posted by Sun_Tzu,
We're now just about 16 days away from The International 2013, and with that it's about time we start taking a look at the teams that will be competing at the event. We kick this off with a double feature as we take a look at the upcoming Wildcard match between fr Quantic Gaming and cn RattleSnakes, the two runners of the Western and Eastern Qualifiers respectively.

The journey of the team that would come to take second at the International West Qualifiers this year began not long before that, as ua Artur 'Goblak' Kostenko and ru Airat 'Silent' Gaziev joined the team on the 29th of April after leaving ru Team Empire two weeks earlier. While the French core which had been together since the days of fr Team Shakira had been sporadically active within the scene before this, they had struggled to find a solid five man squad since the break-up of The International 2012 Western Qualifier winner eu mTw, and although previously recognized as talented players they were not slated to appear in the qualifiers for the 2013 event.

But with the sudden addition of one of the most successful captains of the last quarter of 2012, things turned around in a big way, as the team started showing results in practice session and word quickly got out about their immense potential, a potential which earned the at that time still unsponsored team a shot at qualifying. While the public remained skeptical, they were soon won over by the unorthodox style of play which always seems to accompany Goblak wherever he goes, as well as great individual performances. In a short span of time, the team which at that point was still known as fr dd.Dota came to be approached by sponsors, and they signed their deal with fr Quantic Gaming on the 4th of June.

Since then they’ve become a staple of the Western scene, one which can mold the metagame and challenge the very best, as they did at DreamHack Summer 2013, where they placed second. Unfortunately, as Quantic were finding their stride two things happened. On the 30th of June Icefrog nerfed the Treant Protector which at the time was a core part of the Quantic playstyle, followed by the teams offlane player fr Titouan ‘Sockshka’ Merloz injuring his left hand on the 1st of July. Luckily, on the 12th Sockshka received good news from his doctors, stating that he would be able to return to playing within 2-3 days, which was right in time for the start of the team’s bootcamp on the 16th in Kiev, Ukraine.


2nd Place - The International West Qualifiers - Wildcard Invite
2nd Place - DreamHack Summer 2013 @Jönköping, Sweden - 70,000 SEK (~$10,500)
4th Place - Star Ladder Star Series Season 6 @Kiev, Ukraine -$1,500

The Players

Goblak (Captain)
ua Artur Kostenko

Signature Heroes: :d2_ud: :d2_bane: :d2_chen: :d2_roof:

Goblak has been around since the olden days of Warcraft 3 DotA, finding his first home in ua Wolker Gaming back in 2008, before becoming part of the legendary ua DTS and moving on to the first incarnation of ua Na`Vi. His Wc3 DotA career ended as he followed his friend and teammate ua Bogdan 'Axypa' Boychuk into retirement in 2010.

His return came with the formation of a new DTS team for Dota 2 back in 2012, taking up the duties of Captaining the team and creating one of the most unconventional and influential teams of the CIS scene during the period prior to the second International. However their results were just shy of being worthy of cosideration for the direct invite, and as his old captain ua Ivan 'Artstyle' Antonov had been promised a spot at the event as a returning champion, Goblak left for ua Darer, whom he ended up leading as well.

Darer did not work out, as the lackluster results at TI2 lead to a break-up and Artstyle leaving the scene once more. Instead Goblak ended up leading the new Team Empire, where he met Silent. The team enjoyed great success but continued to play second fiddle to Na`Vi, causing ua Gleb 'Funn1k' Lipatnikov to eventually leave the team in order to replace ru Dmitriy 'LighTofHeaveN' Kupriyanov, which eventually caused the downfall of Team Empire, as they were not able to find a suitable replacement. Instead he ended up joining dd.Dota, wanting to try playing with teams outside of the CIS in hopes of a more stable environment.

As a player he is best known as a support, and although this has not always been the case, it holds true for now. While he is regarded as a good player in his own right, known for playing Bane, Undying and the occasional junglers, it is his drafting abilities which have made him one of the most well regarded players in todays Dota 2 scene.

fr Sébastien Debs

Signature Heroes: :d2_enigma: :d2_bane::d2_nyx:]

7ckingmad first came to prominence during mTw's run at DreamHack Summer 2012, where his Enigma play impressed everyone in attendance. Some time later it became known that he was a highly creative strategian as well, who contributed a considerable amount to the dominant playstyle of the pre-TI2 mTw. Unfortunately, his teams chance to show off their methodical push strategies on the big stage were undermined by a bootcamp which resulted in internal splintering, leading to the team splitting up after the event was over.

