Dota 2 TI10 Team Profile: Thunder Predator, Peru’s Number 2
We’ve talked a little about how the South American region fits into the greater Dota 2 ecosystem with our profile on Peruvian team beastcoast, but in case you haven’t read it, just know that Peru is bonkers when it comes to Dota 2. Net cafes, or as they’re better known in Peru, cabinas, have informed the past ten years of Peruvian youth culture simply by connecting young Peruvians to the rest of the world and introducing them to multiplayer games. Dota Allstars made a huge impact in Peru as Warcraft III was easy to pirate and distribute and the multiplayer map simplified Warcraft III’s RTS gameplay to something resembling an action RPG. It was the dawn of a new fascination for Peruvian youth that’s lasted to this day.
Now, in 2021, Peru’s grown to become the most active region in the Americas, rivaling North America in terms of competitors and growing talent. Players like Timado, K1, SmAsH, and StingeR have all gained fame in their home country and notoriety abroad, and while they may be fresh faces to fans who have only paid attention to the European and North American scenes, they’ve been competing in Dota 2 for some time now. Thunder Predator’s place in the grander Peruvian Dota 2 is informed by the scene’s legacy, and unfortunately, by the scene’s shortcomings.
We’ve been doing team profiles on Dota 2 teams participating at TI10. Even though we’re already past the first day of group stages, the goal is to provide detailed team profiles on all teams competing to give new viewers and returning fans improved insight for this year’s event. If you’re curious, check out profiles we’ve published on Team Undying, Elephant, OG, Team Spirit, Beastcoast, SG esports, Evil Geniuses, Alliance, Team Secret, and Fnatic. As always, stay on the lookout for more blogs on T10 to come in the future.
Thunder Predator – A Brief History of the South American Wastelanders
Thunder Predator’s roster comes from the turbulent days of Peruvian Dota 2, encountering each other on the rosters of teams like Gorillaz-Pride, Not Today, and Infamous. Peruvian teams are not well known for their longevity, and the scene’s lack of support from larger esports organizations encourages players to bounce from team to team to find the best degree of success for domestic competition. However, as Peruvian teams began qualifying for international events, roster instability erupted. Between 2015 up to as recently as 2020, players have swapped back and forth between teams. Thunder Predator has been no exception.
Historically, the organization has existed primarily to compete in tier 3 Americas competition or in domestic tournaments. Eventually, Thunder Predator would attempt to qualify for larger, tier 1 events, managing to win in open qualifiers but faltering once it came to their region’s qualifying series. Due to a disqualification of first-place South American seed test123 (formerly Pain X), Thunder Predator would qualify for the group stages of the Chongqing Major in 2019, taking 10th at the event after being eliminated by Evil Geniuses in the second round of the lower bracket.
After gaining a taste of international competition at Chongqing, Thunder Predator decided they wanted more and would go on a tear throughout 2019, winning various Tier 3 South American tournaments such as Movistar Liga Pro Gaming, joinDOTA League, and Aorus League 2019.
2020 would see Thunder Predator participate in higher caliber events as most tier 1 Dota 2 competition went online. The Peruvian squad would win a variety of South American events hosted by ESL One, with their most successful showing being 2nd place at ESL One Thailand 2020: Americas where they lost to Quincy Crew.
Going into 2021, Thunder Predator decided that they would focus on the newly restructured DPC league for South America with their aim being to make it to TI10. However, 2021 would show that fortune is fickle and that the world of international Dota 2 competition was more ruthless than they could imagine.
Thunder Predator – Recent Results & Roster Changes
At the beginning of 2021, Thunder Predator signed Joel ‘MoOz’ Ozambela, beastcoast’s coach and former support for North American team J.Storm. MoOz’s time on Infamous saw him compete at DreamLeague season 10 and 11 against teams like NAVI, Team Spirit, and PSG.LGD, thus giving Thunder Predator’s roster some insight on international competition.
Frank ‘Frank’ Arias would rejoin Thunder Predator after a brief reprieve and round out the squad of Mnz (also known as Kotaro Hayama of Infamous’ 2017 roster), Leostyle–, and Mjz. Thankfully, this roster has stayed together throughout the 2021 season, more than likely due to the team’s TI10 qualification.
