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TNC Predator claimed their first Major title this past weekend in China, at MDL Chengdu. Ahead of their upper bracket finals series we had the chance to sit and chat with Paul “Armel” Tabios about how the team felt going up against Vici Gaming, about some of the strong hero combos used through the entire Major, and whether SEA should keep or not the three qualifiers slots going into the next Major of the season. 

The interview was conducted by Yuhui Zhu on the media day at MDL Chengdu. 


Hello Armel, I’d like to start our interview by asking if you actually expected the team to do so well right from the get-go, despite making rather two big changes in the post TI9 shuffle.

To be honest, we didn’t expect anything, because the two guys that we lost in the shuffle, eyyou ad Kuku, are important to us. They are really good friends and really good players as well, so we didn’t know how we will do at the start of the season. Not that we were worried that we will become a bad team or anything by letting them go, but we didn’t expect that we will have such a strong start. 

I’ve seen March in a post ESL One Hamburg interview stating that you guys don’t set specific goals, like top 4, win the event, and things like that when you go to tournaments. And it looks like it’s an approach that pays off. Is this way of heading into a tournament something new in the TNC mentality, is it something that came with the new captain?

Yes, and I think it’s actually nice to come into a tournament without expecting anything, without putting pressure on yourself. When we started the season we said that we won’t expect anything and that we are not afraid to lose.

Armel and march at MDL Chengdu

Much like TNC, Vici Gaming have also had a super good run so far, and they are your adversaries for a spot in the grand finals. What are your thoughts going up against them, do you think rOtk can lay down a trap for you guys in the draft, how do you think you match up against them?

VG are a really good team and we look forward to facing them. We respect them a lot, but I think we can beat them.

Inside the TNC roster, you have two brilliant Morphing players, yourself and Gabbi, and I was a bit surprised to see that you played the deadly combo with Earthshaker only once through the entire group stage and the first rounds in the upper bracket playoffs, despite a few teams not banning it against you. Why didn’t you bring it more in your games?

We have a lot of strategies prepared for this Major so, we don’t rely on the Morphling-Earthshaker. If the combo is available, maybe we will think about picking it, but yeah, we have more in store than just that. The combo is OP, but it can be countered. If you know how to play against it, you can beat it.

Speaking about this annoying combo, what do you want to see changed at Morphling in the new patch?

It’s not the Morphling itself being OP, but rather the combo with ES. So, they should look at how to nerf the combo. Perhaps, the Morph Aghanim’s should be changed. Morph alone, without the ES is not a strong hero. 

Without revealing too much from your current strategies, what else do you think it’s a bit broken in the current patch and should be addressed in the Outlanders update?

Night Stalker and KotL, this is another super annoying combo, and I hope that they will get nerfed.

You are a core player and I’d like to hear from you what is your hope for the fourth Spirit, the Void Spirit. Would you want to see him suited for the mid or the safe lane positions?

I want to see it made for the mid lane. I want to have a new hero to play in the mid lane.

When the qualifiers slots were announced for this Major, everyone was intrigued to see Europe getting only two tickets. Given the fact that SEA has only one team in the top eight here at the Major and that in Europe, most probably, all the tier one teams will be back (Secret, Kuro’s team and OG), do you think SEA might lose a qualifiers slot for Leipzig Major, would that be a fair decision?

It’s really hard to make a case for SEA to keep the 3 qualifiers slots, to be honest, because the other two teams from our region finished in the 9-12th spots here in Chengdu. So, I’d say it would be fair if they gave us only two slots for the next Major, even if we, TNC, win this tournament.

Alright, thanks a lot for taking the time to talk to us, and best of luck in the finals.

Thank you.

More interviews from MDL Chengdu Major:

Dy: “This year, rOtk has given us an order“

Boxi: “I actually hope to go at least top 4”

K1: “I think we are a rather unique team for Peru”

Abed: “I want to see Ranked Roles gone with 7.23”

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