Last week, the Asia Pacific Predator League 2024 tournament happened in Manila, The Philippines and thanks to Acer Malaysia sending over a team of media to the event, I am here to report on what we’ve done over there.
Pre-travel Packing feat. Predator Robust Luggage
Not only they are sponsoring the trip but also wanted me to try out the gamer-dedicated Predator Robust Luggage for the occasion.
Since we’ll have a full video talking about it, let’s keep the real deal in a more proper review format slated for release once the trip’s over. So for now, I’ll just tease you with some photos showing the internal space.
So as usual, for international flights, you gotta be at the airport 3 hours before the flight time in the best scenario which is 5 AM.
So I reached there at about 4.30 AM and we also went ahead and did pimping shots of the Predator Robust Luggage.
With all required clearance given and a light breakfast, we took the plane and here we are!
The moment we walked out of the boarding tunnel, we were greeted warmly by the folks over at Predator Philippines with a handmade necklace and paper bouquet kind of thing.
Then we made it to Conrad which is the hotel we’re staying and it is just beside the bay area so the shots from above are incredible.
After settling down the luggage, we took a quick shuttle over to Sofitel where we met the esport teams Myth Avenue Gaming (MAG) and Todak (TDK) who competed in the Asia Pacific Predator League 2024 tournament hosting both Dota 2 and Valorant.
Since we are a bit late to the session so there will be questions missed beforehand but here’s what I got.
Q: Although it is sad to see the Malaysian teams lose out on the chance to enter the Playoffs, can you guys give a general answer on why your efforts can’t quite work out the way you guys wanted?
MAG: Our team had some last-minute changes that caused some team coordination issues so we didn’t execute what we wanted to the fullest.
TDK: Our team expected the result by a half shot because the scrim results are just as bad as you might already figured out.
Q to TDK: Why the sudden roster swap to ‘fishball’? Do you have any thoughts on the experience gained versus full-time pro teams?
TDK: Due to some in-house incident that we cannot disclose, but that led to the pick up of ‘fishball’. As for the experience, we now know it firsthand that practice can only refine something you can control but it is never enough to be applied to real matches playing on the stage. Experience is ultimately what you can do against things that are usually out of your control.
Q: What’s the difference between playing casually and professionally to you guys personally?
MAG: Playing as a pro you will need full coordination on every team member. Even if you guys are good at doing something good as in strategy or playstyle, you always need to tune them a little bit and test against different teams to make sure your idea actually works in the meta. As for playing casually, it is always about fun and chill with the boys.
TDK: We have the same idea as MAG but as the team members are still kind of fresh in the esport scene, we are still learning and gaining any experience we can.
Q: Which team do you guys want to face the most? Haven’t played before or already played are both okay.
MAG: Any T1 team in the tournament has something unique to them and it is important to learn and realize how can they know and get to certain advantages or “timings” in the game for maximum power.
TDK: Even though we got stomped by Team Secret, we are still happy to play against such a renowned team so yeah, no hard feelings. Will pick them again if you ask me.
Q: What’s the biggest gap between you and the top teams?
MAG: Consistency is really what separates T1 and T2 teams. This is applied in the context of expressing their unique playstyles in almost every match. Their strategy and understanding of the meta have allowed them to get to the “comfort zone” of their player’s skill set very easily.
TDK: International experience is what held top teams together since they can compete against lots of different playstyles and adapt the good points to themselves. We are also looking forward to putting more hours into the game as a team.
Q: What sort of changes do you expect to deliver for the next Predator League or any major tournament?
MAG: Our team might not stick around because we are kind of a “rojak” comprising of members currently playing for other teams or just a free agent. The team will only stick if any organization wants to sign all 5 of us in one go.
TDK: We are still trying to think of the best way to express our team’s strong points so there’s still a lot of room to explore.
Q to MAG: There are 2 types of general strategies in team PvP games either “Be so good that you can win against anyone” or “Stop good teams from doing what they are good at”. Which side do you think T1 teams are leaning against?
MAG: I think they are more towards the former since Dota 2 has bans to help you facilitate the latter but it is still limited. Back to the topic, T1 teams are extremely good at tempo control and often cause the other teams to “react” to their plays rather than “play around”. Often times the losing team is also inexperienced in handling such situations, thus spiraling the situation out of control.
Q: What do you guys think about MOBAs in the mobile platform?
TDK: For us who focused on shooter games, I’m glad that the genre can be mainstreamed enough to lead to the rise of many small-scale, local tournaments that can attract even the most casual players. It ultimately benefits the nation and the sector as a whole.
MAG: We also agree with the point but in terms of the game we are playing, Dota 2’s pro scene shrunk over the years with fewer tournaments no matter how big or small popping out to support the scene. Kind of sad but it is the present reality in Malaysia for now.
Q to MAG: Since the Predator League is offering such a big prize pool that can even match, let’s say, The International, do you think your team or the scene would start putting more effort into these 3rd party tournaments?
MAG: Since we are a “rojak” team, we joined the Predator League in hopes of being able to win at least the local qualifier with our raw skill and basic coordination. As in putting in more effort, if any brand wants us and gives us a chance, we will respond positively.
Q: Do you think cultural differences would make or break a team? At least for Malaysian teams.
MAG: Even though a team where everyone speaks the same language can definitely minimize the communication barrier I think ultimately chemistry is the thing that matters the most. If you can find someone who knows what you want to do and proceed to supplement or augment that, you’ll be in a good place.
TDK: Yes, being able to speak quickly in your mother tongue can sometimes turn around a seemingly unwinnable situation because we can react much faster to the information
Q: Then will the population scale affect the esports scene?
MAG: Yes of course, as the generation and age ratio shifts, we are bound to see some changes in popular competitive games.
TDK: We agree too. But the amount of support received by a given esport title is also relevant. One example would be Indonesia’s relatively balanced ratio of PC MOBAs and mobile MOBAs player count. In Malaysia, the mobile platform just trumps the PC scene as of now.
Q to TDK: What happened during your match with Team Secret? Why the 1-13 scoreboard?
TDK: We definitely are on the losing side due to inexperience but also Team Secret has better raw skills to be able to brute force everything. When we try to do the same, it doesn’t work.
After the interview, it is just about dinner time and after that, we went back to get some needed rest to prepare for tomorrow morning.