The International 2013 in my view (part 1)

This is part 1 of “The International 3 from my view”. Stay tuned for part 2, describing thoughts and events from the elimination stages at Benaroya Hall, in the next day or two!

This is a semi-diary, semi post-competition gathering of thoughts and recollections, from group stages at the Westin Bellevue to the elimination stages at Benaroya Hall. I’ve tried to focus on giving a view into what the players are like, as well as some of the casual, random events that happened that I saw or was a part of, that can serve to bring behind-the-scenes stuff closer to normal fans. It’s a long read but worth it, I think, if you’re a fan at all of Chinese teams and players. I’ve not only written about Chinese teams and players, however, and there’s some other stuff too.

I have to apologize in advance, because I am not the type of fan to take a lot of pictures with players, or to really intrude at all. I’ll chat with them if they make themselves available, and offer myself up to assist if it looks like someone needs it, but that’s about it — no autographs, no photos, basically nothing else. So, apart from my words and descriptions, I generally lack stuff to share with fellow fans. Hopefully you’re up for some reading, because there are a lot of words below!

Day by day recollections

7/31/2013 to 8/1/2013 – pre group stage prep time

My first day involved was July 31. Met Hippovic, who showed me around. Then I just hung around at the Westin Bellevue while teams did their photo shoots and promotional stuff. Met various players.

The next morning, Puppey sat down at the table during breakfast where Erik Johnson and I were sitting, and Puppey talked briefly with Erik Johnson about the infamous all-chat incident between xiao8 and Dendi… Then after breakfast, they had me translate for the players’ meeting that outlined some rules, expectations, and a general idea of how the event would go. That went… okay. I am not good in front of large groups of people. A camera is different because even though there are lots of people on the other end, I don’t actually see them.

At the players’ meeting. So much talent in one room.

Later on during the day, Dendi sat down next to a fellow translator, Tracy, and began watching her play, as she was playing a pub match on a laptop. Tracy dismisses this, thinking it was Mouz Black, who had been hanging out with us earlier. Then I tell her to look over, and then she’s like, “omg it’s Dendi”. And Dendi sits there with an innocent look on his face. Then she got a kill, made another nice play, and both were met with Dendi getting up and dancing about nearby. Shortly afterwards, the meeting room internet at the Westin cut out (as it often did), Tracy got an abandon, and Dendi strolled off to entertain (or be entertained) elsewhere.

Coach Dendi

Speaking of Mouz Black, who had made fast friends with a couple of us: We had taught him a few phrases in Chinese. He wanted to meet some of the LGD people, including LGD’s manager Ruru, but was apparently too shy to do so on his own. We taught him how to ask for a team jersey in Chinese (since he wanted an LGD set), and later on I taught him how to say the name of his favorite hero, Anti-mage, in Chinese. Much later on, some other Chinese kids must’ve taught him some not so savory words, because by the last day of the main event at Benaroya Hall, he was slinging them around until we told him that he should save it for when he really hates someone or something. Below, Black is saying 我想要一套队服, which means “I would like a team uniform”.

8/2/2013 – Group stage first day (Wild card)

RattleSnake: LaNm is one of my favorite players. He was the one that I chose as my favorite player in my compendium. He’s a funny guy, brilliant player, and casually approachable in person. After their wild card win, I waited behind with Kabu, who was waiting for the rest of his team to go to the players’ dinner. I knew where the dinner was, they didn’t, so I wanted to make sure people weren’t getting lost on the way (these players had missed the Valve-led delegation over earlier). Incidentally, Quantic were also late and so I told them to follow us too. Was that a bit awkward? Maybe… Quantic looked a bit low energy and hardly ever appeared downstairs for the rest of the group stages afterwards…

Anyway, I tell LaNm, “When I saw you guys pick Storm Spirit, I knew you’d already won. LaNm responds curiously, “Why? I think it was because they didn’t have much in terms of disables.” But my opinion was simpler, “I just think you’re awesome on Storm, haha.” And he grinned.

RattleSnake team interview after Wild Card win

iG: Ferrari_430 was up to play the solo mid matches, so during the players’ dinner at El Gaucho, Erik Johnson grabbed me over to translate to get his picks for heroes, and to make sure he knew the rules. He hadn’t checked the rules before and was surprised that runes were allowed. This revelation in part caused him to change his initial pick from Lone Druid to Templar Assassin. He was sitting with his team and chatted a bit with them before deciding on his hero picks. Ferrari is a really friendly person in a really unassuming manner. I already admired his play and style, and after meeting him, I like him as a person too.

After his and Mu’s first solo match, the TA match, which took over 40 minutes, they looked to me to ask if they could simply do the SF match next. When told that SF had to be third game, they decided to do Shadow Demon instead (whereas originally it was going to be OD as second match) to save some time. When I went downstairs to grab some water for 430 and Mu, I ran into XBOCT at the bar. He was seated, looked over to me, said “I like you”. I don’t think he really knew who I was then (or if he even really knows, now), but his friendliness had me asking him which of the Dota-themed drinks he’d had. He looks at the drinks menu and starts pointing. “All of them?” I ask. “Yes,” is his reply. Cool guy.

During Mu’s solo match against Ferrari, Hao stood behind his chair for much of the time, joking and making suggestions. Hao even brought Mu a drink of some sort. He had two of the same drink, one for himself, one he gave to Mu. Aww. TongFu’s players seem to be the friendliest with each other (this is not to say that the other teams aren’t all quite friendly with each other). While the Ferrari and Mu match went on, several other matches came and went. Iceiceice versus s4 was funny in that iceiceice giggled whenever something happened, especially whenever he used his coal.

