With only two more qualifiers to go before the grand finals for the King Of Games competition, gamers turned up in full force for the third Defense Of The Ancients 2 (Dota 2) qualifier last Saturday.
Some 80 gamers arrived as early as 9.30am at Alienware Arena in Lucky Chinatown, an hour before the doors opened.
With 15 participating teams, last weekend's qualifier, which is a precursor to the King Of Games tournament organised by Digital Life and Dell, boasted the best turnout so far.
New to the tournament was From Abyss We Rise, a team comprising students and full-time national servicemen.
Helmed by James Cook University Singapore undergraduate Yvonne Yong, 18, the team eventually ceded control to Amgd.First Departure, a more experienced team.
"We have trained together for only five days," said Ms Yong, who admitted that she had not been playing Dota 2 regularly.
"We took part mostly for fun and to gain more experience."
Against more seasoned players, From Abyss We Rise took a defensive tack but their lack of experience was clear.
"Our solo mid player was attacked by multiple enemies and died three times," Ms Yong said.
"Although we picked characters which could counter our opponents' push strategy, we failed in the lanes," she added.
Amgd.First Departure then went on to beat HeartofDave, before losing to tournament favourites Impervious, which won the qualifier without a fight.
Impervious was up against Double Dealing Character in the final round, but its opponent, which was confident of reaching the grand finals, chose not to play the match.
Not surprisingly, the Impervious team members were all smiles.
"Our opponents were not stronger. We were fooling around during the games," claimed Impervious spokesman Su Wei Han of the earlier matches.
Still, Impervious stayed cautious, choosing to stick with familiar heroes rather than experiment with new ones.
Mr Su, 23, said his team still needs to brush up on its teamwork.
"We have to improve on our communications," he said. "Sometimes, one of us would advance, while another would backtrack."
As stronger teams tend to engage enemies in unison, Mr Su said Impervious needs to coordinate its movements to stand a chance against tougher foes.
The competition is expected to heat up if top seed Icepro IS Back shows up in the fourth qualifier on Sept 21.
That team, which comprises top Dota 2 members from Team Zenith and Flash eSports, missed the previous qualifiers because two Team Zenith members were in the US competing in The International Dota 2 championships.
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