A Farewell to Wings

The Kiev Major marks the end of Chinese superpower Team Wings, one of the brightest and most talented teams that Dota 2 has ever seen. With the roster’s departure from their organization, and the members scattering into different teams and temporary retirements,  the Dota world is faced with something that used to be unthinkable: an Aegis of Champions that will be undefended.

Wings’ peak was short, but it was, perhaps, one of the most exciting times to watch professional Dota. Whenever they played, it was always refreshing, and they always brought new strategies to the table. In that period of dominance, from their first surprising LAN win at ESL One Manila, where they surprised everyone by upsetting a surging Team Liquid, to their final matches at the Kiev Major, no one could clearly say what Wings would do or what their plans were. Their aggression was their trademark, but they also showed that they could play restrained and avoid fighting, instead switching to farming and splitting the map when placed against other aggressive teams like MVP Phoenix or when placed against the near-impeccable play of Evil Geniuses. When they triumphed at The International 6 and claimed the Aegis of Champions, it truly seemed like they were head and shoulders above anyone else in the scene.

However, hidden behind the dominance of Wings was always their inconsistency as a team. Prior to TI6, they had a very poor showing at the Manila Major and fell short in some domestic Chinese tournaments. However, these worries soon only seemed like hiccups and minor stumbles, after they crushed through the opposition at The Summit 5, where they played 20 different heroes in the final, repeating an impressive 0 heroes over the course of 4 games. Soon after, they blitzed their way through TI6, ignoring the illusion-heavy meta and forging their own drafting style. These successes stacked up so far that, in the immediate post-TI season, it seemed like Wings could be the first two-time TI winners in history. A last place finish at the Boston Major quickly put an end to those dreams.

From there Wings fell into a slump that seemed endless. Even their 3rd-4th place at ESL One Genting was barely noteworthy, with them beating out Execration and Warriors Gaming.Unity to get out of the group stages, but then being swiftly eliminated by Newbee. Occasionally viewers would be treated to the old Wings, with flashes of their previous brilliance and flair, but it seemed like the once bright team of newcomers and unknowns had run out of gas; weird drafts and wacky plays aside, they had been figured out. As of the time of writing, two members of Wings, Yiping “Innocence” Zhang, and Ruida “Faith_Bian” Zhang, have moved onto EHOME, and the rest of the team has decided to take an indefinite break.   It seems unlikely that they’ll return as a full roster in time to defend their title. Wherever they go from here however, the Dota 2 scene will remember them fondly as inspirations and champions.

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