LGD.Forever Young sign White, swap Jixing and Yao with main roster
Thumbnail image courtesy of theScore esports / LGD Gaming
LGD.Forever Young have signed Lei "White" Yipei to replace Zhang "Xiao8" Ning and have swapped Yao "Yao" Zhenzheng to LGD's main roster for Xiao "Jixing" Zihao, according to Valve's Dota 2 Major Registration page.
Yao was moved to the Forever Young roster in September along with Xiao8 and Luo "lpc" Puchao when the roster was formed. He'll be headed back to the main roster, while Jixing, who replaced Yao on the main roster, will now be taking his place on LGD.FY.
Xiao8 retired earlier this month, and was the captain for the LGD.FY roster. He'll be replaced by White, a relatively unknown player, who will be filling the support role on the team.
LGD.FY recently placed 5th-8th at the Boston Major and fifth in the Dota 2 Professional League Season 2 Top Division.
"Dota 2 is and will continue be a top esports title for the foreseeable future," Cloud9 CEO Jack Etienne told Red Bull. "Cloud9 is always looking to participate in the most exciting and relevant esports titles."
Jon "13abyKnight" Andersen said that the team's perseverance is one of the qualities that gives it an advantage.
"Every team has issues and the easy thing to do is to throw in the towel, look for another team or just quit altogether," he said. "Sticking together and learning from your mistakes, not being too hard on one another but instead looking inwards and improving as a player and a human being is what sets apart good teams from the best."
While the roster was with The Imperial, they finished fourth-place finish at DreamLeague Season 6, and earned a seat at the regional qualifier after running the gauntlet at the the Boston Major EU open qualifiers. They did not make it to the Major itself after finishing 5th-10th at the Europe qualifier with a 4-5 record in the round robin.
The roster left The Imperial on Dec. 9, at which point the organization's CEO Oli Adams noted that "the opportunity they've been offered was something we could not compete with," and that "It is upsetting that organisations such as ourselves can't grow when bigger ones come knocking."
The roster was known as the Danish Bears before they signed with the Imperial, and they narrowly missed qualification for several major events. They did manage to defeat Ad Finem 3-0 in the Rumble Town finals after victories over RoX and Prodota Gaming.
It's not clear why the Korean organization chose to pick up a non-Korean, Kyrgyz team as their secondary squad, but the former NL5.R roster have shown some promising results at the tail end of 2016.
The team primarily competes in the CIS region, but during the national competition, WESG 2016, they competed in the Asia Pacific Finals. There, NL5.R topped their group over lesser MAX.Y and Power Gaming to move on to the playoffs and later swept TNC Pro Team 2-0 in the quarterfinals and swept Signature.Trust 2-0 in the semifinals, the team who notably defeated MVP Phoenix 2-1 in the quarterfinals. NL5.R later lost 2-1 in Grand Finals against To.be.or.not.to.be, which features former Newbee Young players Zhou "Lwy" Xinyi and Zhang "MelodyLovers" Hangqi.
MVP now have four Dota 2 rosters under their banner after rebranding NL5.R to MVP Revolution, joining the team's primary roster MVP Phoenix and the other secondary squads, MVP HOT6ix and MVP Aegis.
Here's what MVP Revolution's roster looks like:
Bektur "Runec" Kulov
Duulat "StormC4t" Subankulov
ilgiz "NapaleoshQa" Djunuşaliev
Džoni "Blizzy" Ri
Bakyt "Zayac" Emilzhanov
Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking AbaddonSlardarClinkzMedusaOracleaP90mySouvenirNegev Discipline Priest. You can follow him on Twitter.
The most memorable Dota 2 moments of 2016
Thumbnail image courtesy of The International 2016 / Twitch
From rough seas in Shanghai to the top of the world at TI, this was a year full of surprises in Dota 2. In 2016 we saw teams like OG and Wings Gaming ascend with standout performances from new stars and old veterans, while the largest prize pool in esports continued to grow and the game itself changed dramatically.
Good and bad, here's what we'll remember most about Dota 2 in 2016.
