For a long time Southeast Asia (SEA) has been considered as one of the weaker regions when it comes to Dota 2. The perception, however, has been changing in recent years as we are witnessing SEA teams compete neck-to-neck with behemoths from yonder regions.
One thing SEA can proudly boast, besides the toxic pubs, is being a region stacked with passionate and talented players. Over the years, different regions from across the world have imported SEA talent, and to this day follow it.
Former Malaysian professional Dota player, Wong "ChuaN" Hock Chuan, was one of the first SEA imports to China where he won the highest accolade with Invictus Gaming in 2012 – The International 2.
Shortly after the trend continued with the now defunct legendary Chinese organisation, Team DK, importing the likes of Chai "Mushi" Yee Fung and Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang – two SEA legends in their own right. Especially the latter, who has since then played not only in China but also North America and now in Europe.
The trend of SEA imports to other regions
Still not convinced? Let’s talk about Cheng "NothingToSay" Jin Xiang. The Malaysian star, after having a lacklustre stint in SEA teams, went to compete in China with EHOME and fortunately lady luck favoured him.
Post his stint at EHOME, NTS got loaned to PSG.LGD and as they say the rest in history. NTS’ inclusion in PSG.LGD bolstered the team to a completely different level – to a point where they were the heavy favourites to win The International 10.
Are you convinced yet? If not then let’s talk about Yap "xNova" Jian Wei, another Malaysian professional player currently playing for Royal Never Give Up (RNG). He was also part of the LGD Gaming line-up of 2018 that finished second place at The International 8.
It’s a different story that LGD has had such bad fortune on multiple occasions of “being so close to glory yet being so far”.
Now that the history rant is over, we flash forward to the present.
SEA: Stacked region
The current set of competitors in SEA is impressive to say the least and fully stacked in both; Division I and Division II.
On one hand, we have the rising giants, BOOM Esports, who are currently undefeated with four wins and the SEA torch bearers, T1, who are also undefeated with two wins. Then we have Fnatic, Execration, Motivate Trust Gaming, Team SMG that are still trying to find their place, or TNC Predator and Neon Esports, that are lingering on the border of relegation.
Speaking of relegation, there’s Talon Esports – led by the legendary Tal “Fly” Aizik, former captain of OG Esports and Evil Geniuses, and Nigma Galaxy SEA, competing in Division II. Despite the relegations, the replacements that’ll advance to Division I are equally, if not more, scary.
SEA: The Rise
The current residents in SEA are all the torch bearers of the region. If the past year was any indication then we can be certain about SEA’s chances heading into international competitions – Valve certified DPC Majors and other third party events.
But is SEA good enough to shine bright at the grandest stage of them all – The International? Yes, they are. However, they need to improve on multitude fronts including the psychological aspect.
Determination and grit combined with burning passion will see SEA make huge strides for years to come.
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