posted by Abelle,
The formation of Team Faceless marked the return of a player who helped shape the growth of the Dota 2 scene in its early years, but is much less well known today.

When world Team Faceless* first announced their lineup in September 2016, the focus of the international community was on sg Daryl Koh 'iceiceice' Pei Xiang and de Dominik 'Black^' Reitmeier, former cn Vici Gaming teammates and players with a long history in the Dota 2 scene.

One face that you might not be so familiar with if you started watching competitive Dota 2 after TI3 is sg Toh Wai 'xy-' Hong, but his impact in the scene has been huge, and dates back all the way to 2007.

xy- started playing competitive DotA in 2007, and switched to Dota 2 in the earliest days. He began with sg Scythe*, a team which had been inactive until sg Benedict 'hyhy' L. H. Yong reformed it to compete in The International at Gamescom 2011. iceiceice was also a member of that roster.

I told you to stay in the trees!
Scythe shared a group with ua Natus Vincere at TI1, and consequently that was the only team able to beat them until Scythe faced cn EHOME for the second time in the tournament, in the Loser’s Final. They lost to the Chinese squad 2-1 and finished the tournament in 3rd place. Hyhy’s famous “stay in the trees” line comes from that loss against EHOME, which can be seen Valve’s TI1 documentary Free to Play.

Image source: Free to Play

xy-’s success didn’t end there. Scythe were signed by Meet Your Makers, but when the team disbanded a few months later, xy- and iceiceice formed Team Zenith along with Hyhy, sg Nicholas 'xFreedom' Lim and se Jonathan 'Loda' Berg. The team was invited to both TI2 and TI3, but never found quite the same level of success as at the first.

The team finished 5th-6th at TI2 before losing Loda, who moved on to form No Tidehunter. At TI3, they finished 9th-12th, and crumbled soon after. The departure of xy-, my Ng 'YamateH' Wei Poong and my Chua 'Ice' Chee Cai in August 2013 led to the team eventually disbanding as each player went their separate ways.

Team Faceless forms
Until last fall, that was the last the Dota 2 community heard from xy-. He took a three -year break from the professional scene to study at the University of Southampton, but after graduating in the summer of 2016, he seized the opportunity to return to the scene when iceiceice and sg Jeng Yih 'WarNutZ' Wong decided to form a new Singaporean squad in the post TI6 shuffle.

Although they hadn’t played on a team together in Dota 2 yet, xy- listed Nutz as his favourite player on his old Team Zenith player profile and knew each other long before Team Faceless formed.

So far, the team has dominated online, but struggled at LAN. Considering that xy- had been away from the scene for so long and their midlaner Jabz has limited LAN experience, this shouldn’t be too much of a shock. After disappointing results at both The Summit 6 and The Boston Major, Faceless have already shown signs of improving their LAN performance with a 3rd place finish at Dota Pit League.

Now, Team Faceless set their sights on the Dota 2 Asia Championships. After an almost perfect performance in the Southeast Asian qualifier, the Singaporean squad have booked their ticket to Shanghai where they will have another chance to test their might against the best Dota 2 teams from all around the world.

Check back tomorrow for our interview with xy- and Nutz on the current state of the Southeast Asian scene, their expectations for DAC and the Kiev Major and memories from when they first met.

  • Abelle


    Annabelle Fischer
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