Can the players from South America surprise the favorites at TI10? They have the potential but will they bring the SA magic to Romania?
The International is upon us and one region is itching to silence the naysayers. South America, a region many have underserved, has three teams at this year’s International. The region has long been overlooked but 2021 was the year when Thunder Predator surprised everyone at the Singapore Major. And Thunder Predator was not even the best team in the regional DPC. South America has teams with a lot of potential and they are an unknown entity to many of the top Dota 2 teams. Perhaps this will be SA’s year to win it all. Let’s meet the South American teams at this year's International!
The SA Kings: Beastcoast
South America’s best known esports organization also boasts SA’s most well-known Dota team. Beastcoast have been the kings of South America for the past year and even the year before. Their first season of the DPC demolished the rest of the competition. Unfortunately, due to COVID concerns, the team was unable to compete at the Singapore Major. In their second season they still continued to show their prowess but they lost in a tie-breaker series with NoPing Esports.
At the Animajor, Beastcoast did not look like their best, getting knocked out early in the group stage. Recently however, Beastcoast have shown signs of life in the ESL One Fall tournament. They had a strong run in the group stage, one that they were unable to continue in the playoffs.
Despite the hiccup, Beastcoast themselves are an incredibly skilled team. One of their main strengths comes from Héctor Antonio "K1" Rodríguez's ability to out-farm their opponent. Their opponents may have map control, but k1 more often than not sits atop the net worth ladder, still managing to squeeze any farm out of the map.
I hope they [Beastcoast] practice drafting consistency. They are too smart and they sometimes outdraft themselves.
Casters have speculated that this is because of the high ping handicap for SA teams. With SA players constantly playing on high ping, rather than try to out-spellcast their opponents, they have learnt to massively out-farm them and just body them with superior items. K1 specializes in these hard farmers, with a preference for heroes like Terrorblade, Phantom Lancer, Sven and his trademark Wraith King.
This particular playstyle lends very well to Beastcoast's gameplan, often taking the form of a '4 protect one'. It's almost guaranteed that k1 will find a way to be on top of the networth chart, which leaves the job of the rest of the team to get them there. Most of the time this involves the support duo of captain Steven "StingeR" Vargas and pos 4 player Elvis "Scofield" De la Cruz Peña wreaking havoc across the map. They create a lot of chaos and apply pressure on the opponent, thereby creating the space for their hard carry. They are of course aided by midlaner Jean Pierre "Chris Luck" Gonzales and offlaner Adrián "Wisper" Céspedes Dobles. Chris Luck has one of the biggest hero pools of any position 2 player in Dota 2 and Wisper is likely the most skilled player in SA. He was the first from South America to reach 11k MMR. Thus any team's strategy for beating Beastcoast is to shut them down early or k1 will appear out of nowhere to slaughter your whole team.
The SA Underdogs: Thunder Predator
Thunder Predator are arguably the underdogs going into this tournament. Having a rough streak in their last couple appearances, the team is looking for some redemption at the International. Their first DPC season started off strong with a second place finish to Beastcoast. They surprised many people with their performance at the Singapore major, finishing in sixth place. However, their form started to waiver in the second season.
The squad missed out on qualifying for the Animajor to Beastcoast and NoPing. After picking up former pro legend Clinton “Fear” Loomis, Thunder Predator have tried to gain back some confidence. Unfortunately, the team hasn’t been doing well. They bombed out of the group stage during ESL One Fall and got knocked out of the OGA Dota Pit tournament very quickly.
Though the future may look scary for TP, the squad are by no means slouches. Unlike Beastcoast, their style tends to be more aggressive. If Thunder Predator spots you out of position, you will die. Much of this strength comes from their pos 2 player Leonardo "LeoStyle-" Sifuentes. One of the most mechanically skilled mid players, Leostyle- shines on the aggressive spirit brothers, that can quickly close gaps, disable and pick off enemy heroes. He's not an easy person to catch off guard and gets more lethal with items and experience.
On a good day Leostyle guy is still one of the best midlaners out there. He’s been having a tough time recently but if he has freedom to reign I think he will show people why he is considered so highly.
Thunder Predator's style is further buffered by their support players. Romel "Mjz" Quinteros is Thunder's pos 5 player, a cool head in tough situations. Mjz tends to play defensive supports, most often picking up his signature Phoenix, to heal teammates and set up teamfights. Joel Mori "MoOz" Ozambela, their pos 4 and team captain, plays the more aggressive supports, heavily favoring Snapfire when she was in the meta. In their duties, they are helped by Frank "Frank" Arias, their offlaner, or as commentator Dominik "Black^" Reitmeier refers to him, "Frank the Tank". Frank's role is to take the brunt of the damage of the squishy supports and the team's carry Alonso "Mnz" León. So individually their players are very skilled. What they will likely have to work on is adapting to the new meta quicker and drafting a strong lineup, something they seemed to struggle with during ESL One Fall and the OGA invitational.
The Wildcard: SG Esports
SG are the wildcard for the South American teams. Their first DPC they played very well, coming in third place in their region and within striking distance of the other top SA teams. In the second season however, they placed 6th, though this season was incredibly competitive. But the group has had little experience with international competition this season. After failing to attend both majors, the team powered through the SA closed qualifiers managing to top one of the SA favorites, Team Unknown.
I think SG has no standout players, and I think that’s what makes them so strong. They sink or swim as a team, and that is their biggest strength.
During the ESL One Fall tournament, they finished last in their group to get knocked out of the tourney. But in the OGA Dota Pit Invitational, they were able to defeat Thunder Predator and take a game off of T1. SG Esports' chances at The International look slim, but they bring their characteristic SA flavor to their games, something that can catch their opponents off-guard.
SG's drafts tend towards more tanky heroes that make them more survivable through long-drawn teamfights. Terrorblade (with his high armor), Dragon Knight, Doom, Timber are common in SG Esports' drafts. The team's drafts suggests a lack of confidence in making plays, rather they tend to outlast their opponents. While a valid strategy in itself, the lack of diversity in their drafts makes them an easier target for opponents. SG esports' biggest strength at TI10 is the fact that they are an unknown entity. If they can bring something new to the table, SG might surprise quite a few teams in Romania.