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


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.


The Greatest Comeback Ever Made: How EG beat EHOME against Mega Creeps

Ryan "Gorgon the Wonder Cow" Jurado

Key Arena literally shook from the sound of 17,000 voices crying out in unison.

"EG is going to need a miracle here!" Blitz screamed moments before EHOME took their upper barracks.

EG desperately sent out nuke after nuke, but with Universe and Fear waiting to respawn, the American squad didn’t have the physical damage needed to stop EHOME’s offensive. eLeVeN's Beastmaster soaked an Ethereal Blade and triple Dagon combo (the third of which was purchased just moments before) before dying, but his team rotated mid and erased the remaining barracks, finally sending Mega Creeps against their opponents at the 71-minute mark. In any other game, this would have been a guaranteed win.

But not this time.

Having already spent buybacks on all of their cores — but also knowing that Evil Geniuses had no buybacks themselves — EHOME charged their Tier 4s, knowing that any single kill against EG would guarantee them the win. If EG fell to only two heroes, there wouldn't be the manpower to fight Megas when the first wave arrived, especially considering that they had invested 22,860 gold (more than a fifth of their overall resources) on burst damage alone.

EG knew that their key to victory lay in taking out heroes fast, hitting hard and regrouping. In other words, they needed to pick EHOME off one hero at a time.

EG support Ludwig "zai" Wåhlberg

Then came the moment that will be marked as the start of EHOME’s now historic loss. iceiceice dove into EG's base to secure one of the core kills that would ensure an EHOME victory, but the rest of his team chose to back off, leaving him without any stuns to help in dealing damage or cover his retreat. Another Ethereal Blade and triple Dagon burst him down — zai's creative build, working together with SumaiL's playmaking abilities, were enough to overcome the hero's prohibitively high armor.

Realizing his Fountain charge was too deep, the EHOME carry tried to beat a frantic retreat, his adrenaline-fueled fingers desperately seeking escape. In that last spasm, his almost 10 actions per second were nearly equal to the total input of the entire Radiant team. zai perfectly executed a Force Staff into Dagon coup-de-grace, and like so many high-aggression playmakers before him, iceiceice died trying to be a hero.

The game still looked good for EHOME. Evil Geniuses had only one source of AOE damage, SumaiL’s Mirana, whose constant Starstorms and Mjollnir could only keep one lane safe from Mega Creeps. Everyone knew there was no hope for EG if they couldn't push out now. You can count on one hand the number of times a team has won an official match against Megas more than a few minutes after their last barracks fell — Alliance had done it, but with a much better defensive draft. Almost always, comebacks against Megas involved wildly uneven skill levels between teams.

That’s when Universe and zai started to spearhead the unthinkable.

On respawn, iceiceice bought an unrevealed Level 4 Dagon, hoping to punish zai's Ghost Scepter and remove him from the fight. zai had been EG’s true engine of success in the last several minutes, as he was able to save allies with Disruption, clear waves with Shadow Poison, and reduce iceiceice's mobility with multiple Demonic Purges, which had led to the Timbersaw's death just a minute prior.

What happened next was too quick to follow in a single view-through. eLeVeN spent Primal Roar on Fear's Axe in an attempt to catch him off-guard. Fear was invisible, unaware that he was standing on a well-placed sentry ward put up by EHOME to defend their base from a Moonlight Shadow all-in push. EHOME's goal was to create enough time for the freshly respawned iceiceice to get to the fight, but their attempt failed when zai's Disruption saved Fear from Fenrir's Warlock ultimate followup. EHOME had over-invested without getting the returns they needed.

It cost them everything.

Universe landed a perfect Chronosphere, catching eLeVeN on one side and just the corner of LaNm's Ogre Magi on the other. Without LaNm, EHOME had no stuns to slow EG down during the Chronosphere (making him, in many ways, the highest-priority target).

