ESL One Genting made its way to local shores for the first time recently, bringing in a 3-day period of intense competition between some of the best teams in Dota 2. Fans were rooting hard for their respective teams, especially home favorites Fnatic and WarriorsGaming.Unity. Fnatic might be a household name in the eSports scene, having originated in Europe and getting fourth in The International 2016, but WG.Unity is still relatively new.
Formed in December 2015 by team captain Tue “Ahfu” Soon Chuan and Calvin Liew of DF Realty, which is their main sponsor, WG.Unity won a couple of minor tournaments, but their breakthrough moment came when they finished top 8th in the Boston Major 2016, surprising everyone who were initially skeptical of their capabilities. They didn’t look back since then and WG.Unity secured the final spot for ESL One Genting after winning the Malaysian qualifier. Unfortunately, they crashed out from the tournament after losing two consecutive games against China’s Wings Gaming and Execration from the Philippines. Gamehubs recently had the opportunity to have a quick chat with Ahfu, Kam “NaNa” Boon Seng, and Lai “Ahjit” Jay Son to talk more about their recent achievements, the pressure of playing in their home country, and their upcoming plans.
Gamehubs: You guys are fairly new in the eSports scene and you have won some minor tournaments. You have also performed well and surprised everyone in the Boston Major, how do you all feel about that?
NaNa: We felt very excited, since it’s our first time playing at such a huge stage. This motivates us to join more of these major tournaments in the future.
Gamehubs: It was winter at the time of the tournament, how did you all dealt with it?
Ahfu: We’ve been training in Malaysia all the while, so it was hard for us to adapt at first. But at the end of the day, we just forced ourselves and we also followed some of the advice given by family and friends. Our manager also took good care of us over there.
Gamehubs: How do you guys feel about joining a major tournament in your home country (ESL One Genting)? Is there any pressure?
Ahjit: We felt sad since we lost at our hometown. We need to keep working hard in order to represent Malaysia in other major tournaments.
NaNa: There is always pressure, as we didn’t want to disappoint the entire nation. So it’s very upsetting for us after crashing out from the tournament.
Gamehubs: How was the support from your family in playing Dota 2?
Ahfu: My family practices an open communication between each other, so we had positive discussions about my decision to become a pro player. They know I’ll regret it if I didn’t take the opportunity so they gave me their trust and support.
Ahjit: As for me, they aren’t really supportive at first because they believe that it’s a waste of time to play games. It was only when I joined some tournaments and won cash prizes, they slowly accepted the fact that this is my full-time job. I didn’t have any passion or interest before this so I felt lost, until I realized that I have potential in becoming a professional Dota 2 player.
Gamehubs: You guys are a professional team now, so how does it feel compared to the past, where you all were still doubting yourself about whether you can make it as a professional player?
Ahjit: We can’t afford to slack now and we need to know what we are doing (decision making and focus in training and competitions).
Gamehubs: Are there any players or teams that you all look up to?
Ahjit: Mushi, because he brought a lot of pride to the eSports community in Malaysia, and we hope to emulate his achievements as we progress in our professional careers.
Gamehubs: Which tournament are you preparing for next?
NaNa: DAC 2017 (Dota 2 Asia Championships).
Writer’s note: I only get to spend a short amount of time with the players, but based on the quick conversation, I can see that they are really passionate in what they are doing. They also have big aspirations for the future, despite being relatively new in the eSports scene. Most importantly, the look of dejection on their faces as they recalled the disappointment of losing at ESL One Genting highlights their desire to put Malaysia on the eSports map, which I wish all them all the best in doing so in future tournaments.