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Brawling Brothers Reunite: The Korean Reformation at the PGL Dota 2 Minor

The Korean Dota 2 lineup has reunited under Immortals and will play at PGL Bucharest

Over the Dota 2 offseason, the most savage cavemen the scene has ever witnessed reunified in an unexpected and much applauded move. The old MVP Phoenix roster of Kim “QO” Seon-yeob, Pyo “MP” No-a, Lee “Forev” Sang-don, Kim “Febby” Yong-min, and Kim “DuBu” Doo-young disbanded after pushing themselves the furthest they could go at TI6. Now over one year later, they have reunited under Immortals and have moved to North America. It is time to see what will happen, now that the miracle squad has reassembled with all of the backing of a large North American esports org.

The story of this team starts in the Korean Dota 2 scene. Or rather, the complete lack of one. By the time Dota 2 had come to Korea, it was too late to build a substantial scene off niche appeal. League of Legends had established its hegemony by that point and few players, orgs, or tournament organizers were interested in backing an upstart. After some early Nexon tournaments, the scene quickly died down; eventually the few Koreans left were even bereft of a server on which to play. All they had left was MVP Phoenix and the will of five players to turn dreams into reality.

They worked their way up year after year, and made a critical move after The International 5 where the five best Korean players joined together onto one team. Together they become one of the best teams in the world as reached the semifinals of the Shanghai Major, won DotaPit Season 3, won WePlay Season 3 and earned a top 6 result at The International 6. It was the equivalent of transmuting gold from lead. The Korean player pool was too small, the infrastructure lacking, the servers nonexistent, the money nowhere to be found. MVP’s results were far beyond any expectations — and the team realized that. It was an incredible fluke, one that couldn’t possibly last. The players separated after TI6.

They spent an year pushing as far as they could, but they could no longer live on dreams and results alone. The members needed to find their own career paths. Each of them found themselves on different teams across EU and NA. Each one of their teams qualified for TI7, and each of them failed.

In the end, failure pushed them back together. They were good players individually, but together they were more than the sum of their parts. QO was a star player, but one who needed to have the team play a specific way around him, the way of the caveman: Aggressive, naturally in-sync as every player dove alongside his brother, without regret or fear of the consequences.

That is the definitive Korean Dota 2 style that has been reborn under the Immortals banner. But there is something markedly different compared to other Dota 2 reunions. Earlier this year, the old Cloud9 squad returned under Team NP and found some good results, but the inherent problems of the old roster persisted in the new squad despite being apart for so long. In the case of these Koreans, the change is the environment. Staying at home was impossible if they wanted to compete at an international level: Korea is a wasteland for Dota 2 and though they could have played on the SEA server, the ping would be incredibly bad. It was a miracle they could push themselves so far while on MVP Phoenix.

Now in NA, they have plenty of strong teams with which they can hone their craft without worries of availability and internet connection. Evil Geniuses, OpTic Gaming, and compLexity are readily available, with the possibility of boot camps in EU if they ever travel overseas. On top of that, they have access to the resources of one of the bigger NA orgs. In other esports, Immortals has shown dedication to raising its esports players to their maximum potential. This team made some miracle runs under some of the worst conditions possible in Korea; now it has everything it could have ever hoped to have.

In essence, we are going to see an all-new caveman. Ones now strengthened and trained in the NA region, backed by an organization that will support the players however it can. The Caveman are coming, and their first stop will be PGL Bucharest.


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