SCNTV: Alright, let’s interview the two teams’ captains. This is iG’s YYF, and this is TongFu’s ZSMJ. First question for YYF, you won a game then lost a game, what did you think you lost on in the second game?
iG.YYF: I feel that mainly I didn’t play very well, the fight right after the opposing Lone Druid finished Radiance wasn’t a good fight for me. We actually could’ve won that fight but didn’t get the details right, and then things went out of control afterwards.
SCNTV: Next question for ZSMJ, in the first game your team had a small advantage at times in early game yet still ended up losing, where did you think you lost the game?
TongFu.ZSMJ: I feel that Lone Druid mid might’ve actually been better. And then it was our roaming supports trying to gank mid without much success, and YYF got really fat in top lane, so fat that we didn’t even want to try ganking him, and then we gradually couldn’t compete any longer.
SCNTV: We’ve seen that YYF recently has really favored using Bristleback, so why do you feel that Bristleback is able to be used on the competitive stage?
iG.YYF: Because this version tends to favor teamfights and face-to-face fighting, and Bristleback is just the type of hero for this. He’s excellent in head-on conflicts, can get Mek for the team, so it can be said that he is able to ensure a team’s mid game.
SCNTV: Let’s ask ZSMJ: we know that currently, Alchemist can fit into the 2, 3, and 4 roles, so can you tell us what is so special about a support role Alchemist?
TongFu.ZSMJ: I’ve felt for my entire career that this is a hero that can play everything from the 1 role to hard support, because he has strong abilities, and is also suited for fighting, so he can play in many roles. For a support Alchemist, his stun and acid are both very high damage in early game.
SCNTV: YYF, there’s been a pretty dense line of matches recently, how have practices been for the team, what is the team’s form like right now?
iG.YYF: Just continuously exploring [new tactics], the main purpose of which is to get familiar with things. There are lots of matches right now, so the matches are our main form of practice currently.
SCNTV: ZSMJ, your coach sydm, has been playing as a standin for VG recently, what do you make of his performances?
TongFu.ZSMJ: Even though I didn’t really watch that match, but coach came back and said that they almost made a big comeback with Spectre, so it seems he’s been pretty good.
SCNTV: Okay, thank you to both for the interview, and we hope that you can bring us even more great matches in the future.
Pretty cool interview of BurNIng from a few days ago, part of a “Players Pantheon” series from UUU9.com…
BurNIng at a glance:
Name: Xu Zhilei
Birthdate: Feb 16, 1988
Hometown: Tongling, Anhui Province
Nicknames: B-god, Xu-lardar, Xu-Nessaj, Prof Xu
Past teams: 7L, KS.cn, CH, EHOME
Fav heroes: Weaver, Anti-mage
Fav actor: Wentworth Earl Miller
Fav band: Linkin Park
Fav movie: Batman
UUU9: Hello, today we have the honor of interviewing DK’s BurNIng. Say hi to everyone first.
DK.BurNIng: Hello everyone, I am DK’s captain BurNIng.
UUU9: For WPC this time, DK has come from Yunnan all the way to Shanghai. Anything that has needed getting used to for your team?
BurNIng: Only a little bit when we first arrived in Shanghai. We first just checked into a random convenience hotel. And then the training facilities provided here had limits on time, we could only train until 9pm whereas our normal routine would be until 2-3am. But now all these things have been resolved.
UUU9: Oh. Regarding the recently concluded Starladder season, NaVi won 3-2 over Alliance. Did you guys follow this tournament at all, what did you think of the two teams?
BurNIng: I watched the entire tournament live via streams. The two teams felt very close in terms of ability, NaVi gave me the feeling that they spent a lot of time in analyzing Alliance. Their playstyle and drafts were very focused on countering Alliance, so they were able to take the win.
UUU9: If you guys were to face them in a match, what chances do DK have to win?
BurNIng: At the moment I think maybe 30-40% chance. But with further improvements from practice, our chances will rise.
