Metro Manila, Philippines (February 22) - Dota 2 analysts believe that the key to victory for Blacklist Rivalry to win the next phase of the Dota 2 Pro Circuit is consistency and redemption.
That’s after Blacklist Rivalry’s debut tour ended up with the so-called “Redeem Team” placing fourth in Division I SEA, earning 60 DPC points in the process.
The team, composed of captain Timothy “Tims” Randrup, Carlo “BossKu” Palad, Marc Polo “Raven” Fausto, Nico “eyyou” Barcelon, and Karl “Karl” Baldovino, are all veteran Dota 2 players with years of experience playing for different organizations.
It is this key trait that veteran Dota 2 casters Aries “Kalbz” Alejandro and Vincent “VeenzG” Gallarte noticed as the team started its journey in the black-and-orange colors of Blacklist Rivalry.
“The players are already familiar with each other and played together on a different team before, so there's no doubt that they already knew the team's comfort picks and how to play their roles right,” VeenzG told Beyond The Rivalry.
Mr. Gallarte was part of the broadcast team of the M88 Mansion Tournament, the first tourney that Blacklist Rivalry played together as a team.
Kalbz had a slightly different take on the situation, saying, “Despite the fact that some of the players have played together in some teams in the past, this is still a newly-built squad. Therefore, we were always going into this season understanding that there was a lot of work to do.”
Mr. Alejandro was also part of the M88 tourney’s broadcast team, and also called the do-or-die match between Blacklist Rivalry and Geek Slate last January 30.
Both Kalbz and VeenzG also pointed out that consistency was an important factor that Blacklist Rivalry failed to show in their debut in Division I.
“We started the (DPC) season out very well, but we seemed to have lost ourselves in the middle of the season. It was quite unfortunate that it was around this time that teams were starting to pick up the pace and got the opportunity to figure us out,” Kalbz said.
Things looked promising initially for Blacklist Rivalry as they were off to a strong 3-0 start during their first three matches against Bleed, Fnatic, and Talon. Back-to-back losses against Execration and Team SMG had Blacklist in a corner in the standings, before bouncing back against Boom Esports for their fourth win. However, Blacklist Rivalry lost in their January 30 match against Geek Slate, which also resulted in a loss and a premature end to the redeem team’s debut in Division I.
VeenzG pointed out, meanwhile, the losses for Blacklist Rivalry in their Game 1s whenever they face off in best-of-3s. He believes that these Game 1 losses were missed opportunities to quickly end the game, but these became more of a way for the team to test the waters and learn from their opponents’ picks and gameplays.
“They managed to turn things around by learning from their mistakes and breaking the code, thus winning their next two games. For me, winning the third place tiebreaker is very challenging for the team. Talon gave them a hard time during Week 2, but it seems like Talon learned from their mistakes during Week 2, making sure that they'll defeat Blacklist for the third spot,” VeenzG said.
Both VeenzG and Kalbz agree that measures need to be taken for Blacklist Rivalry to emerge as a more dominant force coming into the second DPC tour.
For Kalbz, who is also heading Tier One Entertainment’s Ardent program for shoutcasters and hosts, he believes a new coach will help bring out the best in Blacklist Rivalry. “The team also wanted to give themselves an opportunity to try and play without a coach for the first DPC tour, but I think it became clear to all of us towards the end of the season that we would definitely benefit from acquiring a coach for the team,” Kalbz said.
Kalbz added that adjusting to the new patch coming after the Lima Major may be a key to victory for the entire team. “The good thing about it is that other teams are going to have to go through the same thing, so it's going to feel like a big reset in the season for everyone,” says Kalbz.
Among the items expected in the new patch are neutral items, upgrades, and placeholders for events. However, there are reports of new hero Muerta potentially debuting in the new patch. Muerta is Dota 2’s first new hero release since Primal Beast was released in February of last year.
As for VeenzG, he believes that competing in more tournaments may help Blacklist Rivalry crack the code. “Blacklist Rivalry is still a new team, so they'll be needing a lot of tournament experience as a team to gather sufficient data to counter their possible opponents and be familiar with the meta at the same time, unlocking a lot of heroes in the meta that might win their games,” he said.