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TI9 Fantasy Guide Day 5; The Playoffs!


TI9 Fantasy Guide Day 5; The Play-offs!


You also stand a chance to win up to $5, 000, 000 in our official coverage partner — Estars’ Free to Play contests! So hurry up and check out their website for more info.

The group stages for TI9 has concluded and the stage is set for the PLAYOFFS! For group stages, I ended up scoring 1996.89 points thus surpassing all my friends! Things should get a bit easier as the choices are cut down for the first day of the playoffs since only four teams will be playing in a best-of-three series.

PSG.LGD takes on Virtus Pro and Vici Gaming goes up against TNC. Both these series I expect to go three games as the competition is close between the two.

That being said, let’s take a look at the averages of each player that’ll be competing on the first day of the playoffs:

Virtus Pro:

Ramzes (15.2)
No[o]ne (13.3)
9pasha (10.3)
RodjER (13.6)
Solo (15.7)


Vici Gaming:

Paparazi (17.2)
Ori (17.1)
Yang (12.6)
Fade (12.5)
Dy (19.8)



Ame (16.4)
Somnus (18)
Chalice (11.6)
xNova (17.3)



Gabbi (17.2)
Armel (16.7)
Kuku (13.5)
Tims (18.4)
Eyyou (17)


For an even more updated view visit here. It’ll give you a more in depth look at how each player is doing that day in terms of fantasy points.




The first day of playoffs is rather easier to pick from as there are only four teams competing from the upper bracket. For me, it ultimately comes down to the players who have performed consistently throughout the course of the group stages. I also believe that both series will go to three games and it’ll be a well fought out series for both.

That being said my picks should be a bit obvious and will include players from three different teams. This isn’t really an action of keeping it diverse but has more to do with all the top earners in fantasy in whom I have complete faith when it comes to earning us enough points.

I’ll be going with Gabbi and Paparazi as my cores. Both these cores have been putting up some serious points and their averages are towards the top. I do think the series ends up going in favor of Vici Gaming 2-1 but this gives a lot of time to both players to rack up great GPM and Creep Score number. Throughout TI, Gabbi has garnered 274.6 total points while Paparazi has grabbed 275.3! These two combined should leave us with a great outlook from our core slots.

I’ll be going with Somnus as my fantasy pick for the mid role who is trailing behind Sumail at the second position. Somnus is behind SumaiL by only 5.7 points and with the latter not playing on the first day of the playoffs, it makes the former as an easy selection. Somnus has been an easy pick for me every time he has been playing as he and LGD play consistent and crisp Dota. I do think they are also going to win their series 2-1 over VP so that should give time to Somnus to get us some sweet points.

I’ll end up my line-up with Dy and Tims. DY is by far the best support player for fantasy (reminds me of SVG from the previous year at TI8) and the best support player overall at TI. He averages more than the second highest support Pielidie. In the meantime, is placed in the third position right behind DY and Pieliedie.

Ultimately, the five players mentioned above are the best fantasy points churners on the first day of playoffs. Reason for not picking any VP players is solely based on their shaky performances throughout the group stage as well as their lower fantasy points.

My line-up is:


If you are looking for some alternatives I would suggest going for either Ori or xNova.

If you would like to know more about my work, you can follow me at KarY.

You can head over to our Dota 2 hub for more content regarding TI9 in terms of interviews, stats, guides, etc!

TI9 Fantasy Guide: Day Four, by a top guesser


TI9 Fantasy Guide: Day Four, by a top guesser


You also stand a chance to win up to $5, 000, 000 in our official coverage partner — Estars’ Free to Play contests! So hurry up and check out their website for more info.

Welcome back, another day another guide! Today is an interesting day as our choices aren’t exactly amazing when it comes to teams that are playing two series. With the choices we have today it does seem that our lineup will be similar to day two. Today’s two series teams are Virtus Pro, EG, Fnatic, NiP, RNG, VG, & Infamous


Let us take a look at each team and each player’s TI averages:

Virtus Pro:

Ramzes (14.1)
No[o]ne (12.6)
9pasha (8.3)
RodjER (12.8)
Solo (15.6)


Evil Geniuses:

Arteezy (16)
SumaiL (17.3)
S4 (10.4)
Crit- (12.6)
Fly (17.7)



Jabz (14.5)
Abed (15.6)
Iceiceice (9.5)
DJ (15.7)
DuBu (15.4)


Ninjas in Pyjamas:

Ace (12.4)
Fata (13)
33 (9.4)
Saksa (15.7)
Ppd (15.7)


Royal Never Give Up:

Monet (14.3)
Setsu (13)
Flyby (9.4)
LaNm (11.2)
Ah Fu (16)


Vici Gaming:

Paparazi (18.1)
Ori (16.8)
Yang (13.9)
Fade (12)
Dy (21.4)


Infamous Gaming:

K1 (13.4)
Chris Luck (14.8)
Wisper (10.9)
Scofield (10.9)
Stinger (15.9)

For an even more updated view visit here. It’ll give you a more in depth look at how each player is doing that day in terms of fantasy points.




The Final day of groups is normally a bit difficult to pick since the amount of games being played is less. It’s a bit more risky as each game holds a lot more weight in how well your day goes. Keeping that into consideration, my lineup is going to be the same as day two.

I am using players from only EG & VG. EG has a series against a struggling Virtus pro and an underwhelming NiP. I believe these two series have a great chance to not only have long duration games which is nice for point farming but also be favored towards EG quite a bit.

Vici Gaming have a series against two tough opponents in Na’Vi and OG, However, VG as a whole have been putting up points no matter what! At the time of writing this, Dy has the most points for all supports and Paparazi is the third highest core. That being said, I have complete faith that these two teams will perform well and give us top points for the day.

For my core, I am going for Arteezy & Paparazi. Even with EG’s struggles Arteezy managed to get us 113.64 points (with my gold card) which was more than Paparazi who is on a team towards the top of the group. I think Arteezy will have a solid day to give us a repeat performance and Paparazi is a guarantee towards the top for the day.

