For the past few Dota 2 seasons, it has happened every time that Chinese teams failed to impress at the start of the season but grew in prominence towards the end to put up a fight for the Aegis at TI. In the 2015-2016 season, the Chinese scene needed a shake up after there wasn’t a single Chinese team in the top 8 of the Shanghai Major. Wings Gaming came out of nowhere to win TI 6 and then vanished into thin air. Last year, it was a combination of Newbee, Invictus Gaming and LGD Forever Young who made their presence felt after April 2017. Newbee actually finished 9th-16th in the last Major of that season, the Kiev Major and still managed a second place finish at The International 2017. Of course, they were never destined to win it as it was the West’s turn to win TI. As per tradition, TI 8 will be falling into the hands of a Chinese team. But could it be this year? There is only one clear answer to that question – LGD Gaming!
– Wang ‘Ame’ Chunyu
– Lu ‘Somnus丶M’ Yao
– Yang ‘Chalice’ Shenyi
– Xu ‘fy’ Linsen
– Yap Jian ‘xNova’ Wei
– Yao ‘QQQ’ Yi (Coach)
PSG.LGD General Stats (2017-2018 season):
Total games played: 245
Games won: 154
Win rate: 62.86%
Total heroes played: 106 (unpicked heroes – Bristleback, Centaur, Lone Druid, Meepo, Pudge, Riki, Techies, Treant Protector, Wraith King)
Tournaments won: 2 (2 Majors)
DPC Ranking: 3
LGD Gaming, or PSG.LGD as they are now known, have always been one of the better teams in the circuit for the last few years. But before this season, they were never a top team that were contenders for the big tournaments. After a 4th place finish at TI 7, the 2017-2018 season didn’t start too well for LGD Gaming. They did end securing second place at the PGL Open Bucharest (which was a Minor) where coach Yao ‘QQQ’ Yi had to stand in for Chen ‘Victoria’ Guanhong. But it was pretty much a landslide after that. Failing to qualify for the first two Majors of the season, LGD went 0-6 in the group stages of the Summit 8 Minor. That was probably the final nail in the coffin and changes were imminent in the January transfer period. LGD made two changes to the roster: Victoria and Yao, the two supports were shown the door while Yang ‘Chalice’ Shenyi and Yap Jian ‘xNova’ Wei were brought in. But the most important change, I believe, was to restore Xu ‘fy’ Linsen to his coveted position 4 role. When you have one of the best position 4s in the world in your team, playing him as a position 3 is just a waste of potential. The two newcomers in the team were relatively unknown, but they surely stepped it up in the last third of the season! The difference in results was profound, as can be seen in the graph below. Before the changes were made, LGD’s win rate was lingering just below 50%, which is not where you want it to be for a top team. After the changes, the win rate shot up well above 65%!
PSG.LGD’s performance in different parts of the 2017-208 season
With the new roster, the team took a few weeks to settle in. But once they did settle in, LGD was unstoppable! The first glimpse of the potential of this team came at DAC 2018, when LGD Gaming beat Team Liquid and Virtus Pro to make it to the grand finals. That is probably the equivalent of defeating Federer and Nadal in tennis. LGD did lose 3-2 to Mineski in the grand finals, but it was actually a blessing in disguise for them. xNova said in an interview with VPesports that the team were so motivated to win a Major after coming close but losing in the final, that they put in a renewed effort. The results showed. LGD Gaming won the next two Majors that they played in – Epicenter XL and MDL Changsha. MDL Changsha was actually a story similar to OG’s Frankfurt Major. LGD made a run from the first round of the lower bracket to win the event! Quite a feat. In between DAC 2018 and Epicenter XL, a major change took place. On April 19th, LGD entered into a partnership with Paris Saint-Germain, the French football giants. After the partnership was made public, LGD’s primary Dota 2 team was rebranded as PSG.LGD. The partnership was followed by two Major wins, so I’m sure both parties must have been exhilarated. In the final event of the season, the Dota 2 Supermajor, PSG.LGD made it to the upper bracket final, but eventually faltered to Team Liquid and Virtus Pro to be eliminated. It probably wasn’t what they were hoping for, but at least it was a top 3 finish in the final event before The International 2018. Going into TI 8, PSG.LGD are the only team from China that have the skill and know how to beat Team Liquid and Virtus Pro, and probably the one most of the Chinese Dota 2 community will be turning to.
PSG.LGD’s most played heroes of the 2017-2018 DPC Season:
PSG.LGD’s most played heroes of the 2017-2018 season
PSG.LGD’s most played hero combos of the 2017-2018 season
There is a major thing to take away from the PSG.LGD hero choices and that is the fact that this is a team that sets trends, not follows them. There are certain heroes specific only to their drafts. A prime example would be Witch Doctor. The hero was contested in only 11.28% of the games from the start of the season to the end of 2017. But once xNova came to LGD, the team started picking the hero in the first phase, making good use of it. Teams started following suit and with literally no buff to the hero, the percentage of games he was contested in since January 2018 went up to 37.92%! That I would say, is a massive jump. Typical heroes like Sand King, Terrorblade and Disruptor are there in the list. But others like Clockwerk and Rubick are not heroes every team picks in abundance. I am of the belief that fy single handedly got Clockwerk nerfed to the ground.
Coming to the combos, there are a few unconventional ones in the list. Monkey King was not a highly favored hero in the season. But if it is dangerous in anyone’s hands, it is Ame! There was a reason Mineski banned out Monkey King in three of the five grand final games. It is like a pocket strat pick for LGD. Pairing up Monkey King with either Batrider or Earthshaker has an insane win rate for LGD! They were also the forerunners in putting Chalice on a position 3 Bloodseeker. All in all, this is a team ready to offset the trend and make it work. That is what makes them one of the top teams out there right now.
Looking back at the season, PSG.LGD will be happy they made the changes they did, even though it meant bringing in slightly less experienced players. Maybe, or Somnus as he’s now called, has stuck around with the organization for a long time in search of the perfect team. It seems he has finally found a good chunk of players that fit well around him. Coach QQQ has been a big influence as well. He’s the one who sits and drafts before every game. It first started at the PGL Open Bucharest, but has carried on as a tradition! A Chinese team that did not start too well in the season, picked up towards the end and are heading to an even numbered TI. Additionally, they are partnered with a French football (soccer) team and France recently won the FIFA World Cup 2018. The stars are all aligned for PSG.LGD to win The International 2018! It’s just a question of the team bringing their best game to Vancouver.