A shot at sweet redemption: Chinese squad Newbee looks to avenge its TI7 loss and reestablish itself as a power in the Dota 2 world by claiming a 2nd TI title in Vancouver.
Another year of Dota 2 action has come and gone, and the stage is now set for the Dota 2 world to once again come together to enjoy and celebrate the game on the biggest and most prestigious of stages: The International. With The International 2018 fast approaching, it seems appropriate to offer fans both new and old some information on the squads that will be fighting in Vancouver for a chance to lay claim to the Aegis of Champions and cement themselves a place in Dota 2 history. Each post in this series will provide a brief profile of one of the 18 teams that have earned a place in the field at TI8, including a small overview of the team/organization’s history, a breakdown of its 2017-2018 season, a look at the players on the team’s roster, and expectations entering TI itself. Whether you’re deep into the pro Dota scene already or just looking to get your feet wet in preparation for TI8, the hope is that these profiles will give you a bit more insight or a refresher course for the teams that will be playing in Vancouver in August. With that in mind, we turn now to 1 of the 6 squads representing the Chinese region in Vancouver, 1 of 4 previous TI winning organizations in the field this year, and the Champion of The International 2014: Newbee.
Dota 2 Pro Circuit Rank: 7th (2445 Qualifying Points)
Qualification Method: Direct Invite (DPC Top 8)
2017-2018 Pro Circuit Event Appearances: 15 (8 Top 4 Finishes)
Previous TI Appearances: TI4 (1st), TI5 (13th-16th), TI6 (9th-12th), TI7 (2nd)
2017-2018 Season Notable Achievements:
Dota 2 Pro Circuit Majors
3rd-4th – ESL One Hamburg 2017
3rd-4th – The Bucharest Major
4th – MDL Changsha
Dota 2 Pro Circuit Minors
1st – Perfect World Masters
1st – ESL One Genting 2018
3rd – AMD SAPPHIRE Dota PIT League
3rd-4th – StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 4
4th – DreamLeague Season 9
Non- Pro Circuit Events
2nd – Dota2 Professional League Season 4 – Top
2nd – H-Cup Season 9
2nd – Dota2 Professional League Season 5 – Top
The Newbee organization has made itself one of the better known squads in the Dota 2 world, both within its home region of China and on the international level. With the team having earned itself a considerable amount of success and notoriety over the past few years, its easy to forget just how quickly and decisively the squad made its rise in the scene. The organization traces its roots back to 2014 in the pre-TI Chinese roster shuffle, when legendary player and captain Zhang “xiao8” Ning announced he was putting together a so called “dream team” within the region. In February the core of the team’s lineup was announced, and by April its full roster had been completed just in time to compete in a gauntlet of pre-TI events and tournaments. The squad made a name for itself with a 1st place finish at the MarsTV Dota 2 League 2014 that saw it post a perfect record across the event. The months leading up to TI saw the squad string together multiple strong showings at Chinese events, but Newbee turned things up to another level in Seattle, overcoming a weak Group Stage performance to claim the Aegis of Champions as the winner of TI4. With his place in Dota 2 history secured, xiao8 announced a hiatus from professional Dota, and Newbee closed out the year as kings of the Dota 2 world with a slew of 1st place finishes across events both in China and on the international level. 2015 would see the king fall from grace, as Newbee began the new year with an abysmal, last place finish at the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2015. The team’s continued poor performance over the next few months prompted multiple changes to the squad’s lineup, but Newbee still entered TI5 in a severely weakened state and ended its defense of its title early with a 13th-16th place finish overall. The team went through a few more roster changes before the end of the year, but another 13th-16th place finish at The Frankfurt Major in November was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The time of the old Newbee had passed, and the organization needed a dramatically different look heading into 2016.