For mid, I am going with SumaiL who is second only behind Somnus! I really do believe in SumaiL for day four of groups and I do think he can keep up the numbers he is giving us at the moment. On day two, he gave us over a hundred points and with the match-ups he has today, I think he will perform relatively just as well. It won’t be over a hundred points but that is because it is only four games instead of six.

Finally, we are again lining up with Dy and Fly. These two are putting up some major numbers, especially Dy who is averaging the highest amount of points per game at 21.4. With these two playing in two series tomorrow it is difficult to go with any other duo as they have been not only consistent but also extremely reliable.

My line-up for Day Four is:


If you are looking for some alternatives, I would suggest Ori or ppd. Good luck on the final day and we will certainly continue towards our goal of being in the top percent to get those sweet sweet sixteen levels.

If you would like to know more about my work, you can follow me at KarY.

You can head over to our Dota 2 hub for more content for TI9.

TI9 Fantasy Guide: Day Three, by a top guesser


TI9 Fantasy Guide: Day Three, by a top guesser


You also stand a chance to win up to $5, 000, 000 in our official coverage partner — Estars’ Free to Play contests! So hurry up and check out their website for more info.

Welcome back, another day another guide! Today is an interesting day as our choices aren’t exactly amazing when it comes to teams that are playing three series. I want to take a different approach from yesterday where I only used two teams and try and stay diverse like I said I would. Today’s three series teams are Secret, Alliance, Newbee, Mineski, Chaos, and Keen Gaming.

Let us take a look at each teams and each player’s season averages and TI averages:


            Nisha (16.1)
            MidOne (15.8)
            Zai Zai (11.5)
            YapzOr (15)
            Puppey (16.2)



            miCKe (15.1)
            Qojqva (13.8)
            Boxi (14.4)
            Taiga (19.2)
            iNSaNiA (16.1)



            Yawar (17.9)
            CCnC (19.4)
            Sneyking (14.4)
            MSS (12.3)
            pieliedie (18.6)



            Nikobaby (12.7)
            Moon (16.2)
            Kpii (7.9)
            Raging potato (12.8)
            ninjaboogie (14.4)



            vtFaded (10.1)
            Matumbaman (10.7)
            KheZu (9.5)
            MiLAN (9.8)
            Misery (14.1)


Keen Gaming:       

            Old Chicken (13.5)
            Yi (13.4)
             Eleven (9.4)
             Kaka (11.4)
             Dark (15.8)


To get a more detailed view on the fantasy points visit here. It’ll give you a more in depth look at how each player is doing that day in fantasy points.




As I said earlier and yesterday I try to keep my lineup as diverse as possible and today I am going to stick to this philosophy.

In my core slots I am going for Nisha & Old Chicken. Despite Nisha’s less eventful start in his first game on day one, he really put it back together and has put up quite a lot of points throughout. My decision to go with Old Chicken is because he has performed extremely well even against top fantasy point makers; TNC. If he can keep it up and score some major points I won’t be surprised.

For mid, I am going with CCnC. At the time of writing this article, he is currently sitting at the top of average score for any mid player. Newbee are playing much better than expected and their day three match-ups are certainly winnable. With three series coming up I think this is a big chance for CCnC to put up great numbers.

My supports are a bit expected as they sit towards the top on the average table. Therefore, I am going with Taiga and Pieliedie. It was a close call between Puppey and Taiga but the latter is averaging quite a bit more than the former that ended up making the difference on my side.

My lineup for Day Three is as follows:

Old Chicken


If you are looking for alternatives, then I would suggest the following:


I think this is a day that could very well pay off and I am confident that we can continue to put up a solid score.

If you would like to know more about my work, you can follow me at KarY.

You can head over to our Dota 2 hub for more content for TI9.

TI9 Fantasy Guide: Day Two, by a top guesser


TI9 Fantasy Guide: Day Two, by a top guesser


You also stand a chance to win up to $5, 000, 000 in our official coverage partner — Estars’ Free to Play contests! So hurry up and check out their website for more info.

Hey everyone, welcome back and get yourselves ready for another day of picking cards and being at the top of Dota fantasy for TI9. Yesterday we took a look at the averages throughout the season to make our picks but today we will mix in day one’s stats and season averages.

On top of all that, instead of breaking it down by position I am going to break down my list by each team playing the most series on day two which includes EG, Infamous, NaVi, NiP, OG, and Vici Gaming.

Let us look at each teams and each player’s season averages and TI averages:

Evil Geniuses:

                        Arteezy – 14.69 (8)
                        Sumail – 15.09 (13.9)
                        S4 – 10.13 (10.6)
                        Crit- – 11.13 (11.8)
                        Fly – 15.30 (15.40)



                        K1 – 12.82 (7.7)
                        Chris Luck – 13.44 (7.2)
                        Wisper – 11.32 (7.5)
                        Scofield – 10.64 (9.3)
                        Stinger – 10.29 (11.2)



                        Crystallize – 12.93 (16.4)
                        MagicaL – 14.73 (17.8)
                        Blizzy – 10.44 (9.3)
                        Zayac – 12.20 (14.9)
                        SoNNeikO – 15.74 (18.6)



                        Ace – 14.78 (14.8)
                        Fata – 14.39 (10.2)
                        33 – 11.61 (10.5)
                        Saksa – 13.04 (13.8)
                        Ppd -14.67 (17.3)


                        Ana – 14.49 (13.70)
                        Topson – 12.76 (15.6)
                        7ckngMad – 11.25 (13.3)
                        Jerax – 12.00 (12.00)
                        N0tail – 13.40 (16.20)

            Vici Gaming:

                        Paparazi – 15.03 (19.4)
                        Ori – 14.01 (19.2)
                        Yang – 11.09 (17.1)
                        Fade – 11.82 (11.8)
                        Dy – 14.43 (19.3)


With these season averages it looks like there are a few players who stand out and I believe we can make a squad that will get us to the top once again. To get an even more updated view visit here. It’ll give you a more in depth look at how each player is doing on that particular day in fantasy points.




As I said earlier and yesterday, I try to keep my lineup as diverse as possible but for today’s lineup I am going to use players listed below.

