Filipinos hope to win big at The International 12 in Seattle

Abed Yusop in TI 11 with Evil Geniuses (now Shopify Rebellion) team. He is in TI 12.

(Last of two parts)

So can Filipinos and their teams join The International 12 (TI 12), the “Olympics of Dota 2 e-sports,” in Seattle, Washington, on Oct. 12-29?

With a prize pool of at least $19 million (P1.04 billion), The International features teams from China, North and South America, East and West Europe, and Southeast Asia.

Related: The Pinoy road to the ‘Olympics of Dota e-sports’

Here’s a look at certain Filipino players’ chances to realize their dream of making it at the world’s most recognizable tournament of Dota 2 e-sports.

Abed Yusop, 22, from Dasmarinas City, Cavite, is already in The International 12 (TI 12) as his North American squad Shopify Rebellion (formerly Evil Geniuses) qualified in all events after topping its region. The “midlane” prodigy is the team’s best player “in terms of raw skill,” his teammates Crit and Arteezy said in a group interview on Oct. 15, 2021. 

Yusop provided the tempo and aggression for his team’s victory. He dazzled on the big stage with his signature hero Storm Spirit, a character that uses lightning and zips through the battlefield, and boasts a 62% win rate in 979 official matches across all tournaments.

International 2
Storm Spirit, Abed’s signature hero, zips through the battlefield in-game. —SCREENGRAB

Abed and SR placed fourth in the Lima Major and third in DreamLeague S19. However, their last three events saw them barely reaching the Top 10.

The team of veterans placed 9th-12th in both TI 10 and TI 11, and is expectedly seeking redemption in The International 12 (TI 12).

Other hopefuls

Another midlaner, Erin “Yopaj” Ferrer, and his Southeast Asian team BOOM Esports were relegated to Division 2 of the SEA DPC early this year. Their performance has declined after their TI 11 debut, landing them in a still-decent 9th-12th finish. 

They are slowly clawing back for a chance to be at The International 12 (TI 12) in the Regional Qualifiers after returning to Division 1. The team earlier failed to qualify for the five tournaments and so had to endure a long, gruelling run for a slot in The International. 

Yopaj aims to return to The International using his flashy Ember Spirit and Snapfire and to improve his 60% win rate in 1,530 matches.

International 3
Snapfire in action —SCREENGRAB

Rolen “skem” Ong, 22, a dynamic Position 5 support who also plays “hard carry,” is in Division 2, and it will be a long shot to see him play against the big guns. His Geekfam team joined the Lima Major but was eliminated after the group stage.

He’s notorious for buying Divine Rapiers, an offensive item that provides massive damage but will drop if the user dies and can be picked up by the enemy when games are idling in a standoff, or if the user’s team needs a comeback. 

He led BOOM Esports in TI 11, and his leadership in Geekfam will be put to the test. He has an outstanding 61% win rate in 1,395 games.

Timothy “Tims” Randrup, a veteran Position 4 support in his favored SEA team Blacklist Rivalry, has shown brilliance in his games but has also displayed inconsistency, nearly getting relegated to Division 2. 

He has opted out of BOOM Esports to reconnect with his former teammates in the now-disbanded TNC Predator.

Tims’ signature Mirana or Priestess of the Moon (who shoots stunning arrows and provides team invisibility) is expected to pave the way for Blacklist. The team failed to gain a playoff run in the Bali Major, crashing out in the group stage. 

The Kapampangan holds a career 59% win rate in 1,197 games. 

Marc Polo Luis “Raven” Fausto, a Position 1 hard carry of Blacklist Rivalry, is expected to lead his team to The International 12 (TI 12) SEA slot once he gets farmed with items. His Terrorblade, which conjures illusions for himself and against enemies in an area, will strike fear among enemy teams if left unchallenged. 

In the last The International, Raven’s team finished 13th-16th following a do-or-die elimination game with Western European team Gaimin Gladiators.

Moving out of SEA giants and The International mainstays Fnatic, Raven is back with Tims and former TNC Predator teammates. He has a 55% win rate in 1,002 games.

Still struggling


Armel “Armel” Tabios, considered one of the best midlaners, has transferred from Fnatic to Western European giant Team Secret, but has since seen the team struggle in its matches. His odds of joining Abed are much more favorable as the Regional Qualifiers in Western Europe have two slots.

Team Secret was eliminated in DreamLeague S20 despite a great performance from Armel. Often called Chief Armel, he has won 56% of his 976 matches.

Djardel “DJ” Mampusti, 29, a Position 4 support, remains a dominant force despite the entry of younger prodigies. He has a 57% win rate in 1,160 games. 

DJ moved from Fnatic to SEA team Bleed Esports, which has other veterans in its roster. Bleed Esports qualified for the Bali Major but bowed out after the group stage.

He is known for tapping the Nyx Assassin who targets unsuspecting opponents, and the Rubick maestro who steals enemy spells.

Jaunuel Arcilla, a Position 5 of SEA team SMG, co-led Fnatic in TI 11. He had a brief stint with Malaysian team Geek Slate before joining Team SMG and has not competed in the five tournaments this DPC season. 

He has a 58% win rate in 1,219 matches.

Last chance

The final The International 12 (TI 12) SEA regional qualifying event is a do-or-die battle among the rising, consistent, and most explosive Southeast Asian teams on Aug. 27-31. It will be the last chance for Yopaj, skem, Tims, Raven, Armel, DJ, Jaunuel and other The International aspirants to make it to Seattle.

Can our Filipino players make their magic work and join Abed on Dota’s biggest stage?

Push forward, Pinoys!

Godfrey Tarras, a fourth-year journalism student at the University of the Philippines’ College of Mass Communication, is an intern of

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