Newbee - The MaestroThe stage of Key Arena - usually packed with performers, athletes, and other entertainers - will seem empty by comparison come August 7th as the main stage of The International begins. Two booths will sit empty, awaiting the competitors to step into their field of battle. The emptiness is what draws us to them, makes us even more aware of their presence as the players step to the stage, awaiting the chance to show the crowd their performance. Newbee is no stranger to the stage, Faith being one of the six players at the event who has won a previous TI. The symphony Newbee plans to play out is not so different from the classical pianist Evgeny Kissin. The unpredictable harmonies and breathtaking range of dynamics play out in front of your eyes and more often than not you are left with a feeling of awe.
Newbee in many ways embodies the same qualities when they play. Like a pianist who can play hushed notes but when required release thunderous, booming sounds that overwhelm your senses, Newbee brings a systematic chaos that envelops the game and allows them to take the lead, to set the pace to their liking. The transition between Kaka being the captain for the team and Faith stepping in to take the reins was nearly seamless after TI6. The subtle changes that were made by Faith kept Newbee’s strengths while helping shore up some weaknesses. The delicate balance between playing too passively or too aggressively can be precarious at best, especially when facing the world’s strongest teams. Faith ensures that Newbee doesn’t play too passively when they should be going for the jugular, or alternatively not going on the offensive when they just need to weather the storm takes an extreme degree of confidence and trust in the calls that are made in game to be the correct ones.
Prior to TI6 Newbee was regarded as one of the strongest teams in the world, not unlike their position as they head into TI7. With Hao, Mu, and Chuan, they had a string of successful showings, taking 3rd place at the Manila Major and even defeating Wings in the finals of the Nanyang Dota 2 championship only a month before The International would take place. At TI6 however the wheels came off. Newbee’s cadence was disturbed and they were no longer marching to the beat of their own drum. While their group stage performance had them reach the upper bracket they would only win a single game on the main stage before being eliminated in 9th - 12th place. In the wake of TI6 Newbee went through some pretty large changes. Sccc, Moogy, and Faith were brought in to harmonize with Kpii and Kaka. The team found their rhythm quickly with Faith as the conductor while he challenged them to find their form.
GameplayThree months after Newbee had acquired their new players patch 7.00 dropped, forever changing the landscape of Dota 2. Not only was Faith tasked with making his new team work together, he had to find a way to play a drastically different game at the same time. Throughout the patch changes Newbee’s tempo remained very similar; the speed at which they work across the map in unison to complete their goals is nearly unrivaled. Before a team can fully grasp what Newbee’s goals are in the early game they can find themselves falling behind Moogy and Sccc as Kaka and Faith stop any gank attempts through their rotations.
During the early stages of the game Newbee make excellent work out of what their heroes allow them to do. Often Kpii will play aggressively, even at the cost of his own life, to keep the supports in his lane so that the threat of a gank on Sccc is minimized. This allows Kaka and Faith to play their part, often defending their mid and safelane players while taking advantage of any opportunity to score a kill when possible with superior numbers. Alternatively when Kpii is playing something like an Underlord, meant to get in the face of the opposing team and disrupt their ability to fight, Kaka will put more of a priority on jungling. Usually Kaka is given a Sand King or Earth Spirit when he needs to fulfill the role of a counter initiator or act as Newbee’s catch. The fluidity that Newbee has to change what role a player must perform in the early stages of the game is part of what has made this iteration of Newbee so strong. While you can try to target out one player during the bans, another can and most likely will pick up his mantle.
The duet of Moogy and Sccc is a terrifying thing to come across in the mid-game due to the way Newbee prioritizes both of them during the laning stage. The performance put on by the two of them as they survive fight after fight, getting stronger and stronger is always enjoyable to watch. Newbee have always been fairly objective based Dota 2 players in every iteration of the team, however that normally revolved around taking towers and controlling the map as a result. Faith however seems to have orchestrated a slightly different approach. Newbee will set traps to find kills, often using as much force as necessary to ensure they can take a fight quickly, safely, and cleanly. Moogy has shown he is not afraid of blowing a long cooldown ult just to kill a support if it means the push can go on uncontested. His Juggernaut in particular is a great example of this. Instead of trying to save Omnislash he will often use it immediately, even on a cluster of heroes if he knows his team will be ready to respond as it ends. With Sccc usually playing a Lina, Queen of Pain, or Invoker if the enemy team remains clumped up to deal with Moogy they will be obliterated by Sccc. If they instead split up it makes it easier for Moogy to find his targets while the rest of his team assists Sccc.
