Will the star-studded Elephant composed of China’s prodigies become the pride of the region?
Chinese doto best doto?
Chinese Dota is undeniably one of the terrifying playstyles in the Dota 2 esports scene. Known for their aggressive approach, an insane ganking meta and highly technical skills, China was revered and considered as the strongest region for a long time.
Many Chinese players such as Xu “BurNIng” Zhilei, known for his fantastic Anti-Mage plays, and Luo “Ferrari_430” Feichi, are still recognized as the best veteran Chinese players to date. They were intimidating in the arena, with a laser-like focus on winning and stomping the enemy team. Until The International (TI) 6, the Chinese region would always take the Aegis of Champions to their homeland every second year. It just shows that it was always China versus The World when it came to defending the prestigious title.
Since TI7, however, the Aegis of Champions has never set foot on Chinese soil. After winning TI twice in a row, OG, led by Johan “N0tail” Sundstein, have been the proud holders of the Aegis ever since. The Chinese region’s desire to take home the Aegis this time has never been stronger and brighter.
There was always a Chinese team in the top three for the past three events, showing how dedicated and eager the region is to be hailed as the champions every TI. This time around, they have created an all-star team composed of the best players in the area: the Elephant is here, and no region should be able to ignore their immense winning potential.
Elephant: the sheer amount of talent in the roster
Team Elephant is a relatively new team, but one should not underestimate their roster. With Zhang “Eurus” Chengjun and Lu “Somnus丶M” Yao as their Positions 1 and 2, one can assume that Elephant is a threatening powerhouse. Add Xu “fy” Linsen, known as the Tusk King, into the mix, leading and initiating impressive ganks and saves as Zhou “Yang” Haiyang and Xie “Super” Junhao fill out Positions 3 and 5, and you suddenly have a team ready to become the scary titan Chinese Dota should be.
Each member of the team is highly respected when it comes to their roles. Eurus is famous for being the first-ever Chinese player to reach 8 000 MMR, while fy has been participating in tier 1 tournaments ever since his career started. Somnus showed a great display of skills in the midlane for the past TIs, albeit being unable to win back the Aegis on two separate occasions.
As former Vici Gaming players, Super and Yang were the championship winners in their previous team in most of the events they’ve participated in. As seen in their run in TI8 and TI9, Elephant’s players are exceptional in their unique way. There is no denying that Elephant promise an exhilarating run at TI10: but could they be able to go all the way?
Regional Pro Leagues: tactics and plays waiting to happen
To answer the question above, one must look at Elephant’s recent results to provide a logical conclusion as to whether the all-star team will be stomping on the global scene. Since the team’s conception last October 2020, they have produced varying results. It seemed like the team’s chemistry was still developing as they either delivered an outstanding performance or fell far short depending on the event.
Given that they are a new roster, teamwork and coordination are something that they can improve over time. Elephant’s recent performances show promising results as they delivered impressive runs in regional tournaments. And yet, when it comes to the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) seasons, China is full of solid teams, and Elephant may fall short just behind the top teams like PSG.LGD.
This does not mean that they will be lagging far behind these enormous Chinese teams. It was not so long ago that Elephant decimated the fabled PSG.LGD squad with a 3-1 sweep on the grand finals of OGA Dota PIT Season 4: China. Eurus went two games without dying on his carry heroes and dominated game 4 with a Drow Ranger.
Midlane became uncontested, with Somnus stomping games 3 and 4 with a fearful Void Spirit mid. Elephant’s very own fy with a Position 4 Rubick and Earth Spirit paved the way into the team’s victory, creating enormous spaces for their carries to farm.
The China Dota 2 Pro Cup Season 2 is one of the prime examples of Elephant’s ever-growing presence in the region. Ending the grand finals with a 3-0 win against Team Aster, Elephant showcased their roster’s iconic skills and abilities. Eurus was the MVP once again, carrying the team using Anti-Mage with zero deaths in the opening game.
While their exposure as a team is still in its early stages, Elephant’s undefeated run in the qualifiers promises to deliver top-tier Dota on the international stage.
China at TI10: will Elephant stand out?
After the various roster changes made, it is possible that OG may not take home the Aegis of Champions this year. We’ve seen upsets in many regions, with TI regulars missing out on a spot. One of the most significant changes this year is that Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasom and Team Nigma have fallen short. Meanwhile, underdog teams like beastcoast and Fnatic managed to snag a ticket to Bucharest, but the celebration is far from over.
China dominated this year’s DPC season, with five teams coming from the region to TI.
Even with the tenacious PSG.LGD leading the pack, Elephant does not need to back down, as they have proven that they are more than just a bunch of superstars grouped together. While Team Aster, Vici Gaming and Invictus Gaming showed exceptional performances since the beginning of the year, Elephant are a true powerhouse on paper, and they have all the ingredients needed for a magnificent performance in Bucharest this October.