Toh “xy-” Wai Hong: The Prodigal Son Of Singaporean DOTA 2

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It was an intimate gathering of fans and long-time friends. Last Tuesday on September 19, Toh “xy” Wai Hong appeared at the Alienware Arena fireside chat to talk about how he became a pro, how LAN cafes played a huge part in growing Singapore’s DOTA 2 scene, and his time with Faceless.

If you’ve never met xy in person, you’d be surprised at how outspoken and ready to interact with fans he is. After the chat, xy stayed behind to engage the fans who came down to listen, asking them about how they enjoyed DOTA 2 in their own ways.

Here are some of the more memorable things he said at the fireside chat. Some quotes were paraphrased to ensure clarity.

About how he improved to become a pro gamer

“I started playing DOTA with my secondary school friends. Then as I got better, I joined competitions.… When I was the new bird (new player) I had a lot of guidance from the veterans at the time. At that point of time, that’s how I got better.

In the past, it was through competitions that I met the better teams and people to play with, which is how you improve [by playing against stronger competition].

You need that [more competition and more guidance] to continue growing the scene. Without competition, there’s no place for new players to meet and network with other players … that’s why compared to last time I feel that Singapore’s DOTA 2 scene has died down.

I like to compete. I like to play on a high-level play and experiencing the fast pace of competitive play. In terms of DOTA 2, there’s patch changes and the pace of the game, it feels fresh and that keeps me interested.”

On returning to Singapore after his break

“I was surprised at how little difference [in terms of competitiveness] there was before I left and when I came back. I could still beat teams and people [in spite of my absence from competition].”

About solely competing in Southeast Asia

“It’s not enough. You might be able to dominate here, but the scene is small. You can still win a few matches against the international teams due to their unfamiliarity with you, but after that (referring to the group stages) you’ll start losing.

You can dominate in Singapore, but when you go against international teams you might not know what just hit you.”

About Singapore’s DOTA 2 scene in the past

“Singapore’s DOTA 1 scene was very vibrant. We were the amongst the favourites as the top scenes in the region. Now, compared to then, it is pretty sad. I’m kinda hoping if there are any other Singaporeans to continue whatever [Team Faceless] did.

If Iceiceice were to retire, I don’t know if we’ll see any other Singaporeans in the scene. It is tough in Singapore because everyone is focused on education.”

If this continues, I feel that the Philippines will dominate the [Southeast Asian] scene. Just give them 2 more years. Malaysia is trying something, and I think they might be doing well. I’ll place my bets on these two countries [when it comes to DOTA 2].”

On Forming Faceless

“Ice[iceice] and I used to play together, and NutZ had been my teammate in Dota 1. Ice wanted to take a break, form a team in Singapore, so they both approached me and I said why not?”

On Training With Faceless

“We got a coach, who made sure we followed a training regime. Otherwise, we would have been more impromptu… it used to be whenever we woke up.

Closer to tournament time, we would wake up earlier to set our body clocks, say, 8am or 9am, and scrim around 10am. Other teams would do the same as well, so we would have scrims. Usually, it’s around 11am.”

On Memorable Tournaments with Faceless

“The Dotapit run was one of the more memorable ones … we went to the loser’s bracket and won all the way to the loser’s finals, so that was more memorable.

Before Faceless, TI 2 was my most memorable tournament because it was much more organised compared to TI 1. At the Benaroya Hall, it felt like it was a big tournament when compared to TI 1… [where] it was in a convention hall, at Gamescom.”

His favourite thing to watch in DOTA 2

“Underdog stories. I always enjoy watching the underdog, such as LGD in their run to the winner’s bracket final this TI.”

On streaming

“I think for streamers, firstly they have to enjoy streaming. To be a successful streamer, you have to engage your fans so they can feel committed to you, that they are bonding with you. I feel that this requires some passion, you have to enjoy communicating with people. You also have to enjoy playing the game because when your viewers can feel you’re having fun, they’ll probably enjoy it too.”

I feel that this requires some passion, you have to enjoy communicating with people. You also have to enjoy playing the game because when your viewers can feel you’re having fun, they’ll probably enjoy it too.”

About competitiveness in DOTA 2

“The game is now very innovative, unpredictable, as you saw in TI 7 the drafts were quite unpredictable so I feel that it is advancing quite well. The winners of the past two TI’s have varied picks. As long as there are more of these big map changes or patches, DOTA 2 will remain fresh.”

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