SumaiL ignored the Warlock’s Golems, spending his Ethereal Blade and Dagon to ensure that eLeVeN was dead before he could use his second Primal Roar. zai, whose positioning continued to be perfect, used his Dagon from the low ground, waiting until he was close enough to initiate with Force Staff if need be but far enough back to be an impossible target.

zai was the most vital component in the effort. Anytime SumaiL was in trouble, zai had to be there to save him. Anytime SumaiL got an opponent low, zai had to be there to finish him off. zai was the engine, while SumaiL was the rails. Wherever Sumail went, zai followed, to ensure success.

iceiceice finally reached the fight, but EG retreated directly down the lane after baiting out both his Shiva's Guard and BKB. The early BKB activation was an attempt to protect himself from Ethereal/Dagon, but was cast at the same time that EG invested those cooldowns on eLeVeN. With that misread, iceiceice would spend the rest of the fight vulnerable, with few trees for maneuvering, and the entire 75-minute game on the line.

old chicken's Juggernaut tried to knock zai out with an Omnislash, but RNG was not on his side. Although he was successful in pushing EG farther back, his attacks bounced to the now approaching Radiant creeps. zai held in the wave, attempting to force old chicken to land within the narrow hitbox for an approaching Sacred Arrow.

Meanwhile, Fear's Axe slowed iceiceice down in the base, staggering his charge and forcing him to split away from old chicken. Although iceiceice secured the kill on Fear, he now had to make another difficult decision: would he move forward to cover old chicken, or stand his ground and regroup with his supports? If he charged out, he could secure his team's primary source of physical damage. If he stayed back, he could secure his team's only source of disable and slow. He could not do both.

SumaiL threw the arrow. zai held position and said a quick prayer. old chicken's Omnislash landed him directly on the Sacred Arrow, without even a frame to cast Blade Fury. Iceiceice made his decision.

EHOME's Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang

He charged out to zone EG away from old chicken, who used his Manta to dodge a Starstorm and retreat. zai and SumaiL retreated from iceiceice, drawing him away from his base. EHOME's movements were panicked, erratic and uncoordinated, giving EG the opening they needed.

Off-camera, Universe secured a fortunate bash, stopping LaNm's stun mid-cast and allowing him to kill the hero before EHOME's cores had a chance to recover from their over-extension. Universe then used the extra time to kill Fenrir, who had already cast his ultimate and as such was little more than a Fatal Bonds. That left EHOME with only two defenders against three attackers, with ppd near the river in a sprint to meet his team.

That lucky bash allowed Universe to save his Bloodthorn for old chicken, whose arguably unnecessary use of Manta to dodge Starstorm and zone zai left him with only his Black King Bar to dispel the silence. He retreated away from a one-on-one fight with Universe, wasting his magic immunity on the way to the Fountain.

For the second time, iceiceice chased too far. He pursued SumaiL and zai halfway to the Radiant base — and ran into ppd, with his Dagon. Alone against three EG heroes, he stood little chance, and went down almost instantly.

old chicken, now the last member of EHOME alive, used Boots of Travel to try and backdoor EG's base. But ppd was able to teleport home, because he had walked out to the fight with iceiceice. old chicken took down a Tier 4 and used Blade Fury to give himself magic immunity, then purchased a Desolator at the Radiant Fountain shop. With the negative armor, he could be a real one-man threat to towers and even the ancient. Maybe if he could force EG back to their base, the mega creeps would push out from his own base and give him enough time for the rest of his team to respawn.

It was a brilliant attempt, and the crowd vocalized their astonishment. There's never been such a disaster at The International, and even with soundproofing it's certain that players could feel the crowd's energy, literally, as it washed over the booths.

The rest of EG teleported home. old chicken managed to dodge the Ethereal Blade with Manta Style, but he had no remaining magic immunity, with both Blade Fury and BKB on cooldown, and he fell a second later to Starstorm.

"That was the hold of a lifetime!" Blitz exclaimed, barely able to make himself heard over the roaring bleachers.

Peter "ppd" Dager and Saahil "UNiVeRsE" Arora

Universe purchased a Divine Rapier, striding up to the Tier 4s and single-handedly reducing them to rubble. Although EHOME had two heroes up by now, they weren't able to stand against SumaiL's aggressive zoning and burst damage. All EHOME could do was watch as they suffered the worst throw in International history.

