DK.iceiceice interview: talks career choices, teammates, DK so far

It would seem that this was an interview for an esports magazine in China, conducted last month (prior to DK’s WPC-ACE win).

Q: After coming to China, you have used your excellence in conquering the hearts of many Chinese fans. Do you recall how you first came to play Dota?
iceiceice:
I’ve played games from a very young age. Later on I got into Warcraft 3, as well as various custom games. After that, more and more people began going to Dota, and thus I became one of them.

Q: What is it about Dota that most attracts you?
iceiceice:
There isn’t really anything that specifically attracts me. For me, Dota just generally is a game that can get my attention, and if there are other games that can do the same while providing opportunities for me to earn money, I would try them as well. For example, I played League of Legends for a period of time earlier, at first I was very into it, but after a while I stopped liking it. So even if League of Legends potentially has more money, I wouldn’t go play it.

Q: What led you to becoming a professional esports competitor?
iceiceice:
Because I’m good. And also, because I’m really good!

Q: How does your family view your career?
iceiceice:
They are very supportive, because they want my prize money. Yeah, they’ve taken half of my prize money.

Q: In the past, you’d expressed on many occasions that your desire was to come to China to continue your career. When you finally had the chance to make this come true by joining DK, what did that feel like?
iceiceice:
I’d already wanted to join DK last year, but they rejected me. Now my wish has come true, so of course I’m very happy. But on the way to China I was constantly thinking, would I be able to live healthily? Because I’d always felt that living abroad might be dangerous for me. Upon arriving in China, the team sent someone to pick me up, it was an old person, and at one point I thought he was going to kidnap me.

Q: Apart from Dota 2, you once were keen on becoming a professional Starcraft 2 player.
iceiceice:
I have a lot of interest in all games. At the time I was feeling that Dota wasn’t as fun anymore, so I picked up Starcraft 2 and began practicing that. I had always really liked watching Starcraft matches, for example Jaedong and Flash, their matches are great to watch, you can see their skill.

Q: Why give up on Starcraft 2?
iceiceice:
That period of time was when I had to fulfill my national military service (for Singapore). Even though the plan was to go to Korea to play it professionally, but in the end because of the military service I gave up on that. During the service I had thoughts about continuing on this path, but it wasn’t realistic. To become good in Starcraft 2 requires large amounts of time, and I completely lacked that kind of time, plus I felt that there was no future for Starcraft 2 in SEA, so I gave up on it.

Q: Outside of Dota 2, what are your biggest hobbies?
iceiceice:
I have very wide interests, such as photography, cooking. Apart from those things, I also like to travel, especially going to those places I haven’t been to before. Even though I’m very afraid of flying, there are no alternatives. Who can I blame for me liking to try new things? Although, in terms of girlfriends, one is enough.

Q: We’ve seen you wearing an AC Milan shirt during events before, you are a big fan of football (soccer)?
iceiceice:
No, I don’t like it, I just think their shirt looks nice.

Q: After training every day, what do you do?
iceiceice:
Usually, go out to eat, or play some pubs. If possible, I definitely try to get out and relax a bit. But right now, there are more and more events, and we must work even harder, thus I don’t have much time to go out and relax. Even though this is the case, I still feel that being able to have time to unwind is very important.

Q: During TI3, you defeated all other world-class solo players to win the solo mid championship. And after coming to China, you’ve proved your ability time and time again through making spectacular plays. How do you do it?
iceiceice:
I feel that the TI3 solo mid title doesn’t really say that much. There, it was about everyone having fun more than anything. As for having good performances after coming to China, I think this has a lot to do with my teammates. They’re very strong players, and allow me to focus more in games.

Q: During your time with Zenith, we saw you mostly as a 1 or 2 position player. After coming to DK, you’ve transitioned to a 3 position. How would you rate your performances in this new position so far?
iceiceice:
I really like my new position. In the 3 position, my advantages are that my mechanics are relatively strong, and thus if I get a solo matchup then I can usually gain an advantage. But in a suicide offlane situation I often die because I underestimate the opposition, and then sometimes if I die a few times I go on tilt and die all game.

Q: DK’s recent results in various tournaments have all been quite good. What do you feel has been the reason for these victories?
iceiceice:
Currently we haven’t won anything, so for us all these tournaments are just practice, they don’t count for anything!

Q: Before you and Mushi joined, it could be said that BurNIng’s play played a part in DK’s losses. But after you two joined, BurNIng seems to not be as important in dictating the team’s results.
iceiceice:
I feel that this isn’t because BurNIng plays badly or whatever, more that our opponents are too weak, and don’t do what they should do. In the future I think BurNIng’s value will definitely show. Everyone’s role on the team is important, except MMY.

