Pinoy pride. All-Filipino squad Execration seeking to defy odds at TI7
With this year’s iteration of The International fast approaching, it seems appropriate to offer fans both new and old a breakdown of who it is they’re going to be watching in Seattle. This series of posts will each be dedicated to one of the 18 teams that will be participating in The International 2017, with the aim of giving readers a brief overview of the teams, their position coming into TI, and what their expectations might be. Please note that these posts will not contain a comprehensive history of the teams, nor will they go into minute detail for each of the players. There are more thorough breakdowns for teams and players available out there, a la SirActionSlacks’ “TI Down Low” series. These posts aim to provide something more akin to an “in a nutshell” level of information. In this post, we cover the final participant from the southeast Asian region, the TI7 SEA Qualifier 3rd place finisher, and one of two teams to come to TI through open qualifiers – Execration
Execration could come into TI7 with the weight of a nation of its shoulders. While the team is one of three representatives from the Southeast Asian region, Execration will be the only all-Filipino squad at TI, and the team’s performance will be a point of pride for Filipino fans. Execration have already had one TI-related accomplishment this year, as the team managed to fight its way through the TI7 SEA Open Qualifiers to move on to the regional qualifier and qualify for TI. The story of how the team made it through those open qualifiers, and why they had to participate in the first place, comes back to the recurring theme across almost all of the teams at TI: roster changes.
Execration is another squad on the seemingly never ending list of teams to have made roster changes this year. However, Execration’s changes are a bit different from those of the other teams due to the time at which they occurred. Execration did not finalize and announce its current lineup until late June of this year. Unfortunately for the Filipino squad, this date fell nearly one month past the cutoff date for Valve’s seasonal roster lock. Because of this, the roster was no longer eligible to be directly invited to TI7 or the SEA regional qualifiers, thus necessitating the team’s run through the TI7 Open Qualifiers. The lack of a direct invite to the regional qualifier was not the only disadvantage for Execration. The extremely late roster changes mean that there are little to no games to look at when trying to analyze the team’s play. The only events that the team has participated in since revamping its roster are the open and regional qualifiers for TI7.
Because of the recentness of the team’s roster changes and the lack of matches outside of the TI7 qualifiers, the expectations in Seattle seem low for Execration. There is a slight chance that some strange mix of events conspire to occur simultaneously to give Execration an advantage at TI. The new roster could have boot-camped and come together to develop a winning sense of chemistry and teamwork in the two months since the qualifiers. The squad may have developed or saved strategies that it could surprise its opponents with. There’s even a possibility that the other TI teams simply underestimate Execration due to the lack of recent results available for analysis. We have seen some unexpected teams make “Cinderella” runs before, but the situation for Execration doesn’t seem particularly conducive to that level of performance.
Recent results for Execration are nearly nonexistent, with the team having only participated in the TI7 qualifiers since finalizing its roster. The the Open Qualifier, the team had a close call in the semifinal stage, winning the series 2-1 and going on to win the finals and secure a spot in the regional qualifier. In the main SEA Qualifier, the team also had some early struggles that resulted in a 5-4 group stage record. That record placed the team in a tiebreak situation with Team Faceless for the final slot in the playoff bracket. After a grueling, 72 minute long grudge match, Execration managed to win its tiebreaker match and advance to the playoff stage. After an initial loss to Fnatic, the SEA squad made an impressive run through the lower bracket, defeating both Mineski and Clutch Gamers to earn the final SEA spot at TI7.
Execration come into TI7 without a whole lot to its name. The squad has undergone significant and extremely recent changes to its roster, and have no results to speak of outside of its runs through the qualifiers for the SEA region. The situation does not look very good for Execration at first glance, but that doesn’t mean that there is no hope for the Filipino squad. With talented players and a nation of Filipino Dota fans behind it, Execration could have what its takes to make a miraculous and absolutely astonishing run, but the odds will certainly be stacked against them in Seattle.