The annual post TI shuffle came through like a hurricane this year and the aftermath is a very strange, very brave, new world. It’s hard to objectively judge teams without seeing how they play since team members might not mesh well and synergy will vary but these are our picks for the winners and losers of this year’s shuffle, at least on paper.
Perhaps the biggest surprise this shuffle is the talent boom in, and from, the Southeast Asian region. Once considered a footnote in professional Dota 2, the scene has catapulted itself to the top of the Dota world. Some top tier talent has left the region, moving on to greener pastures in Europe, but other strong players have come out of retirement and inactivity to play again. With several teams that can potentially shine on the international stage, this region is one to keep an eye on.
Fnatic: Marc Polo “Raven” Luis Fasto, Yee Fung “Mushi” Chai, Chong Xin “Ohaiyo” Khoo, Nico “Eyyou” Barcelon, Jimmy “DeMoN” Ho
The long running SEA powerhouse’s new lineup is incredibly promising on paper. Mushi and Ohaiyo need no introduction. They’re both familiar faces to Fnatic and are legends in Southeast Asia. The addition of three TNC members, Raven, Eyyou, and DeMoN, is a strong boost to the talents of Mushi and Ohaiyo. DeMoN’s drafting abilities should not be underestimated; TNC and EHOME both set the meta for the The International 2016 by drafting hard-push illusion-based carries, such as Terrorblade. Raven is also one to watch out for. Despite being a TI rookie, he averaged the 2nd highest GPM in the entire event, just behind IceIceIce. If Mushi is able to set aside his famous ego and let DeMoN captain the team to victory, this could be an unstoppable lineup.
Fnatic’s new lineup for the Fall Shuffle (Credit: Wykrhm Reddy)
MVP Phoenix: Young-min “Febby” Min, Seon-yeob “QO” Kim, Tae-sung “Velo” Kim, Jun-yeong “Reisen” Lee, Doo-young “DuBu” Kim
The shuffle hit everyone’s favorite Korean squad hard. In a surprising turn of events, the more stable forces of the team, Forev and MP, left to join Team Secret. In the past, Forev and MP were the foundation for MVP, creating space and enabling QO’s trademark aggression to succeed. With them gone, Velo and Reisen have been promoted from MVP Hot6ix to the main Phoenix squad. Velo doesn’t have much professional experience at all, but his play since joining MVP suggests that he can provide that stability that MP and Forev previously provided. Reisen is a more known quantity. Formerly a support player for Phoenix, he gained notoriety over his ballsy Rubick play but has largely stayed off the radar after TI5. They reached the finals of the Mineski Pro Gaming League SEA Championship and looked good all the way to a solid 2nd place finish. With more time to work out the kinks this lineup can shine.
Execration: Kim Villafuerte “Gabbi” Santos, Abed “Abed” Yusop, Mark Adrian “Byb” Gavin, Djardel “DJ” Mamputsi, Kimuel “Kimo” Rodis
When writing this, the focus was originally on DJ’s contribution to the team and how his return to Filipino Dota would affect Execration as well as how Abed, the 16 year old Philippine midlane prodigy, would do in the new season. The team had, after all, dropped three of their starting players and had an uncertain future. After their MPGL performance however, it would be criminal not to highlight Gabbi. A relative unknown before his debut on Execration, he’s definitely made a name for himself. His Puck play against MVP was an absolute joy to watch and he frequently ran circles around the more experienced Korean team. If he can keep up this form he can take his place as one of the best carries in SEA. Their new offlaner Rappy is a transfer from Rave. There’s not much known about Rappy and Rave hasn’t had much success since The International 2014. With Gabbi, DJ, and Abed though, it’s hard to imagine Execration having a difficult time in Southeast Asia.
Mineski: Ryan Jai “Raging Potato” Qui, Galvin Kang Jian “Meracle” Wen, Ralph Richard “RR” Peñano, Julius “Julz” De Leon, Michael “Ninjaboogie” Ross Jr.
The big news here is Meracle. The former teenage wunderkid returns to competitive Dota after completing his compulsory military service in Singapore. Based off of his performance in the MPGL however, Meracle is still as good as he was before taking a hiatus. With this lineup Mineski has good flexibility and a deep hero pool. Ninjaboogie and Julz are some of the best supports in the Philippines, and Meracle and Raging Potato have wide hero pools and can switch between mid and safelane as needed. Mineski is another team to watch on the international scene.
WarriorsGaming.Unity: Lai Jay “Ahjit” Son, Kam Boom ‘NaNa’ Seng, Chua Soon “KaNG” Khong, Tue Soon ‘Ahfu’ Chuan, Nang Ee “Wenn” Wooi
In the competitive lull after TI6, this team stuck together, made no changes, and grinded out a surprising win streak in SEA. WG.U posted 3 first place wins against the Filipino team Execration and raising questions about whether this team was the new top dogs in SEA. Unfortunately they had a disappointing 6th place showing in the recent MPGL SEA Championship and dropped out early to Fnatic. There is worth in keeping a stable roster – OG’s success in the past year, TI placement aside, proves this – sticking together allows teams to work on problems and build trust and cohesion. In addition, they clearly have the competitive hunger to succeed. Unfortunately for WG.U, when push came to shove, they couldn’t pull out the win. The team needs to brush off the LAN shakes before they can start finding major victories.
TNC’s new lineup for the Fall Shuffle (Credit: Wykrhm Reddy)
TNC Pro Team: John Linuel “TeeHee” Abanto, Carlo “Kuku” Palad, Samson Solomon Enjosa “Sam_H” Hidalgo, Ryo “Ryoyr” Hasegawa, Mark “Cast” Pilar
TNC was gutted by Fnatic this season. The loss of Demon, Eyyou, and Raven will be a big blow to the team. Raven was the breakout carry of TI6 and Demon and Eyyou provided a competent support duo. DeMoN was especially crucial to the team, under his guidance the team rose from the TI6 open qualifier, to the 1st qualifying SEA team, to an astonishing lower bracket run to 7/8th place. Replacing them is TeeHee, a returning TNC member, Ryoyr and Cast, former Rave teammates. They’re all competent and flexible players. Ryoyr and Cast in particular have extensive LAN experience playing in the weekly KDL league and participating in several international tournaments during their stints in Rave. However, it’s difficult to imagine the team reaching its former heights without the guidance of Demon or a lot of hard work.
Team Faceless: Dominik “Black^” Reitmeier, Anucha “Jabz” Jirawong, Daryl Koh Pei “IceIceIce” Xiang, Wai Hong “xy-” Toh, Jeng Yih “Nutz” Wong
SEA’s prodigal son IceIceIce returns and he brings with him 4 friends and Jabz. Black^, xy-, and Nutz are all former IceIceIce collaborators in some way or another. Black^ and IceIceIce were on a highly successful Vici Gaming back in 2014-2015. xy- played with IceIceIce on Scythe Gaming and Zenith, and Nutz has been friends with Iceiceice since they both started playing Dota 2. However, many players on this team have been absent from top tier professional Dota for a while. Nutz hasn’t played for any team after helping MVP to a miraculous Top 8 finish at TI5 last year. Black^ has been bouncing around without any success since being booted from Fnatic. xy- hasn’t had any competitive showings since leaving Zenith in 2013. The entire team is experienced, and knows the tournament circuit like the backs of their hands. If they can harness this experience, they’ll be one of the top teams in SEA. Until then they’re very much an unknown quantity.