BY PAOLO BARCELON
Metro Manila, Philippines (January 11) - Keeping it cool and not losing their head in the game is what Blacklist Rivalry’s team captain, Timothy “Tims” Randrup, said about how they intend to keep their winning ways as they snagged a reverse sweep, 2-1, to win their first outing in Week One of the 2023 Dota 2 Pro Circuit Winter Tour.
Tims says he does not let his veteran squad - composed of Carlo “Kuku” Palad, Marc Polo “Raven” Fausto, Nico “eyyou” Barcelon, and Karl “Karl” Baldovino - get their branding as a Filipino Dota 2 “dream team” get in their head.
In an exclusive interview with Beyond The Rivalry, he stated “Kasi baka lumaki lang yung ulo namin, isipin namin, dream nga puro talo naman. Kaya gusto ko, puro humble lang” (“We may become boastful and think that we’re a dream team that just loses. That’s why I want us to be humble”).
Blacklist Rivalry defeated Singapore-based esports team Bleed Esports after a thrilling three-match showdown that initially saw Blacklist Rivalry lose to them after a 44-minute standoff in game 1, thanks to a pick by Bleed’s Souliya “Jackky” Khoomphetsavong of a deathless Slark - a pick that dominated the Blacklist Rivalry crew.
However, a good counter from Blacklist Rivalry allowed the team to outmaneuver JaCkky’s Lina pick, which was answered back by Centaur Warrunner for Kuku, and Nature’s Prophet for Raven. A tank-built Kunkka in Game 2 followed by a similarly-built Tiny allowed Karl to displace Jackky’s Lina in a Game 3 that lasted almost an hour.
Tims also said that part of their squad preparations was to learn from their first tournament outing, which was the M88 Invitational. Bleed eliminated Blacklist Rivalry in that minor tournament and eventually went on to win the said competition.
“Yung nangyari kasi sa M88 (what happened in M88), mostly scouting the other teams. Tinitignan lang namin kung papaano sila maglaro , kung anong heroes yung gusto nila, kung ano yung ginagawa nila sa scrimmage (we’re looking at how they play, what heroes they want, what they do in scrimmages). Mostly it was just scouting and enjoying,” Tims said.
In a post-match interview, Kuku gave credit to Tims and eyyou for the caliber of their shotcalling, saying that the two are the ‘masterminds.’ “We did not expect it to go to game three, and I thought it's just gonna be 2-0 or 0-2,” Kuku said.
Blacklist Rivalry will be facing off against a stellar lineup of opponents, such as Fnatic, Talon Esports, Execration, Team SMG, BOOM Esports, and Geek Slate. The said tournament is the first major edition of the Dota 2 pro circuit, which usually has three editions per year.
The Top 3 teams in the Winter Tour regional league for Southeast Asia will qualify for the Lima Major in Peru, which is scheduled from February 24 to March 5.
The International, the top global championship for Dota 2, will happen either in September or October.