Head: Boom conquers Gamers Galaxy, becomes apex predator of Dota 2 world

The grand finals of the Gamers Galaxy Dota 2 Invitational 2022 took just over three hours to complete. But for Boom Esports, the path to victory and US$100,000 was years in the making.

After all, this team was made up of pros struggling to make the big time, with several of them playing for Division Two teams in a region that had traditionally been seen as weaker than the rest.

But when this “bunch of Neon, TNC, T1 rejects”, as Boom’s founder noted cheekily, came together, something magical happened.

Led by Erin Jasper “Yopaj” Ferrer, the team beat some of the game’s biggest names, including Team Secret, TI champion Team Spirit and fan favourite Nigma Galaxy en-route to the title. 

Their hot streak form in the regional finals, where they beat T1, showed that they had momentum on their side.  But when it comes to winning championships, form is not enough. Faced up against the other in-form team Tundra Esports, it boiled down to who could summon up their final reserves of mental strength.

By the third game in the best of five series, it looked as though Tundra was going to overwhelm Boom after taking the lead with a 2-1 score. The fourth game was critical – lose and Boom would settle for second.

Tundra picked Brood and Dark Prophet, heroes specialised at pushing waves and demolishing towers. They also chose Chaos Knight as their carry and Mars as their mid lane – heroes who were happy to jump into a brawl to establish dominance.

Boom opted for a different route. Boom’s coach Mushi picked Bristleback as their tanky carry, with a cast of supporting heroes Keeper of the Light, Sand King and Hoodwink. Their strategy – support their trump card Yopaj, who was playing Templar Assassin. They were primed to kill.

The game was finely balanced in the opening stages. By minute 15, Tundra was leading in kills 9:4 and had taken down both top and midlane Tier one towers. But Boom’s strategy of creating space for Yopaj was paying off – despite being behind in kills, they were leading in networth by about 1,000.

The game turned when a brawl erupted near Roshan. Both Tundra’s Sneyking and skiter were caught in Boom’s jungle by Boom. Sneyking Death Prophet fell quickly while skiter tried to run, tanking most of the hits and nearly making it out. But he was caught by Boom’s Fbz, who used his Sandking to keep vision. Sandking’s epicentre and KOTL’s Illuminate was enough to finish him off.  

Boom snatched mid Tier one tower and also caught Tundra’s 33’s Broodmother. The tide had turned. Yopaj went on to make 11 kills that game, dying only once. Boom won the game in about 28 minutes.

The last game also saw Yopaj dominating but only after a miscalculation by Tundra. In the 22nd minute of the game, Tundra was smoked and looking for a kill. They spotted Boom’s carry, Souliya “JaCkky” Khoomphetsavong near their middle Tier 2 tower and decided to go for it. They got him, but at the cost of their lives.

After taking him down, they retreated as quickly as they could but blood was in the air. Yopaj turned up, and sliced through the entire team. Armed with a Black King Bar, he went on a rampage, cutting through Tundra like a hot knife on butter. One, two and three of Tundra’s heroes fell to the blades of TA, firmly putting Boom into the lead. It took just a minute but it was enough for the team from SEA to go on and claim the final game of the series.

More than 3 million viewers logged onto watch as Boom leapt up from seats, hugged each other and whooped for joy as GG was called.

They said they had zero expectations before the tournament, hoping to play as many games as they could to prepare for TI. Instead, they walk away with US$100,000 in cash while firmly establishing themselves as one of the favourites heading into the next season and beyond. And who knows, we could be witnessing history – the first SEA TI champion. 

At this rate and based on their sizzling form, don’t bet against it.

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