'James is an ass'
Where to begin with The Shanghai Major?
The second Major tournament in the 2015-2016 season was marred by production problems, from extreme delays between games, stream lag, frequent audio issues, missing equipment and a lack of food and water for staff. The problems were so bad and so numerous that before the second day of the group stage ended, Valve made the unprecedented decision to fire the English host, James "2GD" Harding, and KeyTV, the production company responsible for the event broadcast.
The move was announced by Valve co-founder Gabe Newell in a Reddit post, in which he declared, "James is an ass, and we won't be working with him again" — a statement that would fuel memes for months to come.
Old Man Fear retires
After 10 years in competitive Dota, Clinton "Fear" Loomis retired from play in August to become Evil Geniuses' coach. Fear ended his playing career as arguably the greatest American Dota player, and one of the best in the world. As the man himself said:
EternalEnvy vs. Team Secret
In October, Jacky "EternalEnvy" Mao accused Team Secret — who he helped win The Shanghai Major — of delaying payments and taking a cut from players' tournament winnings without their consent. EE further alleged that team captain Clement "Puppey" Ivanov was verbally abusive and refused to take blame for any of the team's mistakes.
The lengthy blog post gained a great deal of traction in the Dota community. Secret and Puppey only indirectly addressed the allegations.
The Great Fall of China
While the Shanghai broadcast suffered under mismanagement, Chinese teams were having a meltdown of their own.
Going into the event, Chinese invites EHOME, CDEC Gaming and Vici Gaming were riding high on months of strong performances. In the qualifiers, LGD Gaming and Newbee looked to be in top form.
Yet only LGD qualified for the upper bracket after the group stage, where they were promptly knocked down by MVP Phoenix. Not a single Chinese team made it to the Top 8 — precipitating the breakup of almost every roster that attended in the following months.
The rise of Slacks
It turns out Jake "SirActionSlacks" Kanner is the hero Dota 2 deserves.
While he has created content and made appearances at tournaments in years past, 2016 marked the first time Dota's top memer appeared as an interviewer at TI6, as well as the Manila and Boston Majors. Though the choice was initially controversial among fans, Slacks rose to the occasion with interviews and segments that struck just the right balance between serious Dota and comedy.
The first comeback from Mega Creeps in a ticketed match
Game 1 of EHOME vs. Evil Geniuses' upper bracket series at TI6 offered up 75 minutes of the most riveting Dota fans had ever experienced.
After what seemed like ages of back-and-forth battles, EHOME destroyed EG's last barracks to secure Mega Creeps at 71 minutes. EG needed to play perfectly to have any hope — which is exactly what they did. EHOME pushed too far and were repeatedly caught off guard by the American team, who played knowing that they have nothing left to lose.
Ad Finem's 300 moment
Ad Finem was the first European team to qualify for The Boston Major, defeating established teams like Team Liquid and Team Secret in the process. By the time the Major ended, Ad Finem had garnered a legion of fans through their aggressive play and their adamant refusal to give up.
In the playoffs, Ad Finem secured wins over Newbee and LGD.ForeverYoung before crushing Digital Chaos 2-0 in the semifinals. The crowd fell in love with the Greek team, cheering on their enthusiastic celebrations and rooting for them even when they were losing. And they did ultimately lose, 3-1 to OG in the Grand Finals, but their dogged persistence turned their one win in Game 3 into the best game of the event.
The puppet panel
Fans who tuned in for the TI6 pre-game discussion were surprised to see the analyst desk mysteriously transformed...
Wings Gaming conquer TI6
Wings Gaming were one of the few teams that didn't change their roster in the 2015-2016 season, sticking together even as every major competitor in their region disassembled. Though Wings missed both the Frankfurt and Shanghai Majors, they took the opportunity to learn and grow stronger, rather than try to infuse fresh blood.
That perseverance paid off at TI6, where they stormed through the upper bracket to defeat Digital Chaos 3-1 in the Grand Finals and win the largest prize in esports history.
Just when the pros thought they had the game mastered, Valve dropped the biggest patch since the initial release of Dota 2.
