To the surprise of many fans and pundits, the Southeast Asian region didn't receive a single direct invite to the Kiev Major, Valve's second Major of the 2016-2017 season that's slated to begin on April 27th. But at the Southeast Asia Online Qualifiers on Monday, two teams many considered invite worthy, Faceless and TNC, found themselves punching their ticket to Kiev, Ukraine.
Faceless took the first SEA invite slot after two best-of-threes that went all three games. Faceless' journey started with a hard-fought victory over TNC, its most difficult rival in the qualifiers. Afterwards, it moved on to face Mineski. Despite taking Game 1 of the series, Mineski proved to be too weak to stop Faceless' momentum. That second victory gave Faceless its spot at Kiev, where it will be looking for redemption after its appearance at the Boston Major ended with a 9th-16th place finish.
Since then, Faceless has terrorized the SEA region, a concept not foreign to the history of the organization. The team secured the SEA qualifier for the Dota 2 Asia Championships and took first place in the second season of the Mr. Cat Invitational. Outside of SEA, Faceless secured a respectable third place finish at Dota Pit Season 5. Its history against international competition has been rough, but if Faceless shows up like it did at Dota Pit, it should be able to find its way up the standings.
Following losses to Faceless, Mineski and TNC found themselves in the lower bracket, facing off for the final SEA slot for the Kiev Major. The series that ensued was an extremely fitting way to end the qualifiers, with Mineski and TNC trading blows in a pair of intense back-and-forth games. Mineski put up a valiant effort, pulling off an incredible win in Game 2, but its hopes for Kiev were dashed in a one-sided third game. TNC secured the second invitation for the SEA region, joining Faceless on the road to Kiev.
TNC's recent results may be impressive -- a first-place finish at the World Electronic Sports Games and 3rd- 4th at StarLadder iLeague Season 3 -- but after failing to qualify for the Boston Major it remains to be seen if it can deliver against the world's best teams.