Valve’s The International 7 (TI7) tournament fast approaching and the qualifier tournaments settled, now is the best time to take a look at each participating team. For brevity sake, we’ll go over each team individually, given the rich history and wealth of information available for each team and each player attending. One of the most supported teams right now in the North American Dota 2 segment is team Cloud9, and for good reason.
Note: July 20th at 5:54 PM PST, Cloud9 announced on twitter that they signed NP’s entire roster.
Cloud9, formerly NP, was a team that struggled for quite some time since TI6, achieving only minor success. That is until circumstances lead them to build a new roster. Nearly one month after the Departure of Avery “SVG” Silverman and Theeban “1437” Siva, NP announced their new roster on their website.
Since the changes, the team is enjoying considerable competitive success. They won 3rd place at The Manila Masters premier tournament, 2nd place at ZOTAC Cup Masters, 4th at DOTA Summit 7 (getting knocked out by Virtus.Pro, the winners of the tournament) and placed 1st in The International 2017 North American qualifier. The latest victory, earning them a place to compete at TI7 this year at the Key Arena in Seattle.
Given this dramatic shift in performance since reshaping the team, we’re taking some time to take a closer look at the players whose talents will be on display this TI.
Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao
First, is the team’s captain and position one player (‘Carry’ or ‘Core’), Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao. This 26-year-old Canadian player has been playing Dota 2 professionally since 2012. Over the years he has been on a number of competitive teams, such as “No Tidehunter” and “Cloud9”.
Though he was originally a support player when he first started, he’s cemented his place as one of the top carries in Dota 2. After TI5, EternaLEnVy joined Team Secret and performed well at the first major. However, the team had a downhill performance throughout the rest of that competitive year and a lackluster showing at TI6. Due to this, EternaLEnVy left Secret to form a new team: Team NP.
Lead by EternaLEnVy and joined by Theeban “1437” Siva, Avery “SVG” Silverman, Arif “MSS” Anwar, and Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling, Team NP experienced decent success, but wasn’t giving a stellar performance. They frequently placed in the top 8, but no higher than 5th at premier tournaments. At the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017, the team placed between 9th-12th.
Afterward, on April 6th 2017, 1437 announced in a video on his YouTube channel, EternaLEnVy had cut him and SVG from the team.
Nearly a month later on May 3rd 2017, with the addition of Dota 2 veterans, Adrian “FATA-” Trinks and Johan “PieLieDie” Åström were announced via a post on the team’s website. Since the team changes, NP has had noticeably more success. Despite not receiving a direct invite to TI7, they battled through the North American Qualifier, with a convincing showing of strength. In the NA qualifiers, Team NP lost only one match, to team Freedom, throughout the entire tournament. On July 20th at 5:58 pm, Cloud9 announced the acquisition of team NP’s roster via twitter.
Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling
Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling is a Canadian Dota 2 player, who started his career in 2012. He originally played the hard carry position, and quickly gained notoriety with new innovative item builds and strong mechanical proficiency. This powerful player is considered one of the most successful players in not just Dota 2, but all of esports. He’s been TI on several occasions: in 2013 on team Dignitas where they placed 9th-12th, with team Cloud 9 in 2014 where they placed 5-6th, and even reaching first place while on team Evil Geniuses in 2015. He also has an estimated total earnings of over 2 million USD so far across his Dota 2 career.
Despite his high level of proficiency, he hasn’t stayed on any he team for very long. In the past 5 years, he’s changed teams 9 times for various reasons. However, this is surprisingly common in the Dota 2 scene, especially among higher skilled players.
He plays a position 4 roaming support on Cloud9 and since his joining the team, the team’s been enjoying a steady increase in success. Given his high skill and ability to influence the early game with powerful, yet difficult, characters like Visage, Chen, and Enchantress, he may be the target of respect bans throughout the tournament. Due to his inclination to play characters that make strong plays early and mid game, keep an eye on him early in Cloud9’s games for some action.
Johan “PieLieDie” Åström
Johan “PieLieDie” Åström is a Swedish Dota 2 player, who also started his career in early 2012. His skills led him to be scouted from a pub game to join a pro team. Throughout his career, PieLieDie has played position 5 support. Despite having a career that’s spanned across several teams, and has had very mixed success, PieLieDie’s strong play has lead to him standing out among the hoards of Dota 2 players. He’s skilled enough to earn himself places on several premier teams such as Cloud 9, Team Secret, Team NP, and now Cloud9 again.
A frequent player of high-impact supports that scale well through the mid and late game, PieLieDie puts himself in positions to be effective and impactful at all stages of the game.
One of his most effective characters lately has been Bounty Hunter, a stealth hero who can grant teammates extra gold on kills. He sounds like a fairly simple character to play, but to be effective at a professional level takes an enormous amount of skill, foresight, and ability to read your opponents as he can be easily killed under many circumstances. Another go to for PieLieDie is Io, a character that is notoriously difficult to play effectively at any skill level, and also requires cooperation and effective communication with teammates to be a worthwhile pick. PieLieDie can make this hero seem almost overpowered at times with his effective teleport and leash plays.
Arif “MSS” Anwar
Arif “MSS” (Short for ‘MojoStormStout’) Anwar is an American Dota 2 player who’s made a name for himself in the offlane. He started his professional career in 2013 and even took a break in 2014 to finish college.
MSS is an oddity, he gained most of his fame early in his career as a stand-in player, filling in for other players in professional matches and tournaments. Though his achievements aren’t as well known as his other teammates, he did attend TI 2014 with Mousesports, placing 11th at the event. After his return to Dota 2, he participated in a few smaller teams, and experienced mixed results, until finally being picked up by team NP.
MSS has been very successful when playing strong initiation heroes and has a tendency to make plays that the enemy team isn’t expecting. In North American qualifiers for TI7, MSS playing Legion Commander was able to get first blood at around five minutes before even getting his ultimate ability, against DC by pulling a lane of enemy creeps to proc counter attack hits against DC’s silencer. More surprising and smart plays are sure to be had at this TI7.
Adrian “FATA-” Trinks
Adrian “FATA-” Trinks is a German Dota 2 player who is known for his solo-mid play and use of mechanism in the role. His professional career started in 2012-2013 with mousesports and has included well known, high performing teams such as Cloud 9 and Team Liquid.
He’s had experience at TI before, being the mid lane player for Team Liquid at The International 2016, and many other high profile tournaments, as well as doing the same during his time on Cloud 9 (placing 9th-12th in TI5). Despite Team Liquid being knocked out in 7th place at TI6, FATA- is one of the most solid, consistent mid lane players in Dota.
One of his most played characters is Puck, and FATA- consistently performs well on a number of high mobility characters, with good wave clear abilities, such as Queen of Pain and Lina. He’s proven to be a good fit for this team and works very well with the other members.
Team Cloud9 is one of 18 teams preparing to compete for a prize pool currently at over 21 million dollars. One of team NP’s former players, who’s worked very closely with 3 of Cloud9’s lineup, Avery “SVG” Silverman was signed on as a coach for team Evil Geniuses.
This may give them an edge over Cloud9, as he has played with 3/5ths of the current roster for months, and may have valuable insights into their styles and strategies. Cloud9 may have to pull out something surprising to win it out against Evil Geniuses, but they are certainly capable of it.
Tune in from August 7th to August 12th to see the action!