LGD - Call them Maybe
Having been given unlimited firing power, Maybe has a lot to prove. The win at MDL is a good start, but that is not enough to satisfy him, or his supporters.
The People’s Champion is on their way again. This time, they are no longer defenseless. The win at MDL is Maybe not entirely convincing, but it was needed. It will give them a shield against the doubters and the critics when things might start go a little awry in Seattle. It can also serve the team in times of need. They can look back and say look at what we have achieved, let’s go and show people what we still can do. Having had a poor TI6 campaign - despite the fact they lost to the eventual runners-up and were forced to play with a stand-in due to visa issues. The road to recovery was indeed long and winding. Agressif was clearly not going to go back to his former self during the TI5 days. With Maybe being unkickable, it was unthinkable for the team to play around anyone else. Xiao8 was still experienced and smart but he lacked the dynamics he once had.
Even their once rock solid high ground defense was no more. The mahjong strategy - giving up all six towers then letting a sole carry farm outside, leaving the other four players to play mahjong inside the base - was not working anymore. Banana is a good sub but that was as far as it gets. Who can guarantee September’s visa problems wouldn’t haunt him in the future? As for MMY!, the duck wanted a break for himself. Who can blame him for wanting a hiatus after a long and illustrious career? Burning might be able to brush off the fact that the boys who used to watch him play with reverence would claim the prize everybody coveted. But MMY!, like the rest of us, is only a mere mortal. He wouldn’t lower his grade and try figure out how the game is now working by learning from the latecomers. Hanging on to his mouse and keyboard, he left as the last Chinese player to play Meepo or Io regularly in tournaments.
But life at LGD must go on. The bad arguments that were spreading around its League of Legends division coupled with even worse performances from them could provide cover for the boys who picked the correct game in China. But nothing lasts forever and that wasn’t enough to hide the shortcomings of LGD dota from public view. For Ruru or indeed anyone else at LGD it was apparent that the solution could no longer be a spending splurge on a single player, like when they paid 2 million RMB for Xiao8 after DAC in 2015. Anything close to that number for a single player would be unaffordable even for the richest of the rich clubs in China. So they were left with a choice between building up a semblance of a OK-ish team to try to fight for another year or going without. They decided to go with the first option. Which happened to be the method the newly crowned World Champions used themselves - a bunch of friends just grinding it out.
Therefore, a new 5-year contract for Maybe was never in much doubt. But alongside with the mouth-wateringly lucrative deal was an equal responsibility to formally assume the team’s mantle all on his own young shoulders. Fans will no longer point their fingers elsewhere to cuddle and protect the young start. Indeed the familiar scapegoats wouldn’t let them either. Xiao8 went to Newbee.B, which is really about entertainment rather than any serious attempt to contest an invite or even an open qualifier. Yao would eventually come back. Old Eleven was the northern star in a cranky and oscillating EHOME team. So was Xz to various CDEC teams. He also possesses the advantage of being thought of as hardworking and sacrificial, which is characteristics very few would now describe Maybe’s former teammates, with whom the epithet most associated them to were resting on their laurels, lazy, selfish and uncontrollable. As for Ame, Jixing and Victoria, yes they has had proven themselves in a less competitive environment and even their own moments on the shiniest of the stages. But Maybe wouldn’t miss the opportunity to appreciate that it is now their turn for some time in the spotlight. He has assembled a team, on his own.
Given that LGD (both of the teams, in fact) are different from other more competitive Chinese teams in that they made substantial changes in the make-up of the team, there isn’t much point in spending too much time talking about their tactics, strategy, and play style before old eleven joined in. However, it is worth noting that both LGD’s progress in becoming a better team and their roster changes are much more incremental than usual. In fact, 5 members of the current roster joined at 4 different points in time. Maybe, of course, was formally promoted from CDEC from more than two years ago. Victoria and Ame was recruited by Maybe after last year’s disappointing trip to Seattle. Yao came back at the beginning of this year and Old Eleven joined two months later. At the same time, their winrate against LFY, their sister team and one of the tougher competitors, was steadily rising. A large part of this change of direction of travel might be that Yao who joined the team halfway through the season came directly from LFY. But that should not be used to dismiss the steady progress they made. In stark contrast, EHOME, who finished last year’s TI’s group stage on top and at 5/6th place in the end, were nowhere to be seen in the battle for a ticket to the Key Arena.