The beginning of the year would see Thunder Predator excel at the Singapore Major after taking first at season 1 of the South American DPC regional league. Seeing as how the Singapore Major would be the first time many teams would face each other since the beginning of the pandemic, Thunder Predator surprised many teams with their brand of aggressive, early-game-oriented playstyles.
Thunder Predator would go 12-2 during the group stages of the Singapore Major, netting remarkable wins against PSG.LGD, Team Liquid, and Team Aster. However, once they got to the playoffs stage, they would see their run cut short by Team Secret, the bane of many South American teams due to their flexibility and ability to alter their plans based on the conditions of the game. Thunder Predator would be eliminated by the Singapore Major’s champions, Invictus Gaming. Thunder Predator would take 5-6th at the event, outperforming many regional favorites from China, Southeast Asia, and Europe.
Based on their performance, many placed Thunder Predator near the top of all teams participating in the DPC, and ranked Thunder Predator as the best team in Peru. However, the decline for Thunder Predator would begin during season 2 of the South American DPC League. After failing to qualify for the AniMajor, Thunder Predator had to sit on the sidelines and pray that their countrymen and fellow SA competitors, NoPing e-sports, would waver in the main event of the AniMajor. Thankfully, NoPing failed to make any significant impact at Animajor, departing from the event with 0 DPC points and allowing Thunder Predator to take the last qualifying spot for TI10, avoiding a possible elimination at the South American qualifier.
With a definite spot guaranteed for them at TI10, Thunder Predator would compete at both ESL One Fall and the OGA Dota PIT Invitational, two tournaments that gave teams the opportunity to compete on a new patch prior to TI10. Thunder Predator would, unfortunately, wash out of both these events. ESL One Fall saw Thunder Predator unceremoniously leave the event in last place alongside their South American compatriots, SG esports. The Peruvians would fail to win a single series in the round-robin of ESL One Fall, leading to them falling to dead last in their group. Dota PIT was no better as Thunder Predator would be eliminated early in the tournament by SG esports, netting another last-place finish.
Thunder Predator – Predictions for TI10
Thunder Predator’s run at TI10 seems like it will follow in the footsteps of previous events they’ve played during the latter half of the 2021 DPC season. After two days of group stages, the team has lost half of their matches against teams they stood at least a fighting chance against, and the remaining teams they have yet to play include Evil Geniuses, who are currently third in group A.
So far, Thunder Predator’s all-out, tanky brawling playstyle hasn’t secured them any advantages in their games. In their match against Alliance, Alliance was able to keep up with the pace of Thunder Predator’s fighting and drag their games out past the 50-minute mark into territory where Thunder Predator felt uncomfortable fighting. Many teams at TI10 have the capacity to resist early, team-fight-oriented drafts that Thunder Predator loves to play and counteract with more objective-oriented gameplay. Securing objectives and making informed macro decisions about the game remains Thunder Predator’s biggest weakness, and if they are unable to overcome it, they may see their TI10 run cut short at the group stage.
Overall, even before group stages, I didn’t have much hope for the scrappy Peruvian squad. Most teams have moved past the in-your-face brawling style that’s become the emblem of Peruvian Dota 2. It no longer shocks teams anymore, and it’s a style of play that’s long since been retired. To see Thunder Predator rely on this style of play still in 2021 shows that they’re too stuck in Peru’s past.
If Thunder Predator is able to play with objectives in mind, there’s a chance they could sneak wins against Team Aster, who have shown to be weak playing against international opponents and could be put on the backfoot by Thunder Predator’s playstyle. The same goes for Virtus.pro, but the likelihood of this happening is slim as VP have adapted well to challenging international opponents. However, Virtus.pro’s recent loss against T1 shows that the young age and experience of the VP squad is something that weaker teams can exploit, and Thunder Predator should hope that VP are still slow to adapt to unknown opponents.
It’s likely that Thunder Predator will exit TI10 at the group stages, but South American Dota deserves to see more representatives on the main stage. It’s entirely up to Thunder Predator as to whether they will be one of those representatives.