Had iceiceice stayed back and allowed the Mega Creeps to work against EG, using his team and respecting the way EG had built to ignore the armor component of his effective hitpoints, the game could have gone a different way. If old chicken hadn't used his Manta Style to dodge the Starstorm, he may have been able to take Universe in a fight.

Yet, even with EHOME's errors, it was EG that won the game. If they hadn't hit every skill shot in the final clash perfectly — including SumaiL's Sacred Arrow into old chicken's Omnislash, zai's Disruption save on Fear and Universe's two-man Chronosphere — their opponents would have had the chance to regroup and potentially take the fight. EG played every opportunity exactly as they needed to. It was the greatest comeback in the history of The International, and it proved just how dangerous these defending champions still are.

Watch out, Wings. Here come the defenders of the West.

Ryan "Gorgon the Wonder Cow" Jurado writes about Dota 2 and freelances for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.


Digital Chaos eliminate EHOME from TI6 with 2-0 win in Lower Bracket


Digital Chaos have made the Top 4 at TI6 after defeating their Group Stage rivals EHOME 2-0 and knocking them out of the Lower Bracket. The Chinese giants that defied expectations to win the Wild Card tournament and Group B will head home from the International in 5th-6th, after losing four games in a row to NA's top squads.

"You called them misfits, you called them the rejects, you called them the players that couldn't make it with tier 1 teams," caster Austin "Capitalist" Walsh cried on the broadcast after DC clinched the series. "But here they are — they look like champions to me!"

When DC and EHOME met for the first time ever in the TI round robin, they split their best-of-two 1-1. But there was no room for a tie at the main event, and EHOME looked to be out of steam after their demoralizing Upper Bracket loss to EG yesterday. Digital Chaos swept through the Chinese squad with a 24-7 kill score and an 18k net worth lead in the first game, and 26-11 with a 16k lead in the second. Neither match came close to the 40 minute mark.

Digital Chaos were knocked into the Lower Bracket by Wings Gaming on the first day of the main event, but have stubbornly refused to go out of the tournament, taking out LGD, TNC Gaming and now EHOME. Their match against EHOME was their second of Day 4, after their dramatic 2-1 reverse sweep over TNC Thursday morning.

DC offlaner David "Moo" Hull

Though not much was expected of the underdog NA team that was pieced together this spring by Aliwi "w33" Omar and Rasmus "MiSeRy" Filipsen after they were kicked from Team Secret, they've outlasted all but three other teams at the event (including Secret). "I love being the underdogs," w33 said in the post-game interview. "It's just less pressure on you. When people have no expectations of you, you just perform better."

Tomorrow, the team will have to keep their unlikely winning streak alive against the winner of the matchup between Fnatic and MVP Phoenix. The winner of that match will go on to the Loser's Final, where they will fight for a spot in the Grand Finals.

Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. Follow him on Twitter, it'll be great for his self-esteem.


Evil Geniuses defeat EHOME 2-0 in TI6 Upper Bracket


Evil Geniuses have sent EHOME to the Lower Bracket of The International 2016 following their exciting 2-0 win in the Upper Bracket. EG return to the Upper Bracket Finals for the third year in a row, where they will face off against Wings Gaming for the first spot at the TI6 Grand Finals.

Prior to losing to EG, EHOME played a nearly flawless TI, losing only two games in the Group Stage to Team Liquid and Digital Chaos before defeating Alliance 2-0 in their first Upper Bracket series. They will next play the winner of the TNC Gaming and Digital Chaos match on Thursday.

Game 1 saw EHOME lead for the vast majority of the game, securing a 40k net worth lead in the mid game after successfully pressuring EG in the first half. Yet SumaiL's Mirana, coupled with initiation from Universe's Faceless Void and ppd's Ancient Apparition, proved to be a difficult composition for EHOME to overcome. Though attrition, EHOME were able to take out all six of EG's barracks, spawning Mega Creeps that should have led to an easy victory.

Instead, EG wiped EHOME when they tried to assault their base. With no buybacks available on EHOME's cores, the door was left wide open for EG to run to EHOME's base and destroy their Ancient. The 75-minute game was the first time that a team overcame their opponents' Mega Creeps at TI.