Newbee entered 2016 with just 1 member of its TI5 lineup in the active roster, and early on it appeared that the team’s new roster was finding its footing. The team qualified for both the MarsTV Dota 2 League 2015 Winter, and The Shanghai Major, but ended up putting together lackluster performance in both of those events to sap away much of the hope and momentum that it had built up to start the year. In March, the team went through another round of roster changes, to significantly better effect than its previous lineup shuffle. The new Newbee dominated the Chinese region in the months that followed, and even made a surprising transition back onto the international level with a 2nd place finish at EPICENTER 2016 and a 3rd place run at The Manila Major. The team closed out its pre-TI schedule with a win at the Nanyang Dota 2 Championships Season 2 and a 2nd place finish in Season 1 of the Dota2 Professional League, and looked like the leading squad coming out of China heading into TI6. Unfortunately for Newbee, Wings Gaming turned out to be the Chinese team to beat in Seattle, and Newbee left TI6 with a somewhat disappointing finish in the 9th-12th place range. Following the event, 3 of the Newbee’s players left the team through a combination of transfers and retirement, leaving the Chinese squad to once again rebuilt itself. In September, the team announced a new lineup, one that continues to play for the organization in its entirety to this day. The new lineup closed out the year in relatively strong fashion, dominating regional events and making an ultimately unsuccessful appearance at The Boston Major before the end of 2016. The first half of 2017 is where Newbee began to hit its stride though, as the squad began the year with a 2nd place finish at ESL One Genting 2017, followed by a 3rd place finish at the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017 and a 1st place campaign in the Top Division of the Dota2 Professional League Season 3. A disappointing showing at The Kiev Major in April served as a brief stumble for the team, but it was able to recover nicely with a series of strong performances on the international stage that included back to back wins at the ZOTAC Cup Masters and Galaxy Battles events in June. With a litany of impressive finishes under its belt, Newbee reestablished its place as one of the Dota 2 world’s leading squads with a 2nd place finish at TI7. With the team’s roster still stable and producing solid results at the highest level of competition, Newbee entered the first ever Pro Circuit season riding a high of confidence and momentum as it began its campaign to return to the TI stage.
Season in Review
After the team’s impressive performance at TI7, Newbee entered the season looking to get off to a hot start on the Pro Circuit stage. The team fell short in its Pro Circuit debut though with a 7th-8th place finish at the StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 3. Newbee proved more than capable of bouncing back from that rough start, claiming back to back Top 4 finishes at the ESL One Hamburg 2017 Major and the AMD SAPPHIRE Dota PIT League Minor before capping off 2017 with its first Minor Championships title at the Perfect World Masters Minor at the end of November. Throughout this period, the team continued to dominate the competition within its home region, claiming Top 4 finishes across all 3 of its Pro Circuit qualifier appearances. The team’s impressive regional play carried over to non-Pro Circuit events as well, as Newbee earned 2nd place finishes in the Top Division of the Dota2 Professional League Season 4 H-Cup Season 9. Those performances had Newbee sitting in 4th place overall in the Pro Circuit standings heading into the 2018 section of the season.
2018 got off to a solid start for Newbee, with the team claiming its second Minor Championship at the ESL One Genting 2018 Minor and locking down another Top 4 finish at the StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 4 Minor just days later. The team’s performance within its home region remained impressive as well, although the team was required to make significantly fewer appearances in regional qualifiers thanks to its favorable position in the Pro Circuit standings. Newbee did end up participating in 2 qualifiers though, and managed to put together 2 Top 4 finishes in both of them to go along with another 2nd place finish in Season 5 of the Dota2 Professional League. Newbee’s regional results may have remained in top form in 2018, but the Chinese squad began to slip a bit in terms of its success on the international level. The team finished in the 7th-8th place position at the ESL One Katowice 2018 Major, but managed to counterbalance that showing with a 3rd-4th place finish at The Bucharest Major as well as a 4th place run at the DreamLeague Season 9 Minor. Those back to back Top 4 finishes appeared to stop the proverbial bleeding for Newbee, but the final months of the season exposed some significant cracks in the team’s armor. The Chinese squad put together 2 straight finishes in the bottom half of the standings at the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018 and EPICENTER XL Majors, marking a somewhat ominous start to the home stretch of the Pro Circuit schedule. A 4th place finish on home soil at the MDL Changsha Major helped Newbee keep its hold on a Top 8 spot in the Pro Circuit standings, but the team had slid all the way down to 7th overall and was in danger of missing out on a direct invite to TI8 if one of the team’s below it made a run over the final events of the season. Of course, another Top 4 finish on the Pro Circuit stage would have gone a long way towards helping Newbee control its own destiny, but the Chinese squad failed to answer that call. In its final 2 Pro Circuit events, Newbee finished in the 10th-12th and 7th-8th place positions and added no Qualifying Points to its team total. The good news for the team was that no one below it in the standings was able to usurp their position either, and Newbee essentially limped its way across the finish line to secure a direct invite to TI8 with a Top 8 position in the Pro Circuit standings. The team’s less than impressive finish to the season has raised quite a number of questions and concerns heading into the biggest event in the Dota 2 world. However, if any squad would appear to have the skill and experience to turn around a bad stretch on the performances, it would likely be this Newbee roster.
