Category: Media

The International #3 Days 4-6 Group Stage.

I know I know, we’re really late with a blog post. Days 4 and 5 were about 12-14 hours long for both the players as well as the media guy/manager (ie me and furryfish*). There was very little time for us to upload the photos and update the blog. We spent most of our time at the grand ballroom in the Westin (which was also the Valve dining hall) watching all the group stage matches as players trudged on and about.

You shall now be overwhelmed with pictures from the past two days.

Consorting with the enemy! In this case, Fnatic's manager.

Consorting with the enemy! In this case, Fnatic’s manager.

iG.ChuaN with his Championship rings.

iG.ChuaN with his Championship rings.

My preciousssssss.

My preciousssssss.

Zenith walking into Clockwerk for their first game against mousesports.

Zenith walking into Clockwerk for their first game against mousesports.

Setting up.

Setting up.

1v1 pre-game practice in progress.

1v1 pre-game practice in progress.

First Bloodseeker pick for TI3. Could have done better with that pick!

First Bloodseeker pick for TI3. Could have done better with that pick!

Post-match discussion.

Post-match discussion.

N.W.P. and xFreedom.

N.W.P. and xFreedom.

In between games, the players camp out at the ballroom to watch the other teams play.

In between games, the players camp out at the ballroom to watch the other teams play.

Not exactly like the 64 inch LCD TVs that Valve provided... but 17 inches on a laptop is big enough.

Not exactly like the 64 inch LCD TVs that Valve provided… but 17 inches on a laptop is big enough.

Hustle and bustle during the group stages!

Hustle and bustle during the group stages!

The first day of the group stages went longer than expected. Dinner is served.

The first day of the group stages went longer than expected. Dinner is served.

It has to be said, at this point, that Valve is proving again and again that they’re such a generous host. On the first day of the group stage matches, the day stretched on much longer than anticipated due to some unforeseen technical hiccups. As a result, every team’s staff/managers/friends, Valve staff as well as journalists stayed in the hall till very late. There was no dinner catered and there weren’t any restaurants open at that time. Valve went on to order in boxes and boxes of pizza for everyone and obviously, the pizzas were devoured in no time. ❤

The three musketeers returning to the room after a toilet break.

The three musketeers returning to the room after a toilet break.

Practising before the commencement of a match.

Practising before the commencement of a match.

[A]EGM hiding under his beanie and hoodie.

[A]EGM hiding under his beanie and hoodie.

DK vs Zenith here we go!

DK vs Zenith here we go!

Ars-Art looking suave and like he doesn't give a f*ck about anything!

Ars-Art looking suave and like he doesn’t give a f*ck about anything!

Ohaiyo, KyxY and ChuaN. Malaysia boleh!

Ohaiyo, KyxY and ChuaN. Malaysia boleh!

Level of energy in the room dropping as the day drags on.

Level of energy in the room dropping as the day drags on.

It's 9.30pm and everyone is tired. Except ixmike88.

It’s 9.30pm and everyone is tired. Except ixmike88.

LGD's Yao and the part of his head where the DotA 2 logo should have been!

LGD’s Yao and the part of his head where the DotA 2 logo should have been!

View from the balcony of the Kunkka room.

View from the balcony of the Kunkka room.

The players waiting for games to start with furryfish* and kimchi* from PMS.Asterisk.

The players waiting for games to start with furryfish* and kimchi* from PMS.Asterisk.

DK's rOtk looking as animated as ever.

DK’s rOtk looking as animated as ever.

Fluff, Fear and Loda!

Fluff, Fear and Loda!

Orange.Neolution's Net and XtinCt.

Orange.Neolution’s Net and XtinCt.

It was either a yawn or xFreedom saw something spectacular on the screen.

It was either a yawn or xFreedom saw something spectacular on the screen.

Y-God?

Y-God?

Puppey and Dendi!

Puppey and Dendi!

Watching replays, analyzing strats.

Watching replays, analyzing strats.

Everyone's favourite Swedes!

Everyone’s favourite Swedes!

Being drafted into the lower brackets of the tournament was what every team coming to Seattle was trying to avoid. Zenith will play VirtusPro in the lower brackets next and we can only blame our own inability to perform to a level of what we are truly capable of. It is far from being over but it was needless to place ourselves in such a vulnerable predicament. Playing bo1 matches in a tournament with a prize pool of almost USD3 million is….. scary. To say the very least.

Spending time with the team after each and every series, one could find out about stuff going on in the players’ heads. Unanimously, all thought that the games dropped against mousesports, LGD.cn and Dignitas cost us a spot in the upper brackets. Game 1 against Fnatic was… surprising. It was a pocket Morph/Wisp strat that, honestly, we have not seen before (seeing how we are not as acquainted with the European scene). Losing to that was understandable. We also expected tough games against DK and Na`Vi and dropping games against them could be overlooked. No disrespect meant to mouse/LGD/Dignitas but Zenith could definitely have taken the first games of these respective series. It was either a mis-draft, individual mistakes or miscommunication that led to them losing these games. It felt especially sour when the second game ended up being tremendously one-sided in our favour, like in the Dignitas series. Even against DK, we felt that we could have improved so much on the first game, especially evident after YamateH’s Batrider and iceiceice’s Ursa tore through the DK lineup in the second gane. Grouse of the day: we could have won, but we didn’t.

The team spent a lot of time talking about drafts, analyzing replays and continuing to work out roles. There have been several comments from some fans about how Zenith overestimate their own individual abilities and don’t play serious drafts. I can assure you that they are very aware of where they stand in terms of their own abilities. I can also assure you that every draft is serious. It might seem like they want to troll… but these are calculated risks and have been practised. Many people scoff after our first loss to mousesports – ‘WELP this is what happens when you pick Bloodseeker’ or something like that. But how many of you actually know that YamateH’s Bloodseeker out-CSed Puck 3-to-1 in mid. He also countered heroes that mousesports had, like Rubick, so well. The loss resulted because they didn’t execute the draft as well as they did in practice. Bottomline: Zenith let Puck make a bigger difference in the game than our own Bloodseeker did. Not that Bloodseeker was a brainless pick.

Zenith spent the bulk of today (Day 7) at GameClucks LAN centre in Lynnwood scrimming against Na`Vi, both teams making the full use of a break day. Moving forward, we want to start well and avoid the need to play catch-up in every game. Pride’s at stake and so is real, hard cash. It is Singapore’s 48th birthday this coming Friday (or Thursday here in Seattle) and it’d be nice to put Singapore on the world map of DotA 2.

We do not give a shit about how many rares people bet, how many rares people lose when we lose. There’re a lot more of things more important to the team. For one, xy is heading to study in the UK and this is likely to be his last International (for a while at least) and the team wants, more than anything, to go out with a bang for him. We do not want to disappoint our fans and of course, they guys want to win. As much as you guys want them to. So here’s my sincere request to fans and friends of Zenith – get behind the team for this final stretch. Your support really does make a difference.