From bad to worse, the struggles that EHOME had to go through for the past two years culminated with them losing the TI8 open qualifiers. This is the second year in a row when EHOME will not be present at Valve’s annual event.
As one of the oldest organizations in the Chinese region, EHOME entered the Dota2 scene with a bang, taking second place at the very first International, back in 2011. They’ve placed top 6 at TI2, TI5 and TI6 but their activity as an organization was more often than not in conflict with the Association of China E-Sports. They’ve been one of the few orgs who got in trouble with ACE since very early days of Dota 2. In 2012 EHOME was expelled from ACE for recruiting a player who was under contract with another team. That player was Zhang “LaNm” Zhicheng who moved to TongFu immediately after TI1, but he broke his contractual agreements with them to return to EHOME a few months before TI2. As one of the most emblematic figures of EHOME, LaNm’s story with the organization is a very long one and somehow his decision of stepping down from the team at the beginning of 2017 seems to be tightly linked to their inability to land a victory when it mattered.
At the beginning of 2017 EHOME got in troubles with ACE once again by welcoming to their ranks two former Wings Gaming players, Zhang “Faith_bian” Ruida and Zhang “y`” Yiping. Being excluded from ACE once again, it meant that the team could not practice against the ACE members, it could not be invited to a couple of events that were ran under the ACE ruling and all that they could do was to put all their eggs in the TI7 basket. Unfortunately, they got eliminated in the Chinese closed qualifiers group stage.
Valve changed the scene dynamic with the introduction of the Dota Pro Circuit post TI7, ACE lost a lot of their power in China and most of the Dota 2 fans hoped that this will mark a new beginning for EHOME. But, things didn’t go as many hoped and EHOME’s first DPC season was disastrous. They even broke the roster lock rule by changing two players in April and May. A few weeks ahead of the TI8 open qualifiers, they brought Zhang “xiao8” Ning to coach the team.
A TI winner himself with Newbee, in 2014,dubbed the “director8” by the Chinese community, xiao8 had one hell of a mission to make a roster work in under three weeks. Soon after EHOME got eliminated in the second leg of the open qualifiers, xiao8 took the blame on himself. The first thing he posted on his Weibo page was: “My bad! I’ll coach again next year.”
Another Chinese legend who put his career on hold to dedicate himself to coaching, Bai “rOtK” Fan was more unforgiving in his comments and pointed out that it was the players’ and organization’s fault for not being more active and more involved through the entire year. Rotk’s post roughly translates as follows: “Now, that the competitive scene is more fierce than ever, it’s simply not possible to rest for half a year and then hope you will make it into TI. You can’t change everything with a month or two of training. “ He also pointed out that what the Chinese scene is lacking right now is good leaders and drafters, “players like Solo or PPD” he said.
To his post, xiao8 replied “we trained for 2 weeks and still they couldn’t show their full potential in qualifiers, as they did in scrims. I can’t find the reason of why that happened.”
EHOME had two teams in the TI8 open qualifiers and their performance was just worse than last year when EHOME and EHOME.Keen made it at least in the closed qualifiers.
The next DPC season will have no roster locks at all and the players will not hold the qualifier points to their name. It will be the organization who will earn the points, which is completely different from how it went this year. Clearly, a big change that’s bound to reshape the scene dynamics once again. EHOME still has two players on loan to Vici Gaming, namely LaNm and Ren “eLeVeN” Yangwei. Will they return home after TI8 to build a new legacy alongside xiao8 in the coaching seat?