The solo mid competition room at El Gaucho. Ferrari_430 vs Mu, Mushi vs xiao8

8/4/2013 – Group stage day 3

DK: rOtK is just as fierce in person and out of game as he is in-game (and at LAN events). He also seems like a very sincere person, and he’s got an amazing sense of humor and quick wit, more than once causing uproarious laughter in the Chinese section of the viewing lounge at Westin. He wears his heart on his sleeve, a rare specimen amongst your average Chinese player.

Here we see DK’s rOtk, in green, animatedly discussing something with the other players

iG: The iG players tend to be more quiet, though YYF can really talk, and talks quite fast, when he has something to talk about. Ferrari is very thorough whenever you ask him about something; in the mini-series with Soe where we asked players for their ID and what it came from, Ferrari_430 was by far the most thorough in explaining. He also likes to hold the mic himself when he’s talking (he was the only player with this preference). I’m not sure why his part was cut out from the final player ID video that was posted online, though. But his ID is pretty self-explanatory anyway: he likes that car, and the name of it was what he went with when registering himself on a gaming platform in the past, and it stuck.

Speaking of player IDs, I wish we could’ve gotten more, especially more of the Chinese players, but unfortunately it was not to be. In the final two days, I did some interviews with Perfect World, helping to translate Chinese questions to Western players, then translating their answers back. Additionally, I worked on the final versions of all the subtitles for team intro clips that they played before each team’s first appearance at Benaroya Hall this year. That took a while, because I needed to fix up the translations, the grammar, and then the timing of the subtitles as well. A lot of fun seeing my work up on the big stage later on, though. Anyway, player IDs. The teams and players were in and out as well, playing matches, going out for dinner, etc. Maybe there’ll be more chances in the future for this.

The player ID vid, as posted, is below. Whenever I’m not on camera, I was the one running the camera! ;P The Orange players were all so polite, and seemed a little bit shocked that anyone would want to ask them anything.

LGD: I think it was on this day that xiao8 was recognized in the lobby of the Westin Bellevue by a visiting group of Chinese tourists. An older Chinese man and his wife are walking out of the elevators while xiao8, his friend, and a few of us are waiting to go up, and the man turns around, peers at xiao8 and goes, “Aren’t you that guy on the TV? The dating show? Were the scenes in the show real or staged? Xiao8? …You’re here to compete!” Xiao8 confirms that the show and its result were not staged, and then just nods a bit, not sure how to respond. The man and his wife grin widely and wish him luck as we walk into the elevator. In the elevator, I remark that he’s a superstar now. Xiao8 smiles lightly in a way that suggests he doesn’t necessarily embrace it, and goes back to whatever he was doing on his phone.

I don’t remember which exact day this is from, but here is xiao8 with two bananas during the group stages. Sorry it’s blurry, camera derped

8/5/2013 – Group stage final day

RattleSnake: LaNm needs glasses. He had trouble seeing the screen while watching matches on the screens in the players’ lounge at Westin and constantly had to squint.  So I told him to go get some glasses. “Yeah, it’s indeed time to get glasses,” he replied.

You can sort of see LaNm straining himself to get a clear view of the screen from where he’s sitting. He’s leaning forward with his arms folded underneath his head in the center of the picture.

As seen in some of the panoramic photos so far, the teams and players mostly mix pretty freely. There’s a pretty clear divide between Western and Eastern, and then within that there’s another less clear divide between Chinese and SEA, and between Russian and non-Russian. But by and large, the players are friendly and cordial with each other, and most every player is willing to meet and get to know another player. A rare few players have the talent of slipping almost seemlessly between all the different groups (though they still have their own preferences). The Chinese teams seem to especially be friendly with one another, and when they weren’t competing, there would be intermingling to the degree that, to an untrained eye, you wouldn’t be able to pick out which players were on which teams at all.

Also, Black^ and Bulba partook in an activity they called ‘Ghost Ship’, in which they would ambush unsuspecting fellow players, pick them up, then put them down unceremoniously whilst shouting “ghost ship!!!” I saw them do this to two or three different people, and I don’t think anyone much enjoyed it. I am also wondering if they meant ‘Torrent’, as in Kunkka’s Torrent, which gushes someone up then drops them down.

LGD.cn and Dignitas played a tiebreaker, a close one. Afterwards, the two teams seemed to be pretty cheerful, even gathering together briefly to chat a bit.

After the tiebreaker: Aui_2000, DD, xiao8’s back, Yao, Waytosexy, Sneyking, Universe, Sylar

TongFu: I’d earlier offered to help the Chinese teams arrange for some Chinese delivery from a local Sichuanese Chinese restaurant located in Bellevue. On the last day of group stages, after everyone had finished playing their matches, there was some time, and TongFu’s manager CuZn came to get my help. We got some menus printed out and I had them go around and mark down what they wanted, then we ordered the food. They got nearly $200 of food, and TongFu’s manager paid for it. When it all arrived, it came in a large cardboard box, and word spread quickly amongst the Chinese teams. Pretty soon, members of every team were gathered in a big circle around a table, eating. Quite a happy sight. With the normal hotel food, the Chinese players would hardly ever look excited about the food, nor would they rush to it. In contrast, this time, they all rushed over eagerly. These players are amongst the best in the world, but in the end they’re all kids and young adults, far away from home, and I was truly happy to be able to bring them a little bit of that comfort…

The players descended upon the delivery Chinese food like… hungry Chinese players

Throughout the group stages, there was an on-going joke amongst the Chinese players that whenever someone stepped out for a smoke break, the Chinese team currently playing would lose. Hao in particular would come back inside after a break outside, and exclaim, “What? Lost again???” This is another reason to not smoke, kids. It was just a joke, but later on in the group stages I did hear comments at least once or twice about waiting to go smoke until after the game had ended. Haha. Either way, the Chinese teams in general seemed pretty loose and relaxed, joking amongst each other, chatting about the games going on and other things. It was cool to see the players in a more casual environment.

