Posted April 27, 2016 by Chloe Cabrera in Events

ESL One Manila: A Landmark for PH E-sports

ESL One view

Philippine e-sports may never be the same after ESL One Manila, a historical event for the local professional gaming scene that had the e-sports fans of Manila right in the center of all the action. Dubbed as “Southeast Asia’s first-ever premium Dota 2 tournament,” the two-day event had Pinoys converging at the SM Mall of Asia Arena from April 23-24 as the rest of the world watched live on their computer screens.

Some of the world’s biggest Dota 2 teams, personalities, and enthusiasts converged in Manila for the monumental event, which was even broadcast on national television by TV5 and recognized by the Philippine government. The tournament brought together Team Secret, Team Liquid, EHOME, Team Empire, compLexity Gaming, Fnatic, Wings Gaming, and the Philippines’ very own representative team, Mineski under one roof to battle it out for $250,000 and the title of ESL One Manila champion.

Intense battles, high-level plays

ESL One Manila champion Wings Gaming celebrates its victory

Members of Wings Gaming celebrate their ESL One Manila victory

Fans flocked to the colossal arena over the weekend in the hopes of witnessing some professional-level Dota 2 gaming, and ESL One Manila did not disappoint. Members of the audience were kept on the edges of their seats constantly as the eight competing teams delivered skillful plays, intense clashes, and brilliant strategy in each and every match.

In the end, it was the Chinese underdog team Wings Gaming that came out on top, after conquering some of the biggest names in professional Dota 2 with incredible skill and determination. The team of Chu ‘Shadow’ Zeyu, Zhou ‘bLink’ Yangl, Zhang ‘bian’ Ruida, Zhang ‘Innocence’ Yiping, and Li ‘iceice’ Peng took home the championship  and $100,000 after sweeping the grand finals 3-0 against Team Liquid.

A little ‘Pinoy’ flair

Dota 2 may have been the main attraction, but ESL One Manila would be incomplete without throwing some lighthearted Pinoy entertainment into the mix. Enter the famous Macho Man contest, which pitted international Dota 2 personalities SirActionSlacks, Jacob “Maelk” Toft-Andersen, Toby “TobiWan” Dawson, and former Macho Man champion, Chan “WinteR” Litt Binn against each other to see who would be crowned as ESL One Manila’s ultimate “Hokage.”

The four contestants try to woo Biancake with their best "Macho Man" looks

The four contestants try to woo Biancake with their best “Macho Man” looks

Viewers on-site and online roared with laughter as the four contestants took turns using their most flirtatious moves on Mineski TV’s very own Bianca “Biancake” Yao. The results were so hilarious and controversial that they ended up spawning brand new memes and even a Macho Man rematch this June at ESL One Frankfurt.

Audiences were also treated to a Dota 2 cosplay showdown prior to the grand finals between Wings and Team Liquid. Several cosplayer hopefuls brought Dota 2 heroes to life on stage in the hopes of impressing a panel of judges that included TobiWan and the Philippines’ “cosplay queen” Alodia Gosiengfiao.

“Puso” and the Local Community

The crowd cheers on Wings Gaming after their victory against Team Liquid

The crowd cheers on Wings Gaming after their victory against Team Liquid

One of the biggest scene-stealers outside of the tournament matches came from the Filipino viewers themselves. Given the usual associations made with Pinoys when it comes to Dota 2, many were surprised to see just how joyful and passionate Pinoys can be when it comes to e-sports events like this one.

International players, personalities and viewers alike were overwhelmed by the sheer amount of love and enthusiasm expressed by Filipinos throughout the entire event. Even though local personalities like Mineski and Djardel “DJ” Mampusti from Fnatic failed to secure a spot in the finals, the local audience’s enthusiasm never wavered.

Dota 2 personalities react to their experiences in Manila. Photo credit: Tokis (Facebook)

Dota 2 personalities react to their experiences in Manila. Photo credit: Tokis (Facebook)

Many of them even took to social media sites like Twitter to express their love for Manila and their newfound admiration for the Pinoy crowd. However, the praise didn’t just end there – the event was also well-received by many on Reddit. Online users from all over the globe shared their positive feedback, citing how engaging and fun it was to watch even if they weren’t in Manila themselves.

ESL One Manila gave the international community a larger glimpse into the Filipino e-sports community. And with the Manila Major scheduled this June, the world can expect to see more of the passion Pinoys have for e-sports. Hopefully, these events will convince even more international leagues to take an interest in the Philippines. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

Chloe Cabrera

Chloe is an ally of the Swarm and the Horde, loves video games, and is determined to help eSports grow infinitely stronger both locally and internationally. If she's not lounging about Orgrimmar, she'll be sipping tea or coffee at a cafe like any other college student - no plate armor, just dresses.