Xiao8 smiling while his team prepares to compete at TI12.
Photo via Valve

LGD Gaming finishes Dota 2 rebuild with Emo and Pyw, leaves one big question mark

The roster is done, but who will coach it?

China’s most dominant organization has finished its most recent roster shuffle, completing a drastic set of changes that saw two players exit the starting lineup and the veteran duo of Emo and Pyw fill those spots.

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But that still leaves one big question hanging over LGD Gaming—Will Xiao8 return to coach this altered squad? 

Despite notching the organization’s record sixth top-three finish at an iteration of The International, LGD did not just want to run things back for the 2024 season. On Nov. 11, the team transferred star midlaner NothingToSay to Invictus Gaming, leaving its captain y’ as the only player to have been with the team for multiple TI appearances. 

LGD's niu immediately after being eliminated from TI12.
Even newer players feel the sting of LGD’s continued drought at TI. Photo via Valve

It took a few weeks before the team made its next move, but now management has brought in former Invictus Gaming players Emo and Pyw. Both are veterans in the Chinese scene—though they only have a combined three TI appearances between them, none of which while they were on the same team. Pyw only joined iG midway through last season while Emo has almost exclusively played for the organization or one of its subsidiary rosters since entering the competitive scene in 2017. To make this move work, LGD has also shifted its Lin “planet” Hao to the offlane less than a year after the team signed him away from EHOME. 

For LGD, the team listed Pyw as a key part of its new team’s structure, noting he has a “steady playing style” that pairs well with great map awareness and flexibility in his role throughout each game. Meanwhile, Emo is viewed as a 22-year-old player with a fierce approach to the game and “lofty ambitions” that can only be achieved by competing on the biggest stage. In other words, Pyw is going to bring stability to the roster where planet might have faltered in that support role while Emo has experience playing with him and at every level of Dota as a well-known, young star. 

With those two shifts, LGD has its roster for the upcoming season in shiro, Emo, niu, Pyw, and y’. Now only the question of whether Dota legend xiao8 will still be helming the team as its coach still lingers. 

Rumors, and jokes, about the Director leaving LGD after three years of service have been flying since TI12 ended in October, but most other teams have already filled their rosters out and hired a coaching staff too. With how well the team has performed under his guidance, it’s unlikely he will leave unless it is to join another established roster and organization. As of now, no team seems to fit that bill, but there is a chance wherever Somnus ends up after he and the core of Azure Ray departed could be an enticing landing spot if the coach does want a change of scenery.


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Cale Michael
Lead Staff Writer for Dota 2, the FGC, Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and more who has been writing for Dot Esports since 2018. Graduated with a degree in Journalism from Oklahoma Christian University and also previously covered the NBA. You can usually find him writing, reading, or watching an FGC tournament.