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Long Form

Mushi departs from Fnatic

After almost two years with the franchise, Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung decided to leave one of the world’s largest esports organizations, FnaticMushi officially joined the said organization last June 2015 — where Fnatic acquired his former team Team Malaysia — and has since been the core player of the squad.

“I would like to start off by saying thank you to Fnatic for supporting me all the way from when we had just started off, and all my teammates along the way for your support. I would also like to thank my fans for supporting me through thick and thin,” said Mushi through a Press Release by Fnatic.

Fnatic described the situation as an “End of an Era”, as Mushi was very iconic in the organizations successes from 2015. Under his leadership, Fnatic was able to join every Valve-sponsored event from the Frankfurt Major of 2015 up until their fourth place finish during The International 2016. They were constantly at the top of many LAN tournaments.

However, the team have suffered heavily after The International 2016, eventually not being able to qualify for the Boston Major — a time where the team had to revamp around Mushi after losing three of their players in the Post-TI6 shuffle. “It’s hard to shy away from the fact that the team has been suffering recently. In the months following The International 2016 the roster was never really able to settle and unfortunately this reflected in our results. It is with regret that now we come to this impasse where one of our founding players and most iconic figures has found the best solution is to relinquish his position in order for Fnatic find a new way forward,” Fnatic mentioned.

“We are so incredibly grateful to Mushi for all that he’s given us: for each fan that he has drawn to Fnatic, for all he has done to grow the organisation in South East Asia, for the professional example that he sets every day for aspiring gamers around the world. For all of this, a simple ‘thank-you’ does not do justice,” Fnatic added. “We of course hope to stay close, and who knows, maybe our journeys will come together once more. It goes without saying that we wish Mushi all the best going forward.”

Mushi leaving Fnatic will also be a hard breakup of two of the most iconic power duos of Southeast Asia, as Mushi will have to leave his long-time teammate Chong Xin “Ohaiyo” Khoo. They have been teammates since the conception of the Malaysia-based Fnatic Dota squad, and where long-time teammates even before.

Fnatic will be looking to rebuild around Ohaiyo and South Korean star player Yong-min “Febby” Kim. So far, there are only two listed players for Fnatic. “Now we must press on. We’re thrilled that Ohaiyo will be continuing the team’s endeavour, joined at his side by our newest player, Febby. Together with Reinnnn, they will now look to a brighter future as they contemplate a new roster,” the organization concluded their press release.

Finally, Mushi ended his public statement, expressing his gratitude towards his fans. “At the moment I’m leaving Fnatic as a player. I’m not sure about my future plans ahead yet, but I’m looking forward to explore into a new environment.”


Follow this writer through @caisamyvez

Long Form

5 Female Video Game Characters who defied Stereotypes

Women in video games back then are often just damsels in distress. Say for example Princess Peach; her only role in the first few Mario games is to be abducted and saved by the player. If not seen as objectives to be saved, female game characters were often just eye-candy, wearing revealing clothing without any unique personality traits to speak of.

Now before the month of March is about to end (it is after all Women’s History Month), we are highlighting five female video game characters who have defied the stereotypes. These characters are nuanced and multi-dimensional, with different ages, backgrounds, and personalities.

Lara Croft

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Lara Croft, she’s one of the most recognizable video game characters of all time, and with good reason. The Tomb Raider series are excellent adventure games in their own right, and is one of the first adventure series to feature a badass female playable protagonist. No matter which iteration of Lara, she’s sure to be a force to be reckoned with. Though we would like to highlight the latest incarnation of Lara from the 2013 reboot.

The current Lara Croft is a great character, as she is initially portrayed as vulnerable and inexperienced, but through her experiences throughout the game, she turns into the Lara Croft that we have all come to know and love. This evolution of her character shows more depth to her personality, and is much more realistic compared to the previous Lara’s; not to mention she wears much more appropriate tomb-raiding attire (I mean, who wears a bright blue tank-top and short-shorts to tombs?).

Aloy

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Aloy is the newest character included in the list, though this does not make her the least interesting. She is the playable character of Guerilla Games’ and Sony’s newest IP, Horizon: Zero Dawn. As the game is set in a post-apocalyptic world filled with robots, you have to be tough to survive, and Aloy is just that. She climbs, fights, and takes down large robots with ease, and she’s resilient despite the harsh obstacles along her way. Most importantly though, Aloy is compassionate and sympathetic to those in need, making her one of the best new female characters in games.

Clementine

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The two previous girls on the list are strong physically, though they might not match the mental and emotional strength of The Walking Dead’s 8-year old Clementine. The game’s two seasons (with a new one underway) throws equal parts danger and heartbreak throughout her journey of survival, but she keeps on persevering. Clementine is smart and mature for her age, and she makes many tough decisions throughout her journey, decisions that most of us might not make properly given the situation. Given all that she’s been and will go through, Clementine surely deserves praise.

