After a few slumps on last month’s LANs, Talon Esports found their stride when it mattered the most and claimed the one ticket to The International 2022 (TI11) via SEA regional qualifiers.
Southeast Asia regional qualifiers for the biggest tournament of the year were heavily anticipated after the two-time TI winners, Anathan “ana” Pham and Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen, returned from retirement just ahead of the qualifier battle to join T1 in their quest for a ticket to TI11.
However, it wasn’t the highly regarded T1 roster that impressed through the double elimination bracket. Polaris Esports, who have relegated to Division 2 in the last Dota Pro Circuit Tour, took the spotlight by sending T1 to Last Chance Qualifiers and then pushed Talon Esports to a decisive game 5 in the grand finals.
Talon haven’t been able to showcase their true potential at either of the last three LAN tournaments that they have played in August, before the TI11 regional qualifiers, partially due to not being able to play with the full roster. At the recently concluded ESL One Malaysia, where they actually got to play in the full formula they were knocked out of the contention in the group stages, which might have just been the wake-up call that they needed.
“We don’t really have any excuses, we just kind of played poorly and had bad strategies,” said to us Damien “kpii” Chok in Malaysia after Talon got eliminated, adding that the team was also “just not disciplined enough.”
Two weeks later, Talon Esports came prepared to take the TI11 qualifiers by storm, focused on their own game rather than what others do and reached the grand finals without dropping a single game through the upper bracket series up to the grand finals.
Polaris Esports was the first team to take a game from Talon with a Pudge carry protected by an Omniknight. The opening game of the SEA grand finals was pretty much a stomp, but that didn’t shake Talon’s confidence and they evened the series in game two with a Nuengnara “23savage” Teeramahanon’s signature Slark.
However, heading into the third game, 23savage got targeted hard in the ban phase and when cornered to resort to Terrorblade, Polaris, who had the overall last pick of the draft, countered him with a carry Doom to take the lead in the bo5 series once again. From there on, the grand fails seemed to have pivoted around the carry priority between the two teams.
In game four 23savage was able once more to play his Slark and secure the victory for Talon, while in the final game of the series, with Slark, TB, Faceless Void, and Morphling banned, Talon went for a Doom carry themselves, while Polaris brought back the game 1 Pudge. Nonetheless, they had a mid-lane Queen of Pain and a position 4 Keeper of the Light, who should have provided the push power and the team fight big spells, but with Doom on the field, Polaris’ plan got overturned and all they could achieve was a spot in the Last Chance Qualifiers along with T1.