Xu “Moogy” Han (Carry) – Moogy has long been a carry player that appears to play things “by the book” so to speak. He’s not exactly someone that would be looked at as a candidate to step outside of the meta, but when you are as talented as Moogy is at his role, you don’t really have to reinvent the wheel to find success. Moogy has often found himself playing heroes capable of high volumes of farm as well as early team fight contributions and damage output. Part of the reason for that particular skill set may be the fact that Moogy has not only played the position that he currently holds with Newbee. The carry player’s career actually began with both a different position and a different name, as Moogy was known as uuu9 back in 2013 when he was signed as the midlaner for the TongFu organization’s youth team: TongFu.WanZhou. As a developmental team, TongFu.WanZhou was unable to find much success in its first year or so within the Chinese region, but uuu9 was able to distinguish himself with his play and even earned a number of call ups to play with the main TongFu roster across 2014. At the start of 2015, the main TongFu squad was beginning to fade away, but uuu9 and the TongFu.WanZhou lineup was on the rise. After a somewhat surprising, but ultimately unsuccessful, run at the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2015, the organization announced that the majority of the WanZhou squad, including uu9, would be transfering to the main TongFu lineup. Though the team’s lineup would continue to shift over the rest of the year, uu9 remained a stable piece of the TongFu roster and helped the team put together a handful of strong regional performances that included 3 straight tournament wins in July. Entering 2016, uu9 and TongFu were looking to become a more consistent force within the Chinese region, but those goals quickly hit significant resistance. The team was able to find small pockets of success here and there across the first half of the year, but could not lock down a stretch of strong and consistent play. That inconsistency helped contribute to a less than impressive run in the TI6 China Qualifier, and the team found itself looking for a way to recover after missing out on the biggest event of the year. A 1st place finish for uu9 and his teammates at the G-League 2016 in July served as a lifeline for TongFu, but it wouldn’t last long. The team slid back into relative obscurity over the next month or so, and near the end of August the TongFu lineup officially disbanded. Just a few weeks after his departure from TongFu, uuu9 was offered a position in Newbee, where he has remained to this day. Along the way, uuu9 shed his old name to become known to the Dota 2 world as Moogy, but the player’s considerable talent hasn’t changed even if his name has. Moogy’s comfort with heroes capable of fighting and farming focuses gives Newbee an incredible level of flexibility in its in-game style. The team is often able to take a risk on a faster scaling, mid-game oriented lineup knowing that Moogy’s hero pool gives them the ability to fall back on a hero capable of transitioning into a late-game power. That kind of potential variance in style will be a huge asset for Newbee, and Moogy will play a major factor for the team as it looks to shake off its recent struggles and put together a strong run in Vancouver.
Song “Sccc” Chun (Mid) – Sccc has experienced a meteoric rise to prominence within the Chinese region, as the midlaner has found himself to be one of the central pieces of the Newbee lineup since its revitalization back in 2016. The 22 year old phenom has proven himself to be a dynamic and explosive player, with a style that lends itself towards high damage, high impact heroes in the middle lane. Newbee’s drafts often center themselves around Sccc, giving him heroes that are capable of dominating the laning phase and dictating the pace of the game through aggressive play in the mid and late-game stages. Considering the team’s focus on him as a core member of its roster, Sccc represents something of a success story for the system of Chinese squads developing young talent, as Newbee’d midlaner has spent the entirety of his career with the Newbee organization. Sccc’s career began in 2015 as a member of Newbee Young, the youth and development squad of the organization. The squad failed to accomplish much in its first few months of existence, struggling significantly in regional qualifiers and events save for a brief surge in July that saw it pull in 2 2nd place runs and 1 3rd place finish across the month. In October, Sccc and his teammates just barely missed the mark to qualify for The Frankfurt Major, but the withdrawal of Invictus Gaming created an opportunity for the squad to see its first action outside of China. The team’s performance at that Major more impressive than some may have expected, but the Chinese squad still finished at the bottom of the standings in the 13th-16th place position overall. However, the event had