– Francesco Puglisi
Here we are with another Wildcard tournament team, this time coming from the European qualifier: Escape gaming.
Escape Gaming is a new eSport organisation founded in March 2016 and it’s starting to support teams in Dota 2, CS:GO and Hearthstone. In June 2016 Escape signed the recently formed independent team No Diggity, which didn’t manage to achieve any significant win in premiere tournaments, but definitely showed potential. The team was created by Troels “syndereN” Nielsen, a veteran player who, after a short spell as a pro, worked as a caster and analyst in various major tournaments, including The International. The most notable achievement of Escape Gaming has been the unexpected third place in the TI European Regional qualifiers, which granted them a spot in the Wildcard tournament.
The current roster
Adrian “Era” Kryeziu
Adrian was a professional HoN player before playing Dota 2. He started playing for Fnatic in 2012 and with them he attended TI3 and TI4, placing quite poorly both times. He left Fnatic to join the all-Swedish team Ninjas in Pyjamas in January 2015, where he played until November. NiP did not qualify for TI5 and disbanded shortly after. Steak Gaming came next, which name changed to No Diggity, and finally Escape Gaming.
Era has always played the carry role in his long Dota 2 career. His all-time best heroes are Lifestealer and Tiny, but he can play pretty much everything and lately he has been concentrating on the most successful position one heroes of this patch like Terrorblade, Slark and Juggernaut. His extreme versatility gives Escape the chance to throw unexpected curveballs at their opponents: he recently played carry Necrophos, something that nobody does these days, and he makes it work pretty effectively. His experience is definitely going to boost Escape chances of making it through the Wildcard tournament.
Max “qojqva” Broecker
Qojqva (pronounced coy-fa) is a German player that goes back to the first days of the competitive Dota 2 scene. He started his pro career playing for Mousesports and moved to Team Liquid after a short spell. He went on to play for Team Tinker, where he really showcased his skills in the midlane. In 2015 qojqva took a year off and came back in 2016 to join syndereN new project, New Diggity.
Qojqva made a name for himself playing flashy tempo-controllers heroes. Tinker, Invoker, Storm Spirit and Queen of Pain all suit his high-risk high-reward playstyle with their combination of mobility, control and damage output. His great mechanical skills often grant him a win in the laning stage of the game, which translates into a mid-game domination that gets very difficult to deal with. Fun fact: qojqva loves playing Lone Druid and has a great winrate on the hero (over 73%) and plays it in the midlane even though it fell off from favour a patch ago.
Maurice “KheZu” Gutmann
KheZu is the least experienced Escape player, having played Dota 2 professionally only since 2015. This is the first TI he is going to attend and there’s no telling how he will perform under so much pressure. What we know for sure is that KheZu has a lot of talent and has been able to handle the direst situations like a seasoned player. He runs a pretty standard offlane, getting what he can from the lane before switching to Iron Talon and jungling for maximum efficiency. Offlaners in this patch don’t have many choices in terms of picks: he consistently plays Dark Seer, Faceless Void, Beast Master, Tidehunter and Timbersaw.
The offlaner role is one of the most difficult to play, as offlaners are in charge of initiating teamfights. Matches are often won or lost over initiation mistakes, so it’s only natural if there are doubts over Escape’s choice of putting an inexperienced player in such a critical role. KheZu has the chance to prove himself on the best possible stage, TI6, but in order to do it Escape needs to make it in the top2 of the Wildcard tournament.
Yazied “Yapz0r” Jaradat
The Jordan player has been around since the early days of Dota 2. He played for various teams, including Balkan Bears, Monkey Freedom Fighters and Mamas Boys, but he never managed to secure any significant result with them. He plays the four-position aggressively, pressuring the midlane and disrupting the enemy safelane by being constantly off the map roaming in search of kills.
He runs one of the best Mirana out there, but he is also very dangerous on Rubik and Earth Spirit. He plays as a jungler when his team needs it, most notably Enigma, and he is Escape Wisp player. He showed a great synergy with qojqva and is definitely looking ready to make plays in the Wildcard tournament.
Troels “syndereN” Nielsen
SyndereN is one of the most experienced players in Dota history. He played Dota 1 for Mousesports in 2009, Online Kingdom in 2010 and then again for Mousesports in 2013, this time playing Dota 2. He then spent more than two years as a caster and analyst, being on the panels of three Internationals and casting many premiere tournaments. He is back to playing now, and considering that the team he created managed to qualify for the biggest eSports tournament in the world just six months after starting playing together, it’s fair to say that he’s having quite a bit of success.
He plays the hard-five support role, often scarifying his farm and his life for the team. He plays a lot of Vengeful Spirit, Dazzle and Lion, some of the most selfless heroes in the game. He really balances Yapz0r’S aggressive playstyle and makes sure his teammates stay alive during fights. His deep knowledge of the game grants his team an advantage during the drafting stage. He proved he can still play at the highest level qualifying for TI6, but his team spot at the main event is not secured yet.
Escape has what it needs to make it through, but the competition is very tough and nobody is going to go down without a fight. The thought of this young team led by a retired player placing well at TI6 makes for a great Cinderalla story, as many casters call it.
Stay tuned for more about the TI6 teams. Next episode – EHOME