“I would like to see myself playing in TI, as that is really my biggest dream,” – Armel “Armel” Tabios, January 2016, a few days after he was just turning 16 years old.
The quote above is from when Armel has joined Rave for a brief period of time. It was his first big team, but he didn’t stay too long with them. In fact, his experience there was just a couple of weeks long before he moved to the Filipino squad Action Arena. That’s the place where he registered his first victories as a professional player. Armel played for Action Arena for nearly nine months. No big battles were won during that time but the young mid laner was just starting to peak the interest of the bigger organizations. Back then, he was spamming Puck, Invoker, and Batrider, heroes which put him in the spotlight.
Clutch Gamers recruited him on the last day of 2016 and kept him under their banner for one year straight. CG was truly the place where Armel caught the eye of all the Dota 2 fans. The youngster had an almost incredible explosion that year. With him in the mid lane, CG qualified at four LAN events in the span of a month by taking down some of the toughest competitors in the SEA scene at that time, including TNC, Team Faceless, and Mineski. DOTA Summit 7, The Manila Masters, EPICENTER 2017 and Mars Dota 2 League 2017 (MDL ) qualifiers were all won by CG, who were already regarded as mid-season favorites in the TI7 SEA qualifiers.
Armel’s game developed fast, his hero pool grew, but Invoker remained one of his favorites. During his one year stay at Clutch Gamers he played 14 official games on Invoker and had an overall win rate on the hero of 85,71%. Besides Invoker, it was in this period when Armel got famous for his Lina, Ember Spirit and Shadow Fiend. Unfortunately, visa issues plagued CG and they were forced to forfeit their spot at Summit 7. Their form dropped quickly and despite SEA having 3 slots at TI7, CG didn’t manage to qualify for the biggest event of the year and Armel’s dream was put on hold. Clutch Gamers never recovered after TI7 and the beginning of the 2017-2018 Dota Pro Circuit season was simply disastrous for them. After losing The Bucharest Major SEA qualifiers, CG underwent a full roster change. Armel became a free agent and tried to salvage the season with Team Admiral, a project led by Jimmy “DeMoN” Ho. However, he left the team days after joining as TNC were looking for a strong mid laner and had faith in his talent.
Armel joined TNC Predator on the 30th of January 2018 and made his debut at a Valve sponsored event less than two months later. Funny enough, it was The Bucharest Major for which Armel lost the qualifiers with CG. At his first-ever Dota Major Armel placed top 8, but TNC were far from having a good season themselves. It was a month later, at DAC 2018, when they managed to finally get into the top 4 placements at a Major in the DPC system, but the result came a tad too late for them to get enough points to make it into the top 8 overall rankings for a direct invite at The International 2018.
With his arrival at TNC, Armel’s hero pool modified once again. Besides the fact that he had to adapt to TNC‘s play style, his hero pool got of course influenced by the many patches implemented this season. However, as an interesting fact, Armel’ Invoker vanished completely. He played the hero just once since 1st of February 2018 until now. Lina faded away as well, and from his old arsenal, only Shadow Fiend remained a hot pick.
Armel’s top played heroes through his two years career:
TNC Predator is the team with which Armel made his dream come true. They took the second SEA seed in the TI8 qualifiers and the young, 18 years old now, mid laner displayed once again great flexibility, playing heroes that fitted the qualifiers meta like Bloodseeker, Slark, and Mirana. Armel will get to play for the first time ever at The International this August. His TI debut won’t be made at the KeyArena where many others before him played their first TI matches, but Rogers Arena from Vancouver, Canada should be just as big and impressive.