For cores, I am going for Paparazi & Arteezy. These two players are very consistent, play aggressive, and are quite reliable when it comes to getting fantasy points. Unfortunately, I only have a Paparazi silver card at the moment but I am happy to use it with my gold Arteezy having +15% for kills and teamfight, +5% for GPM while Paparazi has+5% for kills and +15% for deaths.

For mid, I am going with another very consistent player, SumaiL. Despite his TI  average being lower than his season average at the moment, I think he will bounce back after a slow start. The stats on his card are also giving me a great boost with +10% on GPM, +20% on runes grabbed, and finally +20% for stuns. While EG had a slow start on day one they usually pick up as the days go by so I have faith in SumaiL.

For supports, I have two great gold cards for two great players. Firstly, I will be going with another Vici Gaming player who I trust to get involved and continue to put up a great amount of points, and that is Dy. With him I am putting a big playmaker in Fly! These two players are towards the top in points after only playing two series so with them having three series tomorrow I believe that they have an opportunity to put up quite a lot of points.


So our lineup is as follows:



Disclaimer!: Today is a high risk lineup using only two teams but that is because the other options I am not as confident in. You could swap Arteezy out for an Ana card if you have one that has better stats as this will give you the diversity that I usually try to stick to and less risk. I did make a last minute switch from Ana to Arteezy because I opened a gold card with better stats then my silver Ana card. If you don’t have these options you could play it safe with three teams or go with more risk using only two. Any questions feel free to ask in the corresponding Reddit thread.  

If you would like to know more about my work, you can follow me at KarY.

You can head over to our Dota 2 hub for more content.

TI9: Making a pick on every series on Day One!


TI9: Making a pick on every series on Day One!


You also stand a chance to win up to $5, 000, 000 in our official coverage partner — Estars’ Free to Play contests! So hurry up and check out their website for more info.

A large majority of my picks for TI9 are going to be looking at the favorites as these are all best of twos and I believe the favorites will most likely either draw or win their series. So going by each series of games I am going to make my picks and on tomorrow’s post I will post my record and see how we did. Along with all these picks I will give my most confident pick of the day and give my reasoning with it but for all other picks it just be a straight prediction.

Series A1

Secret 2-0 Alliance
Liquid 2-0 Newbee
PSG.LGD 2-0 Chaos
TNC 1-1 Keen Gaming

Series B1

Vici Gaming 2-0 Royal Never Give Up 2-0 Ninjas in Pyjamas
Evil Geniuses 2-0 Fnatic
OG 1-1 Na’Vi

Series A2

Liquid 2-0 Chaos
TNC 2-0 Mineski
PSG.LGD 2-0 Keen Gaming
Secret 2-0 Newbee

Series B2 1-1 Royal Never Give Up
Evil Geniuses 2-0 Na’Vi
OG 2-0 Infamous
Vici Gaming 2-0 Fnatic

Series A3

Secret 1-1 Liquid
Alliance 1-1 Chaos
Keen Gaming 2-0 Mineski



With all these picks being made I am looking at what I believe will get the most value at odds and currently I am seeing great odds on Team Secret -.5 (Take the series 2-0) over Alliance at -130. This season Team Secret have only dropped one game to Alliance and that was during the KL Major. Other than that one game it has been a clean sweep for them during the year and while I know TI9 group stage sometimes yields odd results I believe at these odds for the best team of the year it’s too hard to pass up.

Current Record: 0-0-0

If you would like to know more about my work, you can follow me at KarY.

You can head over to our Dota 2 hub for more content.

Headline image courtesy: ESL

TI9 Fantasy Guide: Day One, by a top guesser



You also stand a chance to win up to $5, 000, 000 in our official coverage partner — Estars’ Free to Play contests! So hurry up and check out their website for more info.

Hey everyone, it’s that time of the year again where TI groups are announced and you are trying to rake in as many points as possible to be in the top tier and get some sweet levels. To make our picks we will be using is this season’s averages for each player as a base to start with for the group stage and then be more based on current performance as each day goes by. For each day I will have what I think the best picks will be and also what cards I will be using to fill my team that day.

The first and foremost thing one and all should consider is to strike out “poor” teams from consideration right off the bat. Reason being, players tend to score more points by winning their games and also when the game goes on for a longer duration.

Players on teams that tend to lose a lot don’t perform well in fantasy, so one must be very careful while making the selection.

The next thing to look at is schedule. Believe it or not, it is THE most important consideration. Players who play more games score more FP than players who play fewer games. Period.

ONLY consider players on teams with full dance-cards on the day in question. On day one, six of the nine teams in Group A will be the most active with three two-game sets a piece. That means you’re only looking at players from Team Secret, Liquid, TnC, PSG.LGD, Chaos E.C and Keen Gaming for Day One.

Let us take a look at the top five players for each slot; Core, Mid, and Support.


Miracle- – 15.86
Gabbi – 15.22
Paparazi – 15.03
RAMZES666 – 14.73
miCKe – 14.39


Abed – 15.59
SumaiL – 15.09
Somnus – 15.05
No[o]ne – 14.58
Armel – 14.57


SoNNeikO – 15.74
Puppey – 15.69
xNova – 15.54
Fly – 15.30
Pieliedie – 15.27



Personally speaking, I prefer to keep a diversified line-up for Day 1. As the expression goes, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. Why to mess up your chances by going top heavy on any one team? Makes sense, right?

Let me be very honest, if you’ve a Miracle- gold card, then you should use that by default just the way I’m using it. There is a cosmically rare chance on Miracle- performing poor and he has the highest player average in terms of fantasy points.

Going by the player average, my second core pick on Day 1 is Gabbi. Keep in mind, TnC is one of those teams that has averaged the longest duration of games this past season. Anyone remember Kuala Lumpur Major? So it is without a doubt a solid pick to select and he also has good fantasy average.

These two players have averaged the best throughout the season and without any idea on how they will do yet or how anyone will do yet at TI, I will put my faith in them.

Sticking to this idea, I am going to go with Somnus as my mid core, who I trust will do better than Armel, Matumbaman or Midone. Whilst I’ve no doubt that Midone is also a viable pick considering his skills, however, I cannot ignore the fact that he isn’t in the top 5 list in terms of player average.

