Excitement is at its peak for The International 2022, but if fans can’t wait that long, there’s instant relief in the form of ESL One Malaysia that begins this week.
This 12-team event will be the third event at Resorts World in Genting Highlands. The previous one took place over four years ago. For the record, this is the first LAN tournament outside of the Dota Pro Circuit in 2022.
The six-day event will feature a prize pool of USD 400,000. Seven teams have made it through invitation, while one team apiece from Europe, China, Southeast Asia, North America and South America have made it through the qualifying route.
The group stages will feature a single round-robin format, with matches being best-of-two, with the top two from each pool of six advancing to the upper bracket playoffs. The third and fourth teams will enter the lower bracket, while the bottom two from each group will head home.
The playoffs will be in a double elimination bracket. The final will be a best-of-five series, while every other game will be best-of-three in the playoffs.
They won’t have the services of Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi who is out due to health issues. A stand-in is expected to be named in due course. It remains to be seen if coach rmN- stands-in again, like he has on several occasions.
As such, Nigma have made quite a name for themselves through the use of substitutes. Over time, Miracle and KuroKy, the captain, have missed quite a lot of game time due to health concerns of personal matters.
For Nigma, there’s the simple matter of overcoming the hurt of losing to PSG.LGD in the quarterfinals of the Riyadh Masters last month. In a game that was touted to be some of the finest play you could see, PSG.LDG closed out a tight game in the third.
It was a particularly tough loss for Nigma because they held a lead at one point, but a team fight defeat sent things spiraling out of control. Losses can either demoralise a team or make them even more determined to rise higher. In Malaysia, we’ll know which route Nigma takes. They have the players to challenge the bigger sides. They’ll need to learn to channel pressure and clinch the key moments.
Boom Esports, the Indonesian outfit, are on a massive high. Only recently, they became the first Southeast Asian team to secure an entry to The International 2022, following a 2-1 win over Team Liquid in a high-stakes elimination game at PGL Arlington Major 2022. This helped them finish in the top eight at the playoffs and net enough DPC points to make it this far.
ESL One Malaysia is an excellent opportunity for them to put to action some plans they may have for TI 2022. In a sense, they’re the flag bearers of a region starved of much success, so hopes are riding high. In their roster is Erin “Yopaj” Ferrer, a future star, and offlane duo Saieful “Fbz” Ilham and Timothy “Tims” Randrup are two of the most reliable initiators in the game. This line-up will cause more than a few headaches to teams in their group, and possibly beyond.
Fnatic are on a high, having qualified for TI 2022 but they had quite a lot to prove. At Arlington Major, visa issues hampered their roster to the extent that they had to include three stand-ins. Yet, they made it past a tough group to qualify through the upper bracket, where they stumbled under pressure.
They’re a side that has dominated the Southeast Asian scene but haven’t been able to replicate the same kind of form of consistency internationally. Now with a full roster back, ESL One Malaysia is another chance to get back on track and prove they’re worthy title contenders.