A Fumble or a Gamble? T1’s Road to Master’s Shanghai

A Fumble or a Gamble? T1’s Road to Master’s Shanghai

    Last Updated on June 10, 2024

At the beginning of 2024, most PACIFIC teams underwent significant changes, and T1 was no exception. They replaced three players and faced the challenge of competing without their strong pillar, xeta. Despite these changes, T1’s rebuild proved successful, reaching the semi-finals in the KICKOFF tournament. Although T1 failed to qualify for MASTERS Shanghai due to a loss against PRX, it was clear they were a team to watch in the PACIFIC region this year.

The team’s new roster, featuring rising stars like iZU, xccurate, and Rossy, demonstrated high potential, positioning T1 as a powerhouse based on individual player power alone.

T1 During the Regular Season

The regular season was rough for T1 in the Alpha group because they faced tough losses against stronger teams in the Omega group. Call it luck, but T1 benefited from being in the Alpha group and managed to advance by chance. They nearly shared the same record as Global Esports at (2-4), only advancing due to round differential.

Won by a Hair: Round Differences against Global

Looking at the number of wins, T1 and Global Esports were almost the same. It all came down to crucial round differentials in each game. Unfortunately for Global Esports, their losses were larger, causing them to lose on round count.

During most of T1’s losses, they were fighting hard, and the games were close. The maps they fought against PRX were really close. PRX, the top 1 seed of APAC for Masters Shanghai, put up a fight that tipped T1’s scores closer compared to Global Esports. They even went overtime on one map against PRX, making the round differential much closer than expected.

T1 reaching the Pacifics Playoffs and putting Team Secret Down

T1 reached the playoffs by a hair, but they made it. They fought against Team Secret in the knockout stages, starting in the playoffs because they were the 3rd seed in the Alpha group. The only reason they were able to destroy Team Secret was that they played on the ONLY maps T1 knows how to play.

Starting from round 16 on Lotus, T1 with their usual setup, led by xccurate’s Chamber, made it hard for Team Secret to do anything once they reached the A site. Team Secret struggled round by round on the retakes, especially with their site anchors getting demolished on entry.

On Sunset, Team Secret fumbled by not knowing what executes would work against T1. Once T1 started defense, they had only two successful executes, one of them being their bonus round. Round 23 was the tipping point, where Sayaplayer started off with an off-angle on elbow and took down Jremy.

Team Secret managed to entry on site but didn’t have enough space to protect the spike, resulting in T1 winning 2-0 and eliminating Team Secret.

This victory rekindled hope for T1 and their fans, giving them momentum for their next game against Gen G, APAC’s #1 team at Masters Madrid.

Gen G fights T1 on their turf

T1 supporters were pumped when they got the win against one of the best teams, Gen G. This victory qualified them for Masters Shanghai. Going to Breeze was advantageous for T1, a map they love playing, and they won decisively, leaving Gen G with just 7 rounds.

Qualified for Masters Shanghai; Then Lost Straight Games

Doubts emerged when T1 won no games against Paper Rex and Gen G. The loss against PRX was understandable as PRX excels in high-momentum, high-frag maps like Lotus and Sunset. T1 may have been regrouping, knowing they had already qualified for Masters Shanghai, possibly explaining their lack of effort in these games.

The round differential during these games highlighted T1’s struggles against Paper Rex, who were in top form throughout the Pacific Stage. Losing so badly on maps they excel at raised doubts about their performance at Masters Shanghai.

The games against Gen G were as expected, given that T1 played on maps they are not strong at. Icebox and Bind are their worst maps. Although they made these maps close, Gen G still won in the end

T1’s Map Pool is Miniscule

Compared to other teams, T1 has a very specific map pool. Lotus, Sunset, and Breeze are their only good maps, which is just 3 out of the 7 maps in the competitive season pool. This has been a recurring issue discussed by casters and analysts since the start of stage 1. Despite months needed for a solution, they only had weeks to prepare for the Pacific stage and Masters Shanghai, leading to their downfall on the bigger stage.

T1 at Masters Shanghai had some ups but more downs

In the Swiss stage, they needed to win 2 games to qualify for the playoffs but had to face the #2 and #3 seeds from the Americas. Their weaknesses became apparent when they faced regions adept at counter-strategies. Despite defeating G2 13-1 on Icebox, a map T1 recently started practicing, they fell short on maps they usually excel at.

Was T1’s gamble worth it?

In the end, it all paid off for T1. Despite their struggles during the regular season of the Pacific stage, they managed to qualify for Masters Shanghai and place 11th globally, a feat few expected. They played to their strengths, sticking to maps they excel at and letting xccurate shine on Chamber.

It was a lucky yet honest effort for T1. With more time to address their weaknesses, this early exit from Masters Shanghai could be a blessing in disguise, setting them up for a stronger performance in the next stage. We hope for the best for T1 and their current roster.

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Written By
Michael Cruz

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