Finally our supports are going to be the top two players on our list, xNova & Puppey! As you can see in the featured image, xNova’s gold card doesn’t necessarily align to that of a support. However, he holds the third position in terms of player average on a support, below Sonneiko and Puppey. Meanwhile, supports from other teams playing the same amount of series on Day 1 are nowhere near the top 5 mark.

With these five players I am confident in my first day picks. I’m also confident that we’ll get the highest possible points with this line-up.

If you would like to know more about my work, you can follow me at KarY.

You can head over to our Dota 2 hub for more content.

TI heroes that have a chance to define the meta


5 heroes that have a chance to define the TI meta


The group stage is almost upon us and it pays to be prepared! The TI meta is always very hard to predict, but we decided it’s a great idea to give you a quick list of some heroes who have a chance to play a central role in the latest installment of the biggest tournament in the history of Dota.

We chose our list based on the trends in the pub meta (thinking it would be useful for the people who are watching Dota but aren’t playing as much) as well as the from the picks and bans in some of the last few small tournaments before TI.

A mandatory disclaimer: of course, the people on the highest level of Dota wouldn’t imitate what’s played in pubs 1 for 1, but at the same time it would be foolish to deny that the pub meta and the pro meta exist in symbiosis.


Pos. 3 Ogre

Ogre Magi is seeing a huge rise in popularity on the pub scene (an 11% increase in pick rate in the last month). This is mainly thanks to a new way to play him in the offlane that is 1 – more fun, and 2 – quite efficient.

His role is a utility offlaner, but rather than serving as a walking Bloodlust, he has some huge nuke potential.

The last patch changes buffed his Multicast chance to 75%, which means that even on lvl6 he starts dealing significant nuke damage. If you play him on the offlane, you have the needed experience to invest a lot of points in both Fireblast and Ignite. This, combined with Ogre’s in-built tankiness, makes it almost impossible to lane against Ogre.

This isn’t a big difference from the way he was played in the lanes in the past. As an offlaner, however, Ogre also has a chance to reach his game-breaking talents faster.

  • 90 GPM helps compensate for his lower farming speed.
  • 100 Damage is very significant on a tanky hero that can afford to stay on the frontline
  • 40 Strength is outright IMBA: it makes Ogre extremely hard to kill and allows him to play extremely aggressively (something a support Ogre cannot)
  • And last but not least, 300 Fireblast damage combined with Multicast allows Ogre to nuke down even farmed cores.


Core Visage

Visage is the hero with the highest win rate in the Divine and Immortal brackets – almost 60% (?!). These are not numbers you can ignore lightly. He’s always been an unpopular hero in pubs, but in the right hands, he has extreme snowball potential. If he gets levels fast, he can start applying pressure on the enemy side of the map extremely quickly and efficiently. He doesn’t need expensive items to start fighting, and combined with other active heroes Visage can easily contribute to 20-30 minute victories.


Pos. 1 Alchemist

Alchemist is coming into TI with a newfound build. In the pub scene, this leads to an increase of 3.12% in his win rate and 4.13% in his popularity!

Despite being a hard-farming carry, Alch isn’t a slow hero. He hits very strong mid-game timings simply because he is able to buy expensive items before everyone else. If he succeeds to do so, he is almost impossible to stop.

Phase + two Bracers into Radiance & Assault Cuirass: he plays passively as always in the laning stage, but once he gets his Radiance + Assault he is ready to start contributing to fights. With Chemical Rage up he is almost unkillable and deals extremely high damage. Once the spell is off CD, he goes back to farming.

Blink + Solar: with these items, it becomes easier for him to focus down heroes and maybe more importantly – to take down Rosh. With the Aegis, it’s not uncommon to finish the game at this stage.

Skadi + Abyssal: if the game goes late, these two items help him stick to more elusive targets and make him even tankier. If even this timing doesn’t allow him to finish the game (which is rare), he can start giving away Moonshards and Aghanim’s to his teammates, which increases a lot his usefulness in the super late game.


Centaur Warrunner

Centaur saw quite a lot of play in this DPC season, and despite some minor nerfs, it seems he isn’t out of the top tier yet.

In the Dota Season 1, which is a CIS tournament that includes most CIS teams that didn’t qualify for TI, Centaur is by far the most contested hero. In the last week, he was picked or banned 39 times (mainly banned) and has an 85% win rate from the times he was picked.

Even though the T2 & 3 scene follows the T1 meta (rather than the other way around), we’d be very surprised in Centaur doesn’t see a lot of attention at least in the TI group stage.

The meta seems to be going towards a faster pace, and a solid tanky initiator that is strong early game but scales decently well (especially in terms of utility) just seems too good to pass.


Crystal Maiden

Last but not least, Crystal Maiden is slowly but steadily becoming one of the most contested supports in the T2 & 3 scene (as well as being one of the most popular supports in pubs, but to be fair she always saw play in pubs).

She had a solid win rate in The Summit 10 (57%) and in the tournament she boasts 64% win rate in the last month with 50 games played.

Being a versatile support that scales well but can also contribute with no farm, it shouldn’t surprise us if she is one of the most picked heroes in TI. She isn’t “broken” and people are unlikely to ban her too much, but at the same time, she is solid enough to include in various strategies.

Personally, this makes me happy – I’m definitely looking forward to a core-level-farm CM played by Yapzor jumping into the enemy team with Blink + BKB and Freezing Field!

I hope you liked the article and are as hyped about TI as we are! Cheers!

If you would like to know more about my work, you can follow me at KarY.

You can head over to our Dota 2 hub for more content.

Headline image courtesy: Markus Heinig

Forev on Korean Dota, TI9 qualifiers and more



Editor’s note: The English has been cleaned up for readability in this interview.


Hey Forev. It’s been quite a while since we have seen you on a top team, the previous one being J.Storm. Take us through the journey between you leaving MVP Phoenix 2016 to joining J Storm where you struggled professionally.

Using English was the biggest problem, as well as cultural differences because I lived in Korea exclusively my entire life. and didn’t try to learn English at all before joining team secret.

