Talon fought like lions.
Even though many considered Group B to be much more difficult than Group A, Talon Esports performed quite well among the DPC's strongest teams: TI 2021 and Arlington Major, LCQ winners, DPC points leader, second-best Chinese team, and two best SA teams. Yet unfortunately, Talon was eliminated. Quite a dramatic story: they managed to beat Entity during the Group Stage and overall had two wins, but then lost to the very same Entity in the knockout replays.
I had the opportunity to ask a couple of questions to Damien "kpii" Chok at the end of the first part of the Main Stage. His team is still in Singapore, chilling. Kpii says that both he and his team are in good spirits. But even despite the morale, he notes that this was the most difficult challenge for his team: "It was hands down the hardest tournament we've ever played as a team."
And kpii is the oldest in the squad and the most experienced player. He attended six The Internationals previously, and in 2017 he took second place with Newbee, losing to Team Liquid in the Grand Finals. But even with such a vast background and considering his age, 29, he still learns something new. Damien notes that "being comfortable with each other is really important." And, of course, "to play without fear."
But for the three Talon players—Q, Mikoto, and Hyde—it was the first tournament of its kind. Therefore, when asked what the youngsters learned, Damien answered shortly: "They learned that mental health is extremely important at TI."
Of course, I could not ignore that a team from Southeast Asia suddenly invited a coach from Ukraine who had almost no work experience. Although, in fact, Andrii "ALWAYSWANNFLY" Bondarenko is an EEU Dota legend. Kpii spoke about why they chose to recruit him, how he affects the team and whether he will remain in the squad next season.
"One of us had gotten a message from him before. We were looking for a coach, so we decided to try him out. He is highly experienced and knows how to set up a good atmosphere. But due to the war in Ukraine, it's quite difficult for him to travel.
"AWF puts heavy emphasis on outside game things, such as players' confidence, vibe, etc."
Still, after Talon's defeat in tiebreakers, AWF posted a message on his Telegram channel saying: "Sorry, my bad." Kpii doesn't agree with him and explains what went wrong.
"Definitely, it was not just his bad. It was a collective effort, so we are all to blame. Not doing well affected our confidence, and it kinda snowballed."
By the way, AWF says he wants to continue working with Talon in the upcoming new DPC season.
Not a crazy meta
I couldn't help but ask such an experienced Dota 2 player about the current meta: these days, we have pos5 Sven and pos1 Pudge, while Crystal Maiden is a popular pick in pro games. Yet, this isn't the craziest meta kpii has ever seen, even with such a flexible hero pool. Controversially, he says the meta is boring for offlaners.
"I don't think it’s mad at all. The meta is kind of boring to me as you almost always have a Wraith Pact hero in the offlane. Heroes frequently come in and out of the meta, so seeing new ones played in new positions doesn’t surprise me."
What's next for Talon?
But now is the time to think about what will happen next. Of course, no one will make hasty decisions before The International is over, and Damien confirms this.
"We don’t know yet [what's going to be in the future]. Need more time and especially for TI to end."
However, given previous experience, language knowledge, and recent announcements (Faith_Bian, Ame, Somnus, and others), there may be a place for the kpii in the Chinese region. And he, in general, will not mind an invitation from there.
"Definitely a possibility, and I'm open to it. Time will tell where I go."
Talon Esports placed 17-18th at TI 2022 in Singapore, losing in the tiebreakers. They've earned 44 thousand dollars total.
Feature Image: Talon Esports