Thunder Awaken may have just missed out on qualifying for the Lima Major - but that doesn't mean they won't be paying close attention to this week's action.
Lima Major 2023: Thunder Awaken predictions
Which team do you think will win the Lima Major?
Smiling: I didn't watch precisely all games from all regions, so it's hard to tell who's gonna win. My bet is on Team Liquid!
Smiling: Yes, I think they're going to place highly in this tournament - I think they're playing really well.
The Lima Major is the first-ever South American Major in DPC history. What does this mean for the local DPC scene, and are you excited for the future of Dota 2 in South America?
Ilich: It means a lot to us, not only as an objective within the game, it's something cultural that gives us the exposure that the scene was looking for, we are excited about the progress of the region and we only have to work hard to continue increasing the competitive level in SA to attract new players
Outside of your Thunder Awaken teammates, which players on the DPC have you been most impressed by?
Is there a team competing in Lima that you feel doesn’t get the attention they deserve?
Ilich: I think that one of the teams that need more attention are Gaimin Gladiators - CCNC can surprise us and destroy everyone in the group stage with his Huskar!
You ended 2022 by announcing an all-new roster, and Huester "FalcoStyle" Valenzuela joined as your new coach in January. How is everyone settling into their new team?
Smiling: We are getting to know each other and building some structure in practice, in-game as well as relations outside of the game. We are in the process right now.
The new Thunder Awaken roster has some big shoes to fill, after the former lineup’s fantastic performance at The International 2022. Is there a pressure to live up to that legacy?
Smiling: It feels great to play in such an organisation and it feels good when you know they trust us in this DPC season, so we're gonna try our best!
Do you think Smiling has it right, and that Team Liquid will be winning the Lima Major? Or do you have your eye on another team? Whoever you support, remember to follow along with every match right here on Luckbox - and while you're at it, remember to claim your free 100% bonus!