In the afternoon, with the group stages finished, there were Valve tours scheduled. A group of 13 of us got stuck in the elevator going up for nearly an hour. Amongst us were Black and Synderen from Mouz. Both of them can be pretty funny. The PC Games reporter that was stuck with us in there was also a funny dude. I think they contributed to keeping morale high in there. It took an hour of rising temperatures in the elevator, and a call to the fire department after the original elevator tech never showed up, for us to finally escape. When we ended the Valve tour, Synderen and I both, on two separate occasions, actually joked to one of the Valve people that “some of the guys got stuck in another elevator”, which brought a momentary look of shock and worry. Sorry to the Valve lady, it was probably not the best joke to make again given the earlier events.

Stuck in the elevator

They did give us some extra stuff in our goodie bags at the end of the tour. It was probably worth getting stuck in the elevator. I won’t bother posting pictures from Valve offices because, well, I didn’t bother taking any, and other people have posted plenty of pictures already anyway.

All in all, the group stage at Westin Bellevue was quite an intimate, low-key kind of event. Players would just sit and hang out in the lounge with the games on screen for hours on end. Food would come and go, Valve admins would come in and shout for the next team up, the team that just finished would come back in and sit down and grab some food and drinks… It would be such a huge contrast to the high pressure, high energy atmosphere at Benaroya Hall and the elimination stages.

This was part 1 of “The International 3 from my view”. Stay tuned for part 2, describing thoughts and events from the elimination stages at Benaroya Hall, in the next few days!

Some iG and LGD player reactions to G-1, Alliance, and their own performances

LGD

xiao8: Opportunity always goes to those who prepare for it. Alliance’s performances were outstanding, so their title is well-deserved. Thank you to longDD who has stuck with us as we made our transitions, and thank you to G-1 for the chance to learn and grow, I wish all the best to G-1.

DDC: GG. We were lacking, and must continue to work hard. Chinese Dota teams must all work hard now! Alliance is truly too strong.

DD/Sc: (suggesting that Chinese teams are having trouble keeping up due to a lack of domestic competition) I hadn’t played Dota 2 in three months yet only trained for half a month and was still able to keep up with other Chinese teams, this can only mean that there is a lack of domestic events.

Yao: We still ended up losing, congrats to Alliance. We still have many weaknesses, but we did manage to rediscover ourselves in this process. We have no regrets this time, isn’t Dota all about sharing exhilirating and tearful moments with good friends? Now it’s time to give it our all, and fight our way back to Seattle!

Sylar: G-1 was excellently done, and I hope there will be another season, add oil.

iG

Ferrari_430: Can’t fall asleep (we don’t know exactly why 430 is losing sleep, however)

YYF: We ended up doing the best that we could, let’s try harder and not leave any regrets with our next efforts. Our fate is still in our own hands.

Faith (before being eliminated from G-1): Let’s add oil brothers, I feel that our greatest enemy is not others, but ourselves! Hope that we can find ourselves tomorrow!

Faith (after): No matter how many times one falls, the most important thing is to be able to get back up! Let’s add oil together!

ChuaN (after tough losses on the first day of G-1): What happen???

ChuaN (after being eliminated): Back to the team base, didn’t expect that it would be in this manner in which we depart from the G-1 stage. I’m very thankful and very sorry to all those who’ve supported us, from our club’s staff to our fans, to those who came to the event to cheer us on live. We lost. Not much else to say. I hope LGD or DK can take the title.

Zhou (after tough losses on the first day of G-1): Recently iG has been in poor form, and I must bear a large part of the responsibility. Thank you to all the fans who continue supporting us through our poor form, we will not fall like this. Even if we have to fight back from the bottom, we will be back one step at a time!

Zhou (after being eliminated): This hurdle is one that we absolutely will overcome.

 

Crisis of Spirit: One Chinese point of view on iG’s recent losses

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?

In-game analysis

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.

Original: http://dota.shandian.biz/867.html

iG.ChuaN and iG CEO Efeng question and answer session

iG held an event on t.qq (similar to Twitter) where anyone could ask questions and they would answer. Good questions, good answers. Check it out.

Questions to ChuaN and his answers

Q: How tall are you and YYF?
ChuaN: I am 190cm (roughly 6 ft 2 in), I dunno about YYF

Q: Will your girlfriend think you’re too fat?ChuaN: I am working hard to lose weight!

Q: Can you reveal how speaking rights are divided within the team?
ChuaN: We discuss things together, there isn’t really anything like that

Q: ChuaN-god, it’s been a while since you’ve come to China. After your pro gaming career ends, what are your plans? Will you stay in China? Or go back home?
ChuaN: Right now all I’m thinking about is how to play well, and get good results.

