Dota 2 caster Austin “Capitalist” Walsh offers his 8K MMR insight on T1’s recipe for success in the AniMajor and ESL One Summer 2021.

It’s been almost a month since the action packed SEA TI10 Qualifiers came to a close. After the absolute bloodbath, it was Fnatic that emerged on top to punch their ticket to The International. It’s undeniable that the level of competition in SEA is rising, but there still is one team that stands clearly above the rest – T1. The Carlo “Kuku” Palad captained squad were the only SEA team to secure a spot at TI10 through DPC points. On top of a dominant Season 2 Regional League run, they’ve put up consistent results on LAN too. T1 finished 3rd in the WePlay AniMajor, and shortly after defeated Virtus.Pro to become the ESL One Summer Champions.

While the strength of T1’s players is apparent, their unique drafting and playstyle is something even their opponents had trouble understanding. Luckily for us, we have none other than our very own 8K MMR and caster extraordinaire Capitalist to break it all down for us. Check out the video here:

A Look Back at T1’s Season One

While the current iteration of T1 is easily one of the powerhouses going into TI10, that wasn’t always the case. Season 1 in particular was a tough time for the squad. 2020 had been a tumultuous year, with roster changes almost every month. It was only in the later part of the year that the pieces of the current T1 began falling into place. With Season 1 set to start, T1’s line-up looked relatively formidable.

  • Souliya “JaCkky” Khoomphetsavong – Carry
  • Karl “Karl” Baldovino – Mid
  • Carlo “Kuku” Palad – – Offlane (Captain)
  • Kenny “Xepher” Deo – Soft Support
  • Matthew “Whitemon” Filemon – Hard Support
  • Park “March” Tae-Won – Coach

The team had a decent showing in the Regional League, and finished 3rd place overall, securing a spot to the Singapore Major. Shortly before the event, they decided to replace JaCkky with superstar Nuengnara “23savage” Teeramahanon. This change had fans excited, and things were looking up for the team. Unfortunately for T1, that’s where disaster struck. Citing health problems, Kuku would not be able to attend. In his stead would be Sang-Don “Forev” Lee.

With a new untested squad dynamic, and their captain out of action, T1 struggled in the Wild Cards of the Singapore Major. They finished at an unceremonious 5th place after taking only a single win against AS Monaco Gambit.

Season 2 – T1 Rising

One can only imagine the heartache of a captain seeing his team falter without him. Re-energized, T1 took Season 2 by storm, only losing two best-of-threes, and never without a fight. As the dust settled, they were up against TNC in a tie-breaker to determine first place. After a savage battle, it was Kuku and the boys that emerged victorious. This win seeded them directly into the Playoffs of the AniMajor, meaning that TI Qualification was a real possibility.

T1 Finishes on Top of SEA
Final Results for Season 2 of the SEA DPC

At the Playoffs of the AniMajor, an insidious magic was taking place. It seemed that all Top Seeds of each region were cursed, and were routinely defeated by those from the Group Stage. In their opening match against Aster (the top seed from China), only one would prevail though. It seemed like an impossible task – Aster were many of the analyst’s favorites to win the entire event. For T1 though, this match meant TI10 qualification – and they played damn well like it. The SEA kings proceeded to completely crush their Chinese opponents in a clean 2-0 series. On top of securing themselves Top 8, this also meant T1 were through to TI10!

T1 continued their dominance, 2-0ing the NA representatives in Quincy Crew. Ultimately, they were knocked out of the tournament in a respectable 3rd, only dropping games to the champion and 2nd place in PSG.LGD and EG.

Becoming the ESL One Summer 2021 Champions

Post-AniMajor, the team decided to stay in Kyiv to continue using the facilities and practice together. This allowed them to take part in the ESL One Summer 2021 event. Carrying the momentum forward from their strong AniMajor performance, T1 rolled through their competition.

The ensuing finals against Virtus.Pro was a match for the ages. As Capitalist mentions, it’s a complete clash of idealogies. Ultimately, as we know, it was T1 that clawed the win back from the brink of defeat. But that’s not the whole story. Before making it to the Grand Finals, T1 had already dropped a series against VP in the UB Finals. Their win in the finals simply is testament at the team’s immense ability to adapt and overcome.

With the cool head of Kuku leading them, a clear ability to cook up a formula for success as explained by Capitalist – and of course the veteran of March as their coach – T1 are looking like strong contenders going into TI10.

Up next for the team is the BTS Loot.Bet Pro Series Season 7 (SEA). T1 are direct invites for the Group Stage, which will likely take place after the Closed Qualifiers conclude on 31st July. The event date is set for July 27th till August 15th, so it may still be a week or so before we get to see T1 in action.

For more Dota 2 news and updates, stay tuned to esports.gg.

Mike Tsang - Writer of the Month: April

Mike Tsang

Writer of the Month: April | Twitter: @permasneeze | Twitch: permasneeze

Mike is a digital content producer from Singapore who lives and breathes Dota 2. When he's not playing or watching the game, he can be found slurping ramen or sleeping next to his cat.