Chinese Dota has lost its mojo, and one once-prominent side has had enough of sitting in the shadows.
Invictus Gaming released mediocre off-laner Lin “June” Shiyang today, according to a statement on Lin’s Weibo. The news, combined with photos that allegedly show Chinese legend Xu “Burning” Zhilei moving into the team’s facilities, highly suggests that a new challenger for the International championship is quickly emerging.
Lin’s dismissal should surprise few familiar with his work. The tepid position-three player found only meager success in the position since the beginning of the year, falling flat on numerous heroes during an unsuccessful campaign with the team.
Clearly fed up with form that has yielded little more than a top-six finish at i-League Season 2 since the beginning of 2015, Invictus Gaming has apparently, albeit unofficially, enlisted the help of perhaps the greatest Chinese carry in Dota history. Photos surfaced earlier this week that suggest that Xu, a prolific talent by any account, is moving in with the squad in preparation for an International push.
If true, the move also suggests the dissolution of Dota 2 Asia Championships fourth-place finishers Big God, leaving many details up in the air—namely the destinations of Zhang “Xiao8” Ning and “Bai “ROTK” Fan. Invictus Gaming’s fifth player is also unknown at this point.
This series of moves appears to signal the beginning of great upheavel in Chinese Dota akin to that seen in the West when Artour “Arteezy” Babaev and Ludwig “Zai” Wahlberg parted Evil Geniuses for Team Secret. Where the dust settles will ultimately determine the makeup of an increasingly competitive field with The International only five months away.