You teamed up with your old friend March when he came out of retirement at J Storm. However, that was not meant to be since you were booted after finding considerable success. Now I know you mentioned it on your Twitlonger that no one is to be blamed, but can you shed a little light on what exactly happened? I doubt March would have been behind the kick since he also got booted out a while later

Behind the scenes, the way we played Dota was different. The meta kept changing due to patch changes after each major, and we had differences in how we believed the game should be played. Ultimately, we had a change in roster, with me being booted first, followed by March. Even though March was team captain, this decision was voted upon by the team democratically.

So you accepted the team decision with a grain of salt and chose to move on?

Haha, how could I have rejected it? Of course I had to move on.

That’s fair I guess. You later teamed up with March, Febby, Gunnar and 23Savage for TI9 qualifiers. Surprisingly, you did well by reaching the grand finals through the winners bracket. How did it feel to make a new team and fall just one step short of making it to TI?

Well..  making a stack [sic] before TI ( 2 weeks ago) was really hard first of all, because everyone already had a team which wanted to try winandrain, unlike last year [sic]. Last year, we had 1 month to practice, so we bootcamped and had enough time to set everything into place.

This year, I made the same deal with some Korean investor that I did with windandrain. So we went on to bootcamp on the 18th of June. We practiced in Korea for 2 weeks until July 1st. After that, we moved to Singapore and played a qualifier at a netcafe. The process and the result has been much greater than I expected.

We didn’t have much time to set a team strategy and stay on the same page. Falling just one step short of making it to TI is…still a nightmare.  Whenever I wake up I keep reminding myself what I could have done better in terms of draft and play. I then use these moments as a lesson that will give me the opportunity to learn more. It was an amazing experience and I deserved to lose. I wanted to say, good luck at TI to all the Mineski players. Hopefully you guys do a great job at TI, much like OG did, because they beat us in the grandfinals, as well. laughs.

May I know which Korean investor are you talking about? Also, do you think experience played a big role in Mineski’s win against you?

Experience is a justification, and plays a big impact whether it be a short few hours to several years; if we had one more week to practice, our pool of strategies would have been much different.

No comments on the Korean investor, haha, because I failed to give the money back to them.

Interesting. Where do you think you went wrong in the final series?

They banned a lot of my heroes during the draft.  We were tunnel visioned, even though we picked Viper.  My play could have been better and I could have itemized better, too.  I should have gone Crimson Guard instead of Pipe, etc.

Game 4, I could have played Underlord, but we chose Ench again.  I kind of fucked up during the laning phase and failed at snowballing.  We lacked waveclear and had critical failures in certain map movements.

I see. It’s good that in retrospect you know what can be improved upon. Why choose 23savage? A lot of negative comments were floating around when news broke that he’d be a part of the team.

I just stayed true to my word.  A year ago, when 23savage was around rank 300, he asked me about being in the same team in the pro scene during a pub game.  I just told him to become top 5 and I will consider it. Amazingly, he made #1 at 9.3k MMR in March-April this year.

After I got kicked from Jstorm, I was thinking about playing with him in this qualifier, and he was first priority.

That is admirable. What do you have to say on the condition of Korean players not taking up Dota 2 as a game of their choice? There are a select few players scattered across different teams and other than that we don’t see much involvement from Korea as well. Any thoughts on this issue?

Uhm…I did try other games with some high ranked players (like Heroes of the Storm and League of Legends) maybe 2.5 years ago.  For example, I played with the rank 1, 2 and 3 teams on the leaderboard in HotS and Challengers in LoL. There were 9-10 people total. All of them said learning Dota would take a year or longer for them, and they were already thriving in their current scene, so I gave up on that.

Dota is a really hard game for beginners, even though they are so talented. Worse yet, in Korea, we don’t even have a server (lost it 4 years ago).  We’d need to play on the SEA server with 120ms delay (and not even stable at that). You can reduce it to 70ms or so with a VPN, but realistically it feels like a 90-100ms delay.

We need to register to Chinese servers with a Chinese phone number to play there, and a Korean player also needs to learn Mandarin to adjust.

It’s…a really awful environment – so we don’t have a large player pool and people are not even willing to try, save a small few. If I was a Korean organization CEO or something, I also wouldn’t invest in the Korean Dota scene to raise it up, like publishing a server, etc [sic].

Wow. Things don’t seem good that way. Hopefully, Valve does something about it. Anyway, let’s move on to TI9. Which team will lift the trophy this time? Also, what do you expect to see from this TI in terms of meta/competition?

The meta changed a bit after TI qualifiers – the biggest thing being Stout Shield. I guess summoner heroes will arise more like NP, Chen, Brood, Enigma. Cutting waves is also a bit hard because you lose a lot of HP from creeps.  If Pos5[sic] chases there, it’s hard to handle it and there’s a high chance to die.

I’m rooting for so many teams, since I have friends there on multiple teams.  Seriously, predicting TI champions is a really stupid thing laughs. Nobody knows what will happen.

Alright Forev. That’s a wrap. Anything you’d like to say before we close this?

Real quick, I just want to say that I love all my fans and that faith has been much stronger than before.  After I failed at TI, I suffered depression and mental illness I guess (although I didn’t go to the hospital).  After I wrote a tweet about possibly needing to stay away from Dota 2 (…it was really hard handling it), so many fans and friends cheered me up.

At the end, I stopped up again and am now practising Dota super hard for next season.  That’s it.

If you would like to know more about my work, you can follow me at KarY.

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Headline image courtesy: PGL

Ranking the Teams at The International 2019




It’s the best time of the year once again, it’s time for The International 2019! Eighteen teams will face off in the most exciting two weeks of Dota at the luxurious Mercedes-Benz Arena. Before we set sail in to the biggest event of the year, let us take a look at what teams are potential champions, what teams are in the middle ground, what teams take up the bottom of the barrel, and finally what teams have the potential to be a dark horse champion.




These are the teams that based on their seasons performance have the best chances of being the next TI champion.

 Team Secret


Despite having an early exit at Epicenter after losing to a resurging OG, Team Secret has been performing on a consistent top level all year. Winning both the Chongqing Major and MDL Disneyland, Team Secret have shown they are the best team throughout the season finishing first in the DPC with 14400 points.