Having said that, it would be helpful if we could analyse a bit the statistics from the games played at MDL, in which LGD gave a convincing not only in the Grand Finals but also on the basis of a comeback from the losers’ bracket. According to Dotamore, a fan-built, free-to-use Chinese Dota data analyser, LGD can once again be found as the team to play the longest games. An average LGD game will take 43 minutes and 21 seconds, only second to VG, who spend three more minutes a game. As Yao said during a community Q and A session, Xiao8 remained a personal friend of his and did not deny the Director is still in close relationship with the team and constantly giving advice. The new team certainly heeds his wisdom well.
As the eventual winner of MDL, LGD would surprise no one for coming to the top, or near the top of each and every benchmark during the tournament. They received the third highest benefits from using a Smoke of Deceit after LFY and VG. And their wins were based on very well executed teamfights as we saw in the Grand Final. They have a winrate of 57%, the highest, should a team fight happen at anytime during the MDL. As they win those teamfights, the gold from them contributes to 16 percent of the LGD economy, the same proportion applies to EG. Only LFY’s 17 percent is larger. Their supports were also very diligent as the cores give it back in kind. They do ganks only slightly less frequently than Newbee and both lead the third-placed VG by a country mile. However, both LGD teams’ wards are very prone to be countered as more than 30 percent (34 for LGD and 33 for LFY) of them were picked off by their opponents. Only VG with 36 percent had more trouble controlling the map. In contrast, only 18 percent of EG’s wards were countered as Zai and Cr1t did a very impressive job of diversifying warding spots. This is a legitimate cause for concern for LGD in TI as they will be further studied and countered as one of the favourites. However, winning the games, matches, and the tournament without better map control is a small miracle itself. Much can be said about LGD’s players’ personal shining moments throughout the tournaments. Indeed, their performances are consistent so that it is reasonable to ask ‘moments’ is still the right word. Ame has 1.1 solo kills per game, topping all others. Maybe scores 0.8 in this column with a bronze to take home as Sumail cut through between the LGD twin stars with 0.83 solo kills per game.
Even though a LGD player also got solo killed the most, with Yao slaughtered once per game by a single enemy, Maybe and Ame both used 12 different heroes to make them alongside Sccc and Monet the most versatile players of the tournament. Maybe also was the No. 1 in terms of how much money he made from team fighting and damage output, much of which is probably helped by the very selfless Old Eleven, who was dead for 5 minutes 11 seconds a game, to which he said “I am afraid of myself when I started feeding” and “There is nothing wrong of leading the team from the fountain”. Old eleven also spent the most time in the fountain during the TI qualifiers.
Ame is an upstart in the Chinese Dota 2 scene. His quick rise to fame is entirely due to his own abilities as a player that were recognized while he was on CDEC Youth. The variety of heroes he is willing to play is a testament to how much trust his team has in his abilities. Whether it was Troll, Chaos Knight, Faceless Void, Juggernaut, or Sven in the qualifiers for TI Ame did the most he could to carry his team to victory.
Maybe got his start playing with the legendary YaphetS in wc3 DotA for Vici Gaming. He was picked up by LGD after playing in the Chinese Dota Elite Community (CDEC) league. While Maybe is a veteran of the Dota 2 scene he is only 21 years old and is one of the most promising mid players in China. Be it his Storm Spirit, Death Prophet, Shadow Fiend or Invoker Maybe knows how to win the game from the mid lane.
After he joined EHOME after TI5 Old Eleven enjoyed a period of time where he could say he was at the top of competitive Dota 2 in China. A fourth place finish at the Frankfurt Major and multiple tournament victories, including one 3-0 victory over the TI5 champions EG during MDL 2015. As an offlaner he has proven himself to be critical in LGD’s success and the way he has adapted to the new patch has been a welcome sight for his fans.
Yao could be considered a legend. A member of the old Online Kingdom, he has placed 3rd at two of Valve’s Internationals, the 2nd and the 5th placing 5th/6th between them during TI4. Many will remember him for his offlane but his support play deserves just as much respect and recognition. With such a storied career already the only thing he is missing is a win at the most prestigious tournament in Dota 2.
LGD is Victoria’s first Tier 1 team. He had toiled away for a year on CDEC Avenger and CDEC Youth before finally being given the opportunity to play in the major leagues. While he is a relatively unknown support player his Dazzle, Earth Spirit, and Rubick will most likely all have their chances to show the world just how amazing of a player he is on the largest of stages. There’s a good chance everyone will know who he is by the end of the event.