In contrast to EHOME's strong early game in Game 1, EG took control of the map in Game 2 at the beginning, and refused to relinquish it. Universe's Faceless Void was once again pivotal to EG's victory, with his Chronospheres preventing EHOME from properly initiating teamfights. As the game drew on and SumaiL's Medusa grew more powerful, EHOME could not stop the American advance, and called GG.

Despite being forced to qualify for TI6 through the Open Qualifiers due to roster changes, EG have returned to form at the event itself, placing second in Group A during the Group Stage and defeating Chinese powerhouse Newbee in the first round of the Upper Bracket.

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


Sucking Them Dry: Dota wants star rookies, but doesn’t know how to develop them

Ryan "Gorgon the Wonder Cow" Jurado 2d ago

The International 2016 was the start of a new tradition: more than one in every three players at the main event had never attended The International before (a total of 29 people). Before this year, teams with new players typically had a single in-house or pubstar — players like Henrik "AdmiralBulldog" Ahnberg, who joined No Tidehunter in 2012, or Li "iceice" Peng on Big God. At TI5, one in five competitors had attended every prior TI. This year, only 11 of the 80 players in attendance could boast that pedigree.

The days when international events were dominated by veterans appear to be over. A fresh crop of new players are bursting onto the scene in couples, triplets, even entire teams. The TI6 Top 4 had 13 newcomers between them, including every member of the winning team, Wings Gaming, and more than half of the runners-up, Digital Chaos. Only five teams at TI6 didn't have any newcomers, and all but one of those teams ended up in the Bottom 8.

This is wonderful news for novice players looking to fight their way into the top competitive ranks, but it also feeds a cycle of instability that is likely to create more player turnover in a period where Valve is ostensibly attempting to add some semblance of stability to the sport. At the same time, new players have precious few places to learn pro-level skills beyond technical play. These worrying new trends, left unchecked, could be especially devastating in the 2016-17 season.

With shuffle season hitting full tilt ahead of Valve’s roster drop deadline next Sunday, expect a flurry of new players to make their debut on international-caliber teams. Pay special attention to China, where major teams have seen minimal success, and junior squads have been training newcomers for months or even years. Unfortunately, these stories won’t all have happy endings.

So-called newcomers rarely spring out of the pub scene full-formed and ready to play competitively. Most of TI6’s "new" players had minor competitive experience dating back to late 2014 with small regional squads, like David “Moo” Hull, who played with ROOT Gaming and Team Fire and even attended The Shanghai Major with Team Archon, or Xue "September" Zhichuan, who played with CDEC Avengers before being recruited to join LGD Gaming. A few, like Andreas Franck "Cr1t-" Nielsen, have been playing competitively without results for as long as second-generation veterans like AdmiralBulldog.

New players are often seen as a way to infuse a team with drive and diversity, but they rarely become stars overnight. OG were surprised to win The Frankfurt Major so quickly after forming a new squad with a pubstar mid; it usually takes some experience in the trenches to alter a solo player’s thinking to focus on what the team needs instead of his own individual skill. Amer "Miracle-" Al-Barkawi had the perfect support structure on OG to utilize his skills. Had he stepped onto the main stage with another team, he likely wouldn't have ended up with the same level of success.

Ironically, even as more opportunities are opening up for rising star players, teams are realizing they need a lot more than raw individual skill to win championships. In Dota's early days, risk awareness and technical skill were what separated champions from the merely great; it was how Na`Vi or the old Invictus Gaming were able to roll through most opponents with high-octane pick-and-push strategies. But as more teams have approached the pinnacle of performance, the ability to make impressive solo plays has become a necessary rather than sufficient condition for top finishes. The Majors and TI6 have evolved to select for superior strategy, drafts and teamwork; advantages in mechanical skill or reaction time are more likely to be a result of an opponent’s error than the winner’s superiority.

