For the past few months, the Philippines and Malaysia have duelled each other for Dota 2 supremacy in the Southeast Asian region. However, as the #RoadToShanghai intensifies, a group of Filipino and Malaysian players have decided to band together at the last minute in order to maximize their chances of getting into the SEA Regional Qualifier.
Just last week, the returning child prodigy Jacko and Cebu's own prodigal son-turned-king Ninjaboogie flew to Malaysia to form Mineski-X alongside Malaysian masterminds Xtinct and Winter, as well as local wunderkind Kecik Imba, who hasn't been part of a major team since being dropped by Fnatic after TI5.
The risk paid off in dividends, as the team went all the way to the top of the very first official tournament they participated in, winning the first SEA Open Qualifier for the Shanghai Major, allowing them passage into the main qualifier which opens this Thursday.
l-r: Ninjaboogie, Kecik Imba, Jacko, Xtinct, Winter
Mineski-X defeated an inspired Extremist squad in a tight 2-1 series to earn the crown. Despite being a rather unheralded team from Laguna, Extremist was definitely on some of the more extreme (no pun intended) PH Dota fans' radars, given that they actually topped the TNC Cup Grand Finale last November.
True enough, Extremist tore through the brackets, even taking the first game of their series versus Mineski-X, before eventually dropping two nailbiters, both of which could have gone their way if not for a few key lategame miscalls. At the end of the day, it was the PH-MY hybrid that stood on top, despite only having played together for a few days.
That 1-2 Punch tho: Kecik (Vengeful) and Jacko's (Zeus) budding chemistry seems to be the key component of Mineski-X, as it was the two's combined 23-5-42 KDA that helped the team take the third and final game of the finals
Older fans will see this as the return of Malaysia's two greatest masterminds, Xtinct and Winter, but even more exciting than this is that it teams up the Philippines' latest child prodigy, Jacko, with his Malaysian counterpart, Kecik Imba. The two stars already looked in sync with one another's playstyles, as they effectively and consistently established the 1-2 punch that the team played around in all of their games. It's going to be interesting to see how much the two grow in the next few weeks as they continue to play together and develop their chemistry.
All in all, the first SEA Open Qualifier was a Filipino-dominated event, with 2.5/4 teams in the semifinals featuring Filipino players, (12/20 last players were all from the Philippines) as even Jacko's former team, Phoenix managed to put together a deep run despite losing their star midlaner. Malaysia's Panglima was the only team in the bo3 rounds that didn't feature a Filipino player on their roster.
The second Open Qualifier begins tomorrow, January 5. While all teams will have to start from the bottom yet again, Extremist is now considered to be among the top favorites, if not the number one conteder to take it all this time.