Elephant took the crown at China's Qualifiers, but have they got what it takes to earn the Aegis?
Elephant first came on the scene in late 2020. After some initial hiccups and red tape saw Chinese esports company 4AM drop out of the endeavor, it left to Xu "fy" Linsen & Lu "Somnus丶M" Yao, aka "Maybe" leading a squad, featuring some of China’s biggest Dota 2 names.
Despite initially getting off to a shaky start on the business side of things, Elephant put up a strong showing from the moment they hit the pro circuits. Their first big victory came when they claimed First Seed at the CDA-FDC Championships in October 2020. The team finally secured permission for Zhang “Eurus” Chengjun aka “Paparazi” to join their line up in November that year.
In spite of good form, the team failed to climb the ladder during the 2021 seasons. They scraped in at fifth place in China’s Upper Division in Season 1 & 2, missing out on both Majors. However, the OGA Dota PIT Season 5: China saw them take second place. Showing their roster can still pull out the plays even after a disappointing DPC Season.
Chinese Dota Royalty
Team Captain, fy, has been a mainstay of China’s DPC scene since 2012. Arguably the best Rubick player in the world, he played with Vici Gaming until 2016, when he moved across to PSG.LGD. His indomitable support style nabbed him MVP during EPICENTER 2018, and he’s got more than enough main stage experience under his belt to lead Elephant to victory.
Plus, he’s not alone. Names like Maybe/Somnus and Paparazi/Eurus have been synonymous with the top tier of Chinese Dota too.
Somnus exploded onto the scene under the tag “Maybe” back in 2013 with Vici Gaming. Quickly making a name for himself with his first-class Leshrac game. (He’s the all-time leader in pro matches with Leshrac, tucking away 38 wins with the hero.)
Eurus began his DPC career back in 2015 with Immortal Magneto Gaming, before playing for both Invictus Gaming and Vici Gaming. In 2016 he was the first player to reach 8000 MMR on Chinese servers, and his performance at the Kuala Lumpur Major back in 2018 saw him walk away with the highest average kills per game at 10.21.
Can Elephant win TI 10?
Alongside Xie "Super" Junhao and Offlaner Zhou "Yang" Haiyang there is plenty of varied experiences in the roster for the team to bring the Aegis home to China. Super has playtime under his belt since 2011, and he’s also put on the coach’s hat for Royal Never Give Up back in 2019. While Yang cut his teeth playing for Vici Gaming Reborn during their stellar 2016 run at the Manila Major.
But even with experience and perseverance, Elephant will need to pull out all the stops to bring down big names like fellow Chinese titans PSG.LGD. They’ll also have to contend with CIS & NA superstars in the face of Virtus.Pro and Evil Geniuses. While this year might not be their year, they’re still a team to keep an eye on in Bucharest.
Feature Images: @ElephantDota2