Since returning to competitive play after having focused on his studies for a while, he has mostly stuck to his support role, although anyone who thinks he is a one trick pony is sorely mistaken. He is a highly skilled solo mid player as well, and this kind of depth gives Quantic an edge in their training, as they can better harden their solo players in 1v1 situations.

As for his own part, while still associated with the Enigma, he plays a lot of Bane since the addition of Goblak to the roster, and is also an accomplished Nyx Assassin player. He also sometimes mixes things up with a Nature's Prophet, and has been the primary Crystal Maiden player for his team.

According to former teammate dk Christoffer 'Ryze' Winther "7ckingmad is a beast".

fr Titouan Merloz

Signature Heroes: :d2_tinker: :d2_ds: :d2_lich:

At one time Sockshka was considered one of the premier farmers of the Western Dota 2 scene, as his story in Dota 2 ranges back all the way to fr Virus of the first International. He also held the Captain's role for the French squad back in the days of fr Western Wolves, before they joined up with mTw.

His role has changed a fair bit over time, as he can play most positions in a team, but has recently landed on the offlane for Quantic, depriving him of former favourites from the mTw days such as the Carry Tinker. Instead you are now more likely to see him on heroes such as Dark Seer or Batrider. A recent addition has been the offlane Lich, which has worked greatly for Quantic since the upgrades the hero received along with 6.78.

fr Thibault Calonne

Signature Heroes: :d2_ld: :d2_od: :d2_qop:

Since teaming up with 7ckingmad and Sockshka, Funzii has shown himself to be highly talented solo laner as well as carry player, who during the peak of mTw was considered to be perhaps second only to LighTofHeaveN as an offlaner in the West, impressing in particular with his Lone Druid play and his consistency.

After the mTw split, Funzii slowly migrated into the solo mid role, where he has taken to playing heroes with wastly different roles in the game. The first hero he began to consistently play for then dd.Dota was probably Queen of Pain, an aggressive ganker and semi-carry, while he now is probably best known for his Outworld Devourer, a far more passive hero, which still turns into a fairly aggressive lane dominator in Funzii's hands. He also sometimes plays either the counter-initiating Puck or the initiator Batrider for his team, rounding out a very flexible arsenal.

ru Airat Gaziev

Signature Heroes: :d2_weaver: :d2_gyro::d2_morph: :d2_am:

When he first joined ru Moscow 5, Silent was an up and coming carry player, who was then converted into a support player over time. While he attended the second International with M5, it was not until afterwards, when he joined Team Empire, that he gained true success, again as a support player who would occasionally switch to a carry or offlaner role when Funn1k would play Io for the team.

Even in Empire however Silent remained in the shadows, which was why quite a few were surprised by the choice to have the young Russian player take up the hard carry role for Quantic Gaming. The surprise did not last long, as he has shown to be a formidable player, not only as a farming orientated player favouring the likes of Anti-Mage and Morphling, as those who had followed him in M5 knew he could be, but also as a hyper aggressive Weaver specialist for the Treant Protector strategies which Quantic has enjoyed running in recent times.


Quantic represent the coming together of two great strategic minds, their captain Goblak as well as fr Sébastien ‘7ckingmad’ Debs. While many may know Goblak best from his time with Empire where he had a penchant for running offensive trilanes in order to accommodate the Dire safelane solo Clinkz as well as Io. However, we should also think back to before the International 2012, when he was the Captain of ua Darer and was known to run heavy intellect hero lineups with single target lockdown and one tanky carry, heavily early game focused.

On the other hand the French players, with Sockshka in particular going back all the way to the first Internationals fr Virus, are known for enjoying a more lategame orientated farm heavy game, which under the captainship of dk Troels ‘syndereN’ Nielsen in mTw turned into a slow push strategy which would methodically siege bases. The nature of the two halves of the team then should be at odds with each other, but instead they have found their own kind of harmony.

The team favours strong laners, a clear influence of Goblak and the CIS scene, which has always been known for focusing on winning the laning stage. As a result the team has favoured Outworld Devourer, Queen of Pain, Lich, Weaver and Bane, all known for strong laning presence. The Treant Protector which they became known for was an extension of this, enhancing the ability of OD and Weaver to play forward on the lanes and during the early movement around the map. The team has also morphed their lategame focus into the more modern mid-late dual/triple core setups, with fr Thibault ‘Funzii’ Calonne mostly playing secondary damage dealers and Silent playing aggressive carry heroes which still scale fairly well into the late game.

