Dota 2 veteran player NutZ gives back to the community with amateur league

Professional Dota 2 player Wong "NutZ" Jeng Yih (left) is organising the NutZ DotA 2 Amateur Cup, with a ban on players from the top five local teams.
Professional Dota 2 player Wong "NutZ" Jeng Yih (left) is organising the NutZ DotA 2 Amateur Cup, with a ban on players from the top five local teams.PHOTO: ST FILE

Professional Dota 2 player Wong "NutZ" Jeng Yih is stumping up $1,200 of his own money for the prize pool of a Dota 2 competition - but professionals are not allowed to take part.

The 26-year-old veteran of The International 2015 (TI5) is organising the NutZ DotA 2 Amateur Cup.

Dota 2 is a five-versus-five multiplayer online battle arena game, and this year's TI - Dota 2's biggest annual tournament - boasted a partially crowd-funded prize pool of over US$18.4 million (S$25.8 million).

The one-day league will take place this Sunday at Oasis cybercafe in Selegie Road.

Unlike most other tournaments here, which are open to all, players from five top Singaporean teams - First Departure, ScT, Kingdom, SGR and 4Hate - have been banned from participating.

Since he began toying with the notion of organising a tournament two months ago, NutZ knew that he wanted to keep it strictly amateur.

"In Singapore, as long as First Departure is in a tournament, they will usually win, so people won't even sign up because they know that they don't have a shot at first prize," he said.

Instead, several of the banned players are helping him out with the organisation and running of the tournament.

NutZ, who came in joint seventh and eighth at TI5 with Korean team MVP Phoenix, wants to expose more inexperienced players to the rigours of serious e-sport competition.

"I wanted to let more players be exposed to the competitive scene and the environment," he said.

"Maybe this tournament can be the first step for some people. If they do well, they might feel like they have what it takes, even if they're not the best yet."

Of the sixteen five-man teams that have signed up , NutZ said he is only familiar with about 20 to 30 per cent of the players.

He said: "They are mostly people I have not seen before, I don't recognise them at all. And this is exciting, because there might be some really strong players among them."

The teams will compete in a group stage and a double elimination bracket until only the champion is left standing.The winners will walk away with the top prize of $500, while second place will receive $300 and third $200.

Another $200 will go to the winners of side event Overthrow, a custom game where five pairs of players have to duke it out in a hectic and often chaotic battle for kills.

NutZ hopes that the Overthrow competition will be light-hearted affair, and has drawn up a list of tongue-in-cheek rules such as : "Shouting and taunting is strongly recommended" and "We encourage teaming and ganging up to prevent the victories of any other teams".

For NutZ, organising this amateur cup is also his way of giving back to the gaming community.

"I just want the Dota community to enjoy themselves. I don't really expect some really strong talents to come out and go pro all the way, but I hope that they get some competition experience."

For more information on the tournament, go to the website www.officialnutz.wix.com/ndac.

lting@sph.com.sg