Q: Talk a bit about your impressions of each teammate.
iceiceice:
LaNm is old; MMY is handsome, but has too much pressure, and has gotten fat; BurNIng and Mushi go to bed together every day.

Q: For the future, what are your hopes for DK to achieve?
iceiceice:
To win all the titles!

Q: Lastly, some words to our readers.
iceiceice:
Thank you to all our supporters, especially those who come from faraway to watch us play. We will work even harder to do even better! Hope everyone can lend DK even more support! And thank you to our sponsors Tt Esports for their support!

Source links (but not original magazine source, which I can’t find after a brief search): http://dota2.sgamer.com/news/201401/154337.htmlhttp://dota2.uuu9.com/201401/459824.shtml

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WPC-ACE 2013 post-Finals interview with Team DK

After their remarkable comeback victory in the 2013 WPC-ACE League, taking the 1 million RMB (165k USD) top prize, Team DK were interviewed collectively. Some insightful answers, some jokes and laughter; this is DK after winning their first major Dota 2 title.

Video source: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNjU2MjA1NzE2.html

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Chinese Social Summary: Dec 10 — Dec 28, 2013

Link to previous issue: Nov 27 — Dec 9

Translations of random snippets from Chinese Dota 2 scene social media… for fun and light reading, etc. Not comprehensive or representative of anything.

Black^

Got a haircut (with pics): wants to know which is better?

ChuaN

ChuaN’s prediction for next G-League champion: “Looking at history, iG will win”

iceiceice

What to eat?: “What am I gonna eat for lunch?”
This doesn’t taste right…: “Fuzzy duck is not tasty” (MMY = mao mao ya = fuzzy duck)

On Meracle: “Meracle truly lives up to being the 1v9 man”
LaNm’s response to iceiceice’s Meracle comment: “He’s scored 6 goals in 3 minutes of added time”

KingJ

Foes of the Chinese servers: “Every day I am fighting the likes of Broodmother, Earth Spirit, and Slark!”
Ranked ladder woes: “Life is tough!! Ladder is too hard!!!”

LaNm

It was LaNm’s birthday: “Thank you for the wishes from everyone, each and every one of your wishes will be my motivation, driving me to never slow down. Merry Christmas to all.”

MMY

TongFu porridge before playing against TongFu: “I’ve just eaten a bowl of TongFu porridge last night… Hope there won’t be problems tomorrow!!”

rOtK

On Meracle Naga: “Just got back to base this morning, and after waking up, I watched Naga-bro’s play in the second game. I’m amazed… truly amazed. In the past watching his Naga Siren play I knew he was pretty good on this hero, but this game showed that he fully and perfectly understands the hero… So this is how Naga Siren is supposed to be played! It would seem that every player, and every team, has their own understandings of various heroes. Like Fnatic’s Enchantress, LGD’s Venomancer, iG’s Furion. Let’s all work hard at being ourselves! Add oil!”

Old friend: “I haven’t lost a friend, the feeling is pretty nice. We must each work hard to get what we desire! @BurNIng”

xiao8

Earth Spirit in MM: “I’ve now been beaten silly by Earth Spirit in solo queue…”

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EHOME’s 71 to DK as coach?

Former manager of EHOME, the behind-the-scenes force during EHOME’s legendary run in 2010, 71, was seen at G-League with BurNIng and the rest of DK recently. Rumors are that he’s joined DK as their new coach, or has plans to do so… In the recent DK player bios, both LaNm and BurNIng listed their EHOME manager 71 as the most influential person in their careers. And in a recent Weibo post from 71, he himself included BurNIng and LaNm as amongst his best players. The respect is certainly there.

71 with DK at G-League…

Furthermore, in a recent Weibo post, 71 said “Hey, nice to meet you”, a cryptic message that could be suggesting that he has re-united with an old friend. In the responses, one fan asked if he had joined DK, and 71 responded with a “;-]” winky smiley face. Another fan said to him, “71, please bring us another glorious dynasty,” and 71 responded, “I will!”

DK has quietly re-assembled three of EHOME’s best ever players; if this rumor of the former EHOME manager and coach joining proves to be true, is this the missing piece that DK has been looking for all along?

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The Team DK Files

The Team DK Files

Learn more about Team DK, circa December 2013.

