North American Dota 2 has been falling quickly over the last few years with only the likes of Evil Geniuses really contesting for the spoils of the region – that was until teams such as Forward Gaming begun to make some headway into the scene. With only a few days until The International 2019 kicks off, now is a great time to look at Forward’s history – and why they’ll be fighting under the Newbee banner.
Forward Gaming entered the Dota 2 scene in September of 2018 when they picked up the ex-VGJ.Storm roster and seemed as though they would quickly take the NA scene by storm. With players such as TI-winner Saahil ‘UNiVeRsE’ Arora and Roman ‘Resolut1on’ Fominok on the squad, they hoped to do what their former organization could not – win a Major and break into the upper echelons of TI standings. However, the 2018/19 Dota 2 Pro Circuit season seemed to move them farther away from this goal than they were before as the team suffered roster changes and poor results. Even though they reached nearly every Major of the season, they would finish in what was basically last place or one bracket above that every single time – leaving them without the DPC points needed to obtain a direct invite to TI9. But even with the poor results from Majors, Forward Gaming never gave up in their dream of reaching The International and qualifiers were indicative of this. The North American qualifier was no walk-in-the-park with the likes of J.Storm, compLexity Gaming, Team Xolotl and beastcoast all in the running for the prestigious last spot for NA at TI9. FWD were brutal in their execution – losing only a single game in their victory, which came in the grand final.
However, it was only after the qualifier that FWD would find out that their organization was under duress and the team, even though being qualified for TI9, would not be playing under the Forward Gaming banner. This is when Newbee stepped in, the Chinese organization had had a horrific run through the DPC, being barely seen in events and failing to reach TI9 through qualifiers. Newbee, while having a Chinese squad, picked up the NA team and would be the banner that they played under for the upcoming TI9.
Newbee TI9 roster:
- Yawar ‘YawaR’ Hassan
- Quinn ‘CCnC’ Callahan
- Jingjun ‘Sneyking’ Wu
- Arif ‘MSS’ Anwar
- Johan ‘pieliedie’ Åström
- Kurtis ‘Aui_2000’ Daniel Ling (Coach)
In an interview from Perfect World about joining Newbee, the team had a lot to say and manager, Jack ‘KBBQ’ Chen had the following to say,
I was born in Shanghai and most of my family members still live in Shanghai. It’s incredible to be able to compete at the biggest esports tournament in such a great city like Shanghai. We’ve had our ups and downs this year. We set a high goal at the beginning of this season that we couldn’t accomplish it. Then, we hit rock-bottom at ESL One Katowice, DreamLeague and the following Major qualifiers, but fortunately, we managed to pull ourselves together and conclude this season in a good form.”
When asked about why the team decided to choose Newbee as the organization that they would play under team coach, Aui_2000 said,
With one TI championship title and one TI runner up spot under its belt, Newbee is one of the best clubs in Dota2’s history. It’s also one of the clubs we’re willing to fight for.”
While mentioned before that this squad did not have the best DPC season, they are definitely a team of amazing and well-known players. First and foremost is YawaR; it is never easy to come out of the shadows of a brother like Sumail ‘SumaiL’ Hassan, but YawaR has definitely managed to do so. The 22-year old has produced some magnificent play and while only being in the Dota 2 scene since 2015, he has managed to come second in a Major, win a Minor and even finish in the top half of the TI8 standings. While not having the same records as his brother, YawaR is definitely capable of being an amazing carry and should always be on every opponent’s radar. Next is CCnC, a player who has seen some ups and downs in his career. While playing for OpTic Gaming alongside the likes of Peter ‘ppd’ Dager, Quinn definitely came into his own as a mid-laner, even though many doubted his playstyle. After joining the FWD roster in late March, he was not able to really make a valid impact, not until the TI9 qualifiers got underway. While every member of the squad has been to a TI previously, none have managed to hoist the Aegis of Champions and while they will have a tough time, this Newbee TI9 roster could easily cause some major upsets.
When it comes to rivals, Newbee need to look towards the North American team, Evil Geniuses. While it is not a massive rivalry where the teams have faced off against each other very often, the relationship between Sumail and Yawar is definitely enough for a friendly feud. That said, the two teams have met a few times this season, with EG eliminating FWD from the Kuala Lumpur Major which was followed by FWD taking victory over EG at the Chongqing Major qualifiers. For the most part, any team should always be fearful of a team without and pressure on themselves but when it comes to TI, who’s to say where the pressure may unfold from.
Newbee go into The International 2019 as complete underdogs, but this won’t stop them from giving it their all with their NA roster of fantastic players. With only four days until TI9 kicks off, it is sure to be an amazing experience for all involved.
TI9 team profiles:
Infamous, the ever Morphling roster
Na’Vi, the rejuvenated Ancient Apparition
Virtus.pro, the Storm Spirit of CIS
Fnatic – The Troll Warlord with a twist
TNC Predator, the Undying hope of SEA
Mineski, the rising Phoenix of Southeast Asia
Evil Geniuses – Sven on a cliff
Team Liquid, the Enigma of the season
OG, the Monkey Kings
Ninjas in Pyjamas, the menacing Meepo
Alliance, the Tiny path to success
Team Secret, Chen’s army
Chaos – Knights with a vengeance