TI7 Preview: Newbee

The Newbee name has been a constant frontrunner in the Chinese Dota 2 scene. Through multiple roster changes, some iteration of Newbee has found its way to each International since 2014, where Newbee took home the Aegis of Champions. The current Newbee roster doesn’t include any of the old champions, but instead has harnessed some of the best new talent in the Chinese region.

Current roster

Xu “Moogy” Han

Song “Sccc” Chun

Damien “kpii” Chok

Hu “Kaka” Liangzhi

Zeng “Faith” Hongda

Recalling the past year

Newbee’s run at The International 2016 finished in disappointment. A 9th-12th place finish was far below what was expected of a directly invited team. Chen “Hao” Zhihao, Zhang “Mu” Pan, and Wong Hock “ChuaN” Chuan parted ways with Newbee, and the trio of Moogy, Sccc and Faith were added to the roster. The team saw almost immediate success, with a second-place finish against Evil Geniuses at the Mars Dota 2 League 2016 finals. This success didn’t translate to their first appearance at a Valve event, however. An exit from the Boston Major in last place marred their record, but they managed to rebound by scoring first place in the Dota 2 Professional League in December of 2016. Their performance remained solid through April, with another win along with a second and third place finish. Unfortunately for Newbee, their second appearance at a Valve Major was a repeat of Boston. The single-elimination format seems to be one Newbee struggles in, although the nature of the format is volatile by itself. After Kiev, Newbee entered a slump for the following month. They failed to qualify for both EPICENTER: Moscow and The Summit 7, but finally managed to rebound by finishing in second place at the Manila Masters against Evil Geniuses. Newbee went on to win some smaller events, taking first at the ZOTAC Cup against Team NP (now Cloud9) and then first at Galaxy Battles against Planet Odd. Newbee’s most recent tournament performance was at the Mars Dota 2 League 2017 finals in early July. There, they placed third after playing an all-around impressive tournament. After dropping into the lower bracket early, Newbee battled their way into the lower bracket final, but came up just short of a trip to the grand finals. Despite not taking home first, Newbee remains a very consistent team that will be a threat to anyone at The International 2017.

Strategies to watch

Newbee’s strategy focuses very heavily on the explosive middle lane play of Sccc. His three most played competitive heroes reflect this heavily: Invoker, Queen of Pain, and Shadow Fiend. These are all heroes with the power to effectively dominate a game by themselves if given a good enough start, and Sccc has a track record of stunning performances even when his team is behind. With the heavy focus put on the middle lane in the current metagame, Sccc has become an even more integral part of Newbee’s gameplan.

Newbee’s carry, Moogy, fits well into this strategy because of his willingness to play a difficult lane with the knowledge that he will be able to catch up later. Moogy has a very diverse competitive hero pool, but has recently been playing mostly durable carry heroes like Faceless Void and Venomancer. There are exceptions where Moogy plays a more farm-intensive hero like Sven or Terrorblade, but Newbee seems to find the most success with Moogy in a supportive role.

Newbee’s two support players had a pretty limited pool or heroes at MDL, consisting of mostly Shadow Shaman for Faith and Sand King for Kaka. This may be an issue for Newbee as The International progresses and teams get more used to each other, but it might also trick teams into banning those two heroes, leaving other powerful supports in the pool. Although their past performance at Valve events might haunt them, The International features a double elimination bracket which has favored Newbee in past tournaments, making them a surefire threat.

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