Q: Will there be more interactive events between players and fans?
ChuaN: We often do these on our official YY channel 90007, and we’ll be frequently streaming first person gameplay there as well, we welcome everyone to come visit! (Dotaland guide on how to watch YY streams here)

Q: How did you first step onto the path of becoming a pro player? In many people’s view, esports is the same as casual play… Can you tell us what your training is like? Is it at all similar to what some people think?
ChuaN: I stepped onto this path by playing and fighting for my dreams! Esports has become my professional career, so it isn’t simply play! Every day we undergo specific, targeted, and planned training!

Q: ChuaN-god! I am here in the name of my roommate, who wishes to profess his love to you!
ChuaN: Thank you, I love you guys too!

Q: You went from being a solo mid player to successfully transforming into a 4 position support, very different roles both mentally and attitude-wise. How did you adapt?ChuaN: Thinking back on that moment standing on stage as champions, all the sacrifice is worth it! The team and togetherness above all else!

Q: Are you optimistic about Dota 2 in China?
ChuaN: I am very much optimistic about Dota 2 in China!

Q: How long is your daily training, does the club arrange other activities for relaxation?
ChuaN: The club arranges physical exercise; I am really good at basketball! ;P

Q: How much longer do you plan on playing Dota, ChuaN-god?
ChuaN: I will play until I cannot play anymore!

Q: Which competitions will iG.Dota take part in in the coming year?
ChuaN: All big competitions we will participate in! And we’ll do our best to achieve good results, we hope that everyone supports us!

Q: iG add oil
ChuaN: Thank you for the support!

Q: iG is my spiritual belonging, I believe in iG… How does an esports club have this much magic?
ChuaN: It is the result of a collective effort and nurturing! 🙂

Questions to iG CEO Efeng and his answers

Q: Will there be iG-branded merchandise? Stuff like gaming peripherals, perhaps?
Efeng: Yes! This year, even!

Q: Out of iG’s players, who do you think will get married first?
Efeng: My guess is either YYF or Zhou.

Q: Can I get a blessing from you in my quest for the goddess in my life?
Efeng: Sure, as long as your goddess isn’t my wife, I officially bless your quest.

Q: What do esports players do after they retire?
Efeng: The cream of the crop can continue on as leaders, coaches, or managers after they retire. Others can transition into club support staff, media people, or work at gaming companies, or become a commentator. Lots of possibilities 🙂

Q: Efeng, what are your views on those players who are still very young, and also need to continue their studies?
Efeng: I feel that these things aren’t necessarily in conflict with one another. Games can be their hobby from youth, it’s the same basic principle as those kids that take up things like art, sports, etc. And if they display true talent in some way, then they can consider a career in it. 🙂

Q: Hello sir, can you say whether you’re satisfied with the atmosphere of our esports scene? Compared to foreign esports, what are some weaknesses of Chinese esports?
Efeng: Still lacking in mainstream recognition and understanding.

Q: When will the iG website get an overhaul? It’s lacking compared to many foreign clubs’ sites. Looking forward to official iG forums, so we iG fans have somewhere to go. What do you think?
Efeng: It’s all in the works! There’ll be an all-new look soon!

Q: I would like to ask, what is average pay and compensation like in the industry, what are the benefits?
Efeng: Staff are comparable to typical gaming companies. For players, it depends on the club and the players’ ability. The better the results, the more popular the player, the more they get paid… similar to professional sports.

Q: As a university student, how can I best contribute to esports?
Efeng: Study hard, graduate, then join the esports industry!

Q: Any considerations for creating sub-teams, for example regional or provincial feeder teams?
Efeng: Yes, in the future we will have all sorts of developmental squads.

Q: As management of the club, what are the most important things for the club’s success? Where does most of your funding come from? Thank you.
Efeng: I think that the most important things are stability and the ability to execute well. Funding mostly comes from sponsors, sales, events, and promotional activities.

Q: Have you thought about creating an international squad?
Efeng: If Chinese players are the best in something, then what’s the point in creating an international team?

Q: What are your thoughts on flexibility of roles and the ability to transition between roles in esports?
Efeng: I feel that the limits are much fewer, and it is much easier to transition between roles in the esports industry, as long as one is willing and able to work hard. Those who can be successful players can also be successful esports staff. 🙂

Q: How do you compare Chinese esports skill level with foreign?
Efeng: Chinese esports is very strong!

Q: For esports to sucessfully become an Olympic event, what do you think is the biggest bottlenet? What are primary cash flows for various parts of the club? Thank you.
Efeng: I think the biggest bottleneck is popular support and recognition… As for funding for, players have their salary, bonuses, sponsorship and events, the club has sponsors and sales, and staff have their salaries.

 

 

Gamefy G-League preview and predictions: iG favored

Original: http://gleague.gamefy.cn/view_29633.html

Former professional player Sakray writes a G-League preview piece for Gamefy.

Bans picks analysis

After a long break between the G-League round of 8 and the upcoming finals, the two finals teams shouldn’t have much variation in previous patterns when it comes to bans and picks. Add this to the fact that overall, there haven’t been much new in terms of metagame development, so it’s safe to assume they’ll be fighting for similar bans and picks here.

In terms of the first two bans, iG should likely focus on stopping LGD.int’s favored jungle and roaming heroes (such as Chen), and it’s also very possible they use a ban on God’s Dark Seer or Shadow Fiend. As for LGD.int’s bans, even though iG is versatile to the point of it being impossible to ban everything for them, but it is still possible to see that iG relies heavily on heroes which use Blink Dagger, so Batrider or Brewmaster are good choices here.

