A lot of news to get through today because, not only have I not done one of these in a while, but I have been on holiday with my lovely girlfriend this past week and so you should expect a lot of content over the next few days. Anyway, much news and little time, so I begin with the arguably most high profile news, Na’Vi’s NEW TEAM MEMBER.
At time of writing, Na’Vi are into their 3rd match of 3 against Vega Squadron for the ESL One NY European Qualifiers. It was on Dendi’s stream a few days ago that Na’Vi revealed that PSM, from Yellow Submarine; the winners of the TI5 EU Open Qualifiers, is their new position 5. I lament the breaking up of Yellow Submarine as I thought they were a very promising team, but, that said, 4 of them are together and now with a sponsor PRIES Gaming, along with PSM’s replacement; Windx. But anyway, Na’Vi. Funn1k is not on form at the moment. I don’t really know what has happened as I used to consider him an incredibly reliable player but it seems that, since his return, his successes have been very forgettable. XBOCT, I actually think, just needs to get his head together. I feel like he might be slightly burnt out, and this was mentioned just over a year ago when Na’Vi started underperforming slightly. I have seen him recently play some incredibly good Dota, most notably at DAC this year where he was, for me, their standout player, but it feels like he might just need to play on a different team for a while. I do hope Na’Vi see some more success with their current roster because it is rather sad to see people who were heroes for so long to fall from grace almost suddenly. It’s not even that they’re bad, they’re still one of the top 20 teams in the world, but when things like this happen long term fans begin to doubt them.
Looking East now, Fnatic have revealed that their roster is 1. Black, 2. Mushi, 3. Ohaiyo, 4/5. Net/Chrissy-Dj. Black, of course, was famously and controversially added to ViCi Gaming to replace Hao and, while he met with successes in the team, including a 2nd at DAC, he wasn’t the standout player people expected, myself included. Moving to Tinker which because Mousesports, he was teamless for a while when they disbanded and went to TI5 as a coach. Having been picked up by Fnatic and moving to Malaysia, he has become the first professional Dota 2 player to represent all 4 major regions of competition in his career. Chrissy is a relative newcomer, having had a stint with Rave earlier this year, coming a respectable 5th-6th, then briefly moving to MSI before before TI5 and now ending up with Fnatic. Then, of course, Net. Playing originally for Orange he then became one of the founding members of Team Titan, attending TI4 with them though, of course, losing to the unstoppable NewBee to come 9th-10th. He then bounced around into Team Malaysia for a short spell before going over the G-Guard where he experienced moderate success but he probably wants to return to competing at the same level he did in Titan, and Fnatic is where he can do that while G-Guard, now Team123, can grow together.
Staying in SEA, MVP.Phoenix have finalised their roster, adding MentalProtector as their carry while the rest of the squad is comprised of members of MVP.Hot6 and those who stayed with Phoenix. Speaking of Hot6, they also have gained a new roster, full of mostly new players. Forev is the most familiar name, and has, of course, been with the team for a while, playing offlane as always. Their carry is Sagun, who previously played for relative unknowns; 5InQ whom, I take from the name, are basically just 5 good friends who decided to make a team, much like 4 Anchors + Sea Captain. Then, in position 2, we have Doctor whom I could find litterally no information on because all that came up were pages for the hero Witch Doctor but I’m sure he’s an excellent mid. Then we have the familiar support duo of Reisen and Dubu, both previously a part of MVP.Hot6 whom were removed some 9 months ago when the organisation underwent a reshuffling. I think it is a very promising team though I have always felt that MVP specifically would be helped by bootcamping in other countries as SEA is the smallest region for competitive Dota 2 by population of players and teams and they tend to compete almost exclusively in Chinese and Korean tournaments. Hopefully, with the success they had in TI5, this will come about as people wake up and are interested in watching them play.
