“I’m not after the money, but it’s a good bonus. I’m playing for pride and passion.”
These were the words of Michael “nb” Ross — an Overseas Filipino Gamer (OFG) — after his team knocked out their Russian opponents, securing themselves at least a P5.2 million prize money ($117,469) at the Dota Asian Championship (DAC) in Shanghai, China, Friday, Jan. 6.
Dota 2 is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game which pits two teams with the goal of destroying the central structure of the opposition. The DAC is a weeklong tournament pitting 16 of the best teams in the world vying for their share of the $2.94 million (P130 million) prize pool — one of the biggest tournaments ever in competitive gaming or eSports’ history.
nb’s team, Rave Dota (Rave), outplayed Russian squad HellRaisers (HR) in the loser’s bracket, eliminating them and securing a top 8 finish.
Rave went for a middle game-focused and push-oriented lineup while HR picked great crowd control heroes with a lot of Area of Effect (AOE) skills.
The Filipinos had the lead early in the game courtesy of successful ganks and ambushes around the map. They drew the first blood at the sixth minute mark and took their first tower of the game after taking down the tier 1 (outermost protective turret) bottom lane tower a minute after.
At the 12-minute mark, Rave had the kill lead at 7-2 and had taken down all three tier 1 towers of the opposition. At this point, Rave’s Djardel “Chrissy” Mampusti’s hero was already at level 11, the highest among all the heroes in the game with HR’s most leveled hero only at nine.
The game was stalled from this point forward with both teams turtling (a defensive strategy of farming and avoiding clashes) their respective jungles and territories until the 26-minute mark wherein the game’s silence was broken. The opposing teams caught themselves in between the HR’s cliff area ending in a messy clash. Rave took three of HR’s heroes in exchange for one of their own.
That clash dictated the fate and direction of the game. From there, the Filipinos held the gold lead by topping the net charts and consistently winning clashes left and right. At the 39-minute mark, the Russians were caught off-guard by an ambush by the Filipinos in the bottom lane. They lost two of their heroes which paved the way for a clear-cut Roshan attempt for the Filipinos.
Rave didn’t waste any time as they seized in the opposition’s base, taking down the set of barracks in the middle lane. HR gave everything they had but to no avail as Rave’s heroes were unstoppable and too much to handle at this point. The Filipinos took down the bottom lane set of barracks and forced the good game call from the Russians at the 41-minute mark.
“Thanks for all the support. It brings our morale up!” nb told eSports Inquirer.
Rave’s earnings in this tournament is considered to be the biggest earning by a professional competitive team in the history of Philippine eSports, says Philippine eSports Organization (PeSO).
“Yes [this is the biggest earning of a competitive team], next to [World of Tanks] winners PVP Super Friends [who] won P2 million+ before,” Irymarc “Tryke” Gutierrez, PeSO Executive Director, said.
Rave’s performance in this elimination match showed the Filipinos’ potentiality in terms of high-skilled level of play when “placed in the right infrastructure and environment”.
“This just shows how much potential [Filipino] teams have… this team is based in Korea which is probably one of the best places in terms of eSports,” Tryke said. “Their victory is not just about the cash prize but it also speaks of how good we can become when we develop the eSports industry here in our country.”
The Korea-based Filipnio team climbed their way up in the SEA region rankings after grabbing titles left and right. They showed what Korea brought to their level of play after winning the Mineski Pro Gaming League (MPGL) Season VI SEA Grand Finals last year. And they made waves not only in the SEA region but also in the international scene after dethroning the two-time Korean champions, MVP.Phoenix, in the Korea Dota League (KDL).
Rave is the lone Filipino team competing and the only Southeast Asian (SEA) team left after Korean team, MVP.Phoenix, was eliminated from the tournament. They will face the The International (TI) 2 Champions, Invictus Gaming, at 10 a.m. today (GMT+8, Philippine Standard Time).
DAC was organized by Perfect World, a Chinese online game company and the publisher and operator of Dota 2 in China.