The previous push tendencies haven’t entirely gone away either, as they’ve played interesting Undying and Pugna combinations, using the change to Decrepify and Tombstone interaction to their advantage. They also from time to time bust out the old 7ckingmad staple Enigma, which did not previously have a prominent place in Goblak’s drafting pallet.

For those concerned about what the changes to Treant will do to Quantic’s gameplan, it should be pointed out that although it was a strong hero, it was an open secret by the time it got nerfed. Had it kept on as it were, the odds of finding a counter (such as Gyrocopter and generally aggressively contesting the hero) would have gone up, and at the very least it would have been a staple ban. As it is, while Quantic may have to start from scratch, inventing new strategies is not a problem for this team, and instead of going to TI3 with their cards all known to the world, they will arrive under the cover of darkness, with their plans unknown to the Eastern teams, and not yet countered by the Western teams (who naturally will have a beneficial information asymmetry on their side due to scrims).

RattleSnake were officially formed back in January, and although they started their journey off swiftly by attending GosuCup Asia where they placed 4th against sg Neolution.Int, they soon fell off the map for a while due to the lack of tournaments in China during the early portion of the year. During this time they also changed around players as they were looking for a fitting fifth, which ended up being former cn Nirvana.Cn player cn Li 'Sag' Guo, formerly known under the nickname “Neo”.

As the Chinese scene got back into swing during the late spring and early summer, RattleSnake took part in several competitions such as the G-1 Season 5 Asian Qualifer, Dota 2 Super League, RedBull e-Sports Champions League and Alienware Cup, but failed to break the top four in any of them, either not making the event itself as with G-1 or being one of the first to be eliminated as in Alienware Cup.

The one bright spot for RattleSnake was the Eastern Qualifier for this year’s International, where they were considered one of the favorites going in, as most of the big names in Asia had already been invited. They looked initially to face off against cn TongFu as well as cn ViCi Gaming, but as the direct invite of cn LGD.Cn got revoked due to a player change and TongFu was bumped up, the balance of the qualifier was suddenly upset quite a bit, as LGD swept through it with little resistance. Still, RattleSnake came in second, beating out ViCi Gaming who, although highly talented, had made a habit of not living up to the expectations put on them.


2nd Place - The International East Qualifiers - Wildcard Invite

The Players

Luo (Captain)
cn Yinqi Luo

Signature Heroes: :d2_doom: :d2_alch: :d2_sf:

Luo got his start with cn World Elite back in 2009, but ended up parting ways with the team by 2010. He rejoined in February of 2012, providing some experience and leadership to the young WE squad at the time. As they lost 0-3 to TongFu in the 2012 Eastern Qualifiers and then 0-3 to eu mousesports in the Wildcard match after my MUFC were unable to make it to the event in time due to "passport issues", World Elite ended up disbanding soon after the International 2012 ended.

Wanting to keep on playing, the natural leader who had earlier in his career acquired the nickname "Director Luo" for his vocal leadership of his teams in game decided to form his own team, which came to be RattleSnakes. As their Captain he plays mostly solo mid, and is in particular well known as a proponent of Doom, as well as the solo mid Alchemist.

cn Peng Wang

Signature Heroes: :d2_gyro: :d2_dk: :d2_np:

Icy began his competitive career with World Elite back in November of 2011, and was later joined by Luo in the team. While he got to attend the first International, the more valuable experienced turned out to be meeting Luo, who invited him to join his new team RattleSnakes.

Icy primarily plays hard carries such as Gyrocopter, but has also recently played quite a bit of Nature's Prophet. He has also been known to play Faceless Void, although this hero has not so far found a fit within the strategies of RattleSnake.

cn Kai Zhao

Signature Heroes: :d2_cw: :d2_lesh:

While Kabu started his career back in 2010, he did not gain notoriety until joining cn TyLoo, with whom he attended the first International, impressing everyone with his Clockwerk play even as his team underperformed and went out in the second round of the losers bracket. After TyLoo broke up, Kabu joined TongFu who by defeating World Elite in the Eastern Qualifiers got to play at the International, where they ended 7th-8th. While this was an improvement in terms of team performance, Kabu was not able to shine in TongFu as he had with TyLoo, and ended up leaving the team in late 2012.