For the first three picks, apart from fighting over core carries such as Lone Druid, Lifestealer, Anti-mage, etc, there will also be decisive picks revolving around core teamfight heroes such as LGD.int’s Chen and Enchantress, iG’s Batrider or Magnus. Also relevant here are hard support picks or solo mids, in order to solidify a basic core strategy.

As for the last three bans and last two picks, undoubtedly these will involve banning the opponents supports once a team has gotten their own supports, or the same with carries, followed by filler picks that complement the rest of the early picks. Additionally, if any team has a secret weapon or special tactics, this is when it will appear.

Pick predictions

iG: Brewmaster, Lone Druid, Rubick, Bounty Hunter, Lina
LGD.int: Dark Seer, Enchantress, Night Stalker, Luna, Shadow Demon

Head to head analysis

Zhou vs Pajkatt

From farming mechanics, to item builds, to late game experience, long-time carry Zhou fully exhibits the right to claim “number 1 carry”. After resolving previous issues in farm allocation, iG has managed to give Zhou plenty of room, and Zhou has indeed acquitted himself nicely. In comparison, Pajkatt, while perhaps not lacking in mechanics and skill, still has a long way to go before reaching the same level.

430 vs GOD

In terms of individual ability, the two solo mids of their respective teams are perhaps the closest. God, on the same level as players like Dendi, performed brilliantly in earlier competition, with excellent laning and last hitting, deadly ganking and dictation of tempo, good item usage and choices. So when faced with various solo mid greats, God absolutely does not lose out. If you need something to look forward to, then this matchup between God and 430 is it.

YYF vs Brax

Whereever YYF is, that is his home field. In the 3 role, Brax still has much room for growth, and this matchup is not only a winning opportunity for him, but also a chance to learn and develop. Hopefully this cheerful, optimistic fellow can keep it up, and ultimately learn those traits that are signature of YYF — calm, collected, patient, efficient, and able to take on the role of being a team’s “generator” in making things happen.

ChuaN vs Misery

In carefully watching iG’s replays, you will notice that no matter in terms of finding kills in lane, to teleporting to help countergank, to teamfight participation, to positioning, there is nothing to complain about in ChuaN’s play. He embodies a nearly ideal 4 position in his support-gank role. Apart from maybe a little bit of a liking for stealing kills, that is. As for Misery, he’s got a unique understanding of jungling, and if he gets Chen or Enchantress, there’s potential for him to create some problems for ChuaN and Faith.

Faith vs 1437

Zhou is iG’s eyes, 430 is iG’s hands, YYF is iG’s heart, ChuaN is iG’s blood, Faith is iG’s brains. To be able to play support in such a star-studded team and not fall by the wayside, Faith’s ability can only be described as unfathomably deep. 1437 performed decently in previous competition, but his performances were more linked to Misery’s than anything else. If he can successfully fulfill his own role while injecting more personal flavor into it, he can perhaps bring more life to LGD.int’s play.

Overall playstyle analysis

iG did not drop a single match in the earlier stages. Even though against LGD they met a certain degree of resistance, they ultimately showed their superior decision making ability. The “top three” of old has recently seen iG pulling ahead and away in all aspects, from bans and picks, to individual performances, to teamfights, and even as far as seeing superior creativity in cracking late0game stalemates. iG has indeed become the current world number 1 Dota2 team; the greatest impression this iG team gives is that they are un-beatable. Their playstyle is very efficient and clean: they rely on excellent individual skill to ensure laning goes well, then once key early items are farmed out, they rely on ChuaN and Faith’s roaming to make things happen and create space. Once they’ve achieved a certain advantage, they group up and take towers, always decisive in their decisions at this stage. If the opponent reacts less than perfectly, iG often takes kills in addition to towers, and they snowball out of control. If the oppponent defends effectively, iG quickly makes the decision to adapt. iG is rarely seen to be playing from behind, because they simply rarely fall behind in the early game. In all this, perhaps the best chance to find a hole in iG’s play is to go on all-out offense against them from the start.

LGD.int has not been together for long, yet have gone this far in G-League. Even though they’ve had tough challenges, their progress here is not an accident. Their strength comes from their fast learning; every mistake, defeat, or even spectacular performance from an opponent is something they learn from and absorb. Like a talented but unpolished fighter, their raw talent is enough to defeat many a master.

LGD.int favors jungling and then dual roaming. They tend to use an early Smoke gank in mid to help God open things up, and then shift into a trilane, utilizing controlled jungle creeps to harass the opposing carry’s growth. God will use all this to snowball while controlling runes. If not dealt with properly, teams find themselves in a cycle of teamfights against LGD.int with no space to farm and grow properly, and LGD.int will group up after their carry has core items out, utilizing the solo mid and carry’s earlier advantages to win fights. If LGD.int’s early game roaming and God’s growth can be countered, then LGD.int falters like a car without gas. If LGD.int wants to expand beyond this singular strategic mindset, then they not only need more from the 3 4 5 positions, they also need to show that Western creativity. Without trying, how to know it will not work?

Results prediction

iG 3 — 0.5 LGD.int

Looking at it from various angles, iG will ultimately win by relatively large margins. LGD.int’s 0.5 comes from the possibility of things such as God outplaying 430, or their potential at dominating teamfights. Worth looking forward to, either way, is the fact that both teams like to attack, and so no matter what happens, the matchup should be exciting for viewers!

Catch the G-League Season 2 2013 Finals online at: http://www.twitch.tv/gamefycng.gamefy.cn

 

iG wishes a Happy Chinese New Year to all!

