Chronicles of Chinese Dota Drama
Chronicles of Chinese Dota Drama ⚡⚡⚡ Esports news, analytics, reviews on WePlay!
While in the rest of the Dota 2 world, the mid-season after the canceled TI10 goes more or less naturally and calmly, and even in the CIS region, reshuffles are held behind closed doors; there are a lot of emotions in China this year. Teams steal players, people acquire majority stakes in order to own several top clubs at once, rosters fall apart and get together, newcomers behave arrogantly... Let's try to compile a chronicle of what has happened in Chinese Dota lately and what’s worth expecting.
The starting point is the end of August, when, after a long coronavirus lull, the Chinese teams began to move the pieces. It is logical: the contracts are expiring (most often Dota players sign contracts with teams for one year, rarely for several years, more on that below, according to fy), and the first preconditions for the Great Chinese Reshuffle was the transfer of RNG players to Team Aster. Disclaimer: we will try to describe the most complex chronicle in the shortest and simplest way, so follow the hands.
August 25 — First Calls
Du "Monet" Peng and Liu "白 学家" Yuhao, carry and mid players, have moved to Team Aster.
September 1 — Starting Point
Song "Sccc" Chun parted ways with Team Aster because his contract expired. On the same day, Zhou "Yang" Haiyang's contract with Vici Gaming ended, and Bai "rOtK" Fan also left the team.
Rumors from socials and streams of Chinese pro-players about rOtk:
ROtk left VG, because he felt he needed to make a change. He felt they each accomplished things - nobody owes the other anything, and they can walk away happy. ROtk talked about teaming up with Fy & Maybe and how hopeful he is (remember this). He said VG would continue to cultivate new blood, but he himself wants to retire after lifting the Aegis.
September 4 — They are free
Xu "fy" Linsen and Lu "Somnus 丶M" Yao refuse to sign new contracts with PSG.LGD.
Quiet times. Rumors are starting to circulate that the world-famous organization 4AM, which became famous for its PUBG Mobile roster, is going to knock on the door with a powerful move and show that there is a new alpha in the pack: a roster of xNova, fy, Somnus`M, Paparazzi (aka Eurus), and Yang under the leadership of rOtk looked intimidating on paper. But Eurus was still a VG player, and xNova was EHOME’s. But these were only rumors, so we had almost two weeks of silence.
A separate point worth mentioning is that Pan “Ruru” Jie, the controlling shareholder of PSG.LGD and CDEC (since 2018) also acquired EHOME’s shares, according to the former PSG.LGD Social Media Manager. This will play a huge role in the events below.
EHOME's New Roster. With Ruru now having majority shareholding stakes, #EHOME is essentially 2nd LGD squad and expect many swaps of players between the two if things don't go their way. Rumors of CDEC disbanding are now confirmed.— 𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐚 (@Staka) September 16, 2020
📸 https://t.co/DNc2PEutRt #Dota2 pic.twitter.com/sEkx0XTshb
September 15 — Veni, Vidi, Vici
Vici Gaming announced line-up changes: Eurus becomes inactive, OldEleven returns from EHOME, and 23savage left without a team due to the pandemic and takes the vacant place as a carry.
Eleven talked about on stream just a couple of days before being signed to VG that he's very optimistic about the new VG.
September 16 — Two for the Price of Three
And so it happened. On this day, a total exchange of players took place between PSG.LGD, EHOME, and CDEC, as a result of which CDEC completely disbanded in favor of the remaining two clubs.
- New PSG.LGD roster: Ame, NothingToSay, Faith_bian, XinQ, y ', xiao8 (coach)
- New EHOME roster: Sccc, Xm, Chalice, Yif, xNova, Yao (coach)
More details about this transition, described in six points, can be found here:
So, we got two very powerful teams. Obviously, this was the right decision from the owner, because in the near future we will not see any major tournaments, and maintaining three rosters is obviously very expensive. And after things were set up, both teams looked confident on paper (and in a month, PSG.LGD won the first tournament with this roster, beating EHOME 3:0 in the final).
Everyone was waiting for 4AM’s announcement, the third team capable of at least fighting PSG.LGD, and maybe even becoming the top-1 in the region. It happened in early October.
October 1 — The Four Angry Men
The team's announcement took place with lots of drama, surely. The organization has finally announced the lineup of Elephant.4AM on their official Weibo page: Liu "Sylar" Jiajun, Lu "Somnus" Yao, Zhou "Yang" Haiyang, Xu "fy" Linsen, Ru "RedPanda" Zhihao. But no Eurus, while pos5 is RedPanda, a little-known but promising fella. Also, rOtk did not join the team as a coach. All theories and rumors were not confirmed.
However, things were not that simple. Exactly one day later, 4AM deleted that post, and insiders say that the four other players found out about Sylar's signing only through it. They immediately came to the management with a statement that they expected to see Eurus, to which they received an answer: his buyout clause was too expensive, and in general, everything is not so simple with the papers. People on the Internet wrote that the players decided to cut their own salaries in order to get Eurus so the chances of success will be higher. But this is a lie that Somnus`M refuted on his stream. Here's what he explained.