An overhauled map with shrines and a new Roshan pit, the new hero Monkey King, a new HUD and user-scripted training bots were just a few of the dramatic changes and additions to the game. Along with some standard-issue balance tweaks, every hero was given a new talent tree that dramatically changes the way players build them.
It's not an exaggeration to say that 7.00 flipped the Dota 2 meta on its head, and the effects it will have on competitive play have yet to truly be felt. But if nothing else, 7.00 heralds a fresh and exciting 2017 for Dota.
Corey "CartDota" Hospes
Thumbnail image courtesy of Valve
Monkey King is an early game dominator, capable of killing any hero on the map incredibly quickly. He’s versatile and difficult to play against without a composition tailored to counter him. Very few heroes pose a threat to him in lane, and catching him isn’t easy if you don’t know what you’re doing.
However, MK suffers from the same tradeoff most aggressive gankers have: he’s dependent on securing pickoffs for farm. This weakness is exaggerated since he lacks a proper way to farm creep camps, which many other ganking heroes have.
Here’s a look into how to play Monkey King, and what to avoid.
Monkey King is a flexible carry, and can be molded to fit most roles. I prefer to play him mid, while Wagamama for instance prefers to run him in the offlane, and safelane carry is feasible as well. Some players have tried to theorycraft how he could play as a support, but he is definitely best as a core.
MK currently has an absurdly high starting base damage of 52-58, and with an attack range of 300 he doubles almost any melee hero's attack range, making it incredibly easy to harass enemy heroes and go for early ganks. In the mid lane, you will have less room to chase your enemy down, so having control of the lane is of the utmost importance. You want the creeps to be on your high-ground, so that you have a lot of room to chase your opponent and get your Jingu Mastery stacks. There aren’t too many trees in the mid lane either, unless you’re near a tower, so there’s not a lot of room for a surprise attack from the trees.
Playing him offlane can be tricky, especially if you’re solo laning against a trilane. But the concept remains the same: harass the enemy heroes (in this case the supports) and build up Jingu Mastery stacks so that you get the bonus lifesteal and damage.
Safe lane is likely the easiest lane to put Wukong in, since you’ll have supports to assist in laning, but it’s also a position where he’s not that comfortable. Monkey King is amazing in the early game, but tends to fall off later, which is where you’d want your carry to pick up the slack in the game.
Max Jingu Mastery (passive) first. The auto-attack bonus it gives is absolutely insane (200 bonus damage and 50 percent lifesteal at max level), and it allows you to gank even the tankiest of heroes in the early game. Not even a Dragon Knight can survive a solo gank from Sun Wukong.
In the mid lane, I recommend taking Boundless Strike (Q) at level 2, before finishing off Jingu Mastery. Then put points into Tree Dance (W) to improve Primal Spring. The movespeed slow and damage makes Primal Spring an excellent ability to max before investing a second point in Boundless Strike.
Sun Wukong’s ultimate, Wukong’s Command (R), is a pretty incredible ability, which spawns 14 duplicates of Sun Wukong in a massive area-of-effect. These attack every 2.0 seconds, and when they attack, they apply any debuff that MK would apply to his own targets, such as Eye of Skadi slow, Deso negative armor or Echo Sabre slow. (Note Echo Sabre will not make the soldiers attack twice.) Wukong and his soldiers each get +50/70/90 damage for the duration of the ultimate.
However, in most games I choose not to skill this ability until level 11. There aren’t that many early-game situations where your ultimate will be needed, so the gank potential granted by Jingu Mastery and Tree Dance/Primal Spring is generally more useful. However, this largely depends on the situation, and an earlier ult could help fend off an aggressive enemy team that’s focusing on early engagements.
No matter what lane you’re in, the same few starting items are equally necessary: Tangos, Stout Shield and Orb of Venom. With his high base damage, no stat items or Quelling Blade are needed to improve last hitting, but the 12 percent slow from Orb of Venom will help with harassing laning opponents and diving for kills.