Turning our gaze now to the USA, FireDota is making a return with the fairly well known players of FluffnStuff, 747 and Jeyo with new additions of “Mo” and “Whitebeard.” Mo, as far as I can see, is a newcomer to the scene whereas Whitebeard has been trying to make his way into the pro-scene for a number of years. He has played on Sneaky Nyx Assassins and Fnatic.NA but to little success, though SNA did have some good runs, most notably coming 4th in D2CL S4 and coming 5th-8th in ESL One New York.
OH JESUS! I ALMOST FORGOT! Burning is fucking teamless. iG has finalised a new roster though it’s the same old names of Chinese Dota 2, as always; Chuan, Ferrari_430, Xi, Super and Rabbit, but Burning, after he was reportedly joining ViCi, has had a disagreement with them and now the icon of Chinese Dota 2 is left out of the loop probably for the next few months.
LGD Gaming have sorted their new roster after Yao and Xiao8 retired. Their replacements are DDC and rOtk, rather unsurprisingly. Chinese Dota had a very strong showing in TI5 but I think that is mostly due to western teams underperforming and Chinese teams really concentrating on their training, so the Chinese teams performed really solidly but western teams had some really erratic performances. I find it quite surprising because, every year, the chinese field almost the exact same players in their 4 invited teams, give or take 3 or 4, but western teams often have a great deal of variation with teams rising and falling from grace. But anyway, moving on otherwise I will drown in the amount of news that hasn’t actually been covered by anywhere else.
Predictably S4 replaced Pajkatt in Alliance and Pajkatt has joined $ Clover & Lepricorn with a number of other very noteworthy players, most notably his ex-Alliance Teammate EGM, SexyBamboe who has been all over the place but has been widely respected everywhere for his support play, finding some kind of groove in Basically Unknown before they went their seperate ways after the TI5 qualifiers, Saksa, one of the highest MMR players in Europe (top 3 for the last few months) and Swiftending, who, as a pro, has slipped under the radar somewhat but is famous for a certain experiment which you can read about here, though I have no doubt I will talk about it in a future article. I actually really like this new roster and I think, provided their personalities don’t collide, they have the potential to go quite far. Of course, with people like Saksa who play mostly solo-ranked games, there is the difficulty of getting out of that public match mentality, but maybe he will handle it better than W33 did with MeeP’wned.
Now, 5Jungs. Oh dear, quite the scary lineup we have here. FATA, the dull midplayer, Kuroky, the unworkable personality and support, Jerax and Matumbaman who are friends from HoN and who, in my opinion, have the best coordination of any lane-duo in dota 2, beating that of even the famed Akke and Loda, and finally we have Mind_Control, their offlaner who was previously with Burden United, a team I thought just needed to build up some steam but never got the chance to do so. They could have been another NVMI/Virtus.Pro Polar but they were, in my opinion, unlucky and, with their unstable roster, their team was unsustainable. It’s mean to think this way but, ever since I heard Arteezy talk about Kuroky I’ve never thought of Kuroky the same way. I was pleased that Team Secret didn’t win TI5, of course, but, at the same time, it felt like they just didn’t have that drive to win that you usually do and it felt like every player was doing their own thing in the games they played. I can only guess at the animosity inside the booth but, if Arteezy is to be believed, and I see no reason why he would lie as he is not a spiteful person, Kuroky was the anchor that stopped Secret from winning TI5, and he drove them all appart over the three months leading up to TI5.
Why is there so much news?
Monkey Business: Another new team after the shuffle, this time with Miracle. I’m not sure how well the personalities will gel in this team. MoonMeander is known for having a big personality and Miracle could be either really personable and eager to learn from those with pro experience, or could be more up-himself as he is the number 1 ranked player in Europe’s MMR tables. Besides that, N0tail and Fly are back together again, a pair whom I like a lot and I think work well together, and Cr1t, who has been around the block a few times in his Dota 2 career. His highlight was probably in Mousesports in late 2013, before they unfortunately disbanded, and in MYM early last year. This could either be a fairly strong team or always an underdog. Time will tell.
