TnC Surprise in TI6 Group Stages, Set for Upper Bracket Finish
TnC ended Day 1 of The International 2016 (TI6) Group Stages with a 3-3 record, along with a surprising 2-0 sweep against top Chinese contender Wings Gaming.
With powerhouse teams such as OG, Evil Geniuses (EG), LGD Gaming, and Wings to contend with in Group A, TnC was expected to end up at the bottom of their group. However, they now have a good shot at ending up in the Upper Bracket for the Main Event as they are tied up with Wings and Alliance at the middle of the pack.
TnC began their Group Stage run with a rough 2-0 loss against TI3 Champions Alliance. They were unable to stop Alliance’s relentless assault as Gustav “s4” Magnusson thrashed them in teamfights with a 17-0-12 Storm Spirit while Henrik “AdmiralBulldog” Ahnberg demolished their base with Broodmother in Game 1. Despite picking Tinker for Carlo “Kuku” Palad in Game 2, TnC were once again bowled over by Alliance as s4 on Batrider continually picked them off, making way for AdmiralBulldog on his signature Lone Druid to destroy their base and force TnC to call GG.
Most would have seen TnC’s loss against Alliance as an indicator of the rest of their Group Stage run, especially considering that their next opponent was the feared Wings Gaming. Despite a matchup that was heavily skewed against TnC’s favor on paper, the plucky Pinoy squad pulled off a surprising sweep against their Chinese opponents.
In Game 1, Wings drafted a heavy range-damage core lineup with Drow Ranger, Windranger, and Medusa. TnC decided to counter this with a tri-core that gets in the faces of their enemy: Axe, Phantom Lancer, and Naga Siren. In the early game, Wings took the lead in terms of kills and farm as Chu “Shadow” Zeyu on Drow Ranger and Zhou “bLink” Yang on Medusa started to become the unstoppable midgame force upon which Wings’ game plan centered. However, TnC were able to win a couple of key teamfights in the midgame that stifled Wings’ assault, along with key pickoffs on the enemy Drow. With Jimmy “DeMoN” Ho on Keeper of the Light creating space for his carries around the map, Kuku on PL and Marc “Raven” Luis Fausto on Naga Siren were able to catch up and eventually overtake their counterparts in farm. Eventually, TnC found an opening to assault Wings’ base, where they teamwiped their opponents to force the GG 32 minutes in.
Wings once again decided to go for the Drow Ranger in Game 2, but decided to pick it alongside Dragon Knight and Axe to provide a tanky frontline in teamfights while TnC responded with Juggernaut for Raven, Timbersaw for Kuku, and Slardar for Sam “Sam_H” Hidalgo. TnC established an early lead by repeatedly ganking their opponents, allowing Juggernaut and Timbersaw to overtake their counterparts in farm and items. Wings responded by going on the offensive as both teams took turns winning teamfights, including one where Wings were wiped out as they were pushing their opponent’s tier-2 bottom tower by a wrap-around smoke gank by TnC, netting Kuku an Ultra Kill. As the game went on TnC were able to get key pick-offs on Wings’ Drow Ranger, giving them the opportunity to break into their opponent’s base and force the GG call.
TnC seemed to have had Wings’ number in both their games as they countered their opponent’s Drow strats with a Wisp pick for Nico “eyyou” Barcelon, who not only provided sustained healing and buffs for his carries, but also gave them a way to gank their opponents around the map.
After sweeping Wings 2-0, TnC next went up against a resurgent Natus Vincere (Na’Vi). In Game 1, TnC drafted a Terrorblade and the Oracle-Huskar duo in their last phase picks against Na’Vi’s Razor-Ember Spirit core duo. TnC were unable to get their Huskar pick going as Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev on a roaming Bounty Hunter allowed Na’Vi to shut down their opponent’s lanes, allowing Danil “Dendi” Ishutin on Razor and Dmitry “Ditya Ra” Minenkov on Ember Spirit to win teamfights, and eventually the game, for Na’Vi.
Na’Vi drafted Ember Spirit for Ditya Ra again for Game 2, and paired it with a Mirana pick for Dendi. TnC responded with a Drow Ranger pick of their own, along with a Tinker for Kuku. Despite a substantial early lead for Na’Vi, TnC was able to turn it around by winning key teamfights in defense of their towers. With multiple key pickoffs on the enemy cores, TnC were able to break into Na’Vi’s base and turn the game around. Eventually, TnC became far too big for their opponents to handle in fights, forcing Na’Vi to call the GG as they split the series 1-1.
After exceeding everyone’s expectations, TnC made a statement: They are not pushovers, they’re there to fight and win. After finishing with a 3-3 standing after Day 1 the Pinoy squad is tied with both Alliance and Wings, and have a good shot at finishing the Group Stages as one of the teams with an Upper Bracket advantage in the Main Event if they continue their good performance.
They will be facing two more powerhouses in Day 2 of the Group Stages, LGD Gaming and the defending champions Evil Geniuses. Stay tuned to eSports by Inquirer.net as we follow TnC’s journey through The International 2016!
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