given Sccc and the rest of the Newbee Young roster valuable experience on the international stage as the team headed into 2016. The new year saw Newbee Young begin to pick up some momentum within the Chinese region, as the squad saw its performance improve considerably. The team posted a 3rd-4th place finish at the Shanghai Dota 2 Open in January, and followed that up a few months later with a 3rd place finish in the H-Cup Season 5. The team was establishing a slightly stronger presence within its home region, but it still wasn’t quite able to get over the hump and compete consistently with other Chinese squads. Another failed run through the Chinese Qualifier for TI6 seemed to drive that point home, and Newbee Young started to turn things around at the beginning of July with an appearance at the National Electronic Arena 2016 and a 3rd-4th place finish at the G-League 2016. Unfortunately, that surge proved unsustainable, as the team closed out the month with a trio of weak performances that led Sccc to depart from the Newbee Young roster at the end of August. The midlaner may have left the team, but he didn’t leave the organization as a whole, and Sccc was introduced as a member of Newbee’s new main lineup just a few weeks later. Sccc had remained a part of the Newbee lineup ever since, and has developed into one of the foremost midlaners in the Dota 2 world. His penchant for taking a more aggressive and active role in his team’s overall strategy has often allowed Newbee to establish control of a match early and create a favorable pace for itself, and his ability to maintain his high impact into late-game scenarios affords the squad a considerable level of confidence and flexibility. Newbee has fallen on some hard times over the past few months, but if the Chinese squad is going to spark some sort of run in Vancouver, Sccc will likely be the catalyst to get the team back on its feet on the Dota 2 world’s biggest stage.
Damien “kpii” Chok (Offlane) – For any squad looking for success in the Dota 2 world, the ability to be flexible and adjust to situations in terms of both play style and draft strategy is crucial. Kpii, or kphoenii as he has intermittently been known, has proven himself to be more than capable of facilitating that kind of versatility for Newbee. Officially listed as the team’s offlaner, kpii’s hero pool contains a number of heroes that step outside of the skill set that it typically associated with the role. The Australian player has shown himself to comfortable as a single target initiator, as a team fight anchor, and even as a greedier farming oriented piece for the Newbee lineup. Kpii’s ability to perform across these different roles may come from a trait that seems to be somewhat common among the offlaners in the field at TI8. Like many of his fellow players at the position, kpii did not begin his career as an offlaner but was converted from another position, namely the carry role. Kpii first popped up as the carry for amateur squad AkmA back in 2013, but only officially began his professional Dota 2 career in September of 2014 as a hybrid carry and midlaner for the Australian squad Can’t Say Wips. After just a few months with the squad, kpii left Can’t Say Wips and was picked up by Korean organization MVP Phoenix. His time with the team saw kpii get his first experience in the offlane role, but for the most part MVP Phoenix opted to keep him in the carry position as the team rose to become one of the leading squads in the Southeast Asia region. The team’s rise to prominence culminated in a spot at TI5, where kpii helped MVP Phoenix finish in the top half of the standings with a 7th-8th place finish overall. Soon after TI5 though, kpii chose to leave MVP Phoenix to transition into the Chinese region by joining the lineup of EHOME.K. The move didn’t work out so well, as EHOME.K struggled to find results within the Chinese region. A name change from EHOME.K to EHOME.Keen at the end of the year did little to improve the squad’s abysmal performance, and by March of 2016 kpii was looking for the door and a chance to depart from the under performing organization. That opportunity came near the end of the month, when kpii was offered a spot in the new Newbee lineup and left the roster of EHOME.Keen. While kpii initially joined Newbee as its new carry, the team quickly moved him to the offlane position, a role that he has held in the Newbee lineup ever since. Kpii’s previous experience as a carry player gives him a mindset in-game that often lends itself to the sort of aggressive positioning that Newbee has come to rely on from its offlaner. The fact that his previous experience also makes him more comfortable in a harder, greedier core position allows the team to enter a draft with more options available to it. Those multiple options and strategies will be vital if Newbee wants to outsmart its opponents, but Newbee’s potential success will also come down to kpii’s ability to help the team outplay those opponents as well.