Name: BurNIng

Naming Anti-mage has been most important for me

Birthdate: Feb 16, 1988
Nationality: China
Height: 180cm
Weight: 68kg
Clothing size: XL
Favorite star: Leonardo DiCaprio
Games played in past: Warcraft 3
Biggest esports career achievement: Getting Anti-mage name
Most important person in esports career: 71 (former manager of EHOME)
Mouse: Ttesports Saphira
Headset: (I can’t find the set I was given)
Keyboard: Ttesports Poseidon – Brown MX switches
Mousepad: Ttesports Dasher
Single?: No
Favorite Dota version: 6.78
Favorite Dota item: Battlefury
Hero you most like seeing on your team in pubs: Heroes with crowd control abilities
Hero you most hate seeing on your team in pubs: Bloodseeker, Weaver, Meepo
Hero you most like seeing on opposite team in pubs: Meepo
Hero you most hate seeing on opposite team in pubs:
Most important person in life: Mom
Dream career when little: Scientist
Current goals: Play well professionally
Plans for after retirement: Work in a more ‘free’ (flexible) career
Biggest challenge/opposition in the future: Self
Most important gaming gear: Mouse
Favorite keyboard switch type: As long as it’s mechanical then it’s okay
What happens if girlfriend calls while you’re playing Dota: Don’t answer (she understands)
What do you do if your pro career causes a lack of time to spend with family: Make more phone calls
What kind of girl do you like:
Would you play games with girls?: Refuse
Do you like your new uniforms?: They look better than the old ones
Who’s funniest in the team?: iceiceice

Name: Mushi

Most hate iceiceice playing Invoker

Birthdate: Nov 27, 1990
Nationality: Malaysia
Height: (Forgot)
Weight: (Never measured)
Clothing size: XL
Favorite star: Lots
Favorite athlete: Lee Chong Wei (Malaysian star top-ranked badminton player)
Biggest esports career achievement: The matches I’ve won
Most important person in esports career: A lot
Mouse: Ttesports Saphira
Headset: Ttesports Isura
Keyboard: Ttesports G-1 – Brown switches
Mousepad: Ttesports Dasher
Single?: Yes
How did you spend Singles Day?: Training
Favorite Dota version: 6.78
Favorite Dota item: Blink dagger
Hero you most like seeing on your team in pubs: Chen
Hero you most hate seeing on your team in pubs: (iceiceice’s) Invoker
Most important person in life: Family
Dream career when little: None
Current ambitions: Take my whole family and emigrate to Australia
Plans for after retirement: Do investments. Not in esports
Biggest challenge/opposition in the future: None
Most hated thing: Losing matches
Most hated esports thing: Losing matches
Most important gaming gear: All are very important
Favorite keyboard switch type: Red MX switches
What happens if girlfriend calls while you’re playing Dota: Don’t answer
What do you do if your pro career causes a lack of time to spend with family: Have family watch me play televised matches
What kind of girl do you like: Good personality
Would you play games with girls?: If they’re friends then yes
Do you like your new uniforms?: Not bad
Who’s funniest in the team?: iceiceice

Name: LaNm

Dislike MMY playing mahjong

Birthdate: Dec 25, 1989
Nationality: China
Height: 181cm
Weight: 55kg
Clothing size: L
Favorite athlete: Li Na (Chinese star tennis player)
Favorite Dota hero: Pudge
Games played in past: Warcraft 3
Most important thing in esports: Winning titles
Most important person in esports career: 71 (former EHOME manager)
Mouse: Ttesports Saphira
Headset: Ttesports Isura
Keyboard: Ttesports Meka G-Unit White version
Mousepad: Ttesports Conkor
Single?: No
Favorite Dota version: 6.78
Favorite Dota item: Mask of Madness
Hero you most like seeing on your team in pubs: Heroes with crowd control
Hero you most hate seeing on your team in pubs: Invoker, Shadow Fiend
Hero you most like seeing on opposite team in pubs: Crystal Maiden
Most important person in life: Grandma, Mom
Dream career when little: Scientist
Current goals: Achieve good results and prove myself
Plans for after retirement: Be a coach
Biggest challenge/opposition in the future: Self, mentality is very important
Most hated thing: MMY playing mahjong, iceiceice being with his girlfriend (because both are very annoying things)
Most hated esports thing: Being unable to find that tempo in a competitive game
Most important gaming gear: Feel like they’re all similarly important
Favorite keyboard switch type: Black MX switches
What happens if girlfriend calls while you’re playing Dota: Don’t answer if during pratice
What do you do if practice leaves you no time to spend with girlfriend?: Don’t care
Would you play games with girls?: If I know them, yes
Do you like your new uniforms?: That white area on the chest…
Who’s funniest in the team?: ice

