in the long run remains to be seen.
Betting on T1 at BTS Pro Series S10 SEA
Fortunately, T1 is the king of the hill at BTS Pro Series S10 SEA. There’s no BOOM Esports and Fnatic, the two rivals that gave T1 a run for their money in DPC2021-22. However, Team SMG might have a fighting chance against T1 at their current state.
The rest of the league is unlikely to pose any threat to the Korean powerhouse, but notable teams include Neon Esports, Execration, Motivate.Trust Gaming and Polaris Esports.
T1 will only begin playing on February 14 since they are invited as Phase 2 teams, playing in the group stage. Nevertheless, the match format is relatively similar to what we have in BTS Pro Series tournaments. The group stage matches are single round-robin best-of-two matches, where the top eight proceed to the playoffs, or Phase 3.
T1 versus regional opponents
Team SMG deserves some commentary for their exceptional performance at DPC2021-22, considering they are a relatively new Division 1 participant. They easily outplayed most opponents, except T1, BOOM Esports, and Fnatic, but did give these top dogs a fright. With enough encounters, we bet SMG might overwhelm T1 eventually.
In both group stage and tiebreaker matches, SMG came out short, but these games were narrowly close. Considering one’s a TI10 attendee while the other’s a former Division 2 team, the loss still felt like a victory in SMG’s book. We would even confidently go on a long shot here that SMG will sweep T1 at BTS Pro Series S10 SEA.
Another wild card may be Polaris Esports, a team playing in Division 1 next Tour. The Filipino squad overhauled their line-up after TI10, so the wow factor might put a dent on T1. Other opponents like Neon Esports, Motivate.Trust Gaming and Execration won’t be strong enough to defeat them.
We stay confident that T1 is the main favorite at this event, and will keep doubling down all the way until the final.