Due to MK’s chase potential, Phase Boots are the only way to go for a boot choice. After that, I prefer Ring of Aquila for the cheap stats and armor. Echo Sabre is a must-have.
I’m of the opinion that Monkey King can actually be one of the most item-versatile heroes in the game, similar to Juggernaut. In the mid to late game, Sange and Yasha can offer additional movespeed, stats and slow, and is generally a good followup. However, you could also consider Diffusal Blade or Orchid Malevolence against heavy escape lineups. Without getting kills, Monkey King is useless, and Orchid allows you to get kills on heroes that would normally escape otherwise.
You could also consider Desolator to destroy enemy heroes even faster. Skull Basher is yet another possibility. Some players like skipping the Tree Dance mechanic entirely, building Shadow Blade. It all depends on the game.
Level 10: +5 Armor OR +20 Attack Speed
This is heavily game-dependent. If you’re having a rougher time of things, the +5 armor can be very useful, and may save your life. The +20 attack speed is nice if you’re dominating and need to get those Jingu Mastery stacks up faster.
Level 15: +20 Movement Speed OR +275 Health
Once again, heavily game-dependent. Health if you’re having a rough game, movespeed if you need more domination. I prefer the health most games, however, even if I’m doing really well.
Level 20: +40 Damage OR +15 Strength
+15 Str does nothing for you but give another 285 health. It’s okay if you are seriously struggling, but I think +40 damage is better most of the time, especially because it’ll scale with Boundless Strike.
Level 25: +100% Boundless Strike Crit OR +25% Magic Resistance
This one’s not even a contest — +300% crit in a line is way more important than +25% Magic Resistance, even when you’re behind.
Tree Dance is what makes Sun Wukong. It allows him to initiate from a hidden position, and serves as an escape in sticky situations (though there are certainly better escapes in the game).
There are a few nuances to the ability. While in a tree, Sun Wukong has flying vision, but his sight range is reduced to 800. He can’t be seen without flying vision, so he’s not visible to towers, but wards on elevated ward locations can spot him.
Certain spells and summons also grant flying vision. Beware of Batrider, Beastmaster, Storm Spirit and Timbersaw, who all have flying vision and can act as counters to Tree Dance. For Batrider, every ability but Lasso gives flying vision, while Beastmaster has Hawk and Wild Axes, Storm Spirit has Static Remnant and Ball Lightning and Timbersaw has Chakram. It’s also quite easy for any of these heroes to destroy the tree you’re hiding in, which will stun you for four seconds. If you’re playing against any of them, caution will be necessary.
Mischief isn’t the greatest spell in the game, and kind of suits the same purpose as Techies’ Minefield sign does pre-Aghs. It does have one solid use though. If you can manage to transform into a courier and get 350 movespeed (standard movespeed only 305 without boots) it allows you to grab the bounty rune and head back to mid lane to block the creep wave. Mischief can also be used to walk through tower range sneakily, as enemy towers will not recognize you as a target.
Playing the midgame
MK is naturally an early- and mid-game beast who falls off late (at least relative to his early dominance). If you don’t have a good mid game, you will likely have trouble winning.
Executing with Monkey King is similar to any roaming ganker: Sneak up on an enemy, preferably alone, by leaping through trees. Initiate with Primal Spring, whack them four times to trigger Jingu Mastery, then use Boundless Strike to finish them off. Rinse and repeat.
Be aware that MK doesn’t farm as well as some ganking carries, especially in the jungle. Unlike say, Slark, MK can’t quickly clear jungle camps or regen afterwards. For this reason alone, Monkey King is not the easiest ganker to play — he can and will fall behind if the enemy groups up and he can’t find kills.
In large teamfights, it’s important to remember that MK can cast any of his abilities, including his ult, from the top of a tree. He will hop out of the tree once the ability is cast, sacrificing an opportunity for Primal Spring, but a stealthy ult or Boundless Strike may be a better way to engage into a big fight.
Corey "CartDota" Hospes is a freelance writer, Dota 2 addict, lover of numbers and Techies picker. You can follow him on Twitter.