Dota 2’s transfer market just became much more competitive. Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung has left the once dominant Team Malaysia, making him the hottest unsigned player in competitive Dota.
Chai announced his departure on Twitter last night, just days after teammate Joel “Xtinct” Tran also left the team. Both moves come in the wake of shock defeats to Singaporean side First Departure, indicating a major shift in the balance of power in the Southeast Asian region.
Chai’s departure is especially surprising considering the history shared by Team Malaysia’s members. Chai, Tran, Wai “Net” Pern Lim, Chong “Ohaiyo” Xin Khoo, and Lee “kYxY” Kong Yang became folk-heroes in Malaysia when then-Team Orange finished third over dominant Chinese sides in the 2013 edition of The International, largely thanks to Chai’s remarkable talent and hero diversity.
Chai then joined Chinese side Team DK, a squad that looked infallible until a shock fourth place finish at this year’s International. The remainder of the former Orange squad joined multi-esport organization Titan, finishing ninth after a hot start at the annual main event in Seattle.
Shortly thereafter, Tran, Wai, Chong, and Lee left the Titan organization to rejoin Chai under the banner of Team Malaysia. The reunited squad quickly rose to the top of the Southeast Asian scene. However, the recent losses and departure of two players suggest that internal issues have effectively eroded their once impressive chemistry.
For Chai, the future is bright. The rise of international competition in Dota 2 has lead to numerous multinational organizations, with top-tier teams paying handsomely for world class talent. Suffice it to say that Chai sits on a short list of players whose talent would immediately contribute to whatever organization they join.
For now, his destination remains uncertain, but the suddenly-shifting landscape of established esports sides in Europe presents an enticing opportunity. Language may present a problem for the Malaysian native, but his universally recognized talent will likely win out when both Eastern and Western teams inevitably come to call.
Illustration by Max Flieshman