Fy competing at TI 2023 with Azure Ray.
Image via [Valve](https://flic.kr/p/2pbdaEM)

I got dragged into playing’: Fy says Azure Ray went beyond rushed TI 2023 expectations

The real Aegis was the friends he made along the way.

Dota 2’s The International 2023 is over, and it ended on a sweet note for Chinese fans. The region’s two reps achieved a top-four finish in the event out of nowhere, and what made this achievement even more captivating was the unexpected success of Azure Ray (AR), a team composed of retired players—one of whom was peer-pressured into playing.

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AR was founded during the midst of the Dota 2 season by Lu “Somnus” Yao, who was having a hard time staying away from the competitive scene. Itching for a taste, Somnus quickly gathered a team of legends including Xu “fy” Linsen.

Despite their humble beginnings, AR swiftly ascended to the top in their region, surpassing the expectations of both fans and the players themselves. In fy’s exit interview at TI 2023, he was asked about his personal satisfaction with their season and whether he had anticipated this level of success as they got together at the end of the 2023 DPC season.

“I don’t know, I got dragged into playing TI.” fy jokingly said—but it has been revealed that’s actually what ended up happening.

While entertaining the idea of a potential return, Somnus, fy, and Yang “Chalice” Shenyi were simply searching for reasons to re-enter competitive Dota 2. Considering they had been away from the scene for a while before May 2023, the trio decided not to ask for a single dollar in salary while joining Azure Ray.

https://www.reddit.com/r/DotA2/comments/17iwhzf/leaving_the_stage_losing_and_having_a_smile_on/

AR proved to be more than just a team; it was a group of friends who wanted to enjoy playing Dota 2 on the game’s most prestigious stage. Even in defeat, fans could clearly see that the members of AR were having a great time both inside and outside the player booth.

In the past, Somnus, fy, and Chalice had reached the TI finals together in 2018, securing a third-place finish in 2019. Falling just short of glory eventually shattered both the players and the team’s morale, leading to their disbandment. However, their time apart allowed them to mature as players and overcome some of the most devastating losses in their careers.

Azure Ray might not have lifted the Aegis at TI 2023, but Dota 2 fans were more than happy to watch the Uncrowned Kings of the game having the time of their lives.


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Author
Gökhan Çakır
Gökhan is a Staff Writer and Fortnite Lead at Dot Esports. Gökhan graduated as an industrial engineer in 2020 and has since been with Dot Esports. As a natural-born gamer, he honed his skills to a professional level in Dota 2. Upon giving up on the Aegis of Champions in 2019, Gökhan started his writing career, covering all things gaming, while his heart remains a lifetime defender of the Ancients.