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S'pore esports scene on TI11: 'Hope there are other Singaporeans besides iceiceice'

·Contributing Editor
·6-min read
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Singapore is set to host Dota 2's The International 11 (TI11) this October, marking the first time that the game's annual world championship tournament and arguably the biggest event in all of esports will take place in Southeast Asia.

TI11 will also be the first TI to have a new format, where the finals will take place six days after the playoffs.

The tournament will showcase Singapore as an esports hub, which has been playing host to a bunch of international esports events, such as the Free Fire World Series, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang M2 World Championship, and even the ONE Esports Dota 2 Singapore Major.

Yahoo Esports SEA spoke to Singapore's veteran esports figures, who have been dreaming of this moment for ages, about what it means for the republic's esports scene to host an event as big as TI11.

Here are what they shared. Some replies may have been edited for verbosity.

Tammy "furryfish" Tang, FSL co-founder

Screenshot of Tammy 'furryfish' Tang during an interview with Yahoo. (Photo: Yahoo TV)
Tammy 'furryfish' Tang during an interview with Yahoo. (Photo: Yahoo TV)

"I think it's great to have TI in SEA finally after 11 years, and of course I'm proud that Singapore was chosen, and there must have been a ton of behind the scenes work and lobbying for TI to be here," said Tammy "furryfish" Tang, one of the most familiar faces in the Singapore esports scene and a former Team Asterisk* player herself.

"Teams and players are always the highlight, so I would be looking forward to see them here up close. Of course, there's the talent line up," she said.

"It's interesting that even though we have such a small population, and an even tinier one that plays and/or watches Dota 2, that TI 2022 is here."

Lastly, the FSL co-founder added that the event spoke "volumes about how good Singapore is as a hub and destination for the region", and that she was also looking ahead for future events hosted here as well.

Kelly "kellymilkies" Ong, Chief Strategy Officer for Alliance

Kelly Ong, Chief Strategy Officer for Alliance, posing in front of a shrubbery. (Photo: Alliance)
Kelly Ong, Chief Strategy Officer for Alliance, shared with Yahoo her thoughts on TI11 in her home country. (Photo: Alliance)

"I am extremely excited to see TI in Singapore. As I often tell everyone I meet globally, Dota is not a game in SEA, Dota is a religion," said Alliance's Chief Strategy Officer, Kelly "kellymilkies" Ong.

"I'm really proud that my home country can get the opportunity to host the most prestigious esports championship in the world, and I am sure the crowd will be absolutely amazing," kellymilkies told Yahoo Esports SEA.

"I am very much looking forward to see how Singapore will promote the tournament, seeing as we are a huge hospitality country. I am sure we will not disappoint in terms of promotional materials island-wide."

She further added that one thing to look forward to will be how the stage design will go.

Esports events typically have impressive designs, such as having a ramen bar for the anime-themed WePlay AniMajor.

Kellymilkies also shared that she hoped that having TI here would inspire a new generation of players, or even make it culturally acceptable.

"I wish we had a high level Singapore team to showcase at TI this year, but I know that will not be the case. Singapore has had a strong history of having extremely highly skilled players since 15 years ago, we used to be one of the most dominant teams in the world, but due to lack of proper support we have definitely fallen behind in terms of talented pro-players," she said.

"To see a world championship played on your home-ground is an absolute dream for any gamer, especially an old-gamer like me. I hope that our organization, Alliance will be able to qualify this year so we can be a part of this historical event. As a born and bred Singaporean, even though it is already extremely exciting that we will host TI, it will mean the world to me to participate in a home-ground TI with Alliance."

Jayf Soh, CEO and Founder of RSG

Screenshot of Jayf Soh, CEO and founder of RSG, speaking at an event. (Photo: Yahoo TV)
Jayf Soh, CEO and founder of RSG (Photo: Yahoo TV)

"TI has always been one of the most prestigious and recognized esports events globally and it is an absolute honour to see The International happening in Southeast Asia," said Jayf Soh, a former esports caster himself before he went to found RSG.

"Throughout the last decade that I've been in esports, it is extremely heart warming to now witness that the global community recognizes the quality of esports in not just Singapore but Southeast Asia as a whole," said Soh.

"For the last 10 iterations of The International, we've never had a SEA team lift the Aegis of Champions. If anything, I look forward toward witnessing the birth of the first SEA champion at TI – hopefully my team."

Wong "Nutz" Jeng Yih, retired Dota 2 pro

Former Dota 2 pro Wong
Former Dota 2 pro Wong "Nutz" Jeng Yih (Photo: NutZ Facebook page)

"The world's biggest esports event in terms of prize pool is finally happening on our own island this year," said Wong "Nutz" Jeng Yih, a former Dota 2 pro who retired in 2021.

On a side note, many have perceived Singapore as the ideal location to be the host for some of the other game titles finals during the COVID period. I believe we have what it takes to make it a successful event," said Nutz, who was part of the pro Singaporean squad Team Faceless that lit up the SEA scene in 2016.

"I'm looking forward to watching high quality matches with unorthodox picks – like OG.ana's carry IO – and local representatives participating, such as a certain someone in Team Secret. I'm hopeful we have more than one player."

Nutz also added that he's looking forward to see Singapore or Southeast Asian-themed merchandise, or maybe even a "Merlion hero".

"This is the best chance to learn about the values of esports and why youths are so passionate about it. I hope this will be a 'festival' for all the old Dota 1 and 2 players and garner interest for the unaware. I'm willing to contribute to help make this a successful event," added Nutz.

Sean "Hades" Goh, caster

Caster and analyst Sean 'Hades' Goh during an interview with Yahoo. (Photo: Yahoo TV)
Caster and analyst Sean 'Hades' Goh during an interview with Yahoo. (Photo: Yahoo TV)

"I think its great that TI is in Singapore and its about time! Nothing beats seeing a crowd at an international LAN in its purest form once again," said Sean "Hades" Goh, an analyst, caster and coach who has worked in the Dota 2 scene.

"I hope to see more than one Singaporean at TI besides iceiceice. I also hope that TI 2022 encourages more investment into esports locally for the competitive teams," said Hades.

Aloysius Low is an ex-CNET editor with more than 15 years of experience. He's really into cats and is currently reviewing products at canbuyornot.com

For more esports news updates, visit https://yhoo.it/YahooEsportsSEA and check out Yahoo Esports Southeast Asia’s Facebook page and Twitter, as well as our Gaming channel on YouTube.

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