The International 2018: VGJ.Thunder

VGJ.Thunder was built as most teams are these days: a few experienced players Sylar and DDC combined with newer, hungrier teammates. What is surprising is that none of the experienced players acts as a captain. You would expect DDC to take on that role as he managed to captain LFY to a third-place finish last year. Instead, the role has been given to Fade, the player with the least competitive experience on the roster. This could be due to the fact that DDC only joined the team as a loan from LFY, or it could be that Fade is an amazing captain. It’s too early to tell with this team. With a limited amount of LAN showings, not much can be said about them. The one thing we can say for sure is that the veterans of the team must be hungry for an Aegis at this point. Sylar hasn’t been to TI for two years now and when he did go he managed to just barely miss out on the Aegis, finishing 3rd at TI5 and 2nd at TI4.

DDC is famously part of the club of players that have been to every TI but he’s also the only player in that club not to have won the Aegis. But is that enough for him to carry this team? The roster of VGJ.T just barely managed to squeeze through to TI this year thanks to a very good month starting with the PGL Bucharest Major and ending with StarLadder Season 5. All their LAN appearances follow the same kind of pattern: they jump into a tournament head first and either make it a huge hit or they fizzle out quickly. Sadly the RNG hasn’t been on their side this season and the latter outcome has been the more likely one. Even during their month-long run where they collected all their DPC points this season they went out early at the Dota 2 Asian Championships. Looking at the entire season an 8th place finish was a bit lucky for them and with the changes to the next DPC season they wouldn’t have made it through. Back in March, not many had high hopes for VGJ.T. Yes, they had won Galaxy Battles but there was a distinct lack of good teams present at that tournament. So when The Bucharest Major approached most fans and teams didn’t consider them a threat. Boy were they wrong. VGJ.T emerged from the swiss groups on top and it wasn’t due to bracket luck. They took down VG who had just finished 2nd at ESL One Katowice then defeating the 2nd ranked DPC team Team Secret before finally finishing off their 3:0 run beating TNC. Their great play continued in the brackets before falling to the giants of VP. But winning wasn’t the most important thing. They had made a statement. This was followed by a month of 2nd places as VGJ.T. They had arrived with a bang and DDC had set himself up for another shot at the Aegis. There’s no escaping the fact that VGJ.T winning TI8 would be a huge upset. An upset only rivalled by that of Wing Gaming of TI6. Sylar and DDC are veteran players and when they’re on point they can elevate even the dullest of rosters. But at The International having two players show off isn’t good enough. And that’s sort of the theme for VGJ.T: they’re good but not good enough. They will need to elevate their play to a whole new level as well as count on some bracket luck if DDC is to finally get his Aegis.

(1) Liu "Sylar" Jiajun
(2) Liu "Freeze" Chang
(3) Zhou "Yang" Haiyang
(4) Pan "Fade" Yi
(5) Leong "DDC" Fat-meng
The International 2018: VGJ.Thunder The International 2018: VGJ.Thunder Reviewed by Jesi Max on 08:34 Rating: 5

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