Southeast Asian squad T1 started the first day of the WePlay AniMajor Playoffs on Wednesday (9 June) with a bang as they took down Chinese powerhouse Team Aster 2-0 in the opening round of the upper bracket.
Aster were heavily favoured coming into the series as the top team of the Chinese regional league, which many considered to be the strongest region in competitive Dota right now. Meanwhile, T1 were viewed as one of the weaker Playoff teams when compared to the top teams from other regions.
However, T1 shattered all preconceptions about them with a dominant win in game one of their series against Aster. The Southeast Asian squad were able to sneak a last pick Broodmother through the draft for team captain Carlo "Kuku" Palad, who gave T1 absolute map control and allowed Nuengnara "23savage" Teeramahanon's Morphling to eventually lead the team to a 33-minute victory.
Aster looked to bounce back in game two with a four-protect-one strategy anchored by Medusa for Du "Monet" Peng. T1 countered their opponents' slow strategy with a fast-paced and aggressive tri-core of Lifestealer for 23savage, a mid Magnus for midlaner Karl "Karl" Jayme, and an offlane Viper for Kuku.
Aster had no answers for T1's aggression, as the Chinese squad's heroes had not yet come online while their Southeast Asian opponents' lineup was already peaking in strength. In what ended up being the final siege of the series, Karl scored a huge pickoff on Monet's Medusa with a Blink-Skewer combo to force the GG call from Aster in just 24 minutes of action.
With their huge upset over Aster, T1 advance to the upper bracket semi-finals of the WePlay AniMajor against the winner of the match between Quincy Crew and NoPing Esports. Meanwhile, Aster have dropped down to the lower bracket, where they will be taking on TNC Predator, the second Southeast Asian representative in the AniMajor.
T1 are now also among the Top 6 teams in the tournament, which guarantees them at least US$25,000 and 300 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) points.
Those 300 DPC points also bring the Southeast Asian squad's DPC point total to 970, which secures them an all-important direct invite to Dota 2's annual world championship tournament, The International 10 (TI10).
TI10 will be held in Stockholm, Sweden in August where a whopping US$40 million and the Aegis of Champions will be up for grabs between the 18 best Dota 2 teams in the world.
Nuengnara "23savage" Teeramahanon
Karl "Karl" Jayme
Carlo "Kuku" Palad
Kenny "Xepher" Deo
Matthew "Whitemon" Filemon
Du "Monet" Peng
Liu "White丶Album" Yuhao
Lin "Xxs" Jing
Ye "Borax" Zhibiao
Zhang "LaNm" Zhicheng
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