Top 10 Stories in 2012 Chinese Dota


Dotaland note: Written by Felix菜刀刃, friend of Dotaland, and translated at his personal request — this is a look back on the last year of Dota in China, where so many things have changed, grown, and in some cases, disappeared… Looks back on teams, controversies, achievements, and a hint at Perfect World having their own ‘International’? This and more, read on below!

10 — Disbandment

Nirvana, sponsored by Loveen, winners of prestigious titles such as G-League in 2010, WDC, WCG China, once upon a time stood amongst the three giants of Chinese Dota, alongside EHOME and LGD. WDC, the World Dota Championships, catalyzed in part by Loveen, was a top three competition in Dota. Going into 2011, Nirvana and the WDC both entered a turning point, where Loveen, citing a new marriage faded out of the scene. In the beginning of 2012, Nirvana officially announced their end, with WDC being their swansong.

PanDa, sponsored by a Hang Yu (this was PanDa’s second iteration), with Efeng as manager, established in 2012. Players under their tag included Hao, Mu, Yaobai, PanPan, 830God, and Sansheng. Their results were not bad, but then the boss disappeared, Efeng quit, three core players transferred to TongFu, and that was that — the team disbanded.

WE’s Dota team was established in 2011. At one point or another, they had new at the time, but now-familiar names such as Sylar and Veronica. After TI2 ended, their Dota players left one after another.

CLC’s Dota team, after a short existence including players like 357, ultimately disbanded after 357 returned to EHOME. Afterwards, the remnants of CLC merged with LOH to form Noah’s Ark. Following investors pulling out from NA in 2012, the team ceased to exist.

DT Club, once 3rd/4th placed finishers at ACE League, suffered an unexplained resignation from their manager, a loss of financial backing from their boss, their players floated off to other teams.

9 — Rebirth

“A thousand sails drift past the sunken ship, a thousand trees flourish upon the dying stump” — in 2012, though quite a few teams left us, new teams appeared to fill their spots and bring with them a new wind of hope. The most inspired of these is none other than, where we must give credit to LGD.RuRu’s eagle-eyed wisdom for her skill in building another super-team in the hyper competitive Dota scene. And’s performances so far have shown us all that Western players do not necessarily lack talent, they only need an environment to focus and train better.

Post-TI2, the biggest dark horse newcomer should be ViCi Gaming. Mostly comprised of new players, they first took the GosuCup by storm, only losing to Zenith and ending up third place. And then it was in the G-League group B, where they escaped death by eliminating MUFC, pushed to the limit, ending the year in a satisfactory manner.

Apart from that, there’s still the new as-yet-unnamed team led by ZSMJ and Ch, as well as a potential new team with LaNm. And then, there are rumors saying that former DT Club players have re-convened to fight anew in this new year.

8 — Perfection

After a seemingly neverending wait, Perfect World finally was confirmed as Dota2’s official Chinese partner. Despite many fans and industry people alike eagerly and impatiently awaiting this news, Perfect World played this to their own leisurely pace, perhaps with confidence in a long-term approach. While they prepared a new Dota2 official splash page and beta signups, Perfect World has also been ramping up recruitment in preparation. There are reports suggesting that Perfect World also has plans to hold independent large-scale events a-la Valve’s International, and perhaps this act could serve to disrupt the current balance between third-party events. Either way, no matter what comes from Perfect World, it will greatly influence the Dota2 scene as we know it.

7 — Reputation

For WCG, its name recognition is matched only by its controversy. As one of the key forces in early Chinese esports development, WCG holds an almost mythical reputation amongst Chinese fans. Yet, recent developments in gaming have almost left WCG behind, with WCG attempting a shift towards mobile games. And plus, as a modern-day esports giant, the new generation of Chinese gamers have the ability to look beyond what the Koreans can provide. Increasingly refined experiences and production from domestic competitions, plus huge moves from American gaming companies have left the Samsung-led WCG by the wayside.

This year’s World Cyber Games was held in Kunshan, China, and its production fully catered to the host nation’s tastes. Dota2 became a main competition, with its predecessor Dota included as an exhibition event. In Warcraft3, Ted’s Undead had a classic come from behind victory, and the Sky-Moon rivalry played out another emotional chapter; the whole of it meaning that viewers got more than enough. But still, the worries were apparent underneath the surface at WCG, and its future remains unknown.

6 — Surprises

G-1 League’s 4th Season quietly snuck up on us, and it brought with it China’s first Dota2 competition, a first for Chinese and English simultaneous broadcasting, the first Chinese competition with an in-game Steam ticket. Out of many firsts, what it served to do most was to set an example and kick off the future of Chinese — and even Asian — competitive Dota2. Even so, of course, there were many places for improvement; wonder what surprises the next iteration of G-1 League will have for fans?