Tali’Zorah Nar Rayya

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One of Commander Shepard’s constant companions throughout the Mass Effect trilogy, Tali’Zorah Nar Rayya might not be human, but she’s one of the most memorable characters in the said trilogy. As a Quarian (one of the many alien species in Mass Effect), Tali is a mechanical genius, which proves invaluable in their fight against the Reapers. Tali is also a kind-hearted and gentle soul, but can kick-ass when needed. And the best thing about her is that she’s loyal to her friends aboard the Normandy, and her family in the Quarian Fleet.

Ana Amari

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Overwatch is one of the finest games when it comes to female representation, with female characters ranging from a bodybuilding Russian, to a feisty Korean gamer. And the last one on our list is Ana Amari, the game’s Egyptian sniper/healer. At 60 years old, she’s one of the oldest characters in the game, and one of the oldest female characters in any FPS.

Ana’s design deserves a lot of praise, especially as there are only a few games that feature playable female characters that are already in their 60s, even though old male characters are quite common. She’s also unique gameplay-wise, as she is equipped with a sniper rifle that heals allies. And best of all, she has a motherly nature, which is in line with the colorful personalities of characters that inhabit the world of Overwatch.

Images courtesy of in2gpu, Escapist, PlayStation Universe, PlayOverwatch, and the Mass Effect Wiki.

Long Form

Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017 Tier List (Part 2 of 2)

The Dota 2 Asia Championships will be starting March 27th, where the 12 participating teams shall undergo a BO2 round robin stage to determine who’ll go to the Upper Bracket or the Lower Bracket of the Main Event come April 1-4. GG Network evaluated where the 12 participating teams fare in terms of their chances in winning this tournament:

READ: Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017 Tier List (Part 1 of 2)


Tier 3: Dark Horses

Vici Gaming. J (VG.J)

Sun “Agressif” Zheng
Liu “Freeze” Chang
Bai “rOtk” Fan
Xu “fy” Linsen
Lu “Fenrir” Chao

The standout performance of Vici Gaming.J last Star Ladder Star Series — where they eliminated teams such as Wings Gaming and OG en route to the Grand Finals — was enough for Valve to actually directly invite them for the Kiev Major. Understandably so, because the face value you get from just their lineup is quite immense. It is still the support duo fy and Fenrir as well as former TI runners-up Agressif and rOtk, anyway. They’ve shown that they can defeat even the greatest if they find their groove.

Wings Gaming

Chu “shadow” Zeyu
Zhou “bLink” Yang
Zhang “Faith_bian” Ruida
Zhang “y`” Yiping
Lee “iceice” Peng

Wings Gaming might be the recent world defending champions, but teams have already figured out their unpredictability up to this point; hence, their poor performances in their past tournament outings since their TI6 championship run. They have shown that VG.J can defeat them as well, but the chaos that Patch 7.04 might bring could be their second wind.

Newbee

Xu “uuu9” Han
Song “Sccc” Chun
Damien “kpii” Chok
Hu “kaka” Liangzhi
Zeng “Faith” Hongda

The second Chinese powerhouse hasn’t been active as of late — but the fact that they were direct invites to both DAC and the Kiev Major speaks a lot about the team’s pedigree. There’s still much to stay whether or not they look good for the recent patch, but their roster since Fall season has been kept intact and their strength should also be here as well. It is not impossible at all for the 9000 MMR-heavy team (both Sccc and kaka were the first ones to reach such height in the China Region) to take this tournament home.


Tier 4: Championship Contenders

Team Liquid

Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen
Amer “Miracle-“ Al-Barkawi
Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Borislavov
Maroun “GH” Merhej
Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi

Finally, the three-man 9000 MMR stack of Team Liquid — MATUMBAMAN, Miracle-, and even the support GH all reached 9000 MMR  — found their success after winning the StarLadder Star Series Season 3 last month. More importantly, they did it in a very convincing fashion. They have netted their Keiv Major invites as well, and it’s no doubt that the uber-talented team can easily become the champions of this tournament.

OG

Johan “N0tail” Sundstein
Anathan “ana” Pham
Gustav “s4” Magnusson
Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka
Tal “Fly” Aizik

The recent Fall Major champions may have had a rather premature exit at the Star Ladder Star Series Season 3, but their strength and tactical depth as a team is nothing to be shrugged off. In almost all of their LAN outings, they are a threat to any team and a championship contender as well. They are looking in prime shape as of late, and they are a very strong force here in DAC.