In VG and Paparazzi's contract, there is an extra 1.5 million fee needed to be paid by 4AM, other than the transfer fee. 4AM felt that this fee is illegal and suggested to fight this in the court. However, Paparazzi doesn't want to sue VG and asked 4AM to pay the fee, who promised to take care of it. But 4AM failed to negotiate with VG after two months, so Paparazzi informs Somnus`M that he can't join anymore. 4AM asked the four players which carry can be a replacement, and Maybe himself recommended Sylar. So, the abovementioned official announcement on Weibo happened. Then, there was a meeting with players and management, where they have finally decided to get Paparazzi. A cringy situation, isn’t it? Although, Somnus`M understands that Sylar was screwed and it all was “unprofessional.”
On the next day, Vici Gaming’s co-owner Chen Qing answered to Somnus`M’s words on his stream, and it got quite emotional. He said that 4AM knew about the 1.5m pricetag for Eurus before the New Year.
“Elephant just kept reneging on the deal all the time. This whole thing was quite dramatic. Long ago, they started to ask me about the next season. Last year, Yang told me that he wanted to play together with Maybe. At that time, I thought Team 4AM was alright. Yang asked me how long he should sign with them, and I said two years.
“Eurus extended his contract with us since the beginning of the season last year. He had a salary raise, but by contract, the condition was for him to stay for one year here, and the transaction fee for the second year was ￥1.5M. The contract was drafted by the lawyer. Every team who wanted to sign Eurus knew this.
“In August, Eurus said that he wanted to join Maybe and Fy. When I went to the club, I asked Eurus which team he wanted to join. A lot of teams contacted him at the time–Team Aster, PSG.LGD, etc., and the highest “bidder” was not even 4AM. Since Eurus wanted to play together with Maybe, he showed the contract to 4AM at the very beginning.
If Eurus could go back in time, he would never join the team.
“Since the beginning of the transfer period, they have been exploiting players. At last, the ￥1.5M was not entirely offered by Elephant, and they once again exploited the players. Sylar didn’t even sign a contract. When the official announcement was made, I texted Sylar and told him that he’d better find a lawyer. I didn’t expect them to withdraw on the second day.
It’s a problem with their management crew and the boss, but I still feel it unworthy for Eurus. He just wanted to play with the others too badly. I told Yang before that he’d better win a TI with that team.”
Chen Qing also mentioned that 4AM paid the fee eventually. Still, he says that this happened after “Eurus himself became impulsive and wanted to pay the ￥1.5 M by himself, just to end it”.
It’s very important to mention that Chen Quin blamed Elephant for all this stuff: “At the very least, separate Elephant and 4AM, it’s all Elephant’s problem.”
Meanwhile, Fy explained the situation with contracts in China on his stream and told why xNova and Sccc did not come to 4AM.
All players want one-year contracts, but organizations want two-year ones, so there’s conflict there. Players want to sign a contract for one year because if they sign a contract for two years, they may not be sold if they play well in the second year, which is very bad for them personally, but signing a contract for one year cannot guarantee the interests of the club. xNova still has one year on his contract, and his buyout (500W) is something 4AM can’t afford.
Sccc didn’t join LGD because at the beginning of the transfer period, he was in a really bad mood and didn’t even look to find a team. When everyone already formed their team, he was embarrassed. LGD ran short on money with two highly paid teams this season. Sccc wanted a one year contract, while the organizations were wanting two.
Moreover, Fy praised the coach’s role in the team. However, regarding 357/QQQ, although he admitted 357 made for a great team atmosphere, his knowledge of the game was “absolutely bad.” This hints us to rOtk, whose contract with VG is rumored to expire on Dec 31, 2020.
In this whole situation, Sylar is the saddest case of all. He, of course, is not a player of the same level as Eurus, but they could have given him at least a chance. Moreover, the DPC season is not yet close, and Eurus’ contract is supposed to end in early spring.
The reshuffle period of this year turned out to be quite hot in China. Nevertheless, we got three very serious teams that, at least in theory, can compete for first place in the upcoming DPC tournaments, and even win The International if everything goes well. And all of these teams have unique stories:
First. Vici Gaming held the calmest window and reformed with dignity: they let the players go, signed new strong ones, closed the carry’s ‘pandemic-situative’ hole.
Second. PSG.LGD had to be engaged in cannibalism at the behest of their owners. The victims were EHOME (weakened by it) and CDEC (completely extinct now). It's scary, but it’s business, and the first trophy after the reforms is already in their pocket.
Third. Elephant.4AM put themselves in a very bad light but managed to assemble the most powerful roster, which only remained to be supplemented by one of the strongest coaches of the discipline. These guys can overthrow Team Secret; all that remains is to find the chemistry and wait for major LAN tournaments.
And even judging by what could be seen at the Dota 2 China Pro Cup, Chinese Dota is in perfect order. The fast-paced and ruthless PSG.LGD are worthy of attention, and their confrontation with the rest of the teams will be very interesting. It remains to wait for the official tournament announcements!