Newbee is a name with tremendous history behind it. Being the winners of TI4, they are among the few teams that have successfully claimed the Aegis. Although the current iteration of Newbee has almost nothing in common with the xiao8-led squad from back then, they surely have become the inheritors of that claim. A year ago, the stage seemed set for the first time repeat champion (even if it was only the organisation and Faith as ex-iG player). Newbee had just won a phenomenal series against LFY in the Upper Bracket and were awaiting their opponents, with many choosing the Chinese as the favorites regardless of who emerged victorious between LFY and Liquid. However Newbee’s dreams were not just destroyed, they were utterly ground into dust and scattered to the wind. Getting severely out drafted in the Grand Finals, you could feel the desperation seeping into them as games 1, 2 and finally 3 were lost. A crushing 0-3 blowout in the finals sent them tumbling down into the abyss. Many believed that they would never recover; however, having gone through the crucible of missed chances and regret, the Newbee that emerged was stronger than ever. Promising themselves to make it back to that Finals the next year, but with more experience and ready to redeem themselves, Newbee decided to stick together as five.
The first step back to that goal was conquering the new environment that the DPC provided. With revenge in mind Newbee started the all new DPC season as one of the frontrunners thanks to their strong showing in Seattle (besides the final day). After a slight hiccup during their debut in the first StarLadder minor saw them eliminated in a shock upset, ESL One Hamburg made up for it as Newbee took a Top 4 finish. Seemingly continuing where they had left off after Seattle, Sccc & co. also took home the Perfect World Minor cementing their position among the top teams of the DPC. However, in contrast to the European trinity that carved up the majority of points throughout the season, Newbee did not become as consistent. A defeat during the Dreamleague Major to Na`Vi was unexpected to say the least; but just a month after Newbee found some (belated) revenge against Team Liquid, defeating them 3-2 in Genting for another Minor championship.
Unfortunately that would prove to be the last good result in a while as first VG.J Thunder arose as domestic competitor before PSG.LGD stormed onto the scene leaving them both behind in the dust. With points becoming scarcer than ever Newbee had to join in the mad struggle for high finishes in the last legs of the DPC, but even with the invite on the line their only result of note recently was their fourth place at MDL Changsha. In the end it was enough to lock in their invite as the seventh team, but it bodes ill for their quest to finish what they had started in Seattle last year.
Can they live up to their predecessors under the Newbee banner and make good on the lessons they learned in this long and arduous year? Can they break the curse of repeat-winners? Vancouver is that final step to make it back on the winner’s podium and Newbee certainly have the potential to go all the way. Although not among the top favorites you should never count them out, for they have walked through the darkest night to reach back into the light. They have been battered and tested throughout the season, but all those troubles will be worth it, should they be able to make up for the last time they stood on the stage where champions are born.
Newbee have always favored taking objectives as 5 to a point that Kuroky said during the TI7 True Sight, “Just watch for their 5 man, it’s literally their only move”. Although since then Newbee have evolved away from that, taking their strategic shortcoming just like so many other lessons of that lost final to heart, the group-up is still heavily favored by them.
In an ideal game for Newbee the early game is secured by their two starplayers Kaka and Sccc, to the point that either Sccc takes over the game completely on a snowballing hero like his signature QoP/Lina or Moogy comes online to facilitate their push for objectives and ultimately victory.
Key to their early game has always been the two-punch of Kaka and Sccc. Rightfully known for their high individual skill (they were the first 9k MMRs in the Chinese region) these two are at the heart of Newbee’s gameplan. With Sccc’s raw mechanical skill and gamesense it is always a marvel to see him work his magic in the midlane. Not only on tempo-setters, even if on less flashy heroes like Krobelus or Dragon Knight he finds a way to shine and take over the reins of the game. Rarely you see him bogged down in the matchup middle and he almost always attracts several ganks to slow his momentum from the opposing side.
Kaka’s role as position 4 in the early game strategy is the scoring of key pick-offs. Although the recent meta changes have nerfed his favorite roaming playstyle, Kaka is still able to be at the right place at the right time to secure key kills or at least secure trades. Usually on 4’s with high initiation prowess (e.g. his signature Clockworks or Sand King) he sets the pace and creates the space required for his teammates.
However, if you are too focused on stopping the fabled tempo duo of Newbee you will get blindsided by Moogy. With Faith supporting him selflessly Newbee try their hardest to secure him a strong game on carrys that can come online quickly such as Luna or Gyrocopter (before IceFrog brought out the nerfhammer again). If you focus too much on shutting down Newbee’s tempo-setters a monstrously farmed Moogy will start knocking down your objectives just the same, thereby enabling his struggling teammates in turn. That leaves opponents only with the choice of contesting the Chinese directly on the objectives.
Taking the fight head-on against Newbee can however prove to be extremely difficult as that is exactly the time for kpii to shine. Regularly on key teamfighting heroes like tide or doom it is large scale engagements where his timing and positioning shines. With Kaka and Sccc providing the offensive punch, you can also often see kpii on more defensive heroes like an omniknight, but his impact in teamfights is given all the same.
All that rests on the backbone that Faith brings to the table. With his wealth of experience and his composure he takes on a sacrificial role to allow his teammates to shine. With heroes usually requiring only levels he follows the similar school of Solo from Virtus.Pro and thrives in situations where he is starved for gold. His keen gamesense however allows him to not only defend Moogy during the early game but also setup Sccc and Kaka’s ganking forays with excellent warding and joining in if necessary. Come the later stages of the game he is the cool head that controls the pushing and secures the vision advantage.
Taking all these strengths together, Newbee are a very momentum-based team. If you are unable to handle the early pressure put on by Sccc and Kaka it is likely that you will fall to them before you know what hit you as Sccc eviscerates your defenses while the shadow of a farmed Moogy menacingly looms over the horizon. Unable to take fights against Newbee, opponents can often only concede tower after tower before suddenly half their base is gone after losing a key fight. But even if the early game does not go exactly as planned, Newbee have by now also developed the ability to stall and draw out games until they can regain the initiative, and they are far from a one-trick pony. Although they favor the snowballing type of game, long drawn-out slugfests are nothing they are afraid of either.
Much of Newbee’s prowess must also be attributed to the expertise of their coach. With SanSheng’s analytical mind behind them, the combined tactics of two TI-winners are at their disposal and if you have any doubt about the grizzled Newbee-veteran’s credentials, I suggest looking at his superb warding guide he released earlier to deal with Virtus.Pro. As the lull pre-TI is considerably longer this time around, we can be sure that Faith and SanSheng will be working double to make sure that Newbee has even more tricks up their sleeve to finally redeem themselves from the beating they took against Liquid last time they stood on the greatest of stages.
Moogy is the epitome of a hard worker. Overshadowed regularly by Sccc’s flashiness he is a silent workhorse in the background for Newbee. Relied upon by his teammates to be the final knockout punch, he is usually well-protected by his supports and will efficiently farm for the team’s timings. After the heartbreaking defeat Newbee suffered at TI7, it was Moogy, shedding tears of disappointment and regret, who became the symbol of the pain of a silver-medalist just a step away from glory. In his second year at the top of the game he will undoubtedly return stronger to Vancouver with much more experience under his belt.
What he brings to the table is not only experience, however, but also the burning desire to redeem himself as he has the regrets of the past to dispel. Moogy is a man with a mission at this year’s TI and will be incredibly hard to stop for any opponent of Newbee.
Graphics: Valve, Julmust, Exitiums
Graphics: Valve, Julmust, Exitiums