5 — Breakout

As China’s longest standing and most well-known esports media organization, Gamefy’s 2012 wasn’t a typical one. In fact, it could be said that their summary for the year is a long list of achievements. The first season of G-League in 2012 managed to put on an exuberant celebration of a Grand Finals, despite being trapped between a spectacular ACE League debut, and a certain million-dollar tournament in Seattle. And speaking of TI2, Gamefy also successfully acquired broadcasting rights to the competition. Yet, not long after these successes, Gamefy commentator SnowKiss resigned controversially, leaving in her place a long series of accusations leveled at Gamefy and former coworkers there. Although Gamefy successfully cooled the situation down, the storm clouds from this incident remain difficult to disperse. Afterwards, Gamefy’s Daily Report show negatively reviewed WCG, and Chinese WCG media partner NeoTV responded, causing another wave of arguments and controversy in the public eye.

So it was in this atmosphere that the new season of G-League began at the end of 2012. Unprecedented production quality along with unpredictable and exciting matches seemed to sweep away the haze of past disputes, finally helping Gamefy to break out from a series of negative events. In 2013, a reformed SiTV (parent company of Gamefy) thus must continue their role as one of Chinese esports forces.

4 — Professionalism

The ACE League, as a collaboration between the ACE Esports League and GTV Channel, provided Dota competition in its debut event. In the roadmap of Chinese esports development, the ACE League holds a milestone-like status. In terms of production and packaging, it’s erected a new standard for other competitions. But an awkward reality cannot be ignored, that is that half of the original participating teams have by now disbanded, and a second season of the league never materialized in 2012. In what way will ACE re-appear in 2013, all is still unknown to us now.


EHOME is (or was?) China’s oldest esports name. In many different events and games, especially Dota, they at one time or another represented the top China — or even the world — had to offer. In 2011, BurNing and KingJ left the team, and DK and iG arose, and EHOME’s kingly aura faded as it never had before. In 2012, EHOME made high-profile roster changes: DC as a coach, ZSMJ et al recruited to compete, yet no goals were achieved. Afterwards, old EHOME veterans 357, Dai, and LanM were recruited back into the fold, and because of rule-breaking in these transfers EHOME ultimately were excluded from the new ACE Esports Alliance — EHOME became the ‘Horde’ to ACE’s ‘Alliance’. After TI2, 357 and Dai joined DK, team lead 71 left, and EHOME once again fell apart. Rumors say that EHOME’s been bought by iG owner Principal Wang, but no one knows if we’ll see EHOME make another return.

2 — Royalty

As we review the Dota scene of 2012, we come to find that unfortunately, ‘mess’ is still a word closely associated with everything, to the extent that the China Esports Magazine of 2011 below can be used again for 2012 with little changes. Paid smurfing to boost Dota 11 platform account ladder rankings, Dota2 keys and profiteering, the “100% focused” statements, Taobao’s antics… from one side to another, insults, maneuvering, and politics covered everything from fairness to profits and everything in between. The end result of all this being, for better or worse, we saw many more sides of players, commentators, organizers, tournaments, and clubs than we would have otherwise ever known about. Interestingly, all of this seemed to die down quite a bit after TI2. Perhaps it was because everyone saw first hand that there’s a quality in professionalism, and there’s a power behind a million dollars.

1 — Crusade

Because of Valve’s million-dollar injection into The International 2, the competition was seen as a ‘crusade’ of sorts by players. The first International in Cologne was not particularly important to Chinese teams, with seemingly only EHOME taking even a week of time to prepare for it. But then, EHOME’s $250000 prize for second place had everyone waking up. CCM, who finished outside the top four last time had turned into this year’s iG. Equipped with the best training environment Beijing could provide, and having just taken a G-League championship, with a lead in the on-going ACE League, it could be said that they had all the forces of nature alongside them. In the end, they didn’t disappoint, and successfully planted the Chinese flag on the greatest stage of Dota2.

This TI2 also served to completely rewrite the order of the worldwide Dota scene. China’s iG began their dynasty, Chinese competitions transitioned to Dota2, and the former big three Dota competitions faded away, all while Dota2’s gravity shifted ever so much towards the East. All indications point towards the fact that with TI2 and iG’s title, a new age has begun.

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Mini interview with DK.Dai: “ will be very tough, we have some issues”

Dotaland note: Interesting bits of commentary from DK team members on’s loss as well at the end of this piece.