Evil Geniuses

Artour “Arteezy” Babaev
Syed Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan
Saahil UNiVeRsE Arora
Ludwig “zai” Wahlberg
Andreas Franck “Cr1t” Nielsen

Their Fall Season have had a rocky start, but the new iteration of Evil Geniuses seemed to slowly be gelling. They had quite an impressive run during the Boston Major, but their stand out performance was taking down the titans OG last Dota Pit Season 5 to win the tournament in five epic games. They are indeed the defending champions of this tournament, and SumaiL might just get his second Divine Rapier from DAC this year.


You can follow this writer through @caisamyvez

Long Form

Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017 Tier List (Part 1 of 2)

The Dota 2 Asia Championships will be starting March 27th, where the 12 participating teams shall undergo a BO2 round robin stage to determine who’ll go to the Upper Bracket or the Lower Bracket of the Main Event come April 1-4. GG Network evaluated where the 12 participating teams fare in terms of their chances in winning this tournament:


Bottom 3: Happy To Be Here Tier

Team Empire

Vladimir “Chappie” Kuzmenko
Rostislav “fn” Lozovoi
Andrey “Ghostik” Kadyk
Yaroslav “Miposhka” Naidenov
Rinat “KingR” Abdullin

Team Empire found a lot of luck after Virtus.Pro failed to participate in the online European Qualifiers of DAC. This team was also neither invited nor qualified for the upcoming Kiev Major, which proves their struggles in maintaining their performance at the EU scene. Still, they qualified for DAC, but they’re long ways to go especially against 9 other Kiev Major participants.

LGD.Forever Young (LFY)

Du “Monet” Peng
Xie “Super” Junhao
Xiao “Jixing” Zhihao
Lei “White” Yipei
Luo “Lpc” Puchao

Like Team EmpireLFY would not be participating in the Kiev Major and might just be the weakest link in the stronghold of the Chinese lineup for DAC, as their revamped roster still hasn’t brought fruit. They can easily be taken down by other more stabler teams, and both Super and Monet has a long way to go in terms of representing this team.

Team NP

Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling
Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao
Arif “MSS” Anwar
Avery “SVG” Silverman
Theeban “1437” Siva

Team NP also failed to qualify for the Kiev Major, after a big upset from Team Onyx and Abed “Abed” Yusop’s Meepo. This is hard evidence for Team NP‘s chances in DAC: surely, they can go far in this tournament by talent value in ther lineup alone, but they can also be easily defeated by any team if they don’t get themselves together. Team NP‘s chances are slim against other top-grade teams here in DAC, and they themselves can make it slimmer because they are a team proven — time and time again — to be outplaying themselves.


 

Second Tier: Long Shot

Invictus Gaming

Xu “BurNIng” Zhilei
Ou “Op” Peng
Lin “Xxs” Jing
Ye “BoBoKa” Zhibiao
Fu “Q” Bin

iG might not be the best in the Chinese scene, but still proves to be successful in many of their recent online tournament outings. They’ve bested many teams in this region, and successfully qualified through three premiere tournaments throughout 2017: DAC, Kiev Major, and Manila Masters. The BurNIng-led bunch of considerably upstarts in the Dota 2 scene showed the whole world recently that if they can find their stride, they can be successful against many other teams.

Invictus Gaming Vitality

Zhang “Paparazi灬” Chengjun
Xu “Sakata” Zichen
Yang “InJuly” Xiaodon
Su “super” Peng
Gao “Dogf1ghts” Tianpeng

As the secondary team of the franchise, iG.Vitality found themselves more successful than the main squad since their revamp last Fall season. They actually qualified for last season’s Fall Major — though they had to change three of their players because of US VISA issues — and masterfully defeat them in a series to effectively qualify for the upcoming Kiev Major. They still have a lot to prove when going up against the top-grade Chinese teams, but they have already shown the international scene their strength as a team. It wouldn’t be surprising if they can upset many other teams because of their youngster savvy.

Team Faceless

Dominik “Black^” Reitmeier
Anucha “Jabz” Jirawong
Daryl “iceiceice” Koh
Toh “Xy-“ Wai Hong
Wong “NutZ” Jeng Yih

There’s no doubt that Faceless are currently the kings in the Southeast Asia region, but they are the team that showed quite inadequate performances when it comes to international tournaments. Then again, they showed last Dota Pit Season 5 that they can defeat even the top teams because of the amount of veteran experience running through their decorated lineup. If Faceless can still pull something out of their bag o’ tricks, their chances in making it through the tournament can be higher.


Watch out for Part 2 of this GG Network Tier List for Dota 2 Asia Championship. You can follow this writer through @caisamyvez