TI8 will go down in history as one of the best Tis ever to take place as and the fact that it was a cinderella story for OG, a team that had been written off by most. But a part of TI8, that is very integral to the story, will just be there to complete the puzzle. And that part is the runner-up team, PSG.LGD. No one glorifies the runners-up when the history books are written.
With TI9 just a day away and taking place in PSG.LGD’s backyard, they will be eager to write an alternate ending which ends on a happier note. Let’s take a look at China’s wounded Huskar, who is ready to Life Break onto unsuspecting opponents from the shadows!
It was supposed to be China’s year at TI8, an even year when China took the aegis. But just as PSG.LGD seemed to be completing the pattern, OG swooped it from them. It was a crushing defeat, being so close yet so far. Of the 18 teams playing at TI8, the team that left Vancouver with the most regrets was probably PSG.LGD, even though they earned a prize north of $4 million. After that, the team just hasn’t been the same. They will be going into TI9 with the same roster as TI8, only one of four teams to do so (others are OG, Evil Geniuses and Virtus Pro). The season hasn’t been a complete disaster for them, but it hasn’t been the best either. Additionally, they probably aren’t the favorite Chinese team heading into The International 2019. Vici Gaming, with two Majors under their belt this season, are the Chinese favorites to lift the Aegis in Shanghai. But PSG.LGD might have other plans.
PSG.LGD roster for TI9:
- Wand ‘Ame’ Chunyu
- Lu ‘Maybe’ Yao
- Yang ‘Chalice’ Shenyi
- Xu ‘fy’ Linsen
- Yap Jian ‘xNova’ Wei
- Yao ‘QQQ’ Yi (coach and drafter)
- Yao ‘Yao’ Zhengzheng (coach)
PGG.LGD’s season started off well enough, qualifying for the Kuala Lumpur Major comfortably. It would be the home ground of their position 5 player, xNova, so it was special in a way for the team. PSG.LGD dominated the group stages and demolished Alliance 2-0 in the first game of the upper bracket. But when the time came to take on Team Secret, PSG.LGD found themselves on the wrong side of a 2-0 score line. Secret had also beaten them in the PVP Esports Championship a few weeks ago and it seemed the new Team Secret roster was ascending to the top. PSG.LGD however, did not seem to be going in the same direction as they were taken down 2-0 by Evil Geniuses in the lower bracket and had to settle for 5th/6th place. A respectable finish for most teams, but not for the TI8 runners-up. The team qualified for the second DPC Major of the season, the Chongqing Major, albeit with a bit more of a challenge this time, finishing third in the regional qualifiers.
The start of the new year, 2019, brought with it the Chongqing Major. This time around, the TI8 runners-up managed to do a bit better, finishing in 4th place. However, the Evil Geniuses barrier was once again the one that stopped them from advancing any further. With a similar scoreline as before (2-0), PSG.LGD were shown the door just before achieving a podium finish. A couple of days after this, their talismanic mid laner, Maybe (or Somnus), announced that he would be taking a break to get back to his best form. In the meanwhile, CDEC's mid laner, Guo ‘Xm’ Hongcheng, would be standing in for PSG.LGD. With their new makeshift midlaner, the team came through the Chinese qualifiers for the Stockholm Major quite comfortably. Irrespective of the change, PSG.LGD didn’t perform any better or worse. They finished 5th/6th in Stockholm, this time losing 2-1 to Virtus Pro. A pattern was building for PSG.LGD – they could dispatch off the weaker teams quite easily and were never on the wrong end of an upset. But when it came to taking on the big boys like Secret, EG and VP, the team faltered.
End of the season
The good thing heading into the end of the season for PSG.LGD was that Maybe had returned back to the mid role and their exploits in the first three DPC Majors had earned them a direct invite to TI9. PSG.LGD would definitely be going back to attempt another grab of the Aegis. The team managed to qualify for both the remaining Majors – MDL Disneyland Paris and Epicenter along with ESL One Birmingham. Patch changes, meta changes, heroes coming and going, teams around them getting in and out of form – nothing seemed to have an effect on PSG.LGD’s performances. They finished 4th and 5th/6th at MDL Disneyland and the Epicenter Major respectively. In between the two, ESL Birmingham was a 3rd place finish, the only tournament of the season when PSG.LGD made the top 3. In these tournaments, their losses were against Team Secret, Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses, Team Secret, Team Liquid and TNC Predator. See the pattern again? Besides TNC (who are probably the most unpredictable team heading to TI9), all of LGD’s losses were to the top teams. VPEsports did a few interviews with the LGD players in the last two Majors of the season. Their position 4 player, Xu ‘fy’ Linsen said the team didn’t rest properly after TI8, which lead to disappointing results. At Epicenter, xNova said he though except Vici Gaming, none of the Chinese teams had grown in the 2018-2019 DPC season.
The season didn’t go as expected for PSG.LGD, but all these players have been there and done that at The International championships. They know how to deal with the pressure in the biggest Dota 2 competition of the year and this time, it will be in front of their home crowd. It won’t be surprising to see the team exceed expectations and overcome their barrier of losing to the top teams. In that regard, PSG.LGD are exactly like a wounded Huskar – filled with potential and waiting for the right time to unleash their full capacity, when others might think they are down and low!
PSG.LGD have been the only team in the 2018-2019 DPC season to earn a 6th or higher finish at every DPC Major. Like a lot of previous TI runners-up (CDEC, Digital Chaos and Newbee) PSG.LGD haven’t crashed and burned. They’ve managed to keep the ship afloat. The team is consistent and as discussed before, only lacks the finishing touch in the latter stages of the competition. Rectify that (for which they have the right players) and they have a good chance to challenge for the Aegis.
A thirst to erase the TI8 loss
Last year, revenge was a strong motivating factor for OG in their Cinderella run. PSG.LGD will have a strong motivation coursing through their veins to show the Dota 2 community their second place finish wasn’t a fluke.
Xu ‘fy’ Linsen
Fy has been a TI runner-up twice – in 2014 and 2018. He is undoubtedly one of the best players in the world and although he hasn’t been playing his best Dota this season, TI9, in front of the home crowd is where the position 4 will most likely show what he is capable of. That just might give PSG.LGD the last bit of push they require.