Damien "kpii" Chok is the Australian offlaner for Newbee, a position he has held since the post-Shanghai Major shuffle. Following a successful winter season that saw Newbee win Dota2 Professional League Season 2 and place second at ESL One Genting 2017, Newbee received one of the coveted invites to the Kiev Major.
Shortly after the invites were announced, kpii spoke to theScore esports about the Chinese Dota scene and his time with Newbee.
You originally joined Newbee following the Shanghai Major last March. With your one year anniversary with the team approaching, how would you sum up the past 365 days with Newbee?
I would have never believed anyone if they told me I was going to be in a tier 1 Chinese team. I can say it had been one of the most eye-opening experiences I have had which was at the same time really enjoyable. We had great runs and bad runs, the good being our 29-win streak and our qualifications to Majors and TI, while we had trouble with series nearing the finals of tournaments (epicenter 2nd, Manila 3rd, MDL 2nd, ESL 2nd). We do seem to have been doing well in the China region though.
Following the Boston Major, Newbee would go on to win DPL Season 2 and place second at China Top 2016 and ESL One Genting 2017. How satisfied are you with Newbee’s performance?
Not really satisfied but at the same time not that disappointed. Would have been nice to take an international LAN win.
What do you think of the current state of Chinese Dota?
I feel like Chinese pubs are the most team oriented, I'll give an example. Miracle relied on individual skill to climb to 9k, most games were 1v9 and I assume he didn't really communicate too much in pubs (just my guess can't really confirm), whereas someone like Kaka more relied on captaining the team (communicate as though it was a scrim), using his in-game knowledge to work as a team.
I was surprised how no one was talking in the pubs I played during Boston Major. Even though we play RD and people think we have more diversity it is not necessarily true, you will always see the meta heroes and people trying hard to pick the best lineups, whereas for example in US you will see some offlane Abaddons and Omnis, etc.
Are there any international teams that you have been impressed by in the past few months?
OG. During MDL they were weak but they quickly improved within a short span of time which impresses me.
You were one of the players profiled for the Boston Major. What did you think of the final product?
I thought it was really nice, nothing else I can say about it, nothing bad about it.
How would you describe each of your teammates?
faith - Happy.
sccc - Kind hearted.
kaka - Smart, logical.
uuu9 - Hardworking.
Newbee’s last professional match was at ESL One Genting in January. What have you been doing in the time since? What has Newbee done?
We have just been training mostly and watching tournaments when they are on (e.g. star ladder).
At Boston, Newbee were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs due to the single elimination format. With the format returning for the Kiev Major, what do you think of it?
I think the group stage is the biggest problem, groups did not matter too much. although almost all teams prefer double elimination I guess single elim' is still acceptable.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.