On Dec 26, Team DK, who had previously been crushed 2-0 by ForLove in the first match of the tournament, arrived at the venue to spectate the match between and in the G-League Season 2 Dota2 offline tournament. After the first game in the match, Gamefy staff got a quick interview with DK’s Dai-god.

Q: Hello, Dai-god, say hello to Gamefy’s fans?

Dai: Hi everyone, I am DK’s Dai. My name is Zengrong Lei.

Q: Can you reveal to us why you guys are here watching this match?

Dai: Yesterday we lost to ForLove, today we’re here to take a look and scout out the match between and

Q: Yesterday you lost to ForLove, what was the cause of this?

Dai: Yesterday’s loss to ForLove was truly down to our own mistakes, in many places we didn’t play well enough. From our form, to our bans/picks, there were problems throughout.

Q: After losing to ForLove, your chances of advancing from your group aren’t looking great, how will you deal with this in upcoming matches?

Dai: Our next matches are against and; both teams are very strong, plus has just won The Asia 2012 and will be on good form, so playing them will be exceptionally difficult.

Q: Then, after viewing their match today, any thoughts or plans on how to counter them?

Dai: Not really anything specific, the most important thing is still to play to our full potential.

Q: Thank you Dai-god for the interview.

The skies of change are always unpredictable — just after our interview with Dai, posted their breathtaking 24-0 win over in game two to begin their turnaround.

Afterwards we also managed to speak with other DK members present at the venue and got their thoughts on the match between and going on at the time. Super expressed that he was speechless, and that he couldn’t watch any longer. xB, Dai, and 357 all said that they felt tried to play too defensively and ‘camped’ too hard. BurNIng straight up exclaimed that was impressive! And DK’s manager Farseer coolly analyized that, from the bans and picks it was already evident that would win; they obviously had practiced this roster before, previously they had used the exact same roster before! Commnetator Nekomata (aka Danche 单车) thought that should really ban Chen — Enchantress with no jungle is useless, while Chen with no jungle can still push well.’s dual gank worked well, leaving with no real options!

Analysis: Indeed as Farseer and Nekomata said, it was evident from the game that this was something had practiced before. It is obvious that in the current patch version, ban/picks are very important, and in the third game decisively banned the excellent Chen, Luna, and Nyx. But nonetheless, for a top tier team such as to lose a game by 24-0… is still a bit hard to swallow.

xiao8 interview with Sgamer: “Our recent losses came from fluctuations in the team … iG has no weakness”


SGamer: Thank you for this interview. Earlier there were reports saying you guys had moved your team headquarters from Tianjin to Hangzhou because you had switched sponsors?

xiao8: We haven’t changed sponsors, it’s just that internet in Southern China is a bit better. And also because we were forming our Int team, so having everyone together would make things easier to manage.

SG: LGD has always been seen as a favorite to win in any competition, yet you have lost in the finals of consecutive competitions recently, will there be any roster changes as a result?

xiao8: I don’t think so, lately the main reason behind our losses has been the fact that we’ve been making changes to positions within the team. After the ACE League, DD said he wanted to try playing the 3 position, but then after a bit of that he went back to his support role. Competition schedules have been very dense recently, and so we haven’t had much time to get used to the changes back and forth, and thus we haven’t found our team rhythm and as a result have been losing more.

SG: Were the original changes made to accommodate just whomever brought it up? Or were the changes a result of everyone feeling that they wanted some adjustments?

xiao8: It stemmed from individual requests for a position change and we all discussed it together. After all, if someone doesn’t want to play a certain position, they certainly aren’t going to be able to play it well.

SG: Because of the competitions you are now in, you guys probably don’t play much original DotA anymore, right? In your free time do you still go back to DotA and group up with friends to play some?

xiao8: Once in a while I’ll still go play solo or with a few friends on ladder.

SG: Regarding your newest teammates, how do you usually communicate with them?

xiao8: English!

SG: How come it seems like there’s quite a bit of pride in your tone of voice here… which of you has the best English?

xiao8: Right now, Yao’s English is best, although the club is already looking for tutors to help us with our English, so I think in the future the one with the best English skills will definitely be me!

SG: How do your two teams normally train?

xiao8: Pretty much whenever everyone’s here, we just train. And we just yell at each other, except sometimes no one knows what is being yelled. We usually play the “Cola Cup”, which is one Best of 3, whoever loses goes and buys two cases of Coca-cola …

SG: So your side wins pretty much 100% of the time, right?

xiao8: No, they’re quite good, in training we lose some and we win some.

SG: After TI2, IceFrog pushed through a large amount of changes in updates, do you feel that the updates in the last month have affected the pace of the game?

xiao8: I feel that right now, the fast tempo of games is just temporary, because an appropriate way to play this update version hasn’t been found yet.