Hu “Kaka” Liangzhi (Support) – On a team with a mix of young talent and veteran experience, Kaka stands as an interesting middle ground between those 2 sides. At 25 years old, he is the second oldest player on the Newbee roster, but has the second least experience in professional Dota in terms of overall time. Kaka actually began his road to the pro Dota scene as a pubstar, having topped the Chinese leader board multiple times under the old MMR system and notably being the first player in the Chinese region to ever reach 9k MMR. In March of 2014, he was given his first chance to play professionally on the roster of HyperGloryTeam. The team’s first few months together saw Kaka shift across all of the core roles, moving from the offlane, to mid, and even playing some carry for the team before finally settling into a support role around October and November. Throughout all of 2014, HyperGloryTeam failed to distinguish itself within the Chinese region, and entered 2015 with relatively tempered expectations. The team began the year with a 2nd place finish at the i-League Season 2, and even made an appearance at the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2015. Unfortunately, the team didn’t accomplish much else over the first half of the year, and ended up putting together an awful performance in the TI5 China Qualifier. A few months later in September, Kaka opted to leave the team to register as a member of the EHOME roster. Kaka found immediate success with his new squad, winning all 4 of the qualifiers that it participated in across the final months of 2015 and making multiple appearances on the international stage. After placing 3rd in the Nanyang Dota Championships and 4th at The Frankfurt Major, EHOME entered 2016 as a team one the rise both in China and in the wider Dota 2 world. The team began the new year with wins at both the Shanghai Dota 2 Open and the MarsTV Dota 2 League 2015, but an unsuccessful run at The Shanghai Major spelled the end of Kaka’s time with the organization. In March of 2016, Kaka left EHOME and was soon after picked up by Newbee as part of the organization’s new roster. Kaka was remained a part of the Newbee lineup since that move, an has settled into a comfortable position as the team’s position 4 support. His skill with mobile, roaming support heroes have given Kaka a reputation as one of the most talented players in the world at the position, and the team often relies upon his play to facilitate strong starts for its cores. The fact that Kaka’s hero pool also includes quite a few strong team fighting heroes has allowed Newbee to frequently employ a strategy that can both establish a fast pace early and control team fights in the mid and late-game stages. The ability to contribute across every stage of a match is a valuable skill for a support player, and Newbee will need every bit of Kaka’s contribution if it wants to have a chance at claiming the organization’s second TI title in Vancouver.
Zeng “Faith” Hongda (Support, Captain) – Team Captain Faith is both the oldest and most experienced player on the Newbee roster, and he’s been around in the Dota 2 world long enough to know exactly what he and his team need to do to win on the biggest stage. One of the biggest reasons why Faith knows what it takes to win a TI is because he’s done it before, as he claimed the Aegis of Champions back at TI2 with Invictus Gaming. Faith’s skills and knowledge come from years of experience playing at the highest level in the Dota 2 world, stretching back all the way to the very beginning of the game in its current form. Faith’s career began back in June of 2011 as a member of the Tyloo organization, with the Chinese support having joined the team just 2 months before it was invited to the first iteration of The International. The team finished in the 9th-12th place position, and just a week later officially disbanded its Dota 2 roster. Faith quickly found a new home for himself on the roster of Invictus Gaming Zhou, which soon after combined its roster with that of Invictus Gaming YYF and re branded itself as simply, Invictus Gaming. Though the team was largely inactive in the final months of 2011 and even over the first half of 2012, it did eventually get back into action in the Dota 2 scene and earned itself a spot in the field at TI2. There, the squad put together an incredible series of performances and took down defending Champion Na’Vi to claim the first ever TI title for China. That impressive achievement put Faith the rest of iG in a position as one of the strongest squads in the world, but 2013 would see the team suffer something of a drop off in its level of play. The team struggled within its home region and made just 1 appearance on the international level prior to its title defense at TI3. The team fell short of the mark with a 5th-6th place finish, and the Aegis of Champions made its way back to the west. The next year saw iG go through something of a revival, as a few roster changes helped the squad dominate the CHinese region and put together a strong series of performances on the international level culminating in a 1st place finish at ESL One Frankfurt 2014 and an invite to TI4. The team finished in the 7th-8th place position at the event, and soon after it was announced that Faith was being replaced on the team’s roster. That move pushed Faith into the lineup of LGD Gaming, as the support player closed out the year with the team and helped it claim a 1st place finish at G-League 2014. LGD Gaming began 2015 with a victory at the i-League Season 2, but a weak performance at the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2015 marked the end of Faith’s time with the team as he opted to make a return to the iG organization. Faith’s return sparked a series of impressive performances for Invictus Gaming over the first half of 2015 and netted the team an invite to TI5. Unfortunately, the squad finished in the bottom half of the standings and Faith found himself on the move again as he registered with TongFu in the post-TI roster shuffle. Faith spent over a year with the TongFu organization, but the team was unable to find much success outside of a few event wins within the Chinese region. The team failed to qualify for TI6, marking the first time in its history that Faith would not be participating in the tournament. With the team’s prospects not looking great in the long-term, Faith opted to leave TongFu in order to the roster of Newbee in September of 2016. The veteran has served as the team’s captain ever since, and has guided the squad to a position as a formidable squad on the international level. Faith’s drafting style has been called somewhat conservative at times, as the Chinese captain ends up following the “meta” more often than not and hasn’t been known to mix things up too frequently. However, with a roster full of talented and experienced players, Faith knows the strengths of the Newbee lineup and knows that he doesn’t necessarily need to push them to outside of their comfort zones. The team has suffered from a rough stretch over the last few months, but the team’s captain will have hopefully helped it identify and overcome its recent issues on the Pro Circuit stage. With the team’s talented roster and Faith in the captain’s chair, Newbee can never be counted out and will be a fierce opponent as it looks to become the first organization to ever claim multiple TI titles.
