The Southeast Asian Dota 2 scene never sleeps. Days after the conclusion of the Singapore Major, SEA teams are back at it again with the Asia Pacific Predator League.

The first Dota 2 LAN Major of 2021, the ONE Esports Singapore Major, has come to an end. Invictus Gaming reverse swept Evil Geniuses in the grand finals, robbing North America of a possible first Major victory. But the biggest storyline of the Major was the performance of Southeast Asia and South America. SEA’s NEON Esports had a dream run through the playoffs finishing in the top six. NEON esports took down established names such as Fnatic and Vici Gaming in the lower bracket. 

Southeast Asian Dota is fast-paced and the teams are already gearing up for another Dota 2 event. The Asia Pacific Predator League 2020/21 kicks off today with some big names as participants. Here’s all you need to know about this Asia Pacific Predator League 2020/21.

Asia Predator League format, prize pool and dates

The Asia Predator League has two regional leagues: APAC and Asia. The APAC region is the bigger section of the tournament with a larger prize pool, more days and more teams. It also features some top teams from Southeast Asia including NEON Esports. NEON finished in the top six at the ONEEsports Singapore Major losing to Team Secret in the lower bracket.

The APAC region has ten Dota 2 teams competing for a $85,000 prize pool. Here’s the prize pool distribution for the event.

  • 1st place: $50,000.
  • 2nd place: $25,000.
  • 3rd place: $10,000.

The event runs from April 6-11, 2021. While initial plans were to hold this event on LAN, it will now take place online as COVID restrictions play spoilsport to teams traveling to Singapore. 

The tournament uses a double-elimination format for the playoffs. However, all matches (except the grand finals) are best-of-one series. The best-of-one matches could potentially throw up quite a few surprises at the event. 

The Asian event runs from April 8-10 with a $35,000 prize pool. There are four teams in this online event. This event also uses a double-elimination format with best-of-one matches (the grand finals are best-of-three series).

Who will win Asia Predator League?

There are ten participating teams in the Predator League. Southeast Asian Dota has a very active scene and most of the players are well-versed with each other’s playstyle and hero pools.

TNC Predator

<em>TNC Predator comes into the tournament as one of the favorites. Image Credit: </em><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow"><em>TNC Predator</em></a><em>.</em>
TNC Predator comes into the tournament as one of the favorites. Image Credit: TNC Predator.

TNC Predator is one of the most popular teams from Southeast Asia. The team has made a name for itself in the international scene due to its fast-paced gameplay. Taking the SEA playstyle to new heights, TNC Predator’s players are always looking for kills. The aggressive posturing and the accompanying draft often catches opponents off-guard. 

TNC Predator has some of the best core players from the region on its payroll. Kim "Gabbi" Villafuerte and Armel Paul "Armel" Tabios are extremely skilled and have great synergy with each other. Besides the aggressive playstyle, TNC also prefers to have a split push, objective-oriented gameplay from time to time. It will be interesting to see how TNC Predator adapts its playstyle as there is little room for error in these best-of-one matches.

NEON Esports

<em>Natsumi returns to NEON’s active roster. Image Credit: </em><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow"><em>ESL Asia</em></a><em>.</em>
Natsumi returns to NEON’s active roster. Image Credit: ESL Asia.

One of the biggest surprises at the Dota 2 Major, NEON comes into this tournament in excellent form. The team was a massive underdog going into the Major and barely stitched together a workable roster ahead of the tournament. Deth played a valuable role as a stand-in for the team, adapting to the team’s playstyle and proving Southeast Asia is not a walkover. 

However, NEON esports will be back to its full roster as John Anthony "Natsumi-" Vargas returns to the active squad. While NEON’s fans will hope for a resurgence in the team’s form, things might not be as comfortable as they look on paper. For starts, the players took on new roles to accommodate Deth and the quick change in positions is bound to affect the gameplay. 

All eyes will be on NEON Esports at this tournament. It remains to be seen if they can replicate their performance from the Major versus local teams. 

BOOM esports

TNC and NEON esports are the favorites in this tournament. However, BOOM has progressively shown its ability to match the best teams from the region toe to toe. The team’s Indonesian roster has won matches versus TNC and tied a series against NEON esports in the past few months. But the lack of consistent international exposure is bound to be a disadvantage for the team. However, the best-of-one format makes this tournament a perfect opportunity for BOOM esports to surprise the favorites and possibly reach the grand finals. 

This event might be one of the last Dota 2 tournaments in the current patch. Valve will release the new patch on Friday which will include balance updates as well as a new Dota hero.

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