Original: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNTEyNzIzNDYw.html

Only translated the Dota team’s greetings. Their section starts at 1:00 in. Before them is the LoL team, after them is the SC2 team, as well as iG team administration.

Happy Chinese/Lunar New Year to all who celebrate! It’s truly the happiest, most boisterous time of the year in many Asian cultures. 🙂

 

G-League interview with iG.ChuaN: “We cannot allow LGD.int to win”

Original: http://gleague.gamefy.cn/view_28204.html

Gamefy: Congrats to iG for their 3-0 win over LGD.cn to make it to the G-League 2012 Season Finals. Say hello to our viewers?

ChuaN: Hi everyone, I am iG ChuaN, Wong Hock Chuan.

Gamefy: So far your team has been undefeated in this G-League, how are you able to achieve this?

ChuaN: Nothing special really, we just play our own positions well, and execute to the best possible.

Gamefy: Your teamfights are perfect, can you tell us who is usually supposed to initiate for you?

ChuaN: Usually it’s whomever feels there is an opening, and they just go!

Gamefy: Your Rubick earlier was spectacular, stealing Beastmaster’s Roar on multiple occasions and helping to lock down LGD’s main damage sources, any comments?

ChuaN: Mostly it’s about finding the right timing, and apart from that I think their Beastmaster’s skill progression had some problems today.

Gamefy: In the finals you will meet LGD.int, will you defeat them to defend your G-League title?

ChuaN: We will do our best. We cannot leave the title to a bunch of foreigners, just one foreigner in me is enough.

Gamefy: After the semi-finals there’s a period of time until the finals, what are your plans?

ChuaN: We’ll probably first break to celebrate the Lunar New Year, and then come back to make some preparations for the finals.

Gamefy: Though the Dota2 competition has come to a temporary halt, other G-League events such as the LoL and SC2 tournaments are still on-going, and iG has players in those as well. Anything you want to say to them?

ChuaN: Of course I hope that iG.LoL can defeat WE and take that championship, and in SC2 hopefully Xigua can once again take the title.

Gamefy: Alright, thank you for the interview.

 

 

iG CEO Efeng recaps 2012

Original: http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_4a69021b0101cmo3.html

Dotaland note: Really cool reflections on 2012 written by Efeng, CEO of Invictus Gaming, and before that, manager of PanDa. Looks into behind the scenes stuff, his reflections, happenings, events and more. Just an overall excellent read for anyone interested in going through the past year in Chinese esports.

“2012, a transitional year”

January, PanDa set out to Beijing for the WGT, a very important competition at the time. At the time, this competition would directly influence PanDa’s sponsorship situation in the upcoming year, so every player was going all out — it was such a heart-warming scene to see, because the atmosphere was one where you could feel every member of the club was in it together, with a willingness to fight for the club, and exceptional teamwork and togetherness. Sadly a miscue in the form of accidentally denying the Aegis meant that their goals were ultimately not achieved, yet in the end we all felt fulfilled in one way or another, Lyn took the SC2 title, Toodming took third place for the same, and in Dota it was a second place finish, leaving us as the best overall results as a team at WGT.

“How come I’ve got a bad feeling about this…”

February, PanDa moved their team base to Nanjing. Upon arriving in Nanjing, I commented, “How come I’ve got a bad feeling about this…” The weather there in February was very cold, PanDa’s new base was located next to the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, everyone arrived on time. But because it was so cold in the dorms, our entire Dota team chose to sleep on the floor in the training room. Thinking back a bit now, the scene was quite moving… despite the conditions, there were few complaints at all. At the time, all Hao had to say was “I only want results this year, nothing else”; no one could predict what might happen afterwards. This month, I was very disorganized, and the club’s direction ended up creating a gap between the boss’s wishes. Mr Yu, the boss, was constantly un-contactable, our monitors at our new base did not support Dota2, our players couldn’t practice, Lyn’s salary went unpaid. Plus I had family issues back at home, my relationship wasn’t going well, so my emotions were frayed and all over the place, and all of a sudden I wanted to just get away and take a break… and then I managed to talk with Mr Yu, who said he would deal with the club’s problems as soon as possible, and I went to Hangzhou to clear my head and heart, and ultimately decided to resign from that position.

Compared with WE’s ups and downs in no less than the past 10 years, where regardless of financial, sponsors, or any other problems, they always stuck closely with one another and ultimately were rewarded with glory, just one month of missed salaries and everything fell apart, it was something that made me think quite hard.

March, I had resigned from the position of manager for PanDa. PanDa was the club that I had put the most blood and sweat into at the time, and so the decision was extremely hard to make. But the situation at the time led me to no other choice, and afterwards I began a life in Beijing of playing poker. At that time, when chatting with Old Liu we came to the topic of iG. In 2011, iG had actually approached me, but at the time I was putting everything into PanDa and so I had laughed it off. Yet now, I had no job, and had not given up on esports management, so I was immediately interested. The conflict at the time was between going on to play poker professionally, or to come back to this industry that I was familiar with. I chatted with many people, asked their opinions, and decided to go to iG and give it a try. I still felt I could contribute something, and additionally there was another big reason, that at the time I could only keep to myself. At the end of the month, Yaobai (of PanDa) suddenly messaged me on QQ, said he was done with his work with the team, he hadn’t been paid, Mr Yu was out of reach… I tried to talk with him about it, but he said he was really upset, and wanted to just leave, at least until people were paid again. At the time no one thought too much of it, and it just happened. Who would have expected this all to lead to the earthquake that was PanDa disbanding. And so it was a series of events, and fortunately in the end nothing terrible happened, everyone managed to find a stable new place to call home. Thinking back, PanDa at the time was solidly in the ranks of top4 Dota teams, and its SC2 team ahd Lyn, Toodming, Ash, and its sponsor situation was stable. Compared with WE’s ups and downs in no less than the past 10 years, where regardless of financial, sponsors, or any other problems, they always stuck closely with one another and ultimately were rewarded with glory, just one month of missed salaries and everything fell apart, it was something that made me think quite hard.

