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The International 2016: Southeast Asia Primer

by theScore Staff Aug 1 2016

After a nail-biting visa application process for both Execration and TNC, all four Southeast Asian teams have confirmed their attendance at The International 2016.

SEA tends to get overlooked or downplayed, but performances like MVP Phoenix’s 7th-8th at TI5 or Orange Esports’ 3rd at TI3 are examples of the region's potential. Here’s what you need to know about the teams from SEA headed to The International 6.

MVP Phoenix

Player Position
Pyo "MP" No-a 1/2
Kim "QO" Seon-yeop 1/2
Lee "Forev" Sang-don 3
Kim "Febby" Yong-min 4
Kim "Dubu" Doo-young 5

Let’s get this out of the way — while MVP Phoenix live in Korea and are known to scrim on Chinese servers, they are included in the SEA region when it comes to qualifiers and tournaments, effectively making them a SEA team. This year’s MVP is an amalgamation of the MVP Phoenix and MVP HOT6ix teams of TI5 fame, with two players from each squad plus DuBu, a long time on-and-off member of both MVP squads.

Despite being a direct invite to TI6, it’s hard to say what we can expect from MVP Phoenix, because they’ve been awfully quiet these past few months. They recently attended the Pro Gamer League LAN finals, where they beat CDEC and iG Vitality to take first place, but before that they hadn’t played an official match since June 16. That match was a 2-0 loss to Execration in the Nanyang Season 2 SEA Qualifier.

That said, MVP Phoenix have a tendency to show up big time to Valve events. They may have missed The Frankfurt Major, but they’ve been in the Top 8 at TI5, The Shanghai Major and The Manila Major, and their best finish so far has been fourth place in Shanghai. Their placement in Manila alone was likely enough to warrant a direct invite to TI6, but they’ve also beaten reigning champions EG in the Dota Pit League Season 4 LAN finals, and they won the WePlay Dota 2 League Season 3 LAN.

This Korean squad will definitely be looking to improve on last year’s deep TI run, and they’re more than equipped to do so.

TNC Pro Team

Player Position
Marc Polo "Raven" Fausto 1
Carlo "Kuku" Palad 2
Sam "Sam_H" Hidalgo 3
Nico "eyyou" Barcelon 4
Jimmy "DeMoN" Ho 5

TNC Pro Team have been bubbling up to the surface of the SEA scene for some time now, and with their convincing victory in the TI6 SEA Regional Qualifier, they’ve finally broken through. Now they'll get their first chance to play in America against the world's top international teams (thanks to some last minute visa finagling).

TNC's latest squad haven’t been together very long. NA Dota star Jimmy "DeMoN" Ho makes his return to The International as a very last-minute addition to the roster, while Carlo "Kuku" Palad left Mineski and joined TNC just before The Manila Major's roster lock. The late arrival of DeMoN forced TNC through open qualifiers, but they breezed through on the first try, never dropping a game in their best-of-three rounds.

Despite what must have been an exhausting time in the opens, TNC went on to take first place in the Regional Qualifier group stage, even taking down Fnatic, the region's clear favorite, in the tiebreaker match. From there, they got to sit back and watch Execration and Fnatic slug it out for the final two spots.

But it turned out TNC had one last challenge to face. Securing U.S. visas would turn out to be almost more difficult than qualifying. Luckily, with the help of government officials and Valve staff, TNC (and Execration) secured visas for their entire team, and have safely arrived in Seattle. After all that, it’s hard to believe that anything could faze this Filipino squad.

Fnatic

Player Position
Chai "Mushi" Yee Fung 1/2
Yeik Nai "MidOne" Zheng 1/2
Chong "Ohaiyo" Xin Khoo 3
Djardel "DJ" Jicko B. Mampusti 4
Adam "343" Shah 5

After Fnatic’s 5th-6th finish at The Manila Major, it seemed all but certain that a direct invite to TI6 was in the mail. Not only that, the team had consistently strong results throughout the year. But for whatever reason, Valve decided against inviting them — and when they lost their tiebreaker match to TNC, suddenly it even seemed possible that qualification could slip away from them.

Luckily, Mushi's string of International appearances remains unbroken, climbing from four to now five years straight. Ohaiyo is the only other Fnatic player who approaches Mushi’s level of TI experience, having attended four years in a row. The other three have never attended the event before, though the big stage will be nothing new for them after attending Majors throughout the year.

Fnatic have been keeping busy this year with plenty of LANs and smaller online tournaments. Mushi was sidelined by health issues in the spring, but since his return and the permanent addition of Adam "343" Shah in May, they’ve won the SEA Kappa Invitational Season 2, qualified for and taken 5th-6th in The Summit 5 and qualified for then taken third at StarLadder i-League Season 2.

While Mushi is the most well-known member of the team, their rising star player is without a doubt Djardel Jicko "DJ" Mampusti. The young support player is a playmaker, reminiscent of Andreas "Cr1t-" Nielsen of OG or Kuro "KuroKy" Salehi Takhasomi of Team Liquid. The most memorable examples of this are his Black Holes on Enigma — especially in their Manila Major match against LGD Gaming, which had the crowd chanting his name.

Execration

Player Position
Fernando "Nando" Mendoza 1/2
Abed "Abed" Yusop 1/2
Ralph "RR" Penano 3
Timothy "Tims" Randrup 4
Kimuel "Kim0" Rodis 5

Of all the Southeast Asian teams, Execration may be the most overlooked of them all — which could end up playing to their advantage. They are set to face compLexity, EHOME and Escape Gaming in the Wild Card round, and only two of those teams will make it to the main event. (Only two of them will see any of TI6’s massive prize pool, for that matter.)

Their relative anonymity and dearth of official matches to study could make them a hard team to prepare against, and they’ve already proven that they are capable of taking on the top teams in their region. So while our power rankings put them dead last going into the event, it wouldn't be wise to discount the possibility of them making it through the first round.

Execration’s full roster has been together since The Manila Major roster lock, with their latest addition being Timothy "Tims" Randrup in March 2016. Abed "Abed" Yusop joined a month prior, while Ralph "RR" Penano joined in November 2015 and Fernando "Nando" Mendoza came on in June 2015. The longest serving member of Execration is team captain Kimuel "Kim0" Rodis, who has been with the team for over two years, since June 2014.

One important thing to note about Execration is that they have a Meepo player — Abed has 414 pub games on the hero, with an astounding 72.9 percent win rate. He’s only played the hero 9 times in official matches, but that win rate is even better: 88.9 percent. That should be enough to warrant repeated respect bans, unless the Wild Card teams want to risk getting Meepo’d right out of Seattle. As we know from EG’s TI5 Techies, any time a team is forced to "waste" a ban on a cheesy hero, it makes the drafting phase quite a bit trickier.

Infographic by Andrew Tanzil. Article by Annabelle Fischer.

Annabelle "Abelle" Fischer is a writer for theScore esports with a love for Dota 2, birds and cheese. You can follow her on Twitter.

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