Carlo “Kuku” Palad and T1 will have their hands full against teams of The International (TI) caliber in the deadly Wild Card stage of the Singapore Major set to start on March 27.
The SG Major cast was completed just as the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC)-China Upper Division concluded on Sunday night, March 14, with PSG.LGD and Vici Gaming taking the remaining spots in the Wild Card.
Despite the departure of veteran position-4 support Xu “fy” Linsen and mid laner Lu “Somnus`M” Yao, PSG.LGD remained a formidable force with star carry Wang “Ame” Chunyu and TI6 champions Zhang “Faith_bian” Ruida (offlaner) and Zhang “y`” Yiping (hard support) from under TI4 winner Zhang “xiao8” Ning (coach).
In the tiebreaker for the last wild card seat, PSG.LGD pulled off a 2-0 sweep over the super team Elephant featuring fy, Somnus, and former VG stars Zhang “Eurus” Chengjun (carry, also known as Paparazi) and Zhou “Yang” Haiyang (offlaner).
Vici, on the other hand, stayed solid behind mid laner Zeng “Ori” Jiaoyang and hard support Ding “Dy” Cong, who were part of the squad that finished 5th-6th in TI9.
Apart from the two Chinese powerhouse teams, T1 will also face TI7 champ Team Nigma (formerly Team Liquid) featuring renowned mid laner Amer “Miracle-” Barkawi and captain Kuro “KuroKy” Takhasomi.
Completing the Wild Card phase of the $500,000 (over P24 million) are equally fearsome squads Team Liquid from Europe and AS Monaco Gambit from CIS.
Seasoned Filipino offlaner Kuku previously said in a stream that it will be difficult for T1 which also has Filipino mid laner Karl “Karl” Baldovino, newly-acquired Thai 12K MMR carry Nuengnara “23savage” Teeeramahanon and Indonesian support duo Kenny “Xepher” Deo and Mathhew “Whitemon” Filemon.
“Napakahirap kasi parang TI na ‘yung wild card e. Kailangan na lang namin galingan o matuto kami para magamit sa next season (It’s gonna be hard in the wild card because it already looks like TI. We just need to do our best or learn to get back next season),” said the 24-year-old pro.
Matches are set in a best-of-two format with only the top two teams advancing to the group stage of the first Dota 2 Major tournament of the year which will be hosted by ONE Esports and PGL.
The top finishers will join all-Filipino squad Neon Esports, Team Aster (China), Alliance (Europe), Natus Vincere/Na’Vi (CIS), Quincy Crew (North America) and Thunder Predator (South America) in the group stage.