Name: iceiceice

Don’t like girls that play games

Birthdate: June 17, 1990
Nationality: Singapore
Height: 191.5cm
Weight: 75kg
Clothing size: XXL
Favorite athlete: Messi
Favorite Dota hero: Invoker
Games played in past: Starcraft 2, Warcraft 3, LoL (participated in WCG before)
Mouse: Ttesports Saphira
Headset: Don’t use
Keyboard: Ttesports G-1 – Brown switches
Mousepad: Ttesports Conkor
Single?: No
Favorite Dota version: The earliest version
Favorite Dota item: Support heroes
Hero you most like seeing on your team in pubs: Anti-mage
Hero you most hate seeing on your team in pubs: Anti-mage
Hero you most like seeing on opposite team in pubs: Anti-mage
Hero you most hate seeing on opposite team in pubs: Anti-mage
Most important person in life: Girlfriend
Dream career when little: Aviator
Current goals: Travel around the world
Plans for after retirement: Make money, commentate/cast, stream, stock market
Biggest challenge/opposition in the future: Self
Most hated thing: No toilet paper whilst in the bathroom, talking behind others’ backs
Most hated esports thing: Coming to bother me when I’m really busy
Most important gaming gear: Keyboard
Favorite keyboard switch type: Red MX switches
What happens if girlfriend calls while you’re playing Dota: Don’t answer
What do you do if practice leaves you no time to spend with family: Practices are more priority
What kind of girl do you like: Don’t like girls that play games, don’t like unfaithful girls
Would you play games with girls?: Depends on mood
Do you like your new uniforms?: It would look better if it was leather
Who’s funniest in the team?: Myself

Name: MMY

The white area on our new uniforms looks like a bra

Birthdate: Sep 10, 1989
Nationality: China
Height: 182cm
Weight: 80kg
Clothing size: XL
Favorite Dota hero: Wisp
Games played in past: Zhensan, Warcraft 3
Mouse: Ttesports Saphira
Headset: Ttesports Isura
Keyboard: Ttesports G-1
Mousepad: Ttesports Dasher
Single?: Yes
How did you spend Singles Day: Played Dota
Favorite Dota version: 6.78
Favorite Dota item: Magic Stick
Hero you most like seeing on your team in pubs: Crystal Maiden
Hero you most hate seeing on your team in pubs: Anti-mage
Hero you most like seeing on opposite team in pubs: Crystal Maiden
Hero you most hate seeing on opposite team in pubs: Anti-mage
Dream career when little: Scientist
Plans for after retirement: Haven’t thought about this before
Biggest challenge/opposition in the future: Alliance, NaVi
Most hated thing: Playing mahjong
Most important gaming gear: Mouse
What happens if girlfriend calls while you’re playing Dota: Don’t answer
What do you do if practice leaves you no time to spend with family: Call home
What kind of girl do you like: Cute (moe) girls
Would you play games with girls?: Refuse
Do you like your new uniforms?: The white area on the uniform looks like a bra
Who’s funniest in the team?: iceiceice

Source: http://dota.uuu9.com/zt/teamdk/

MLG Columbus 2013 in my view

Going into this MLG, the first Dota 2 MLG, I didn’t really know what to expect. Never having been to Columbus before, that added to the mystique. In the end, I came out of it with a truly unforgettable experience, friendships, and a new-found understanding for why so many pro players are so damn skinny. I apologize in advance for the relative lack of pictures, as it’s a personal thing for me to not abuse my access when I’m invited to an event. This is my point of view from MLG Columbus 2013 as both an invitee to help with DK, and as a Dota 2 fan there for the spectacle, and finally, as a DK fan.

Thursday Nov 21, 2013

I left home in Seattle at 5am sharp to catch a series of flights that would guarantee I arrive in Columbus with a few hours to spare before DK’s plane was scheduled to arrive, the reason being that my first duties for MLG Columbus entailed being at the airport with the hired van driver to pick up DK and get them to the hotel. MLG had rented a big comfy van and a driver for this purpose, and around 9pm I got the call from the driver downstairs of the hotel and we headed over to the airport. Whilst waiting, Sigma and NaVi both went by and Dendi noticed me, got a goofy grin on his face and waved, to which I grinned back and waved probably even more goofily. His team seemed to be like “what you doing bro” and he gestured in my general direction. A brief time later, and the first of DK appeared at the foot of the escalators, coming down from the upper level of the airport to the baggage claim area. iceiceice, Mushi, and MMY, then BurNIng and LaNm. BurNIng smiled, somewhat surprised I was there I suppose, but seemed happy enough. A familiar face after nearly a full day of travel, perhaps? I waved as they approached, greetings were made, and iceiceice asked some random questions. We waited for their checked bags, and then we were off to the van to the hotel.

