A Korean Dota 2 team has reversed the usual course of Western teams importing Korean talent by bringing in a player from Europe to fill out its roster.
One of the premier Dota 2 teams in Korea, MVP Hot6ix, recently shuffled its roster with sister team MVP Phoenix. Two former Phoenix players, Lee “Forever” Sang-don and Lee “Heen” Seung-gon, were transferred to the Hot6ix team as Phoenix completed a revamp of its roster.
As part of that revamp, MVP Phoenix has already reached outside of national boundaries by recruiting Australian player Damien “kphoenii” Chok, who had previously played for top Oceanic team Can’t Say Wips. Now, the Hot6ix team has followed Phoenix’s lead and gone one step further, looking all the way to Finland.
The team announced today that it had acquired Jesse “Jarax” Vainikka. Prior to joining MVP Hot6ix, Vainikka had stints with 4 Anchors + Sea Captain and, most recently, Team Tinker. After having proven himself on the biggest stages of his career with 4 Anchors, the move to Team Tinker brought only more exposure to the Finnish player.
His journey into the Korean Dota 2 scene isn’t unheard of. Zephyr, a team primarily made up of American players, has for some time been among the top Dota 2 squads in Korea. Led by popular players William “Blitz” Lee and Kevin “Purge” Godec, Zephyr even managed a championship run in the first season of the Korean Dota 2 League.
But while other international players have previously made the journey and still today play in Korea, it’s interesting to see one of the top Korean teams reaching to the West given how common it is to see Koreans moving in the opposite direction in most games.
The dominance of Korean players in StarCraft is well known, and the Korean infrastructure for professional League of Legends teams and players has built up to such a degree that Korean imports are a common sight among the top League of Legends competitions in North America, Europe, Brazil, China, and just about anywhere that features high-level League play.
But while the professional gaming scene in Korea has embraced League of Legends as it did StarCraft before, Dota 2 hasn’t seen quite the same reception or popularity. Without the benefit of the structure that has produced top talents in Brood War and League, Korean Dota 2 players and teams have struggled mightily to make any sort of impact internationally.
Outside of Korea, the move continues the recent trend of upheaval for Team Tinker. Originally formed in August of last year with high expectations, the squad has never quite managed to live up to potential. The loss of both Vainikka and Zheng “PatSoul” Yukai, who departed to join Canadian team Void Boys, has dropped the active Team Tinker roster down to just three players.
Photo via FadlyRomdhani/DeviantArt