Metro Manila, Philippines (February 22) - Veteran Dota 2 casters Aries “Kalbz” Alejandro and Vincent “VeenzG” Gallarte gave a to-do list which may help them break the code and win the DPC SEA Division I Tour 2.
The team, composed of Dota 2 veteran pro players Timothy “Tims” Randrup, Karl “Karl” Baldovino, Carlo “BossKu” Palad, Marc Polo “Raven” Fausto, Nico “eyyou” Barcelon, have earlier garnered 60 DPC points from their 4th place finish in Tour I, keeping their standing in the said division and giving them another shot for qualifying to The Internationals 2023, which is expected later this year.
For Kalbz, who is also head of Tier One Entertainment’s Ardent program for shoutcasters and hosts, their performance in DPC SEA Division I showed how there is no single member in Blacklist Rivalry that shone the most.
“ If you look at each member of the team, you will always be able to say something positive or be able to point out moments of brilliance throughout the season,” Kalbz noted. I think it's very tough to point at a single member in the team and definitively say that he was the guy that shone the most.”
The veteran Dota 2 caster added that despite their cohesion and unity as a team, their performance in their debut season in black and orange left its own mark.
“The truth of it is, we didn't perform at the level we were hoping to reach. The team is aware of their reputation within the scene and the responsibility that they carry for the Philippines and its passionate fans. Maybe when The International concludes later this year, I'll be able to confidently say that "X player" shone the most in terms of performance for us this year. For now though, we focus on being the best versions of ourselves individually and as a team,” Kalbz said.
Kalbz pointed out in an earlier interview with Beyond The Rivalry that a coach is needed for Blacklist Rivalry to help improve the team’s performance. Fil-Am Dota 2 pro player Michael “Ninjaboogie” Ross has recently been signed as the black-and-orange brand’s new head coach.
However, VeenzG says there was one standout for the team’s performance in the DPC SEA Division I tour - Raven.
The 24-year-old carry who once suited up for TNC, Geek Slate and Fnatic, he believes, “has become a key player to win games when he plays on the safe lane.”
“Raven has been great at utilizing meta heroes like Lifestealer, Lina, and Drow Ranger,” VeenzG says. “Also, Nature’s Prophet has been a key carry hero for the team because they have no issues picking it in the first picking phase, and let their opponents think that Kuku will play it in the offlane,” he adds.
For VeenzG, the biggest singular threat to Blacklist Rivalry in Tour 2 will be Talon Esports, citing how its tiebreaker do-or-die, which they won handily, pushed Blacklist Rivalry out of Lima Major contention.
“Talon forced Blacklist to go down on the lower bracket finals on the BTS Pro Series 14 and also claiming the third place last DPC SEA Tour 2023. Their first encounter on M88 Mansion Invitational, they have defeated Blacklist on a Best of one playoffs match on the first round. They have to fully analyze Talon's game style pattern and hero pools and try to find a hole that will break their entire game,” VeenzG said.
He adds, “Blacklist will have to create space for Raven at all times for their late-game insurance, while Kuku and Karl hold their respective lanes and let the supports do the early game roam and convert it into kills.”
Blacklist Rivalry won once against Talon in a 2-1 thriller held last January 16. Talon, however, cut BLR’s chances of making it into the DPC last January 30.
Kalbz agrees that Talon is one of the threats to Blacklist Rivalry’s TI journey, but also adds the other teams in Tour I’s top three - Filipino team Execration and Malaysian team Geek Slate. Execration was the top seed from SEA in the Lima Major, with Geek Slate at second place.
Blacklist Rivalry did not win their games against Execration and Geek Slate during the DPC SEA Division I Tour I, with Execration sweeping the black-and-orange in a 2-0 victory last January 20, while Geek Slate forced Blacklist to play the do-or-die tiebreaker with Talon ten days later.
“Execration, Geek, and Talon are going to benefit from playing on LAN for sure. It's up to them how they'll use the overall experience,” Kalbz said.
However, he noted that the most substantial threat to Blacklist Rivalry is themselves.
“I feel the team that poses the most substantial threat to us will be Blacklist Rivalry and how we use the break in preparation for the next DPC tour,” Kalbz noted.
Beyond The Rivalry asked the two analysts what they think Tims, BossKu, eyyou, Raven and Karl needed to do and how they should improve, and both had great in-game and off-game advice for the Redeem Team.
VeenzG: As the captain, he sets the pace for the team and makes the decisions well.
Kalbz: He needs more basketball because no pain = no gain
VeenzG: He’s an annoying offlaner (from an opponent’s perspective.) His job is to create plays for the team and sometimes annoys them by distractive offlane plays like the NP split push.
Kalbz: He needs to eat, because he needs to gain weight.
VeenzG: The killer. Once farmed, Raven is a threat to each and every opponent he faces.
Kalbz: He needs happiness, because he's a sadboi.
VeenzG: The team’s Doctor, the sustain that he gives as Treant Protector helped the team in their victores.
Kalbz: He needs to underthink, because he's too smart for his own good.
VeenzG: No doubt he’s focused. He needs to focus on getting every last hit and denies just to outfarm his mid opponent.
Kalbz: He needs to sleep, because he plays too much Dota.