International champions Newbee solidify team amid Dota 2 roster shuffle
The champions of the year's biggest Dota 2 tournament moved to cement their legacy today with an aggressive offseason acquisition.
According to a statement posted on the team's account on microblogging platform QQ, Newbee have acquired Wang “Rabbit” Zhang from LGD Gaming for a fee of $180,000.
Zhang, who plays the carry role— a position responsible for much of the team’s offense during in-game fights—was instrumental in turning LDG's run at Valve's The International from the brink of disaster to a respectable fifth place finish.
As the winners of the year’s biggest Dota 2, Team Newbee were eager to fill the void left by legendary player Zhang “xiao8” Ning. Ning retired from professional Dota in late July after the team earned over $5 million for their victory.
In a statement on Facebook, LGD thanked Zhang for his contributions, including two tournament victories and the remarkable run during The International.
With Ning’s legacy in the books, Zhang has big shoes to fill. But if his play with LGD is any indication, then Newbee’s reign may just be getting started.
Another top Chinese team announced significant changes when Invictus Gaming, champions at The International 2, announced that they had parted ways with one of their players and newly acquired two others.
Leaving the team is Zeng “Faith” Hongda, who is widely expected to catch on with another top Chinese team in the coming days. Hongda's departure following the retirement of Jiang “YYF” Cen left open two holes on the roster that needed to be filled.
Taking over these positions will be Lin “June” Shi Yang and Li “Chisbug” Chen. The addition of Chen is particularly notable given that he had not been active in the professional Dota 2 scene prior to being picked up by Invictus Gaming, who will hope that he can get back up to speed with all due haste.
European side Team Empire also announced an official change today when they welcomed Aleksei “Solo” Berezin, who will be filling the role of a support player.
The addition of Berezin is unsurprising given that he had been playing with the team unofficially for some time. Berezin offered a statement of optimism on the team's official website.
“Of a couple of weeks (we) were able to play together and feel the atmosphere of the team and I think we will succeed,” Berezin said.
Screengrab via dota2ti/Twitch