Talent both new and old is seeing a resurgence in China with the announcement of secondary rosters for both EHOME and Vici Gaming. The weekend news marks yet another significant development in the ever-evolving landscape of Chinese Dota as organizations buckle down for an International push.
After reinforcing its primary unit with hard-carry Chen “Hao” Zhihao, Vici Gaming is turning its attention to talent development with the introduction of VG.P. Aside from Zi “Lin” Yang, who played for LGD, LV Gaming, and LAI Gaming in 2014, only one other player—Gao “Dogfight” Tianpeng—has any appreciable experience at a professional level.
The speculative lineup, however, is not a new strategy for Chinese Dota organizations. TongFu recently expanded to North America with a lineup of exclusively Chinese American players. While these players are also largely unknown, both efforts reflect a growing desire for Chinese sides to cultivate a new generation of players.
In stark contrast to VG.P, EHOME’s secondary squad, EHOME.cn, is a potent combination of veteran strength and new talent. Joining former LV Gaming players Liang “DDC” Faming and Yang “Yang” Pu are fan-favorite off-laner Bai “ROTK” Fan and support superstar Zhang “Lanm” Zhicheng.
With the acquisition, Bai also joins a growing fraternity of retired Chinese players making a hasty return to the competitive scene. Between photos suggesting that legendary carry player Xu “Burning” Zhilei is joining Invictus Gaming and recent news that LGD Gaming has agreed to a sizable transfer fee for Zhang “Xiao8” Ning, Bai’s return is little more than business as usual for a region where the word “retirement” has come to mean little.
The constant stream of high-profile moves and loaded rosters is rough news for mid-level players in the East hoping to make a breakthrough. For fans, however, the Great Eastern Roster Shuffle is a virtual guarantee for a taut International later this year.