Unfazed by late hurdle

Team X's (from far left) Wilson Koh, Lukman Yusoff, Wong Jeng Yih, Teo Yao Wen and Joel Chan defeated Waacow Warriors 2-0 in the Dota 2 final at Singtel Recreation Club yesterday. They will be nominated by the Singapore E-sports Association for the S
Team X's (from far left) Wilson Koh, Lukman Yusoff, Wong Jeng Yih, Teo Yao Wen and Joel Chan defeated Waacow Warriors 2-0 in the Dota 2 final at Singtel Recreation Club yesterday. They will be nominated by the Singapore E-sports Association for the SEA Games in the Philippines, where e-sports will feature as a medal sport for the first time. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Team X at their best despite Dota 2 changes to earn nod for SEA Games at local qualifiers

The teams competing in the Singapore E-sports Association (SGEA) national qualifiers for the SEA Games were thrown a spanner in the works a day before.

Updates were made to Dota 2 only on Saturday and that left teams scrambling to study the changes and refine their strategies for yesterday's competition at Singtel Recreation Club.

But the last-minute surprise failed to deter Team X as they defeated Waacow Warriors 2-0 in the best-of-three final and earn the right to be nominated to the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) for the Nov 30-Dec 11 Games in the Philippines. Team X had beaten Team Salty 2-0 in the semi-finals.

Dota 2 is one of five e-sports medal events at the SEA Games where e-sports is making its debut. The other four are Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Starcraft II, Arena of Valour and Tekken 7.

The SGEA will also be nominating Resurgence for Arena of Valour, Evos Esports SG for Mobile Legends, Thomas Kopankiewicz and Alvin Toh for Starcraft II and Boon Kai Lim and Ruslan Abdul Rahman for Tekken 7.

Team X captain Wong Jeng Yih, 29, said: "It feels great to win and it's always good to have an opportunity to (have a chance to) represent our country.

"Coming into this tournament, we were very confident. I think we were the favourites because we have some really good and talented players on our team.

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    Events in e-sports with medals on offer at this year's SEA Games.

"This is the first time e-sports is included in SEA games and we hope that it will be a success so that there will be more opportunities for us to represent Singapore.

"We definitely want a podium finish at the SEA Games to make our country proud."

Dota 2 is a multi-player online battle arena (Moba) video game where two teams of five compete against each other with the main goal of destroying a large structure located in the opposing team's base called the "Ancient".

Team X, comprising Wong, Teo Yao Wen, Wilson Koh, Joel Chan and Lukman Yusoff, were formed only two months ago as a result of a merger of two Dota 2 teams.

While Team X managed to win yesterday's competition comfortably, they admitted that the updates made to the game a day before proved challenging for them.

Teo, 23, who is the only part-time gamer on the team, said: "They added new things into the game like spells so we didn't really know what the opponents would use against us. We also had to study the new patch modes ourselves and figure out a plan within one day."

Wong added: "Certain prominent strategies were not as strong and effective as before, but we talked to each other to see how what we can do to adapt to the situation."

The team also competed in the World Cyber Games Qualifiers last month when they won in Singapore but lost in the regional qualifiers.

SGEA president Ng Chong Geng said that the association will be working with their partners to provide the teams with the support that they need in preparation for the SEA Games.

He said: "The most important thing is ensuring that these teams have the basic resources such as a place to train, access to good coaches and sparring partners.

"We are working with our partners to get teams from overseas which are stronger to be able to assist with the training of our teams."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 27, 2019, with the headline 'Unfazed by late hurdle'. Print Edition | Subscribe