SunBhie edited in front of Talon Esports' inside of a TI 2023 booth.
Photos via Talon Esports and Valve

SEA Dota 2 is at its ‘weakest’ point ever because of one key regional flaw, says SunBhie

"EU Dota makes up the baseline."

Southeast Asia is known as a hub for MOBA and mobile games, but the region had a very mixed showing in the 2023 Dota 2 Pro Circuit with only one team being considered a real contender on The International stage. According to Talon Esports head coach Lee “SunBhie” Jeong-jae, European Dota always makes up the baseline for how teams play and SEA is currently “the weakest it has ever been.”

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SunBhie is a well-regarded coach who has coached multiple top teams in different regions, including stints with MVP HOT6ix and Team Secret. Now, after spending the last four years back in SEA, he says the region has potential but isn’t “living up to the [Dota 2] standard” right now. 

“SEA was a strong region. The results never reflected this but there were numerous times that the region was quite capable,” SunBhie said to Dot Esports. “I think SEA lacks fundamentals. Dota 2 is almost 13, there are fundamentals that matter now, and SEA has always been chaotic.” He added that Dota 2 is so established with a baseline of fundamentals for team success—fundamentals he believes the region does not respect.

While SunBhie does think there are advantages to playing and training in SEA, he thinks that the region is currently very weak and hopes that “SEA teams and players wake up to that fact and own up to their shortcomings.”

For his team’s approach to the game, SunBhie thinks Talon does have strong fundamentals but he and his players are careful in how they build their strategies. It starts with looking at what teams in EU are doing since they are always the most dominant and working “backward” to isolate what they think will work for them. 

“What works in EU Dota makes up the baseline,” SunBhie said. “I check what they pick and they do otherwise—that doesn’t mean that you should be spineless and baseless. You should still believe in what you believe in and see how that aligns with what other teams are doing.”

After taking notes, the team relies on their own approach to Dota and experience to judge what heroes or strategies to take into pubs and scrims to pursue. Talon’s entire goal was to peak around TI 2023 by building their fundamentals and chemistry, while also pacing themselves to avoid burnout or health complications that have plagued other teams. 

The team took a six-week break before DreamLeague Season 21 and was the only SEA team to make it into the TI 2023 playoffs as Team SMG fell in the group stage. Next year will see a shift in the region as Valve disbands the Dota Pro Circuit, but it will take a lot for SEA to “come back with that [competitive] fire” that was missing this season.


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Author
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.