DOTALAND note: Pretty interesting, yet perhaps a bit overreactive. Well-written, this is one point of view. Is this the fall of iG or just a major bump in their path? We can all speculate, and this piece does so unabashedly, with some assumptions, rumors, and analysis all in one.
We all know that there would never be one singular force to always dominate the Chinese Dota scene, but what looks like a sudden and drastic decline in iG’s fortunes has taken us all by surprise. From “Best in Universe” to GGing within 20 minutes, what exactly has happened?
These are all things that we’ve seen with our own eyes: iG’s players first lost their motivation to continue innovating and improving, their picks seemingly stuck in a pre-Chinese New Year rut of old styles and tactics. At most they take an idea or two from other teams’ strategies, something that might allow them to maintain some semblance of respectability in online matches, but nothing more.
This by itself isn’t necessarily irredeemably bad for them, what is, however, is what appears to be a loss of fighting spirit and temperance in their play, replaced by what looks like pridefulness.
Let’s talk about ChuaN first. He was the worst out of them all earlier against LGD.cn. Perhaps he was not wrong to rotate over to help Furion, but he didn’t wait to cast his stun, thinking he could show off what he must think is a 100% accuracy spell for him, yet sadly this time, luck shows that it does not always stand on the same side, and he missed. He could’ve waited for Furion to trap the enemy in place first and then get the sure stun as any pro team would do; clearly this was not a lack of communication, but an exhibit of players making pub-level mistakes.
Then there’s Farmer Zhou. Confidently skilling at level 1 before leaving fountain, perhaps because he’s a pro, there’s nothing wrong with using Treants to scout. But since you’ve done that already, what was the point in running your hero to the river? To contest a rune with Dark Seer? The lanes at this point are obvious, you will be up against Dark Seer, do you really think you can win the rune over a DS at level 1? And then DS gets a haste rune, you’re 99% dead, but still why don’t you summon some more trees and try some blocking, and perhaps change that 99% to a 90%? Instead you do nothing, jog casually back towards your lane and feed first blood before making it, you’ve gotta be kidding me!
Faith, brah, your IQ has been eaten by your woman too? What was that ban/pick? They’ve banned five physical damage cores, then picked a Spectre, leaving you guys with no physical damage to choose from, hmm? Fallen into their trap, haven’t you? But still, you could make some better picks even after that, yet you pick Tinker and Furion as your last two, two pushers to go up against a lineup with Nyx and Spectre? Were you afraid that they wouldn’t have enough fun ganking already? Your entire lineup had one hard stun in Lina, and uncertain stun at that. Apart from that, you have Shadow Demon’s Disrupt. They’ve got the likes of Dark Seer, meaning that once they go rush you, you can counter kill at most one hero. So this entire draft left iG on the back foot from the start.
YYF this game missed last hits, so many easy last hits. Perhaps it’s because you were coordinating with teammates, or perhaps it’s because you’re supremely confident and do not need measly last hits, or perhaps you were reminiscing about that last threesome you’d had in your dreams… whatever, thousands of reasons, but missing those last hits in such a game showed to everyone that iG is missing that concentrated determination that they had in the past.
Watching Sylar patiently going back and forth adjusting even the slightest of problems with his equipment, watching him complete all his last hits under the tower, this LGD squad right now has an impressively superior mentality and attitude compared to this iG squad, that is for sure.
Ferrari_430 is the only one that performed normally, but everything had gone too far beyond his control, and he couldn’t save them.
Out of game analysis
There is no invincible person or dynasty, because the world is always changing, and no one can forever keep up with what happens at the top. However, people always desire more, and their desire is an impatient one. For iG’s players, they are at the peaks of their respective careers, what comes after the peak? Decline, then retirement.
No matter how strong they are now, time will always take its toll, and they are all clear about this. So in a recent livestream, we heard Zhou asking SJQ how to go about setting up a Taobao shop. We’ve seen the typically reserved YYF go from an occasional streamer within the team’s streaming rotation, to the constant streamer now. And big, simple ChuaN, streaming, but away from the bright glares of the domestic scene — he has selected to stream on a foreign platform.
Streaming. The advantages are as a great tool for promotion and name-recognition, and in this day and age, these are valuable things for those looking to carve out a new path after retirement as players.
And finally, Zhou began streaming.
There was that incident between YYF and Zhou; looking back, that was to be expected. YYF streaming solo, his popularity soaring, and more or less affecting the interests of the rest of the team. These things perhaps are all just surface level, but it is maybe just that allocation or split in interests that is affecting iG’s performances, that has shaken their roots as a team.
When Zhou spoke of the “spirit of Dota” in his recent interview, little did we know that they were already mired in a crisis of their own spirit.