SG: What are your thoughts on potential changes to the ban/pick phase?

xiao8: Don’t think it’ll really affect much, in the end everything depends on a team’s overall ability.

SG: Training with, have you been inspired in any way? It seems like current Chinese team strategies have all stagnated somewhat.

xiao8: A bit, but right now more of the focus in training has been on getting them acclimated to Chinese teams’ playing styles.

SG: What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of Chinese teams versus European/American teams?

xiao8: Strengths are we are more professional and more focused; weaknesses I’m not sure, maybe the fact that they have better mentalities, I feel that they perhaps find more enjoyment out of the game.

SG: What is your assessment of DK now that they’ve made their roster changes?

xiao8: Their lineup has grown a lot stronger, so it’s a stronger DK

SG: Why do you say so? Because a lot of people have been questioning 357 and Dai’s skill.

xiao8: Dai and 357 are excellent 4 and 5 position players, from technique and mechanics to teamwork and experience, they’re top tier.

SG: Currently iG is undoubtedly China’s strongest team, and also probably your biggest adversary, have you guys figured out any weaknesses of theirs?

xiao8: No. They don’t have any significant weaknesses, so you can only rely on the ban/pick phase or excellent in-game performance to beat them.

SG: Are you all currently making the adjustments to pick up your form for the upcoming G-League and G-1 League?

xiao8: We’re still adjusting right now, and whether our form is good can only be known after we actually play…

SG: Due to the original DotA still getting updates, the majority of players in China still stick to it. Yet most competitions have shifted to Dota2, and as a result in China we see an awkward situation where DotA has lots of players but no competitions, and Dota2 has lots of competitions but no players. Will this kind of a situation affect Dota2’s overall growth?

xiao8: Whether it’ll affect anything I’m not sure myself, but I feel that once Dota2 is open domestically, the players will gradually come.

SG: In the end, anything you’d like to say to bring a close to this interview?

xiao8: Thank you to our sponsors LaoGanDie Hot Sauce, Taobao, Razer, and to all the fans supporting us, thank you.

357 and Dai leave EHOME for DK, KingJ leaves. LanM retiring? EH disbanding?

Update: KingJ has left EHOME officially as well:

Update 2: Officially confirmed by DK

357 and Dai join DK, LanM retiring?


Yesterday we reported that EHOME’s 357 and Dai had joined DK (related link here, translation below). After learning of this, a fan contacted EHOME’s LanM, and said that he couldn’t contact management at EHOME, and then revealed that he may retire:

hi, LanM. Is the news real?

Have I really been slapped in the face like this?

What news

357 and Dai both went to DK? 357 is already wearing DK tags.

Should be, not sure, I can’t contact anyone at EHOME

Then what are you gonna do, isn’t 357 screwing you over?

Might not play professional anymore

The statement of “cannot contact anyone at EHOME” is one that raises eyebrows. is EHOME really on the path to disbanding this time? During TI2 there were rumors of EHOME being sold off. Up till now, the club’s manager 71 and EHOME have yet to make any announcement, so we still need to observe the situation. Regardless, we hope that the big changes in the domestic Dota and Dota2 scene can come to a conclusion as soon as possible, and each player can find a home quickly and return to the battlefield to continue contributing exciting matches for us all!

LongDD and Zippo leave DK, replaced by Dai and 357 of EHOME


After TI2 and ACE Pro League concluded, the various teams of the Chinese Dota and Dota2 scene entered a period of rest and adjustments. The typical “there must be changes after big tournaments” expectation had everyone wondering what might come to happen and change during the period after last week’s Chinese National Day holidays.

Quite a few well known personalities made predictions and guesses, and there were many rumors and predictions involving formerly dominant team DK. And within this, there were rumors stating that 357 and Dai, who went through a big mess of drama last year to leave their team CLC to join EHOME for The International, are now intent on joining DK. In doing so, they would join forces once again with the so-called “Universe’s Number 1 Carry” BurNing; with Zippo and LongDD, who at one point helped DK to 9 championships in a period of greatness, to leave the team because of recent decline in form and performances.

Today it looks like these rumors have hit the mark — forumers have revealed that, in the Dota2 game client, it can be seen that 357’s profile shows he has put on the DK team tag. Even though Dai has yet to add the tag, it can be seen that 357 and BurNing, et al, had grouped up to matchmaking.

At the same time, it can be seen that DK’s team page only shows four players currently, respectively they are Burning, rOtk/xB, Super, and 357, with no LongDD or Zippo.

From this we can see, LongDD and Zippo have left DK, and the announcement that 357 and Dai have joined is only a matter of time.