April, I officially joined iG, and began my professional manager career with them. IG’s Dota team, ever since SMM hadn’t achieved much in any way, and were undergoing a fierce practice regime. The NGF competition at the end of the month everyone felt must-win, yet in the end iG lost to LGD, who had barely trained. ChuaN cried tears of real sorrow below the stage, yet it was just that type of atmosphere that let me know that this was a team that was destined to achieve results, because of that hunger for victory, one that exceeded anyone else’s.

One loss after another drew them each closer to one another, and the arguments and disagreements of wayward days lessened, in its place there appeared more trust and understanding.

May, the ACE League began. A glorious new page in the history of esports, ACE League is to-date the most ambitious and large-scale project and competition, and was also the hope and dream of every team that joined hands in the alliance. That month, iG started training on Dota2, starting at a worldwide Dota2 team ranking of 447. So it was under these conditions that YYF began his 30 games per day training regime. One loss after another drew them each closer to one another, and the arguments and disagreements of wayward days lessened, in its place there appeared more trust and understanding.

June, iG’s management had stabilized, and a formerly messy situation gradually calmed down. This month, because of internet issues, the decision was made to move the LoL team to Shanghai, and after that iG’s YY channel (a live audio streaming platform, popular in China) went online, marking an effort to build up our Fan Club project.

July, was CCG, and iG’s SC2 team getting crushed to wrap it up. But perhaps because of just this devastating loss, iG’s SC2 team became more motivated. On the 15th, at CCG’s evening reception, I met a girl.

On the 29th, we arrived in Seattle, and five days later, iG were up on the stage of the finals. When NaVi typed out GG, we all broke into tears.

August, on the 5th, the whole team arrived in Shanghai, for what could be said to be the most important competition of the year for iG — G-League. Fate finally smiled upon us, and iG successfully took the first big title of the year, thus writing the first chapter in our Dota team’s glorious journey. Teams under me had taken Warcraft 3, SC2, and FIFA championships, and watching them accepting their winnings up on stage was truly an emotional event for me; it could be said that we finally achieved a goal of ours. On the 29th, we arrived in Seattle, and five days later, iG were up on the stage of the finals. When NaVi typed out GG, we all broke into tears. As they waved Chinese flags on stage, and as they hoisted the Aegis of Champions up high, we all knew that that 447th-ranked team from three months ago were the ones now standing on top of the world. Additionally, we would continue the glory, TI2 undoubtedly became iG’s most meaningful competition of the year, yet the reason I labelled G-League the most important was because winning G-League was what gave the players the confidence and desire to win more, ultimately serving as the door to triumph for the team.

September, iG’s management changed, with Old Liu leaving. Looking back on the year, he has absolutely been an amazing mentor and friend to me. I’ve truly been lucky, every time I enter a tough period, I always meet someone who can give me a hand up, so here I truly thank Old Liu for his unwavering faith and trust in me and his help. On the 14th, iG took the ACE League’s first season championship, taking home the year’s third major trophy. On the 19th, the team headed back to Xi’an for WCG qualifiers, and were very lucky in that the FIFA team took the Xi’an regional title without training at all beforehand. At the end of the month we learned that Leiyu Esports had met problems with finances, and after contacting them we were able to give a whole new face to our CF team by signing their former members, and the new team repaid us all by winning the CFPL.

October, all of iG’s teams officially made the move to Shanghai, settling in the Xujiahui district. The various teams thus began another phase of dominance, achieving 3 golds, 1 silver, and 1 bronze at the China region WCG finals, to place as the best team present. And, in the beginning of the month, that girl I had met at CCG became my girlfriend, and apart from that I devoted all of myself to the business side of things.

November, a month of business development!

December, iG took the Dota and CF titles at the WCG World Championships, putting a perfect end to the year. The LoL team began to undergo planned changes.

This past year, a year of joy and sorrow intertwined, endless challenges, changes and rebirth, ends with a gladness that I went on with my original dreams and didn’t go down the path of poker. There are too many memories, I’ve learned more than ever, and it’s ultimately been a very lucky year of the dragon for me. Thank you to all the friends who came to celebrate my birthday at the end of the year, I’ve never had one with so many people. Hopes are that next year will go smoothly for all, that the team and the ACE League can achieve all goals and ambitions, and that everyone does well!

 

 

Netease interview with iG — “playing pro is quite tiring, ChuaN loves air conditioning…” and new iG team in the making?

Dotaland note: A site that doesn’t do much coverage of Dota, Netease, did this interview with 4 members of iG. It’s got some blatant product placement, which is itself an interesting look into the degree of commercialization and sponsorship that Chinese teams have access to. Additionally, Zhou’s responses are stiff and authoritative as usual, there’s talk of them participating in creation of a new iG team (!), and near the end they each talk a bit about each other, which is sorta fun.