It’s hard to find anything wrong with Team Secret and how they have been performing this year because they haven’t done much wrong and their only slip up was at Epicenter where they lost back to back series to and OG. Nisha has shown to be one of, if not the best, carry players in all of Dota with an amazing team ready to fight with him. This could finally be the year that Team Secret lift the aegis and solidify one of the best years of Dota a team has ever achieved.

Vici Gaming

Talk about a comeback story for the ages! Vici Gaming looked poised to make a roster shuffle while trying to qualify for the StarLadder Minor. They started the qualifier by swapping Fade for Agressif on day one but would still go on to fall into the lower bracket after a quick 2-0 defeat. Day two the team brought back Fade and the miracle run began! They would go on to 2-0 both Room310 and Team Aster to qualify for the Minor where they only lost one game throughout the tournament.

With their victory at the Minor they would move on to the DreamLeague Major and continue their top tier performance in to a Major championship. They are currently the only Minor/Major champion and since then have gone on to win another major and make a very solid case on why they could lift the aegis this year.

International seem to always be at the top of the DPC however haven’t been able to surpass a 5/6th place finish at The International the last few years. This season has looked a lot more promising for with 4 top three finishes in the five majors this season and a lot more consistent performances overall.

VP look to be coming in to The International in their usual form and that is something every team should hope to be ready for because as we’ve seen in the past when is in top form its almost impossible to beat them. The only question that remains is will we see the early season unbeatable that won the first major and place second at the following two or will we see the that got eliminated early like we did at MDL DisneyLand?


middle ground teams


These are the teams that I expect to have a chance to make the top 8 if not better. Most of these teams have consistently placed in the top six and should finish in a similar spot at The International. While some of these teams have shown promise in my eyes, enough so that I think they have a shot at top 8.

Evil Geniuses

Evil Geniuses have found themselves in the middle of the pack despite having three third place finishes at majors this season. The reason I’m not as confident in them now as I have been throughout the season is because of their low finish at Epicenter.

That being said, EG always seem to show up in time for TI. After last year’s third place finish at The International they have seemed to keep themselves quite consistent throughout the year which seems to be the theme for teams that sit at the top in these rankings. As long as they are out of the funk that plagued them at Epicenter, I fully expect EG to place high at TI.

Team Liquid

Team Liquid have had quite a resurgence towards the second half of the season and are coming off a second place finish at Epicenter with their new pickup of W33. Epicenter was the best we’ve seen this team perform all season and it came as a bit of a shock with the change from Matumbaman to W33 right before the tournament began. 

Immediately with the change at mid, this team seemed to click on all levels coming out of their group in first and making an upper bracket run where they would fall to Vici Gaming. If Liquid can keep up this kind of performance they seem set to finish in at least the top six or potentially finish even higher than that.   



Sticking with the theme of consistency, we take a look at the very consistent PSG.LGD. PSG.LGD have finished at least in 5th/6th at every major this season. Despite not winning any event this season PSG.LGD have looked like a stellar squad coming into the end of the year.

Even with Somnus not being with the team at the DreamLeague Major and XM replacing him PSG.LGD was still able to secure a top 6 finish, showing how good each player on the team really is. PSG.LGD look to make it back to the finals this year and secure the aegis with a duo of strong supports in xNova and fy as well as being behind one of the best carry players in China, Ame.

Ninjas in Pyjamas

Ninjas in Pyjamas have sat in the middle ground throughout the season but have found themselves at the bottom of a few majors. Their most recent result at Epicenter had them finish in 9/12th and it wasn’t exactly a result many were expecting.

With a top 6 finish at MDL DisneyLand many thought NiP would hold on to that form and take another top 6 at Epicenter. With the genius of ppd leading NiP we could definitely see a big turn around for them at The International and see more of the success that was present at the Kuala Lumpur Major even though that was with Mind_Control as a stand in.

This team hasn’t made a roster change and that is always a factor when it comes to The International. Ace, ppd, and the rest of NiP look to bring what makes them an exciting team to watch and I would expect a top 8 finish in Shanghai.

TNC Predator

TNC finished the year in solid form winning WESG, placing top 4 at ESL One Mumbai, and managing a top 4 finish at Epicenter. Epicenter was by far the best they had looked all season and this is another case of if they can hold their form, then we could see a top 6 finish at TI for TNC. During Epicenter, TNC’s Gabbi and Tims were playing the best I had ever seen them play and quite honestly gave me hope for their success at TI.

This team now with the help of Heen and gaining the passive known as “The Heen Effect” look to come in to Shanghai and silence the haters. At this point I would also go as far as to say TNC are currently the best SEA team at The International considering their finish at Epicenter and Fnatic’s consecutive bottom finishes at the last two Majors.



OG limped into the top twelve of the DPC just qualifying for The International when they finished in the top 8 during Epicenter behind the heroics of Sockshka who was standing in for N0tail who was under the weather during the event. During the season OG finished top 6 at MDL DisneyLand and top 8 at Epicenter after ana rejoined the team in March.

Before then it was a lot of experimenting for OG but during that time it became very evident that the team needed to be whole again with ana on the squad. OG are the returning champions and although they seem to be underdogs, they were even bigger underdogs coming into last year’s International.


At the beginning of the year Fnatic seemed to set in place that they were the best team from SEA but with a bottom 4 finish at both MDL DisneyLand and Epicenter, TNC have taken over that top slot in my opinion. What Fnatic have done better than TNC, is consistently qualifying for all five Majors but again with that being said, they did flunk out of the final two.

 If Fnatic can put all the pieces together and get back to their earlier season form we could see them finish in the Top 8 but that is a big question that we will only see get answered in time. Fnatic’s best performance came at DreamLeague earlier in the year with MP on the squad but with MP now no longer with the team Jabz moving to the carry role and DuBu going from coach to the 5 so many things are up in the air for this once dominant SEA squad.

Keen Gaming

Keen Gaming have been hot and cold this year multiple times throughout the season. Losing in the Bucharest Minor early in the year but qualifying for DreamLeague and finishing in the top 6 as well as getting to the DisneyLand Major but failing to qualify for Epicenter. This team on its best days can take down the likes of Vici or LGD but then they could turn around and lose to FTD or Team Root.

