Of all the Chinese organizations, Royal Never Give Up is the newest to Dota 2. However, the winning team of the China Qualifier for The International 2019 is packed with experienced pros. It would be easy to overlook them because the team’s name is unfamiliar to Dota 2 fans, but don’t count this squad out!
Royal Never Give Up
Carry / Position 1: Du “Monet” Peng
Mid / Position 2: Gao “Setsu” Zhenxiong
Offlane / Position 3: Su “Flyby” Lei
Support / Position 4: Zhang “LaNm” Zhicheng
Hard Support / Position 5: Tu “ah fu” Soon Chuan
DPC Standing: China Qualifier; 18th place; 204 points
Best DPC Result: Ninth-twelfth at the EPICENTER Major; Third at DreamLeague Season 10 (Minor)
Royal Never Give Up entered Dota 2 in September 2018. They’re familiar to League of Legends fans, fielding a top team in the Tencent League of Legends Pro League, and to potentially to Overwatch fans, as they operate the Chengdu Hunters, a middling team in the Overwatch League. But this was the first year we’ve seen them in Dota 2.
While the team has never really hit it out of the park, they’ve made changes through 2019 to the roster to at least ensure everyone takes notice. Namely, in February, LaNm, a Chinese legend, was brought into the support position. LaNm competed in DotA before joining EHOME to compete at The International in 2011.
His second-place finish at the first TI has been his best result so far. In fact, LaNm announced retirement after TI4, having placed fourth with Team DK, one of the original Dota 2 superstars. By January of 2015, he was back on a team. The allure of Dota 2 is too strong! One of his teammates at The International 2018 talked about his first impressions of LaNm as being super stubborn and serious, but that later he got to know LaNm’s humorous side. Having been widely regarded as one of the best support players in the world, it would be apropos for LaNm and his squad to round up their inaugural year with RNG by winning TI9.
As great as Money, Setsu and Flyby are in the core roles, the other player to watch on Royal Never Give Up is the other support player: ah fu. Ah fu competed at his first (and only until TI9) TI in 2017, with LGD. Forever Young. Controversially, they placed third at TI7 after losing the Upper Bracket finals to Newbee in a close 1-2 series. They went on lose to eventual TI7 winners, Team Liquid, in another 1-2 series in the lower bracket. Ah fu’s skill on Earth Spirit, his most played hero in professional games, makes it a signature hero. As a Malaysian player who came to China looking to learn and develop his skills, ah fu’s racking up the experience to take back to SEA (should he ever do so!).
Royal’s year in the DPC certainly wasn’t one success after another. But the team held their own in the very competitive Chinese region and won the qualifier spot over other familiar Chinese orgs such as EHOME, Invictus Gaming and CDEC Gaming. In fact, Royal came back through the lower bracket after CDEC beat them in the upper bracket quarterfinals, and then beat CDEC in a stunning 3-2 grand finals.
If they can stay true to their organization’s name, and trust in the experience and skill of their support players, Royal Never Give Up could go far at The International 2019!
Check back in with Hotspawn frequently ahead of The International 2019 for profiles of all 18 teams competing at the tournament!
Available Profiles: Team Secret; Infamous; Evil Geniuses; Fnatic; Keen Gaming; Team Liquid; Mineski; Vici Gaming; Ninjas in Pyjamas; Royal Never Give Up; Alliance; Natus Vincere; PSG.LGD; Chaos Esports Club; TNC Predator; Virtus.pro