TNC Predator bested China’s top Team Aster, 2-1, to keep their The International direct invite dreams alive.
With the win, the squad of Kim ‘Gabbi’ Villafuerte, Armel ‘Armel’ Tabios, Jun ‘Bok’ Kanehara, Timothy ‘Tims’ Randrup, and Marvin ‘Boomy’ Rushton have secured themselves a top eight finish in the WePlay AniMajor, netting themselves 200 DPC points in the process.
They almost didn't make it. In Game 2, TNC needed to overcome an 18k gold deficit to stay in Kyiv.
Aster took an early led as their offlane Broodmother ran down TNC’s supports. TNC managed to hold on with a 17-minute Roshan and Aegis steal, but the Chinese team was quick to take down four of TNC’s heroes in the process.
Gabbi’s Templar Assassin kept the Pinoys in the game as he was able to buy an early Aghanim's Shard, allowing him to teleport to any of his traps. He dug deep and tried to continuously push the lanes, stopping Aster from grouping up.
The rest of the team managed to hold out the game as they tried to quickly burst down any hero that their mid lane Bat Rider managed to lasso.
A 53rd minute team fight around the Roshan Pit saw Armel stealing away the Roshan kill and Aegis. In the process, he also managed to lasso Aster’s carry Morphling, and immediately bought him back to the fight. It was here that TNC was once again able to burst him down to end the game in 56-mins.
Gabbi’s TA finished the game with a 10/6/9 KDA. Armel’s Bat Rider, meanwhile, finished with a 2/5/20 KDA.
For the decider, TNC brought out a beefy lineup of Ursa, Tiny, and Magnus cores against Aster’s magic heavy lineup of Void, Puck, and a roaming Skywrath Mage.
It was an even early game with both squad answering pick-off after pick-off. TNC managed to take a slight lead as Boomy’s Warlock ult split Aster’s team fight with the Pinoy crew, taking down four of Aster’s heroes. However, Aster fired right back, taking a team fight win of their own to reclaim the gold lead.
A 30th minute skirmish at Aster bottom tier one saw TNC take down three of Aster’s heroes as they botched a Void Chrono engage. It would become the story of the game as Aster’s carry Faceless Void just couldn’t find the massive Chronosphere they needed to burst down TNC’s core.
As the game dragged on, Gabbi’s Ursa and Armel’s Tiny just became too big to take down. Additionally, Tim’s Winter Wyvern managed clutch winter curses and heals to keep his cores going.
Earlier in Game 1, the Pinoy squad was well in control, leading by as much as 8k and threatening a high ground push 36 minutes in. It was a miscalculated dive in Aster’s ancient that turned the game around as the Pinoys lost four heroes, including their Templar Assassin and Bristleback carry.
From that 37th minute team fight, Aster took Roshan to regain the gold lead, while another team fight 40 minutes in saw Aster once again take down TNC’s two cores and ran it down mid, ending the game at 42 minutes.
Having survived Team Aster, TNC now awaits the winner of NoPing Esports and Evil Genius. A victory there will earn the squad a top 6 place and the chance to finally secure their TI invite.