If Keen can give us their best days for TI then we could see them secure a top 8 finish easily but if we see them on their cold days it could end up being an early exit from the Shanghai stage.


Alliance is one of the most interesting squads coming into TI this year just because of how long this team has stuck together to reach their goal of getting to TI. They made it in the 11th slot of the DPC standings finishing the year with a top 6 finish at Epicenter to solidify their spot at the biggest event of the year. 

It has been a long road to this mark for Alliance and now they want to cap it off with a top finish. Their results have been up and down all year qualifying for three majors but falling out early in two of them and having a top 6 at Epicenter. On top of this, they ran through a weaker pool of teams at the most recent Summit. For Alliance hopefuls, they want to see more of what they saw at the Summit but for everyone else we would be surprised to see them in the top 8 this year at The International. 

Chaos Esports Club

Chaos Esports Club didn’t exactly make it through an already thinned out European qualifier which raises some questions about how good this team actually is. However, it’s a squad that was still looking to find its chemistry which they seemed to have done when they entered the qualifier playoffs.

 With so many questions left unanswered about who this team really is and what they really bring to the table, I find it hard to properly rank them. With that in mind, Chaos Esports has a TI champion on their squad and four strong players at his side, so I do believe this team has a shot to be in the top 8.


bottom of the barrel


These teams have made their way to The International but have not given me enough in their results to make me think they will finish towards the top.



The artists formerly known as Forward Gaming are now under the Chinese banner of Newbee and while they may have a new org and jersey the question remains whether or not this team can change the look of their performance. It’s been a rough year for this squad finishing towards the bottom of every event in the DPC they have participated in this season.

Though their results haven’t quite shown it they have a stack of some qualified veteran players looking to prove themselves. This squad behind their captain Pieliedie are looking to finish towards the top this year and potentially lift the aegis but they will be seen as a long shot for sure.  


The lone South American hope is here to represent its region and prove themselves at TI. Formerly known as Team Anvorgesa this squad is looking to shock the Dota world and show what they have to offer.

 It’s quite hard to really rank this team as we don’t know much about them other than a couple of early exits from past tournaments. It will be interesting to see this team in action on the biggest stage and we shall see what talent they really possess.

Natus Vincere

Na’vi have always been a perennial fan favorite no matter what results they seem to post. This year has definitely been a struggle for Na’vi only making it to one major and flunking out of it finishing in the bottom four. 

This roster has been looking for answers all season and looking for a way to make it back to its former glory. Lead by Crystallize, Na’vi won the CIS qualifier on their first step to lift the aegis. I don’t have many expectations for this team to finish towards the top but the fans are hoping that this team can turn what seems to be a long drought finally around.


Mineski have really struggled coming into The International this year fighting through a full five game final against Team Jinesbrus in the SEA qualifier. With only two major appearances this season and a couple top 12 finishes Mineski don’t seem to hold the same prestige the once did.

Their best finish this season came at ESL One Mumbai where they finished second losing to Keen Gaming 3-0. Unfortunately I don’t really see Mineski stepping up passed a top 12 finish at this year’s International but maybe with the addition of Nikobaby things can change for the better for this SEA squad.


dark horse


Royal Never Give Up

Royal Never Give Up is my dark horse for the tournament. This stacked lineup has shown at times that they could be one of the top teams in China and have a roster that has shown a lot of promise. Despite not doing as well as some would have hoped during the DPC season, RNG has a lot of experience on the roster with players like Monet and LaNm who could guide this team to the aegis. RNG is a roster with players who have made great runs in previous Internationals and I wouldn’t be surprised for them to be able to bring the magic back again and run towards a top 3 finish or even an all out victory. 

This is my team to watch and everyone should be ready for the RNG train, because it’s coming. 

If you would like to know more about my work, you can follow me at KarY

You can head over to our Dota 2 hub for more content.

Headline image courtesy: Dota 2

Images courtesy: ESL, Alliance, Virtus Pro, LGD, Red Bull, Newbee

Loda on Alliance, being an owner, coach & more


Loda — current owner and former captain of the legendary TI3 winning team ; Alliance — was kind enough to sit down for an interview with Esports Heaven. In this interview, Loda talks about his transition from a TI winning captain to a team owner, struggles of Alliance post TI3 as well as latest meta trends.

Loda also speaks about his expectations with a newly built team at TI9.

Hey Loda. First of all, congratulations on the victory at The Summit 10. How will you rate the team’s performance at this event and how important this win is going into TI9?

We took a quite laid back approach to the summit, so I’d say I’m very happy with the results. If I’d rate our performance I’d say 7 or 8/10. It’s always hard to play your absolute best while facing lower tier teams. I was especially happy to see us come back after losing to Pain in the winner bracket, and not letting it tilt us.

Hard to say how important it is, but it was great to finally win something together and it was a great last tournament before TI 🙂

Lets go a bit back. You’re one of the few players to have won everything there is to win in Dota 2 including The International 2013. How does it feel that Alliance is back on the grand stage once again after struggling for the past few years post TI3?

It feels amazing to be back at TI. This was a goal I set out for the team 1,5 years ago, and more than anything it’s been a great journey together, through the hard times and the good times. TI is what every Dota team aims for, but there is a special feeling to go there together with these boys. Me and Qojqva have been there before, but for most of the players it’s their first time.

Take us through the thought process that you went through as a player from being right there on top of the world to struggling and eventually calling it quits on an illustrious career? How badly such situations affect the mental fortitude of any player? Did it affect you as well, Loda?

I think towards the end of my career I had struggled with motivation issues for some time. I was still very hungry to make Alliance proud, and to be a part of Dota, but my passion as a player was taking a hit for sure. It was very hard staying by “myself” on the squad. As you mentioned previously I’ve won most there is to win in the game, and at some point it was more important to me not losing, than winning.

It took a toll on my mental state for sure, but all things have to come to an end, and I’m happy to have been able to come back from that, return, and make it back to the top in another manner.

That being said, you’re now the owner of Alliance; the very same team you founded. I’m curious to know about the transition of a TI winning captain to owning a team. What are your responsibilities as an owner and how different is it from being a captain?