Cloud9 has a new roster and no one gives a fuck. It’s a North American squad with Brax and 1437 in it, what more do you want?
High Council of Wizards and Priests; another new team. Actually, this team looks fairly promising, even if it doesn’t look like a top tier team. I think these guys could comfortably sit 10th-20th in the world as their roster is made up of 5 people who could be called veterans of NA Dota: Demon, Chad, Claidvoyance, Fogged and Mason. Some have played on EG, NAR, Root, Mousesports or Na’Vi US. I wish them all the best.
CIS Rejects, the newest CIS team. Vanskor and Alwayswannafly and Gorec AND Artes on the same team. What could go wrong? They might hit an Iceberg… Iceberg is their mid player… I know it’s silly, but Vanskor and Alwayswannafly are just so fantastic to watch when they play and I really hope they do well, I’m just not sure they will with this team. Vanskor probably still needs time to recover from his medical problems as well so, while this team fills me with optimism, I doubt they will last long if Vanskor is taken ill severely again.
Empire have finalised their roster, though not in time to register for the Majors. Ubah joins them in the offlane role to replace Yoky and The_appathy joins as a position 4/5 in the stead of Alwayswannafly. I always like seeing new players joining big teams as it reminds you that Dota 2 isn’t just the big, established names that some organisations would have you believe (*COUGH* NA’VI *COUGH*) which brings me on to our second last piece of news;
Sumail has decided to drop out of secondary education at 16 to focus on his Dota 2 career. Having become the scene’s youngest millionaire, he will have a private tutor to get take GEDs at the end of the academic year for the next two years. The tutor, I believe, is paid for by Evil Geniuses which is very decent of them, though I would argue a PR move as well. Agree with Sumail or not, a teenager that is bright who leaves education, in this day and age, is seen as taking unnecessary risks and many will probably think that this “game” that he plays is distracting him from what really matters. However, I support him. Sumail has already made more money than the average person will make in their lifetime, even in America or Europe. He’s now in the richest 1% of the world’s population and he could, theoretically, never have to work again. He’s won the lottery and can quit now if he wants. You also have to ask yourself that, if you were in his potion, would you do the same?
This is going to turn into a rant but I was talking to a girl at university, one whom I don’t speak to anymore because of this. She was saying how people who played sports or games competitively shouldn’t get paid the money they do. I think it’s a reasonably assessment to say that some sports professionals get paid too much money, but to say no sports professional deserves to earn above average wage, or even quadruple average wage, is bizarre. I hate people who think that just because you do something for fun, whether it’s creative or competitive or whatever, you can’t get paid for it. If you enjoy watching sport then the people playing said sport are providing a service to you, but to say that service doesn’t warrant payment belittles everyone involved with it, those that enjoy watching, playing, who are involved in organising it, broadcasting it, even those who just talk about it with their friends. I heard one sports analyst sum up professional athletes quite well with one line. “They do something we cannot. Not many people even have the discipline or the belief in themselves to devote their whole lives to something their passionate about, and rise to the top level and, whether you like it or not, they have something you don’t have and people have a right to celebrate this.” I like Sumail, and he does something almost no one can do, and I think people should let him deal with his private life and keep their noses out if they disagree with his decision.
Right, finally, the last piece of news: EHOME.Besides their main team, who placed very well in TI5, gaining 5th-6th having beaten Team Secret in the Upper Bracket, they have created two new teams in the last week: EHOME.King and EHOME.Legend. Only the player names have been announced thus far and most of new to people though there are a few I recognise from the Chinese Leaderboards, most notably James and Piao, who were on ViCi Gaming Potential and Newbee Youth respectively before joining the EHOME organisation. There is also an Australian, Kpaii, also known as KPhoeni, who has played for Can’t Say Wips and MVP before this. I can safely say that I have no idea how this will turn out but, as I’ve said before, new players in China are a rarity, and they deserve to be celebrated. Now if they can just get into one of the main teams, that would be grand.