EHOME's manager: The Shanghai Major was 'a very embarrassing tournament for Chinese people'

Thumbnail image courtesy of EHOME

Following EHOME's disappointing 9-12th place finish at The Shanghai Major, theScore esports spoke with EHOME's manager Tang "71" Wenyi about EHOME's performance at the Major, their recent roster changes and the future of the team.

What kind of preparation did EHOME have leading up to The Shanghai Major?

71: We prepared just like we did for other tournaments, not much difference. Except, Chinese people have Chinese New Year, so we had a little bit less time to train compared to western teams.

What went wrong during the group stage? How much did old eLeVeN’s health issue affect the team’s performance?

71: In our practices prior to the Shanghai Major we were already losing a lot. It was very late that we realized the tactics and strategic thought we utilized in our win at MDL would not allow us to see the same success at the Shanghai Major.

But it looks like this came a bit too late, we tried to turn things around in the group stage — in other words we needed to find a feel for things in the drafts during the group stage, reorganize our strategies, and allow ourselves to be more aggressive in early-mid game.

old eLeVeN's tooth pain possibly affected his own performances, but this wasn't the reason for the entire team losing. We are a team that should be able to cover for teammates' mistakes — so overall I think the effect of this was zero.

What was the team environment going into The Shanghai Major playoffs in the lower bracket?

71: As I'd said above, we lost a lot in our practice scrims. Prior to the Shanghai Major, EHOME had won three tournaments consecutively. This was a great boost to the players' confidence, yet at the same time their mentality may not have been heading in the right direction.

I believe many successful players can deeply understand what I mean by this. So you know, large amounts of mistakes, a lack of focus in-game, incoherent tactics — thus defeat becomes an inevitability.

Why did EHOME under perform in the Major?

71: Over-inflated confidence, incorrect drafts and mistakes throughout the group stage, pressure of the elimination brackets, lacking in organization and execution, [and] poor individual performances.

Why did the other Chinese teams perform poorly at the Major?

71: Lack of new blood in the scene, stimulation. Old players have a lack of newness in their attitudes. Too few players and teams that actually really want to win titles.

Low quality scrims/practices.

The timing of, and the existence of the Chinese New Year break.

There was a lot of drama regarding the English broadcast of the Major, but how does the organization feel about the tournament, as competitors and being from the Chinese community?

71: A very embarrassing tournament for Chinese people. Please don't ask me to recall any details — apart from the after party, everything else has been a disaster.

And that date that Chinese people will remember: March 3rd, Chinese Dota bids farewell to Top 8. From the first time I heard of Newbee to now, that day (March 3rd) was the only time I've ever supported that team.

What was the situation regarding Cty and kaka’s departure from the team? Were they traded, removed, or did their contracts expire? If they were traded, what was the cost of their contracts?

71: I think EHOME and VG are both looking for some change. Apologies as I cannot talk about contract details.

What was it like to coach Cty?

71: From him I learned a lot in terms of small details. I saw some of the the strictness that a young player can apply to himself, as well as some of the confidence from the same.

He did a lot for the success of EHOME, I don't wish to talk here at all about anything he didn't do well enough or his weaknesses. I believe that in the future he will ... be able to perform as a top player in matches both against his former team and against others.

Why choose iceiceice and Fenrir? What was the process behind getting iceiceice and Fenrir on EHOME? Did you buy out their contracts from Vici Gaming?

71: To me this was not a very hard decision to make, even though these two players were not within the suggested options given by our own players.

The first one I locked in was iceiceice, because when I was at DK I coached him before, I know how best to utilize him. He is either a 90/100 player or a 20/100 player.

Many rosters when first playing with iceiceice will see a strong chemistry at the beginning, and then afterwards they continuously drive him from being a 90/100 player into being a 20/100 player, and I don't think the fault of this lies with him alone.

iceiceice is a very good player, with exceptional momentary decision making and game reading abilities. He's also got very strong fight dictating abilities and is great at creating opportunities, etc. Many Chinese fans question my decision to sign this so-called "mega big-game choker," what I see in him is his skill and a heart that truly desires championships.

Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang as a member of Vici Gaming

Ah, and here we need to talk about Fenrir. If you're lacking a 5 position, in China isn't this the simplest of decisions? Apart from his age and height being potential issues, what else can someone say?

He and I haven't had much interactions, but I like his communication style — direct, honest. I like his attitude, the only one in this new roster that said to me, "let's not go on break, I want to train."

From a few months prior to TI4 I've been frequently watching their replays, and if you've ever walked past VG's booth and heard the team's communications before, then you should also think that choosing Fenrir is the utmost of simple decisions.

Was it the team’s intention to change the roster before going into the Major? If so, did the players know?

71: The first time this type of discussion occurred was at the Fall Major, and afterwards there were more of these sounds coming into my ear, so this was a decision that had pressure behind it. They didn't know beforehand, it was March 5 when they were informed.

How concerned is the team knowing the rosters are locked until after The International 6?

71: Not including these latest transfers in the discussion, I still don't like Valve's system here. But in this case where you must follow their rules, I hold some hope and anticipation for our changes in this window. Many people have said that they think EHOME is going to be a bust after seeing our new roster, they will no longer be fans, but if I speak honestly I think that none of this will be an issue. You can find change in our future matches.

What was behind the decision to change LaNm and iceiceice’s roles?

71: About a year ago I'd already shared my thoughts on professional attitudes in this career. I said I'm willing to consider myself as a completely new coach, that I am happy to learn, to take criticism, to try new things, and change myself.

My hope is that my attitude can influence [LaNm], to allow him to feel that he is a player with a youthful mentality (even though he has already become a father). I hoped that he could be a great captain, to be able to express his infinite potential in this game.

I believed that he could play offlane, and in pubs later he did indeed find some of the feeling for that. Yet returning to the carry role was a wish of his (you should know, in the entire world he's the only player that has played every single role professionally).

EHOME's captain Zhang "LaNm" Zhicheng

The other four players and I all have confidence in him, so why not? Don't just let the idea of "legend" end as words someone says: a crazy coach, a crazy team, it all looks like it makes sense. Can you recall in your mind's eye the image of Michael Jordan making a buzzer beater to win the game and then holding his finger up to his lips and telling the home crowd to shut up? Achieve it, and then go enjoy it.

As for iceiceice's role? He's able to play any role from 1 through 4, right? Actually the only thing I can't confirm right now is whether he can still play 2. But I don't have this requirement of him. I think he can play a bit more stubbornly at EHOME, he's going to be filling in LaNm's old role at EHOME as the card that we can play to counter the opposing draft.

I've said it before, I can utilize iceiceice well.

What’s the situation with EHOME.King and EHOME.Legend? Why not “promote” one of their players to the primary EHOME roster?

71: These two youth teams haven't been as strong in performances as last year, and the two coaches for these teams have met some issues in terms of player development. But within the teams there are still two pretty good players.

As for why we haven't brought youth team players up to the first team, this might be because they aren't quite strong enough just yet. Please do not doubt my confidence in them or my feeling of responsibility towards the younger generation of players.

I don't care whether these players have public recognition, as long as I believe that they are good enough I will give them chances.

What are EHOME’s plans for the future?

71: This is a good question, we do indeed have a big plan, but right now talking about it is too early.

The new iteration of the club has only been up for a year, there is still a great difference between us and famous international teams. There are plenty of places where we can learn and improve, and that's not to mention the places where we can innovate and disrupt.

I will pay attention to and follow certain popular games, expand to other projects, achieve more success and results for our brand to reward our fans. In the short term we are working hard towards becoming a top tier international esports club.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Translation done by Josh "AutumnWindz" Lee.

Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

Annabelle "Abelle" Fischer is a writer for theScore esports with a love for Dota 2, birds and cheese. You can follow her on Twitter.

Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, Dungeon & Dragons and first-picking Timbersaw Windranger Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oracle a P90. You can follow him on Twitter.

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.

Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

Cloud9 returns to Dota 2 with ex-Imperial roster

Thumbnail image courtesy of Cloud9

The all-Danish former roster of The Imperial has signed with Cloud9, the organization announced Thursday.

Cloud9 announced their return to Dota 2 through a post on the Red Bull Esports website. C9 CEO Jack Etienne said that his organization believes in the future of the game.

"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.

The new Cloud9 Dota 2 roster is now as follows:

  • Marcus "Ace" Hoelgaard
  • Jon "13abyKnight" Andersen
  • Mikki "HesteJoe-Rotten" Junget
  • Danny "Noia" Junget
  • Christopher "Ryze" Winther

Josh "Gauntlet" Bury is a news editor for theScore esports. You can find him on Twitter.

MVP acquire NoLifer5.Reborn, team renames to MVP Revolution

Thumbnail image courtesy of MVP

MVP have acquired Kyrgyzstan-based Dota 2 team NoLifer5.Reborn and have dubbed the roster MVP Revolution, according to MVP's social media manager Felix "JeeF" Jedelhauser on Monday.

The news closely follows Kim "DuBu" Doo-young's departure from MVP Phoenix earlier today to form Team Onyx with North American Dota 2 veterans Jimmy "DeMoN" Ho and Sam "BuLba" Sosale.

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, 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 Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oracle a P90 my Souvenir Negev Discipline Priest. You can follow him on Twitter.

EHOME announce new lineup with Cty, old chicken; LaNm to coach

Thumbnail image courtesy of The International 2016 / Twitch

After disappointing results in the latter half of 2016, EHOME have refurbished their roster with four new additions. Of the three names that have become synonymous with EHOME over the past year — Zhang "LaNm" Zhicheng, Ren "eLeVeN" Yangwei and Wang "old chicken" Zhiyong — only old chicken will remain on their starting lineup for 2017.

Here's a look at the new roster:

According to a followup post on the org's Facebook page, former captain LaNm will remain with the team and likely act as coach for the new squad, while eLeVeN will move to sub.

Returning to the roster will be safe carry Chen "Cty" Tianyu. Cty left EHOME after The Shanghai Major to join a super team put together by Vici Gaming, which saw little success and was eventually supplanted by VG's secondary roster, VG.Reborn.

He'll be joined by three players from EHOME's sub teams, EHOME.Keen's Luo "Xi" Yinqi and Jiang "jdh"' Donghao and EHOME.Luminous' Hu "Sen" Sen (formerly Guvara). jdh has been part of EHOME.Keen on-and-off since the post-TI5 roster shuffle, while Xi played for EHOME.Keen for only a short stint, joining in September and playing with them at the Nanyang Cruise Cup qualifiers and The Boston Major qualifiers. EHOME.Keen won the second Chinese open qualifier for Boston and squeaked their way through the group stage at the regional qualifier, only to go down 0-4 in the bracket.

LaNm's EHOME had an overall disappointing 2016. They came into the year strong with wins at the Radiant & Dire Cup and MarsTV Dota 2 League, but fell apart with the rest of China at The Shanghai Major. Bringing on Chinese stars Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang and Lu "Fenrir" Chao failed to turn things around, and in the leadup to TI6 they weren't able to qualify for The Manila Major, EPICENTER or ESL One Frankfurt.

They did, however, manage to place third in the TI6 Chinese regional qualifier and win their way through the Wild Card stage. At the main event they put on a surprising show, topping their group and finishing a respectable 5th-6th after tense losses to Evil Geniuses and Digital Chaos.

But the team weren't able to keep up the momentum in the fall. After replacing iceiceice and Fenrir with Liu "Garder" Xinzhou and Liu "Sylar" Jiajun, the closest they got to a LAN Grand Finals was the semifinals at the Northern Arena Beat Invitational.

2017 will mark a fresh start for the organization, who will field their new primary squad in the upcoming Kiev Major qualifiers.

Jeff Fraser is a supervising editor for theScore esports. 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.

Dota 7.00

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.

Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports whose journalism idol is Dino Ghiranze. You can follow him on Twitter.

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