It’s been different for sure. There is just so much hard work that has come with becoming a team owner, and I can’t say it has been easy. But along the way I’ve learned so much about responsibility, juggling different roles and also how to be a good boss.

How do you juggle between your responsibilities as an owner having numerous things to do?

It’s extremely different from being a team captain, at the same time as being somewhat similar. As a captain you need to lead a team, you need to work with people and you have to rely on your gut feeling a lot of the time. When I just switched I think I tried to change too much at once, It’s been ups and downs, but in the end of the day I realized that the most important thing was still to stay true to my heart. I believe in doing things right, and as a business person people might sometimes see me as too caring, but it’s important to me that we stay true to our core and to what Alliance stands for.

I’ve probably worked non-stop since the day I took over, but I have a great team of people around me, awesome players to support, and they all make it worth it.

You’re also the coach of the Dota 2 roster. What do you bring to the table as a coach, Loda?

Being a Coach is hard. It’s not something that has come easy all the time, but I’ve always believed in the boys on the Dota squad, and my goal has always been to make them share my vision and understand just how good they can become. It’s easy to doubt each other on a team, and it’s easy to overestimate just how strong the best teams really are. Sometimes even if you get destroyed by tier 1 teams, and it looks very one sided, there are just minor details that can shift the whole game.

I hope that what I bring to the table is team spirit, a sense of belonging, helping the boys work as a unit and also experience when it comes to competing at the absolute top. Playing in front of thousands of fans can be intimidating, but you just have to find a way to revel in the moment and remember that this is what you live for as an esports athlete. Sometimes I feel like I do tons, sometimes I feel like I do nothing. It’s not easy being a coach, and I’m far from perfect, but I try to improve all the time. And sometimes the most important thing you have to learn is to take a step back and let the players do what they do best, play Dota 2 🙂

Alliance is competing at TI9 with a fresh roster that was built from the ground up. It has taken almost 2 years for this roster to reach where it is right now after it was formed. What made you believe in this roster that you stuck with it for 2 years and not opt for any changes to it? It must have been difficult for you, Loda!

Honestly, I think that people overall overestimated their understanding of teams. How you build a strong team and how long it takes to do it. Dota 2 is getting more and more competitive every year, and yes there was a time when a relatively unknown team could break into the scene and win everything, but that time is no longer. For almost every single team out there right now they have several players with years of experience of competing at the top of their game. For us, many of the players had barely any experience from comp Dota 2, and you need to spar against the best to become the best.

The team did struggle at Majors and Minors despite being absolute beasts in the qualifiers. Is it because of lack of experience or knowledge or something else? Also, is it something to be worried about going into TI9?

It was tough even reaching the majors, and once you are there and you are seen as a “major” team it becomes even harder. You need to dare to pull through and commit yourself when it’s at its hardest. I always knew they had the skill to be at the top, the question was if they had the commitment to becoming a top team, and all that comes with it.

The hardest thing has probably been to stay strong and keep believing when people around you do not, but I’ve always trusted my own gut feeling, and my own capabilities in building teams. As long as everyone on the team has shown that they can improve and move forward I’ve known that we will get to the top, it’s just a matter of time. We’ve done something with this squad that no one else dared to do. 4/5 of our players just have a few years of Dota experience, and for them to be where they are today is a huge accomplishment in itself.

I don’t think we should be worried about the fact that we have struggled in the past. Every hard point and difficult times with this team is a lesson that you carry with you when you play at the big stages. We are Alliance and we never give up. We have prevailed and we have proven that we are where we are supposed to be. We will go to TI to play our hearts out, and we will not be scared doing it. We go there as a unit, and our struggles have brought us closer, our hardships made us more resilient, and by doing what no one else dared to believe we could we have shown that anything is possible. Dare to reach for the skies, because anything is possible.

What are your expectations from the team at TI9, Loda? Do you believe this team has the same charisma like the Alliance of 2013? After all, they have big shoes to fill!

I rarely try to have expectations until the moment we are at the tournament itself. Dota is a game where the strongest team of the day always win, and it’s not until we’ve sparred against some of the top teams days before TI that I will truly know what to expect.

I know we are a top 8 team, that we can be a top 6 team, but also that the boys could grow insanely much during the tournament itself and that a top 4 finish is not impossible. All I know is that no matter the results, every team at TI is there to win, and they will do everything in their power to get as close to the Aegis as possible. It won’t be easy no matter what 🙂

There are similarities between the two teams for sure, and charisma wise I’m sure they have as much as the old Alliance squad. But they are not the same team. These boys are going to have their own journey, their own story and their own TI experience. I’m just glad I will get to share it with them.

Give us a brief overview on the latest patch and possible trends that the spectators can expect to see at TI9?

The latest patch seems faster than the previous ones this year. I expect a lot of teams to try to take control of the game in an early stage, and not give the opponent much time to be able to regroup. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Alchemist make a return as a top pick either.

 Is the current DPC system useful to Dota 2 in the long run? Are you satisfied with the way things are currently being handled by Valve regarding the pro circuit? What changes can be made to possibly better the competitive circuit, Loda?

I’d say the DPC system is for sure good for dota 2 as a whole. There are improvements to be made, but I’m confident Valve has already considered ways to tweak the DPC for next season.

If anything, I’d like for Valve to invest a bit more of their own money into the DPC prize pools, and instead force tournament organizers to spend all their time and money on running exciting and well produced events. This year I think almost only ESL has been able to run proper audience-based tournaments, and that’s a bit weird when they have not even been part of the DPC system.

 Alright, that’s a wrap Loda. Anything you’d like to say?

I want to give a big shout-out to our sponsors who have been here with us along the way. Our fans, the ones who never stopped believing even when it seemed the most helpless, that kept sending positive energy and comments when it was not easy to. And finally, a big shout-out to everyone in Alliance, to Kelly, to Marcus and everyone else in our organization. You are all a part of why we are where we are today, and I wouldn’t have been able to do this alone.
Thank you, and LONG LIVE ALLIANCE!


Esports Heaven wishes Loda and Alliance the best of luck at TI9!

If you would like to know more about my work, you can follow me at KarY

You can head over to our Dota 2 hub for more content.

Headline image courtesy: Alliance