Original: http://game.163.com/12/1211/16/8IF4685700314K8H.html

Netease (NE): We’re very happy to be able to interview the members of iG’s renowned Dota team, go ahead and say hello.

Zhou: Hello to all fans of the Netease gaming section, I am iG’s Zhou.

Faith: Hi everyone, I am iG’s Faith.

430: Hi everyone, I am iG’s 430.

YYF: Hi everyone, I am iG’s YYF.

NE: First off, congratulations for your win in the Dota2 competition at WCG2012. Can you talk about how it felt at the time?

Zhou: At the time we were very happy, and very excited. WCG can be described as a dream for all professional gamers, and so for us to take the title in Dota2 can be seen as fulfilling a career dream.

NE: We watched all the matches in the competition, and iG’s advantage was quite noticeable. Was there any specific game that left you the biggest impression?

Faith: The second game in the finals, if we had dealt with laning properly then the opponent would have had no chance against us in the following teamfights. But because we had some mistakes in earlier fights, there was a risk of it spiralling out of control for us, but we gradually rediscovered our feel for it and eventually took the game.

NE: We heard that you guys really took this competition seriously. In order to fully prepare, what were some things you did beforehand?

Faith: In the days leading up to the competition, we intensified our training, and focused on practicing some of the more popular heroes.

NE: In matches, apart from strong player mentality and high-level performances, computer hardware also greatly affects outcomes. What do you feel are the most important hardware indicators for competitive gaming?

430: Usually, there are very high requirements for video cards, processor, and RAM.

NE: We heard that you guys used Lenovo’s Y-series laptop for training at one point before the competition. Normally in training desktops are used more, so what led you to considering the Y-series laptop?

430: Because its hardware specs fit our requirements decently. Its processor is an Intel i7, graphics are driven by a GForce650, plus it has 4GB of RAM, so it runs Dota2 quite comfortably.

NE: We’ve also heard that the Y400 has some special features, were these a factor in choosing this product?

430: Originally the reason we bought this was for its Ultrabay feature, it allows modifications to fit changing needs. For example when we play big games (on full screen) we have greater requirements for graphics, so we can utilize dual graphics card mode and thus achieve very smooth effects. Similarly, if we feel that heat dissipation is becoming an issue, we just switch in a fan, and this problem naturally goes away. The ability to make adjustments to key parts when needed, this is definitely a very convenient feature, and it suits our needs as professional gamers. After using this for a while, we all feel that the experience has been quite good, so we really like it.

NE: Supposedly you guys are planning on a nationwide talent search, where worthy candidates are selected to join iG for professional training sessions, with a chance to represent iG itself in competition. Can you give us some details?

YYF: Soon we will take part in a series of school campus events, the goal is to select five exceptional players, and then we will train them as a team, and they will represent iG at competitions.

NE: As a professional team, in what direction will iG develop for the future?

Zhou: Our team’s development direction is to become an international top tier Dota2 professional team.

NE: Any short-term plans, or long-term goals?

Zhou: Short-term plans are to win every single major competition, long-term goal is simply to become an international top-tier Dota2 professional team.

NE: Any special arrangements to help along the way?

Zhou: Better training, more communication, improve teamwork, practice player understandings, etc.

NE: So you’ve been training very hard lately, you have competitions coming up soon?

Zhou: Indeed, our hard work in training is so we can win more competitions.

NE: You’ve all been on this team for a relatively longer amount of time, in your professional careers, what kind of feel have iG and esports given you?

YYF: I think, when first coming into esports it was holding onto dreams and hopes, playing for the love of esports and gaming. So in the beginning there was a lot of passion, and when you win your first championship there is a lot of excitement. But after that, training day after day, honestly also gets quite tiring. Professional gaming isn’t actually just fun and games like a lot of people think, it is also a kind of work.

NE: Normally, an esports team’s players should have very close understandings, and I see that you guys have excellent teamwork. Are your personal bonds with each other similarly strong, are there any interesting stories to share from this?

Zhou: 430 and YYF often mess around with each other, this is what I think is most interesting.

Faith: ChuaN keeps the air conditioning on cold no matter what the weather is like, even in deep winter he’s gonna want it on.

430: Sleeping at night, Faith grinds his teeth, it’s like someone is eating in the middle of the night.

YYF: I often stand by 430 and watch him play pubs. When he’s solo mid, every time he dies 1v1 he’ll utter a phrase, “This person is so noob!” and then I’ll make fun of him, “He’s such a noob but he still killed you”.

NE: YYF brought it up just now — esports itself is a professional industry, and many people don’t really understand it much. Can you give an overview of it for everyone, is it what everyone thinks it is or is there a distance between reality and what people believe?

YYF: There’s still some difference from what most people think, everyone thinks it’s just fun and play, and while there is a lot of passion and joy at first, over a long period of time, no matter how much interest you have in it, needing to play and train for 10+ hours a day is enough to grind anyone down.

iG vs DK shouting match at WCG… ChuaN cameo

Original: http://17173.tv.sohu.com/v/1/11681/138/MTM4MzQwMw==

In this short video, a rare direct glimpse into the sight and sounds of top teams as they compete, we see iG and DK playing at WCG 2012… then they get into a shouting match of sorts. They’re shouting commands to their respective teammates at first, then their shouts become more targeted towards what the other team is shouting. And then in the last bit, ChuaN, who is not playing for iG at WCG, gives his voice in support of iG. All in a sort of joking manner from both sides, but very intense still, and it shows the rivalry. I think I lost 3 pounds just from watching that.