Team DK at the Columbus Airport

On the way to the hotel, I asked if they were hungry, and hungry they were. After getting them into their rooms and dropping their stuff off, by this time it was nearly 11pm, and so we simply decided on getting them food at the bar on the second floor of the Hilton. They got some pizza and wings, and LaNm wanted a burger, so he got that too. Iceiceice got a single pork belly slider — it was good, he said. While eating, MLG’s Adam happened upon us, and the introductions were made. Awesome guy, super straightforward kinda dude, he made sure that DK were as comfortable as they could be with their accommodations and filled me in on the basics of what to expect for the weekend.

With stomachs filled, the team was ready to rest up. LaNm would room with BurNIng, and BurNIng jokingly asks LaNm if he snores. LaNm exclaims that, no, he doesn’t! Mushi and iceiceice are together, while MMY rooms with the manager Farseer. I update them on the schedule for the next day: venue opens at 10am, teams are free to enter at that time to practice on the many stations MLG had set up backstage, the event officially starts at 5pm, etc. MLG really had their bases covered regarding practice space for the teams — there was never a lack of stations for teams to warm up and watch replays on and players had full access to these stations during all hours of the event — well played.

Friday Nov 22, 2013

Friday started off slowly as only half of DK had gotten up by the time I got down to the venue around 11am. The ones that had gotten down there, however, apparently had woken up at 6am — even after that late night and all the travel. I found LaNm, iceiceice, and BurNIng I think it was at the off-stage area. We were soon joined by Mushi and MMY, and the five of them had some fun playing a few pubs together. At lunchtime, we ventured over to the nearby North Market, where everyone got pho except iceiceice, who got Indian food. LaNm however became distracted by a Thai place and promised that he’d come get that next time… though there wasn’t another opportunity for him to do so over the weekend. As noon passed, they wanted to head back up to their rooms to rest a bit more, as most of them had woken up early due to jet lag and needed some more sleep. Unfortunately this meant that they missed their 4pm autograph session, but hopefully DK were generally available enough over the next few days for any fans to meet and greet with them. Around 5pm they came back down, bleary-eyed but with a bit more bounce in their step, and went back-stage to warm up prior to their on-stage matches against Alliance and Liquid. First they played a pub or two together, then did some analysis and discussion to their upcoming games.

Team DK backstage at MLG Columbus.

And then they were up on stage to play — Alliance, followed by Liquid. Honestly I hardly even remember these games themselves, but DK came out of the games 2-0 victors, showing impressive form. After the games, some passionate local Chinese fans (students from surrounding universities, mostly) came and offered to take us all out to eat. The offer seemed to be well-received by the Chinese contingent of DK, while iceiceice and Mushi apparently had been planning on going to get a burger nearby. Either way, everyone ended up piling onto a couple cars and off we went, about ten minutes away, to a Chinese restaurant.

In the words of iceiceice, “I don’t like Chinese food, I don’t know why they come out here and still want to eat Chinese food.” It wasn’t too bad though, and when Mushi and iceiceice indicated that they wanted a bit of Peking roast duck, our gracious local hosts ordered an entire duck… By the time dinner was over, it was 11pm and at least BurNIng looked tired and ready to head back. Apparently the restaurant’s boss lady is a Dota fan as well, or at least feigned to look like she knew who DK were (maybe she just saw team uniforms and thought they must be important), so everyone gathered up to take a group picture at the end. The only one of these photos I have is the one where no one was looking at the camera…

……

It had gotten quite cold by nighttime, and BurNIng was shivering at the doorway of the restaurant as we left. I gave him a mini-hug to warm him up a little bit and he was like, “Aren’t you cold? Or you’ve gotten used to it…” Yeah, I guess the difference in weather from Shanghai to the American Midwest in winter is pretty drastic; in a lot of buildings in Shanghai they don’t even have heating, such are the mild winters. It had been snowing a little bit on and off that evening and night, and iceiceice was especially excited about it — he had never seen snow before in his life, this was his first time. So, in between shivering breaths, he’d be exclaiming how exciting it was, and asking whether his breath would frost up in the chilled air, and how he enjoys cold weather more than hot weather, because you can always put more clothes on, but can’t necessarily take more clothes off, and oh my goodness it’s so cold right now, and how he imagined snow might be fluffier…

Saturday Nov 23, 2013

DK’s next match would be their first off-stage match, against Fnatic. I had them down at the venue by around 10:30am so they could have some time to warm up and get used to the setting, and they had some fun playing more pubs together. They started their last pub pretty late before the 11:30am start time against Fnatic, with just around 20 minutes time. LaNm declared, “Pick fast push!” and off they went, with the likes of Shadow Shaman, Leshrac… for an 11 minute victory.

