Dota 2 TI Champions 2011-2019, where are they now?
After a decade of Dota 2, eight teams have been crowned champions and had their names engraved on the Aegis of Champions. It’s inarguable that The International Dota 2 Championship and its champions are held in highest regarded by its passionate player base. Unfortunately, while these champions may remain immortalized indefinitely, their recent whereabouts are as murky as mud.
Press F to pay respects
We kick things off with a memorial for the indisputable champions who were gone too soon, Wings Gaming. While most teams are still doing well recently, Wings Gaming kicked the bucket after winning the International 2016.
Although it was their first debut at The Internationals, Wings Gaming stomped over every opponent, up till the grand finals. Unlike the recent two-timer, team OG, these guys specialized in anything and everything. From their versatile hero pools to their dispensable playstyles, Wings Gaming was truly the jack of all trades during their time.
Unfortunately, Wings Gaming’s rise to fame ended somewhat prematurely, to say the least. The roster announced its departure from the parent org in early 2017, due to unpaid salaries.
All five players went in different directions after their TI glory. Li “iceice” Peng and Zhou “bLink” Yang formed team You Know Who with bLink serving as coach. Zhang “y`” Yiping and Zhang “Faith_bian” Ruida have signed with EHOME and are still actively pursuing their careers. Finally, Chu “shadow” Zeyu has largely retired from competitive Dota 2 or is at least orgless for almost a year now.
Another one bites the Dust
Another TI champion has gone down in hot water. The Newbee organization is under fire for getting involved in a match-fixing scandal. Although the present roster is not the former TI4-winning roster, it still doesn’t justify the fact that the immortalized team was involved in such activities. Among the 5 convicted, Zeng “Faith” Hongda received the worst backlash as he held the title as TI2 winner, playing for Invictus Gaming. Furthermore, he was a game away from becoming the first two-time TI winner.
At any rate, do not expect Newbee to participate in China regional events, let alone The Internationals anymore. The players are banned from events organized by ImbaTV, Mars Media and CDA, well, until the org releases the roster that is.
From the original TI 2014 Championship roster two players went on to become coaches. Zhang “xiao8” Ning is the current coach of EHOME and Wang “Banana” Jiao became the coach of RNG.
The other three, Wang “SanSheng” Zhaohui, Chen “Hao” Zhihao and Zhang “Mu” Pan all joined Old Boys, the informal retiree home for Chinese professional Dota 2 players.
Same-same, but different
Aside from the two Chinese teams that are in shambles, the other champions are doing well, for the most part. Natus Vincere, the first International champion, now sports an entirely new roster of young blood. Having revealed their potential in recent online tournaments such as ESL One Birmingham and Gamers Without Borders, Navi is finally regaining traction (and fans). The similar tale goes for Invictus Gaming (TI2), Evil Geniuses (TI5) and Team Liquid (TI7).
Albeit, these teams do not have a single TI-winning relic representing the org anymore, the present rosters have proven to be viable powerhouses in the tier-1 pro scene. Regardless of its former glories, these teams are frequent guests in recent majors before LAN events became an old trend.
The legendary players that made the TI dream runs for their organizations have all scattered around. Lets take a quick look.
From the NaVi championship lineup, Dmitriy “LighTofHeaveN” Kupriyanov and Oleksandr “XBOCT” Dashkevych have both turned to shoutcasting. LighTofHeaveN has been a caster for all TI’s since 2013.
Ivan “Artstyle” Antonov has turned to coaching and is the current coach of EXTREMUM.
Big daddy Danil “Dendi” Ishutin is the leader of B8 – the most glorious team Dota 2 has ever seen, while Clement “Puppey” Ivanov is the captain of Team Secret – the best performing team in 2020 so far.
The iG roster TI2 roster followed a similar path to their two Chinese counterparts. Chen “Zhou” Yao and Jiang “YYF” Cen joined the other retiree champions in Old Boys.
Luo “Ferrari_430” Feichi and Zeng “Faith” Hongda are still active in the scene for EHOME and Newbee respectively. Finally, Wong “ChuaN” Hock Chuan is still around actively tweeting about all the happenings in Dota 2 but has not a played for a long while.
The Evil Geniuses of 2015 were all still active until a few months ago. Peter “ppd” Dager retired from competitive play back in April and Saahil “Universe” Arora followed a few days later. The other three, Clinton “Fear” Loomis, Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling and Syed “SumaiL” Hassan are still active and playing for three different organizations.
Two teams are fortunate enough to have a few champions remain on their rosters or in the organizations. Alliance is fortunate enough to have a former player on their active roster. Gustav “s4” Magnusson, who delivered the infamous “MILLION DOLLAR DREAM COIL” at the International 2013, has returned to the squad once more. He will be coached by his former teammate Jonathan “Loda” Berg. Henrik “AdmiralBulldog” Ahnberg is also still with Alliance taking on a streamer role.
Team OG, the two-time champs, are also still very much alive and well in the scene. They are the most recent champions so we cant expect all the players to be retired just yet. Anathan “ana” Pham and Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka are both retired however, while Sébastien “Ceb” Debs is inactive and only stepping in when needed. Topson and N0tail are still trying to bring OG the potential three-peat. The entire championship roster is still loosely tied with the organization.
Finally, Team Liquid pretty much remained in their entirety with their championship roster. The players decided to make a “teamquit” however, and formed their own team. Team Nigma consists 80% of what was the TI 2017 Liquid championship roster. Only Lasse Aukusti “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen is missing as hes busy carrying Team Secret through a glorious 2020 season.
The International 2020 may have been postponed indefinitely, but fans can be excited to know that most of the champions will be looking forward to participating when Valve announces the dates. Till then, these teams should be on your bucket list of Esports odds.
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