UUU9: Let’s talk about your new teammates. Iceiceice always gives people the feeling of a jokester, does he have a serious side in real life?
BurNIng: When he first came to DK, my impression from him was that he is a player that truly loves Dota. He’s very hard working, we started off when he first came by playing lots of pubs and watching lots of replays.
UUU9: How do you guys normally address him? Cousin (iceiceice once joked that it was his cousin playing for him in a particularly feed-worthy game)? iceiceice?
BurNIng: Usually either ‘cousin’ or ‘ice’.
UUU9: LaNm and iceiceice often show off their affection for each other publicly, what is their relationship?
BurNIng: They are just normal teammates O_O… It’s just iceiceice’s love for being flamboyant on camera, I think.
UUU9: In your eyes, what kind of player is Mushi?
BurNIng: The impression that Mushi gives me is dedicated and humble, and has a great thirst for winning. I think he’s a very good person.
UUU9: DK’s recent form has been excellent, and we’ve heard that you guys have been hard at work training daily. Some fans have suggested that you guys reaching such heights right now might mean that you peak too early and drop in bigger engagements, what do you think?
BurNIng: I feel that form is something that you maintain, you don’t really suddently lose all your form in one day. Form is the result of training and practice, so as long as we can continue on with our effectiveness in training, form is not a problem.
UUU9: All of DK can be considered veteran players, what is your secret to keeping your performances going?
BurNIng: There isn’t really a secret, it’s just staying interested and dedicated.
UUU9: In recent matches, Elder Titan has been either picked or banned almost always. Can B-god share with us some thoughts on this hero’s strengths and weaknesses?
BurNIng: This hero can be said to be the hottest hero in this version (6.78). His main feature his powerful teamfights, as well as his ability to defend towers. He’s good offlane as well as solo mid, has strong laning, doesn’t lose 1v1, and can get a lot of farm for himself in a 1v3 as well. I feel he’s just a very strong hero.
UUU9: Foreign players like to alternate second and third skills, while Chinese players prefer alternating the first and second skills, which do you think is better?
BurNIng: Originally the Chinese style was first and second skills alternating, but recently under a European influence, Chinese players have been going for the second and third skills as well. I feel it’s not bad, but requires more crowd-control from teammates. The aura is really very imba.
UUU9: In the recent DK vs HGT WPC-ACE match, iceiceice’s level 5 ET never got a level of Stomp, and he ended up getting killed over and over, what did you think of this?
BurNIng: I think he was a bit careless. Leveling Stomp or not makes no difference, getting caught meant death regardless.
UUU9: Apart from WPC-ACE, we have G-League, D2L, MLG all starting or about to come, does DK have any big goals set for winning these?
BurNIng: Our goal is of course to win these titles, and we will continue working in training to keep our form going.
UUU9: What do you think of the two newcomer teams in WPC-ACE League — HGT and TongFu 2nd team? What advice would you share with them?
BurNIng: Their ability is quite decent, but there’s still some space between them and professional teams. I’ve watched a few of their replays, and HGT has even taken a win over a pro team. They do pretty well in early game, but towards mid and late game they have a lack of experience. Every professional player undergoes a similar process. Without experience in these situations, they don’t know what to do with an advantage and end up losing. So they need more practice and experience before they’ll be able to see some results.
UUU9: In DK’s games, you guys sometimes move your farm priority down a bit. Has this taken some adjusting to for you?
BurNIng: In forming this team, I’d already established this for myself, if I took this new team and tried to play the same way as before then the results might be even worse than before, so I decided that I should play a bit more aggressively and offensively. Share farm and resources a bit more evenly, not just focus everything on my own hero. This was the way to making the breakthrough, and from current results it would seem that it’s going decently.
UUU9: In the past it was always BurNIng plus 4 protectors. Ever since Mushi and iceiceice joined, your team’s style has changed, so how would you describe your current system?
BurNIng: Our system now is basically: Attack, overwhelm, multi-core.
UUU9: Watching you in the past there was always the feeling that your play was very steady and reliable. Nowadays, it would seem that you’ve gotten more ‘floaty’, what do you think?
