Team Faceless Hungry For Their Big LAN Win
Will playing in the region they dominate show the world their true strength?
(Banner image credit: Team Faceless)
For the longest time Team Faceless was the biggest threat to a Southeast Asian team's dreams of making it to the world stage. Time and time again they have claimed the SEA qualifier slot for big tournaments like The Summit, the last two Majors, DAC 2017, to name a few on top of, of course, their Manila Masters slot.
The biggest criticism about the team however is that once they make it to the international LAN, they're often picked apart by Western and Chinese teams. It would seem that SEA's top dog doesn't have much bite beyond its territory.
On top of that, Filipino teams are starting to break through Facless' once-airtight control over the gates out of the region. With TNC and Clutch Gamers giving Faceless a run for their money in Asian tournaments and stepping past into the Dota world beyond, even Faceless' title as SEA kings is being threatened.
There is a lot of pressure on Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang to make something happen at the Manila Masters. It won't be easy: they will have to play in front of a predominantly Filipino crowd that has had their hopes crushed by the Singapore-based team time and time again.
But still, for whatever reason, it's in this part of the world that Faceless is strongest.
Unlike other SEA teams, that almost always rely on the individual skill and mechanics of their players (though, clearly, that is changing with TNC and Clutch Gamers), Team Faceless is all about team play. In-game, it is Anucha "Jabz" Jirawong that drafts for the team and endless hours of studying every other team in the world has given the team one of the most flexible draft phases in Dota 2. Compared to other SEA teams, Faceless also have a knack for staying composed while both behind and in the lead, allowing for a game of incremental advantages that Dominik "Black^" Reitmeier thrives off.
Out-of-game, the team is supported by Daryl Koh who pays for the team's gaming house and expenses from out-of-pocket. Despite being a sponsorless team, the players and support staff are cared for not just through their own internal funding but by their support for one another. The roster, after all, hasn't changed since the team's inception last year. Many teams ignore the immense value there is in growing together as a stable roster.
From the SEA fans, Faceless draws a lot of animosity, and maybe even fear. For fans outside of the region, Faceless is a non-entity in bigger LANs. Both worlds collide in the Manila Masters and it's a confusing mix of underestimation and overestimation.
Faceless, however, isn't phased at all. For all these opinions on the team that quietly just continues to train after both victory and defeat, iceiceice only has this to say: "There are no expectations; we just want to play well."