Wang “SanSheng” Zhaohui (Coach) – Veteran experience is an asset that the Newbee roster has been able to take advantage of, but that experience won’t just be coming from the team’s players as it enters TI8. Sansheng recently returned to the Newbee organization after some time away to take up his position as the team’s coach once again, and the TI4 winner will be a valuable resource for the Chinese squad. Sansheng’s experience in the Dota 2 scene is extensive, dating back all the way to 2011 with an appearance at The International 2011 with Invictus Gaming. Soon after, Sansheng left the organization and signed with TongFu in 2012, putting together a 7th-8th place finish at TI2 but failing to find much success in his first year with the squad. 2013 saw TongFu make a series of roster changes, but Sansheng remained a stable piece of the roster throughout those moves and played a large role helping the team elevate its level of play. Those efforts were rewarded with a 4th place run at TI3, and TongFu closed out the year with a string of solid performances that has it looking strong heading into 2014. The team began the year with a 3rd place finish at the Red Bull ECL 2013 Grand Finals, but just 1 month later Sansheng announced that he was leaving the organization. In April, Sansheng reappeared as a member of the Newbee lineup, and helped the organization’s new lineup to its first TI title at TI4 and a position as the strongest team in China over the course of 2014. A series of roster changes in 2015 proved insufficient to stop Newbee from a massive post-TI slump, as the team’s results took a significant step back. The squad’s title defense at TI5 was disastrous, with Newbee finishing at the bottom of the event standings in the 13th-16th place position overall. Following that rough stretch, Sansheng shifted to a substitute role with the team for the final months of 2015 before intermittently serving as the team’s coach through 2016 and 2017. In May of 2018, Sansheng return to his coaching position on a more permanent basis, and now hopes to help Newbee recover from its recent stretch of poor performances and get back on track in time to make a strong run at TI8.
Expectations at TI8
Newbee sits in a rather interesting position in the Dota 2 world as it prepares for its run in Vancouver at TI8. The team finished the season inside the Top 8 in the Pro Circuit standings and stands as a direct invitee to TI8, but the team’s significant struggles over the final months of the season present a big concern for the team. Newbee simply couldn’t seem to put together a string of consistent play across its last few appearances on the Pro Circuit stage. Those issues have the expectations for Newbee sitting a bit lower than where they might have been just a few months ago, as it’s hard to determine how well the team will be able to recover on the TI stage. Newbee may have fallen out of the group of favorites to win TI8, but the Chinese squad still stands as a potential contender in Vancouver even with its recent drop off in results. The team’s considerable talent and experience gives it a solid shot at recovering from its recent slide and getting back on track in time to make a strong run in Vancouver. Newbee will likely be considered either favored or evenly matched against all but the top 3 or 4 squads in the field at TI8. At this stage in the year, that status doesn’t necessarily come from the team’s recent play, but more out of respect and acknowledgment of this roster’s past accomplishments. That may sound a little strange at first, but the TI stage has often been one where experience and proven success shines through, and Newbee certainly has its fair share of both. Any team that underestimates Newbee based on its recent struggles runs the risk of being overwhelmed and outplayed by the Chinese squad if it can get back into top form. To be fair, that’s a pretty big “if” for the team, but the great squads rise to the occasion at TI, and time will tell if this Newbee roster will be able to count itself among the best in the Dota 2 world with a strong performance at TI8.