BurNIng: I think this has a lot to do with the hero I’m on, and I’ve also been trying to make adjustments myself. I don’t think it’s ‘floaty’, more that it’s type of change.
UUU9: How do you think resources should be shared to supports?
BurNIng: Usually it would depend on the hero. If I don’t need farm or levels that much at a certain time, then I let supports get some to catch up on core items and levels, and then I return to lane afterwards.
UUU9: In WPC-ACE, DK has yet to taste defeat. Many people are guessing at which team will be the one to break your streak, so who do you think is the hardest team for you to face?
BurNIng: Many teams are very strong. VG fought us very hard and it was very close before we made a comeback, iG against us was also a comeback for us. There isn’t as large of a gap between Chinese team as some may think, a lot of things are down to form and execution.
UUU9: Outside of training, what things do you like to do?
BurNIng: Watch some movies, listen to music. I still prefer to stay at home more.
UUU9: When was the last time you visited back home?
BurNIng: After TI3 I went home for a half month break.
UUU9: Now with training and competitions all packed in your schedule, it must be pretty tiring, how many days each month do you have to spend with your girlfriend?
BurNIng: It’s hard to even get a few games of pubs with her every week, much less have time to meet up. Sometimes I feel sorry to her.
UUU9: We saw on weibo your profession of love towards her, so surely she can understand you. Alright, thank you to BurNIng for this interview with us, and we hope DK can continue achieving good results in the future. Anything to say to fans?
BurNIng: Hi UUU9 fans, I am DK’s BurNIng, I want to thank all our fans for their support of DK, and for following DK’s matches. We will strive to continue working hard, and play well in every game and bring exciting performances to repay you all.
According to this report from Replays.net, this is how transfers have been standardized under the ACE Alliance in Chinese Dota 2. The latter half of the article reveals the transfer fees and related details of some of this year’s biggest moves.
If Team B wishes to buy Team A’s player C, then B must first approach A and confirm whether the player is available for transfer. If A agrees, only then is B allowed to approach the player C. If player C is open and willing, then Team B can lay out their transfer conditions and offer. If player C does not agree to these terms, then he will remain at his current club; if player C agrees, then all three parties, A, B, and C need to communicate with ACE via email and receive their confirmation. In the ensuing days, the involved parties need to come to the ACE offices in order to sort out paperwork and related processes, and then they are allowed to make official announcements regarding the news. If the new team and their new player decides to use existing contracts, then they perform a trade of contracts while at ACE. If they decide to sign a new contract, then the new contract will be signed and backup files stored with ACE. In the case later on that a party fails to uphold their end of a contract, then ACE will be abe to lay penalties according to existing policies.
Below are images from the transfer of KingJ from TongFu to RisingStars:
RisingStars manager CC signing
TongFu manager CuZn signing
In addition, Replays.net also received information regarding the details of this year’s transfers, as below:
TongFu <–> RisingStars
1. KingJ transfers from TongFu to RisingStars
2. XTT is part of the transfer terms, and joins TongFu from Rstars, his contract is exchanged for KingJ’s
3. RStars and TongFu respectively pay to XTT and KingJ their owed prize moneys and promotional fees
TongFu <–> iG #1
1. Banana transfers from TongFu to iG
2. TongFu pays to banana all owed prize moneys and promotional fees
3. iG pays TongFu a transfer fee totaling 100,000 RMB for the rights to banana
TongFu <–> iG #2
1. iG and TongFu agree to collaborate on themed promotional product(s)
2. iG pays TongFu a transfer fee totaling 110,000 RMB for the rights to Hao
3. Zhou is part of the transfer terms, and joins TongFu from iG, his contract is exchanged for Hao’s
4. iG and TongFu respectively pay to Zhou and Hao their owed prize moneys and promotional fees
VG <–> RisingStars
1. CTY transfers from VG to RStars
2. RStars pays VG a transfer fee totaling 45,000 RMB for the rights to CTY
3. VG pays CTY’s August salary and previous promotional fees
LGD <–> RisingStars
1. xiaotuji’s contract is exchanged for Sylar’s
2. xiaotuji is traded for Sylar, each player’s official transfer fee consists of the other player’s transfer rights (Dotaland note: they were essentially traded 1 for 1)
3. LGD is to pay Sylar his promotional fees for China Joy, as well as DSL prize money
It is easy to see from all this, that the ACE Alliance has a certain amount of influence watching over transfers and related activities, helping clubs and players maintain their rights in the process. The current scene seems to allow both player trades as well as straight cash purchases of transfer rights, akin to something of a mix between what is commonly seen in the sports of basketball and soccer (football). If a new club is willing to spend millions and buy out an entire team, what is to stop them? Additionally, it was not hard to see during this reshuffle from the weibo posts of various team managers that, despite this structure, things were still very chaotic. We hope that ACE can make further improvements to the details and processes.
