When Southeast Asia bowed out of The International 10, disappointment rained throughout its fans. Although they sported a good delegation in Fnatic and T1, their bid of winning the Aegis of Champions was shelved as they couldn’t surpass the Top 8 threshold.
Despite the failure, the region has ample reason to be excited about the next edition. Unlike the past, where they pinned their hopes on a handful of teams to perform amicably well, the emergence of various capable squads in this current era has allowed them to garner confidence and invoke expectations to win as their contemporaries have done in either China or Europe.
Now, as the eyes of the Dota world convened in Dubai for the GAMERS GALAXY: International Series, one of their own managed to ascend to the forefront, besting foes in a manner that overwhelmingly contradicted the history they have been sorely accustomed with. Such a sad trend would not come to rear its ugly head again, not this time.
BOOM Esports defeated Tundra Esports to win the GAMERS GALAXY event, capping off an improbable run through the lower bracket that featured wins over perennial contender Team Secret, reigning TI champions Team Spirit, and Nigma Galaxy. BOOM’s triumph handed SEA its first win in a major international LAN since TNC Predator’s MDL Chengdu Major title in late 2019.
So many things can be highlighted to document BOOM’s successful run in Dubai. One may praise Erin “Yopaj” Jasper Ferrer’s individual brilliance throughout the tournament, which can be easily identified by looking at his average output of 10.39 kills, 8.88 KDA, and 694.00 XPM (according to spectral.gg). Others might congratulate Saieful “Fbz” Ilham for staying diligent throughout his stint with BOOM, culminating in his first international tournament win. Some may even feel a sense of validation for believing in head coach Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung and seeing him lead this particular team to glory when nobody expected him to do so.
But above all of that, it is essential to remember that a few things have gone differently before the 2021-22 DPC season; we would not have seen BOOM fight toe-toe with the best teams around. Keep in mind that this is the same team that was supposed to be relegated to Division II after finishing 7th with a 3-4 record at the end of last season. But due to Omega Esports being embroiled in a match-fixing scheme, the team remained in the top flight for this season, presenting another chance to fix their problems and turn a new leaf.
And just fielding a new roster wasn’t going to be enough. In addition to signing players like Yopaj, Timothy “Tims” Randrup, Rolen Andrei “skem” Gabriel Ong, and Souliya “JaCkky” Khoomphetsavong, BOOM enlisted legendary Malaysian midlaner Mushi as their head coach.
With their revamped core, BOOM wasted no time to show their might to the rest of SEA, taking Seasons 8 and 9 of BTS Pro Series and Mineski Masters in close succession to finish 2021, setting the stage for a sensational DPC Winter Tour.
Then again, sensational might be too strong of a word to describe their performance when the road to TI is miles away, but with them going 6-1 in a league many coined as the most grueling, nothing else is more fitting.
Nevertheless, skepticism simultaneously lingered beneath their impressive results. It was believed that’s run of dominance would finally fan out against the established powers like T1 and Fnatic in the SEA DPC Regional Finals. However, BOOM proved itself as a stout team that commands and demands respect.
By making the summit of the Dota competitive scene, one would generally enjoy the spoils of their hard work. But for BOOM, they’re not satisfied by just winning in Dubai, and they want to continue building themselves for TI so they can lift the Aegis of Champions in less than half a year.
“I’m really proud but there’s still a long way to go,” said Skem.” We are looking forward to TI. This is just [part of the] process for us.”