Dota 2 moves quickly though and not everything will always go as planned. The fact that Newbee has had a string of successful tournament runs can be attributed to the one calling the shots and pulling the strings. Faith can be considered the one with the final say, the maestro that decides where to fight, who should come, and what hero they should prioritize killing first. He is the one who thinks about how to put on the best performance for his team, each game just another one of his opus.
Moogy might seem like he suddenly appeared at the top of competitive Dota 2 in China but he toiled away for nearly four years before making himself known. He joined Tongfu.WanZhou late in 2013 as their mid laner and stayed with them for a year and a half before being promoted to the main TongFu team. It was on TongFu that Moogy switched to the carry role and played together with Faith where they won G-League 2016. Two months after finally achieving a result worth noticing inside China he was invited to Newbee along with Faith and we were introduced to a new rising star. Moogy balances farming and fighting as if it were natural. While not going as far as Agressif did while on CDEC (no brakes) he puts himself into the fray as early and often as his team requires it, yet his optimization of his farming pattern is clearly something that has been practiced and honed to an artform. Whether it be on Juggernaut, Sven, or Venomancer Moogy can be relied upon to carry his team. However Moogy is not alone when it comes to carrying his team, he and Sccc work in tandem to ensure their victories.
Sccc and Moogy are a deadly duo. Both are capable of farming and pressuring their opponents without missing a beat or sacrificing one to do the other. While most teams have one stand out player who is enabled by those around him, Newbee has two. Sccc started on Newbee Youth as their captain with a strong sense of discipline in his play which may be the result of his three years in the military. He was the second player in China to reach 9000 mmr and his dominance of the mid lane shows how much time he’s spent learning the intricacies of the different matchups. His Invoker has made the best teams in the world look like pub stacks without a clue as to how to deal with him. His versatility in the mid lane and consistency on an array of different heroes has rocketed him to being considered as one of the best mids in the world.
One of the few Australian players who has found success in Dota 2, Kpii has shown time and time again that he is capable of having performances that could go down in history right up there with Universe’s 6 million dollar Echo Slam or LightofHeaven’s Black Hole. While Moogy and Sccc are tasked with providing the finishing blow, Kpii goes to every length possible to give them the opportunities to do so. His Batrider has pierced many high ground defenses and ended the opponent's chance to defend before they knew what hit them, while his counter initiation on heroes like Sand King and Axe have turned losing fights into game ending wins for Newbee. Kpii joined Newbee after a short stint on EHOME Keen in early 2016 and has reached the finals of six different international LANs, winning three of them while on Newbee. Kpii is an integral part of Newbee’s success and the team wouldn’t be the same without him.
The former captain of Newbee and 4 position support has been with Newbee for the last year a half along with Kpii. The strategic way Kaka played the game led Newbee to multiple victories and 2nd/3rd place finishes in premier events, and while Faith is now leading the team Kaka’s unique way of taking firm control of the game still remains deeply rooted in Newbee. During a time when China was struggling to keep up with the western teams it was Kaka who developed his own brand of Dota and kept his teams, EHOME and then Newbee, competitive as a young captain. Kaka has shifted his focus to having a greater impact in his games through his own actions on heroes like Sand King, Earth Spirit, or even as Clockwerk. When Kaka is allowed to roam the map, securing his team lanes while vanishing back into his own jungle to farm before repeating the process, Newbee is allowed to shine.
Faith had an extremely difficult job put upon him when he joined Newbee and took over as the team’s captain. While he was familiar with Moogy he had to try to devise a way for the new roster to not only quickly learn to play together but to do it amidst some of the largest changes to the game we’ve ever seen. While for most players this task would seem daunting, Faith has a wealth of experience and knowledge to fall back on. He is one of only 6 players competing at TI7 who has a shot at making history and winning his second TI. Faith’s role as Newbee’s 5 is surprisingly sinister as he often plays heroes that can not be ignored in a fight like Silencer, Visage, or Crystal Maiden. His potential impact in team fights forces attention on himself which in turn allows Moogy and Sccc to have better control over the fights. This is only possible due to Faith’s positioning, while sometimes he gets caught out more often than other supports it is usually to the benefit of his team. If Faith can trade himself for a favorable fight or to take down a tower and allow his team to escape he is usually willing to accept the sacrifice.