Last night during the Sina Supernova Cup, you may have seen Hao’s ID as such: iG.Hao.同福. This was Hao’s first official appearance as a member of iG. Afterwards, Hao made a statement explaining it.
“I’d been at TongFu for over a year, and had been fighting alongside Mu since before then, starting at PanDa. In this time, we finally achieved the big title that we’d been wanting all along, yet in the end we still end up parting ways like this. Many things in life are difficult, and many things might only be understood by yourself; other people might not understand, it may only be clear in your own heart. So, in leaving, I am very reluctant to thus part with these brothers of mine. To show my thanks for TongFu’s care and help for me in the past year, I’ve already communicated with my new club: in the next half year’s time, I will have TongFu as part of my ID. Of course, I will fight to give my all for iG, and this marks a new starting point for everyone. My allies of yesterday, let us now meet on the battlefield!”
For everyone trying to keep track at home, but are having trouble… here’s a rough collection of the main newsworthy events in 2013’s Chinese shuffle and relevant source links. From top to bottom, the order goes from the most recent to the earliest. Items that are mostly at the moment unsourced rumors will be in italics.
This rounds out LGD’s lineup once more, and the situation bears similarity to when LGD first brought Sylar on — xiaotuji is another promising relatively new player to the scene. Can LGD repeat history and become dominant once again? Sylar on the other hand replaces xiaotuji in RisingStars — can Rstars continue their upward trajectory?
BurNIng remains as carry, Mushi joins as solo mid, iceiceice as offlaner, with Dai/MMY and LaNm on support — this is said to be the role specification of the new star-studded DK lineup. On a sidenote, DK’s manager Farseer would like to state that the so-called ‘dream team’ that had been rumored earlier is not actually DK: “it has nothing to do with us, please don’t call us the dream team.”
Zhou publicly flames Efeng, part of the management at iG, for “being two-faced, your words are worth nothing”. Speculation is that this is referring to the fact that prior to Zhou leaving iG and going to TongFu, he was promised that iG would not try to recruit other TongFu members away, but after Zhou left, iG made one or more approaches for TongFu player(s). TongFu’s manager Cuzn looks to be meeting these new developments with a mixture of surprise and dismay.
Zhou leaves iG, Hao comes to iG. The two players essentially switch places on their respective teams. Additionally, some sort of ‘strategic partnership’ has been formed between the two clubs as a result of this transaction. It is also said that KingJ and Mu are both leaving TongFu, and possibly Banana too. The split of Hao and Mu is a saddening one.
ROtk and Super quickly find a new home with VG. At the same time, ZSMJ and CTY are said to have left VG, with VG stating that they made every effort to get ZSMJ to stay, whether as a coach or otherwise. ZSMJ himself has said that he will continue playing… but not with VG, apparently.
Kabu reveals that he’s left RattleSnake. In his farewell post on Weibo, he tagged Luo, Icy, and Sag, but not LaNm, indirectly further confirming the latter also no longer being part of RSnake, something that had been rumored since after TI3. LaNm would go on to join DK.