The rest of the day, DK mostly cruised. Right before the DK and Navi went on stage, they were informed of the question that would be asked of each of them. Iceiceice and Puppey quickly decided that they would coordinate an answer between themselves, and hence came the hot chocolate answer. After their off-stage match against Sigma, they had around 2 hours for dinner or a break, or whatever. All of them except iceiceice chose to head up to their rooms to get some sleep, while iceiceice went with us to Five Guys at my suggestion, as he had been wanting a burger. It was snowing again as we made our way by car to the Five Guys a mile away, near Ohio State University campus. I ordered for iceiceice at his request, and got him a bacon cheeseburger with everything, plus extra mushrooms and onions, with A-1 sauce on top. “This is quite good,” he said through big mouthfuls. I’m glad you liked it.

Iceiceice with Five Guys

The light snow continued on our way back to the hotel. “Snow makes everything look nicer,” iceiceice remarked. Yeah, it does. But it was still cold, and iceiceice quickly forgot about his plans to make frosty clouds of air with his breath outside as we rushed back inside the hotel from the car. For the remaining hour, he went up to his room to relax for a bit as well, and so I waited downstairs for the rest of the players to appear at 8pm, half an hour before their scheduled match against Pretty Boy Swag.

Mushi came down first, followed by MMY, but then the rest of them were nowhere to be seen. 8:15 went by, then 8:20, then 8:25. By then I’d knocked on their doors and had begun calling their rooms. Sleepy voices echoed out from the other end of the phone, at least alleviating my fears that they’d somehow gone out and gotten lost somewhere. Instead in its place was a mystifying wait, as it was only 15 minutes later that iceiceice finally appeared downstairs, by which time it was already 8:40. So I went to room 520, where BurNIng and LaNm were staying, and knocked on their door — LaNm came to the door, putting on his jacket, and BurNIng was just climbing out of bed. He looked groggily to me, “We’re late, aren’t we?” I looked back at him… “Yeah, yeah you’re late,” with an exasperated but amused feeling inside.

BurNIng gets up, puts his shoes on, and looks at his phone and bursts out laughing. “I know why we never woke up!” he looks around at LaNm and me, “It’s because I set the alarm for 8 in the morning, when it should’ve been for night.” I laughed, LaNm laughed… Yeah, that’ll do it… that’ll make you late indeed. We rushed down to the venue, a mere 25 minutes late for Pretty Boy Swag. DK was clearly still tired, as their play and drafts were sloppy in both games against PBS and later Speed.

DK drafting in an off-stage match.

Afterwards, we discussed with MLG briefly the logistics of the next day’s semifinals matches, upon which DK eventually decided on playing second, and they went back up to work together on discussing their next challenge against NaVi. BurNIng started discussions that night by saying to his team, “This is one of our great opportunities to win a title… we’ve come so far already…” Even though they were fine with me being there, I didn’t want to intrude any further, and after helping them get a late dinner, I said my goodnights, made sure they knew their schedule for the next day, and left them to their preparations.

Sunday Nov 24, 2013

The next morning, iceiceice, BurNIng, and LaNm were up bright and early as I found them around 9:30am finishing up breakfast at the restaurant on the second floor. After breakfast, BurNIng went back up to get some more sleep, and iceiceice, LaNm and I headed to the venue. We went backstage, and LaNm excitedly exclaimed, “Time to pub!!” I love playing pubs!” and then invited me to play with the two of them. That was pretty fun. During one of the pub games, the other team was convinced they were fakes, but by the end, were wishing DK luck at MLG.

A bit later, MMY, BurNIng, and Mushi showed up, and DK gathered to do some last minute analysis and whatnot.

DK preparing before MLG semifinals against NaVi.

With about an hour to go before their semifinals match against NaVi, NaVi themselves showed up, and the two teams hung out a bit backstage. Iceiceice challenged Kuroky to an arm-wrestling match, and upon beginning the match, iceiceice immediately took both hands to KKY’s one hand, ‘won’ the match illegitimately, and raised his arms in triumph while Kuroky looked on with a mixture of bemusement and non-acceptance of having just lost the arm wrestling match. The rest of the time went similarly lightheartedly, with chattering and trolling and joking amongst the two teams.

I think it was before the NaVi match here that Mushi ended up being the one who had an on-stage question directed at him, thanks to iceiceice volunteering him for it while Mushi was in the bathroom. Mushi came back, heard that he was going to be questioned, and immediately shrank back trying to decline. In the end, I coached him on his answer a little bit after Mushi kicked iceiceice for signing him up in absentia, and Mushi went on-stage with his answers ready.

