After TNC claimed the trophy of WESG 2018, Armel Paul “Armel” Tabios talked about the problems that the team had before the tournament and preparation for it, as well as his plans on how he is going to spend his part of the prize money.
The 19-year-old told carry for the team, defeated China’s Keen Gaming in the grand final, grabbing the lion’s share of the $890,000 USD prize pool.
On their way to the final, TNC Predator overcame one of the favorites and last year winners White-Off — a Russian team built around four Virtus.pro members. Although few tier 1 teams chose to attend the event it proved to be great showcase of things to come for TNC.
After their victory, Armel talked about the importance of this title for the team and what a victory on the international stage means for the players.
What is your mood just right now after taking the WESG trophy?
It’s amazing. When we came to this tournament we had a good practice, even with two days of practice with our new offlaner. Overall, we played very well on scrims and had a good feeling before the event.
How hard was it to adapt to Raven as he was a third position player?
It wasn’t that hard. We all played together before, so we know the way he thinks and plays. He needed to adjust a little bit. For him, it’s pretty much the same, but now he is the player who creates the space and not the one who uses it.
Describe your attitude to WESG as a tournament.
This season of WESG is a good tournament. Obviously, it’s not a DPC event, but for us this tournament was important.
Was it all is just about the money?
For me personally, it’s not only about the money. I just want to win against tier-1 teams because we didn’t qualify for The Stockholm Major, so we wanted to prove ourselves here and redeem our confidence. We had a rough time, we were a bad team, and this tournament is the best practice for us. And now, we gained our confidence back and I believe that we will play better on the next Major’s qualifiers. We don’t have a problem with our gaming performance, it’s all about our mentality.
You were one of the favorites here in Chongqing. It’s quite unusual for you, doesn’t it?
We don’t pay much attention to it. Moreover, we didn’t see us as favorites because there were so many strong teams like EHOME and Virtus.pro, who were the defending champions.
By the way, Valve recently released a new update. What do you think about it?
To be honest with you, when it was just released, we thought that Kunkka is a dead hero. But after we used him a few times on practice, we found out that he’s almost as good as he was before despite his power on a lane stage is nerfed now.
During the playoffs, Keen Gaming showed that even Vengeful Spirit can be used as a carry. So maybe the current meta is a bit more flexible?
Well, I think that they just saw how Team Secret used it during ESL One Katowice 2019 and just copied the draft. In my mind, the meta is pretty much the same now.
Your strongest opponent of the whole tournament?
White-off. They are playing like a tier-1 team in many ways. Before the final, I supposed that Team Ukraine would beat Keen Gaming, but the Chinese team showed confidence in drafts and game decisions. And we have to remember that KG qualified to the Major, so we couldn’t underestimate them.
I was surprised by the fact of how many people from the SEA region are rooting for you. Did you feel the pressure of responsibility?
We didn’t feel any pressure. Like at all. Before the tournament, we had issues with our confidence. And all our problems have gone so far. Now, we are just happy.
How will you spend your prize money?
I haven’t made plans for it yet. But for such a huge amount of money, you can buy anything! To be honest, I will most likely buy a car.
Speaking about the SEA scene, it looks like that Fnatic is on a much higher level comparing to all the other teams from the region. Why is that so?
It’s all about IceIceIce, man! He’s too good. When he joins a team, that team always starts to dominate the region. It happened that year with Mineski, it’s happening this year with Fnatic. Obviously, they have some good players, but so we do. So for me, IceIceIce is too good.
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