LGD attempts to address the beyond-awkward situation with their now-former carry, but Sylar responds in his own way (his responses have since been deleted), basically refuting their claims and refusing to reconsider.
DK’s manager Farseer tries to clear the air regarding the huge changes that left only BurNIng in the team. ROtk seems to be understanding, and ultimately caps off a bittersweet ending by wishing everyone well…
In which rOtk outlines why he felt unfairly treated, in a fiery, empassioned statement. The rest of the DK players seem to be just as shocked, and respond in their own individual ways. A few days later, DK confirms that only BurNIng remains in their roster. MMY would return to DK as a member afterwards.
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.
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!
SGamer: Hello LongDD, thank you for the interview. As a top 10 ranked player in the previous season, you’ve gone even further this season to place first. How do you feel? LongDD: I’ve actually had a top 4 in the past. Anyway, it’s great. I’ve been participating in CDEC since a few years ago, but never got first, because in the past I didn’t have the time to play much CDEC, but now I’ve finally done it.
SG: Compared to last season, this season’s top 10 sees far fewer professional players, and the overall amount of games has decreased as well, why do you think that is? LongDD: They’ve all gone to play at events, of course, so that’s why there aren’t as many professional players.
SG: The lack of professional players should mean that there is room for newcomers to prove themselvess. Have you paid attention to any particularly talented players here? LongDD: I think that xiaohong guy plays decently. Others I really haven’t paid much attention to.
SG:What are the main differences you see between pub games, competitive games, and in-house games? LongDD: Pub games see different item choices that you wouldn’t see in CDEC, plus there is no points-based ranking system.
SG: TongFu won the DSL title — what do you think about their rise to power? LongDD: I like the atmosphere they have at TongFu, lots of passion in their game. I can only say that TI3 is right in front of them, and if they want to achieve success then they must continue working hard.
SG: iG of late has been mired in a crisis, why do you think that is, and how do you think they should go about resolving it? Can [their new coach] 121 help them get back to their invincible old selves? LongDD: iG’s main difference is that they’ve lost their confidence. So then they don’t even know what their strongest points are anymore.
SG: With iG’s fall and TongFu’s rise, what are your views on the current scene amongst Chinese teams? Which team is the strongest right now? LongDD: Currently I think LGD has the best chance, they’ve been the most stable in recent times.
SG: TI3 is a mere few weeks away. Compared to last year, which team do you think has changed the most since TI2? LongDD: Surely it is iG. Their current form is so worrisome, but I hope they can get out from it soon.
SG: Compared to last year, it would seem that this year, Western teams will come much better prepared. Alliance and NaVi both came to China and played excellently, what are your views on these two teams? Can they dominate TI3 and defeat the Chinese teams? LongDD: I can only say, that there’s a chance of it. But I still favor the Chinese teams.
SG: How should the Chinese teams go about defeating these top tier Western teams? What should they do to counter the flexibility that these Western teams show in drafting? LongDD: Learn, they must learn and analyze their strategies. Chinese teams should be good at that, learning.
SG: Even though you’re no longer playing professionally, you still stream frequently via YY, and have spent a lot of time playing in CDEC and pub games. What exactly do you think has brought so many viewers to your streams of these games? LongDD: I think because I’m fairly interesting… and there’s still some professionalism about me, yeah!
SG: You’re a very experienced veteran pro player, and you’ve also shown that you can take on the role of a coach. Simultaneously, you also seem to be a very popular streamer. So given the choice, would you lean towards being involved in the pro scene, or as a streamer? LongDD: If there’s a chance, I’d rather continue playing professionally. This is also the reason I continue to play every day.
SG: You’ve played with both DK and TongFu, and also put in some good performances in a short stint with LGD. Is it safe to say that you still possess the drive needed to be a competitive player? Which team would you favor joining, why? LongDD: If I had the chance, I would still want to go back to the traditional Big 3 teams, and go for another championship.
SG: Thank you for your time. Anything to say to fans? LongDD: I hope you all will give me your support.
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.
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.
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.