Discussing strategies.

Then came the semifinals match. The actual games were a blur in my mind, but DK ended up with the win after a game 3 in which BurNIng, perhaps uncharacteristically, took the risk of building a Divine Rapier when he wasn’t absolutely pressed to do so (in fact, not at all needed).

Of course, his Rapier came after they lost a close game against NaVi in game two, where XBOCT built a dominating two Divine Rapiers. After game three ended with a Rapier of his own, BurNIng then said something I’ll never forget:

“不出圣剑怎么对得起我们的粉丝”
“How am I worthy of our fans if I don’t build Rapier there?”

Throughout the weekend, DK were regularly mobbed by fans looking to get pictures and autographs, perhaps because DK were unable to make their session. Hopefully they were available enough throughout the event to make up for their absence at the session. On finals day, they had far less time to pause for signings and photos, and even still, they tried their best and often I had to play the bad guy to ‘drag’ them out of a crowd of fans in order to keep them on schedule. Hopefully no one was let down, and hopefully everyone understands the scheduling… BurNIng always had a conflicted look on his face whenever he had to decline.

And then, without much downtime at all due to scheduling delays, DK were up to play against Speed.int in the Finals of MLG Columbus. They’d come so far, and perhaps this was the closest any of them had been to a title in recent times. It was Mushi’s first final ever, in fact. DK won game one after a gruelling back and forth battle, with LaNm carrying the team on his spectacular Earthshaker play. After that game, backstage, LaNm was exhausted. He looked like he’d run a marathon, and indeed, he probably did the mental equivalent. By this time, DK hadn’t eaten since breakfast around 10am. A lot of players prefer not to eat full meals within a reasonable time of a competitive game, so you can imagine just why guys like LaNm are so skinny.

One more win, one step away.

In the end, DK faltered. LaNm was practically asleep during the game 2 draft, and from a casual fan’s point of view (my point of view, that is), his seating in the center of DK’s five isn’t a coincidence. He’s the beat of the team, the rhythm-keeper, and when he’s tired, the team feels it. (For those that are curious about DK playing the second semifinals, refer to this reddit post to learn more) Some of the drafts were questionable too, perhaps another result of the team, and BurNIng, being really tired. After the loss, Mushi sat quietly for a bit, the rest went without talking, and then they waited for each other to head back to the hotel together. It was nearly midnight already, and MMY, BurNIng, and LaNm all went up pretty quickly and fell asleep. Mushi came back down after a while, he and iceiceice hung out with us on the second floor lobby. We ordered some pizza and pasta delivered and the two of them, with me and my girlfriend, we four sat peacefully, eating and chatting into the night until about 2:30am.

BurNIng, MMY, and LaNm were to leave at 6am in the morning for their flight back to China and I was to go with them to make sure everything went smoothly. Originally iceiceice and Mushi were supposed to come along too, but their flight being only at 11am, they decided to head to the airport later. At nearly 3am, we all headed back up to our respective rooms, said our goodbyes. A few minutes later, iceiceice messages on Wechat (instant messaging service) asking what room I’m in… and appears at the door in his boxers. He insists on giving me the stuff from the bag that MLG gave to each player — a Steelseries mouse and mousepad, and a Turtle Beach headset. So right now I have in my possession the headset that iceiceice used live in his off-stage games at MLG. o_O. Thanks ice. Then we say what we think are our last farewells for the weekend… Hotel fire alarm goes off ten minutes later, and we see iceiceice and Mushi again in the lobby. Evidently, the rest of DK has slept through the alarm.

Sometime during the night, we ran into Dendi. He offered a photo op with him, but then added on that it would be ten dollars. Instead, I offered him the photo op with myself, he accepted, and thus I got a free photo. And he gave me a hug too. That made me feel better about the finals that had just ended… Thanks Dendi, you’re cool. I’ll see you next time too.

Hello Dendi.

In the morning, BurNIng and LaNm are downstairs and checked out on time, and after a slight delay, we have the others who are leaving on the morning flight. Spirits seem to be as high as they can be after losing a major final… or perhaps it just hasn’t sunk in yet. I know it hasn’t for me yet at that point. They’re discussing loudly — boisterously, even, what went right and what went wrong for them the previous night. LaNm is confident in what he says, MMY often offers a different perspective, while BurNIng sometimes agrees, and sometimes disagrees with the both of them. I go with them through security check, and after half an hour in which they never stop discussing, their boarding call is heard, and I herd them over to their boarding gate.

