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TNC Predator rose from the ashes of initial defeat against Vici Gaming and will now be shrouded in Dota 2 glory after winning the MDL Chengdu and securing the top prize of $300,000 USD. It is the second time in a row TNC were able to take down Chinese teams in front of their home crowds and win an international Dota 2 LAN tournament. 

Yesterday’s win at the MDL Chengdu Major means TNC have put themselves in pole position in the 2019/20 Dota Pro Circuit and have all but guaranteed their spot at The International 2020. For their first place finish TNC will receive the top prize of $300,000 USD and 4,850 DPC points, firmly placing them on the top of the leaderboard at least until the next major Dota 2 event.

TNC found themselves matched up against home-crowd favorites Vici Gaming in the grand final of the MDL Chengdu Major yesterday. The SEA-based squad emerged victorious after a 3 – 1 series in what was a rematch of the upper bracket final, and was the more convincing and consistent team throughout.

TNC displayed masterclass performances in the first two rounds of the rematch led by two of their core players, Kim “Gabbi” Villafuerte and Armel Paul Tabios. The two Filipino players put their versatility and skill on display for all to see. In the first round, Armel was on show on Outworld Devourer, while Gabbi created space with his Chaos Knight.

The second game featured a classic Morphling performance by Gabbi, along with his trusty partner Earthshaker, and an atypical Armel Viper which in effect served mostly as a counter-pick to VG’s Phantom Assassin. TNC worked in tandem throughout both games however, putting on mesmerizing performances that fired them to an early 2 – 0 lead against the Chinese favorites.

In the third round, TNC placed their faith in yet another cliched combo, Chen and Alchemist, while VG tried a different approach in Keeper of the Light and Night Stalker. This choice seemed to really work for VG and for the first time in the series, it was they who raced out to a hot start, making rapid rotations around the map with the power of the mobile Pangolier and long-range initiation of Kunkka. It finally looked like the Chinese giants had awoken from their slumber, preventing a clean sweep and at least sending the series to a fourth game.

The fourth game proved to be the only close call of the series. It turned into a back-and-forth struggle between TNC and Vici, out of which TNC ultimately prevailed. TNC’s captain Park “March” Tae-won placed his faith in Morphling and Earthshaker once again, while Vici believed in high-voltage cores Templar Assassin and Leshrac.

TNC started fast and hard, racing out to an early kill lead. But Vici were able to stabilize the game off the back of their dynamic duo. Zeng “Ori” Jiaoyang’s Templar was an instrumental part of the team’s mid-game success, assassinating TNC’s backline and securing multiple Roshans for the team.

The best thing about TNC’s victory was how unapologetically ‘TNC’ they were. Through much of the competition, teams were desperately trying to copy their style, but TNC were able to establish much of this tournament’s meta with picks such as Night Stalker carry, the Morphling and Earthshaker combo, Venomancer offlane, and Disruptor as a counter to highly-mobile lineups. Traditionally two of the most commonly picked up carry heroes in the game, TNC barely touched Gyrcopter and Faceless Void, and were confident in their approach.

As OG and so many other teams proved at TI9, having fun and playing your personal brand of Dota is by far THE best way to win. In this MDL Chengdu Major, TNC were evidently not afraid to do just that, and have now been rewarded with two straight championships in the ESL One Hamburg and the MDL Chengdu Major. No longer just perennial dark horses, TNC have, on behalf of the Southeast Asian region, achieved glory against one of the best teams in China on their home ground, in dominant fashion.

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