In this new era, teams are compulsively seeking creative advantages and strategic diversity to gain an edge on the competition. Skilled players with fresh ideas are becoming more valuable. The only question is where these players will learn to execute pro-level teamplay and control on-stage nerves. Right now, there aren't a lot of great options for a team of mixed experience other than livefire drills.

"I feel that there's a lot of new players coming out of the scene at the moment," Wings captain Zhang "y`" Yiping told me at The International. "But they need more events, they need more tournaments to actually get to the level that they need to be. [...] As far as more tournaments in China, I feel like the main benefit or the main need in that case is for tournaments for the second-tier teams."

RELATED: Dota 2 Fall 2016 Roster Tracker

He knows what he's talking about. When Wings assembled its current roster after TI5, only Li "iceice" Peng and Zhou “bLink” Yang had attended a premier event before, and even their experience didn’t go back earlier than 2014. After they took home the Aegis this year, they became living proof that new players can find success in high-level Dota — but a big factor in their success has been the fact that they spent the last 10 months playing together at LANs. That happened in part because China has better infrastructure for online and regional events, but it was also because every Chinese team except Wings shuffled its roster and hit a performance slump after The Shanghai Major. That twist of fate gave Wings an opportunity to qualify for ESL One Manila, which the team has said was a turning point in their growth. Without that experience, we may not have seen Wings even reach The International, let alone ascend as its victors.

With Dota’s viewership failing to see significant growth and the Majors system not yet fully synchronized with third-party events, it’s harder for organizers to justify throwing tournaments for small teams of relatively unknown players. That means aspiring players have fewer chances to develop the team mindset and the confidence required to play competitive Dota at a high level. If they are lucky enough to be scouted by a major team, it may be the first time they play at a LAN.

You can see the tension: players in every region need to cut their teeth, but teams in every region are desperate for fresh meat. Top teams want to find the next Suma1L or Saksa more than ever before, so they are willing to take risks on new players that haven’t developed the necessary mindset for competitive play. But these new players have less experience at fewer tournaments, and they need more time to adjust. Which means we will see more teams inevitably falling into slumps while they train up their rookies into seasoned pros.

There’s no guarantee that these stories all end in success. Come the spring, we will likely see many of the teams that picked up rookies in the fall shuffle dropping them the way Secret dumped Aliwi "W33" Omar or Na`Vi consumed Dmitry "Ax.Mo" Morozov. Already, we have seen Moo express his frustration at being ejected from Digital Chaos to make room for David “MoonMeander” Tan.

This will likely be seen as the year Dota changed from a veteran's club to a competitive ladder, but the infrastructure to keep that ladder stable isn’t there yet. For now, we can expect lesser-known names to be elevated to top teams in their regions, but we can also expect heavy turnover well before this time next year. After all, if you want fresh blood, you're going to need to make a few corpses.

Ryan "Gorgon the Wonder Cow" Jurado writes about Dota 2 and freelances for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.


Red Bull Heroicks postponed after organizers unable to secure team commitments

by 5d ago

Red Bull has postponed its upcoming event Red Bull Heroicks because they have been unable to secure four top teams to play in the event.

"Regrettably, it has become apparent that despite intensive efforts, we will not manage to get the confirmation of four top Dota 2 pro teams for Red Bull Heroicks on the 17th and 18th of September, 2016," the company said in a statement published Tuesday

"Two of the wold’s best teams have already agreed to participate, 'OG' and 'The Alliance', and our goal was to complete the line-up with two more top teams," the statement said. "Hence, the quality required by the event concept is not provided. For this reason, we decided to postpone the event."

Scheduled one month after the conclusion of The International 2016, the date for Red Bull Heroicks falls within Valve's recently announced roster lock period for the fall Major. The deadline to add new players and lock in a complete roster is Sept. 18, which means many top teams will be without a firm lineup until that date. Teams' rosters are already in flux, and top players like Jacky "EternalEnvy" Mao and Sun "Agressif" Zheng are currently listed as free agents on Valve's Major registration page.

Red Bull said they are looking to set a new date for the tournament, and will refund all tickets purchased. The tournament would have been Red Bull's second Dota 2 event, following the 2015 Red Bull Battle Grounds.

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

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