MMY smiles wanly before quickly turning away, the manager nods in appreciation, LaNm waves and simply says “See you next time”. BurNIng lingers a little bit, turns to me, smiles, and says “Give me a hug!” And then DK was gone, as quickly as they’d come.

Perhaps it didn’t sink in for them until they got back. It didn’t sink in for me until the trip home. I only then realized that I had so wanted to be able to send them home that day with the trophy, with a major tournament title. I’m sure they wanted it way more than I ever could have imagined.

All credit to Kaipi/Speed, they played to their style and didn’t let anyone or any external factor (of which there were many — all the more impressive for them) stop them, and that’s what winning is about. As for DK, MLG Columbus weekend has given me an unimaginable chance to be close to them, get to know them, and perhaps even help them. I can only thank MLG and Adam for the opportunity, and my respect and liking for DK and each of their players has only increased, if that was possible at all. DK — BurNIng, LaNm, Mushi, MMY, iceiceice… you guys are great.

Thank you.

shout outs to Cyborgmatt, Xixi, LD, Vykromond, Lumi, DPM, Godz, Merlini, Tangeng, Sun-Tzu, Dendi, Valve Chris, Valve Phil and family, and anyone else I missed but enjoyed the company of, for being fun to chat or hang out with at various times during the weekend. You all helped me keep my sanity while I went through with ~14 hours sleep over 4 days.

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Chinese Social Summary: Nov 15 — Nov 26, 2013

Link to previous issue: Nov 1 — 13, 2013

Translations of random snippets from Chinese Dota 2 scene social media… for fun and light reading, etc. This issue includes some posts regarding the MLG Columbus Championship held over Nov 22-24. I also probably missed a few interesting ones from right before and during MLG.

My MLG writeup will be coming in the following days, stay tuned.

ChuaN and DeMoN

Let’s make a team!!: DeMoN posts this at ChuaN, but ChuaN’s response, “RETIRED”, and thus our hopes for a new international super team withered.

Faith

Diretide Roshan coordination: “Through farming Roshan, we improve our teamwork :D”

Fenrir

Relationship with CTY (with pics): “Public display of affection”

iceiceice

This is iceiceice with a puppy (with pic): “iceiceice’s son”

rOtk, Faith, and ddc

Response to G-League group draws:
rOtk: “What a nice draw Haitao (Chinese caster with G-League) has given us, oh well, we can only get in and go!”
Faith: “It’s gonna be bloody :o”
ddc: “Holy shit it’s gonna be bloody”

Xtt

Farming Roshan for weight loss:”I’ve lost 2.5 kg while farming Roshan”

MLG Columbus 2013 posts

BurNIng after losing final group stage game: “Don’t think any team would purposefully try to face NaVi in the elimination stage? Losing to Speed was our own problem, banpick and laning we all didn’t do well, and my own play was very weak as well, with lots of low-level mistakes. As for tomorrow’s matches I can only say: Let’s do this!”

rOtk watching DK vs NaVi: “NAVI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” “Worth staying up all night to watch, 1-1 is a new series. Hope DK comes through next game, this game XBOCT was too scary”
Of course, random people accused rOtk of being jealous of DK, to which he responded that he was purely expressing excitement at a good game, and later on predicted that DK would win the finals 2-0.

Black is a huge DK fan (of course): multiple posts consolidated in one link

xiao8’s prediction for finals: “DK 2-1 takes the title!”

BurNIng after finals: “Champion is not my fate.”
KingJ response to BurNIng: “It’s not that bad, don’t get pessimistic”

KingJ to MMY: “I know you’re really sad… don’t cry!! At worst, just start over again!!!” (MMY re-posted and responded “Yeah”)

Mushi: “The title passes me by. For someone like myself who has never been in a finals before, I can only say thank you to my teammates for bringing me into the MLG Finals. Let’s get back and continue working hard.”

LaNm: “Once again, one step away from champions. In the latter two games of the finals, I’d run out of stamina and my thoughts were a mess. Dota nowadays, unlike in the past, is truly difficult to just win all the way on the back of strong momentum. Tactics are more varied, laning and other elements can all determine the early game. With an early game advantage, snowballing farm with Midases, without a very resilient and flexible lineup it’s very hard to come back. I will focus on working on stamina, it is so important to be able to remain clear-headed. Sorry to my teammates, I tried my best.
DC (retired pro player, current caster) response to LaNm: “The scheduling we can talk about in private, but stamina is indeed something that wouldn’t hurt to look more at. Think about me, look at MMY, and you’ll have plenty of motivation to get out and exercise!”

Zhou: “eesama………..”

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