T1 departs with Gabbi and Karl ahead of TI11 qualifiers
It’s been a rough DPC (2021-22) season for T1 despite being a highly-anticipated candidate from Southeast Asia. While there’s still debate about when T1’s downhill performance started. The last straw was probably when T1 placed fifth at DPC SEA Tour 3, let alone qualify for Arlington Major.
Gabbi and Karl out of T1
Replacing not just one but both carry players from a two-year-old roster is often symbolic of major change. Kim “Gabbi” Santos and Karl “Karl” Baldovino were T1’s hard carry player and midlaner respectively, who certainly have some highlights during their tenure. Hence, it’s certainly not a question of whether Gabbi and Karl have been underperforming.
Instead, T1 likely want to change their pace and playstyle as they prepare for their last hurrah. The International 11 Regional Qualifier is what’s next after the Arlington Major, so T1 will have to finalize its decisions soon. In fact, T1 probably already planned this ahead of time, so for all we know, the replacements are already active behind-the-scenes.
As for Gabbi and Karl, getting kicked with only weeks before TI11 qualifiers certainly up the ante for their career.
What’s next for Gabbi and Karl?
While T1 likely kicked off boot camps and practice with their new players, we can’t say the same for Gabbi and Karl. Finding a team this time of the year isn’t too difficult, considering many teams are looking at fresh line-ups after a season of blunders. Not to mention that these are veteran players, amongst the top in class when it comes to hard carry players and midlaners.
The bigger concern is how well would their soon-to-be teams fair up against the competition. The SEA scene has an abundance of formidable teams and players this season, such as Team SMG and Talon Esports. Let’s not forget that Fnatic, which has been phenomenal this season, failed to qualify for TI11 as they were 0.5 points short of twelfth place on DPC Rankings.
If anything, Fnatic is already the heavy favorite to qualify via TI11 SEA qualifiers since they are second only to BOOM Esports. Their poor showing at Arlington Major was unfortunately because they played with three stand-ins, so don’t expect such repeats.
Hence, the odds of Gabbi and Karl qualifying for TI11 are out of the question, which is upsetting since this will end their TI participation streak.
T1’s new roster going into TI11 qualifiers
T1, on the other hand, has lots to contemplate about, especially after replacing their carry duos. For starters, T1 features an unorthodox player role, whereby Carlo “Kuku” Palad the offlane player is also the captain.
Furthermore, Kuku’s strategy and playstyle are also uniquely affecting how he drafts for the team. Whereby, we often see him pick heroes that play around the offlane hero’s timing. We see this well-delivered when he picked Batrider offlane, ensuring the supports synergize well with his aggressive pick.
Hence, replacing carry players is still the reasonable decision for T1 to alter their playstyle over disrupting Kuku’s offlane playstyle. Kenny “Xepher” Deo and Matthew “Whitemon” Filemon are seasoned supports too, so replacing either one would be detrimental.
Who’s T1 new carry players?
Although there’s no official announcement yet, we do have our speculations on potential candidates. John “Natsumi-” Vargas from Polaris Esports is a good contender after showcasing incredible farming speeds and his proficiency with classic hard carries, such as Phantom Lancer and Troll Warlord, makes for ideal synergy with Kuku’s space-making playstyle.
Another good alternative for mid-player is Muhammad “inYourdreaM” Rizky, who is arguably one of Indonesia’s most celebrated pub star. Non-SEA players are a long shot, considering how close the qualifiers are. Even if there are likely candidates, non-SEA players migrating here to play have historically not done well.
As Arlington Major 2022 concludes, we might just hear more announcements on roster shuffles ahead of TI11 qualifiers. Hence, it’s a race against time for T1 to put up a viable roster. T1 made their first debut in TI10 during the same year they opened their Dota 2 division. They will surely want to keep up with the tradition of visiting TI annually.