Kabu used to play primarily the offlane for RattleSnake, but can also take up a support role, as he has more commonly in recent times. He is still best known for his flashy Clockwerk plays and is a heavily aggressive individual, who is ill suited for babysitting the safelane. When he isn't playing his famed clockwerk, his second most common hero has been Leshrac, but he may also be seen on ganking and teamfighting heroes such as Nyx Assassin and Sand King.

cn Zhicheng Zhang

Signature Heroes: :d2_tiny: :d2_ck: :d2_sk:

LaNm is perhaps best remembered for the controversy surrounding him as he left TongFu in breach of contract in order to re-join cn EHOME, with whom he had taken second place at the first International. This action netted him a 100,000 RMB (~$16,000) fine and landed EHOME in hot water with the Chinese e-Sports Association (ACE).

LaNm first entered competitive play by joining Nirvana.Cn around 2010, gaining some measure of success before the roster began to fall apart and be poached by other teams. At this point he joined EHOME and came to play predominantly Nature's Prophet, Weaver and Beastmaster for them at the first International. During the second International his play as Tiny is probably best remembered, as EHOME made a huge comeback with the Tiny+Io combination against Orange in the Lower Bracket Round 3 match.

He is currently playing mostly semi-carries in an offlane role for his team and has a fairly eclectic hero pool including Weaver, Storm Spirit, Alchemist, Razor, Gyrocopter and much more. He also occasionally plays support heroes such as Chen, Enchantress and Visage.

If you are a fan of Chinese Dota you might also want to check out The Chronicles of LaNm.

cn Li Guo

Signature Heroes: :d2_es: :d2_sd: :d2_cm: :d2_visage:

Sag, or Neo as he was known back then, was one of the first generation of Wc3 DotA players in China and first found success as Captain of a team called cn xFy, which hosted such later luminaries of the scene as cnJi '830' Xiaomeng and cn Chen 'Hao' Zhihao. Sag floated around a few noteworthy teams such as cn CityHunter and Nirvana.Cn, whom he left not long before their apperance at the first International.

As he returned to competitive play in February, he has taken up the hard support role for RattleSnake, tending to play common lane supports such as Shadow Demon as well as less commonly seen heroes with the ability to roam and gank such as Earth Shaker and Crystal Maiden. Notably he is the only player on his team who has no experience from attending a International.


RattleSnake has not been one to thread the beaten path. They are a highly unorthodox team, which not only sprinkles their gameplay with unconventional hero choices such as the previously highly favoured Doom, but outright forgoes the conventional picks. When they were first starting out, in addition to their love of Clockwerk we could see them being one of the first teams in China to introduce heroes which were popular in the West to the Eastern metagame, such as Gyrocopter.

In light of their borrowing from the west, it’s worth noting that Io is one of the few heroes which they have not been seen playing at all. What the reason behind this oversight might be is rather puzzling, especially as they are known for swapping around roles in order to accommodate their players different talents, such as focusing on always giving cn Kai ‘Kabu’ Zhao aggressive heroes and tailoring his role in the game around this while cn Zhicheng ‘LaNm’ Zhang may rotate in order to play junglers such as Chen or Enchantress or a more reactive Visage. This kind of flexibility in roles is often employed by Western teams specifically in order to match the best player onto Io, and should have been something RattleSnake could have done within reasonable effort as well.

RattleSnake however is by no means limited to being an early adopter of outside influences, but also have their own ideas about which heroes are strong. They are not afraid to build their drafting strategy completely around their own view of the relative power of heroes, and have been known to play certain staples consistently, before moving on as their personal metagame evolves. One such hero was Doom, which was a staple in almost every RattleSnake game for a while but has since gone out of favour. More recently they’ve disproportionately favoured Earth Shaker while shunning Batrider. RattleSnake are also the originators of the solo mid Alchemist trend which is currently sweeping the Chinese teams.

Predictions for the Wildcard Match

It's a fitting match for the final slot, as unconventional team faces unconventional team, both with veteran players capable of putting on a good show. Of the two teams, Quantic has found greater consistent success with their lineups, and should not be underestimated even if they make it to the main event, while RattleSnake actually sports the lowest win percentage against all of the teams attending this year's International, at 24% to Quantic's 41,2%. Even after the injury that Sockshka sustained, the odds seem in favour of Quantic.

Complete List of Team Presentations

Invictus Gaming
Orange NeoES
The Alliance
Team Liquid
Team Dignitas

Vote for who will win the Wildcard Match!