TNC lives to fight another day at Leipzig Major

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Dota 2 team TNC found themselves in the lower bracket of the Leipzig Major playoffs  after a tumultous run in the group stages that saw them win only 1 of the 5 games they played.

Having won the Chengdu Major late last year, TNC entered the tourney as a heavy favorite in their group, which featured Fnatic, Team Aster, and Nigma. The 3 currently rank 19th, 13th, and 12th while TNC ranks 2nd on the ESL world rankings. While world rankings are hardly the barometer for predicting match results, it's at least an indicator of how well teams have played recently. 

In the group stages held over the weekend, TNC won the first game against dark horse Nigma, with an Io-Faceless Void pairing that dictated the pace and demolished the opposing team. 

But that would be the last win for TNC in the preliminaries. Nigma turned the tables in the second game with Tiny, Ember Spirit, and Outworld Devourer that seemed nearly untouchable in the closing minutes, tying the series 1-1. The next game was a nightmare, which saw TNC score only one kill against the opponents' 25. 

In the next series, Team Aster – whom TNC had previously swept at their last meeting in December – paid TNC back with a 2-0 sweep of their own. 

With two series losses, TNC was knocked down to the lower bracket, where teams are one series loss away from being eliminated. In the upper bracket, teams have to lose two series before being eliminated.  

Many of TNC’s fans attributed their losses to their draft picks and bans, citing that the heroes the team picked did not synergize well with each other . 

Dexter Tan Guan Hao from Dot Esports, meanwhile, think that the game’s latest update remains to blame for TNC’s string of lackluster performances. The latest big update for the game – patch 7.23 or the Outlanders update – went live in late November, leading to December struggles that slightly marred an otherwise excellent 2019. 

“The current iteration of TNC has lived and died by their teamfights. Their disjointedness in the Outlanders update has been concerning for a team so reliant on coordination,” he explained. 

TNC, however, is not out of the competition yet. The team’s hopes of bagging the lion’s share of a $1 million prize pool stays alive after defeating Reality Rift in a do-or-die match, Wednesday, in the first round of the lower bracket playoffs. 

Though Reality Rift was a heavy underdog to TNC, the win is as close to a salve the team could get now – a quick breather. A real challenge comes next against the winner of the match between veterans Team Secret and Fnatic.

TNC has a day to regroup. Their next match happens on Thursday, January 23 at 5:30 pm.– Rappler.com