Sparking Arrow Gaming (SAG) is a team that fans should keep an eye out for during the ESL One Thailand 2020: Asia tournament.
For those who haven’t been following the Chinese Dota 2 scene, especially since the postponement of this year’s Dota Pro Circuit due to COVID-19, SAG used to be called Team Royal. It was the secondary team of Chinese esports organization, Royal Never Give Up.
But during the 2019 Dota 2 offseason, the team decided to leave the organization and register a brand-new team under the SAG banner. And they’ve taken off since then. At the beginning of 2020, SAG dominated the China Dota 2 Development League, winning both Season 2 and 3 by defeating CDEC and IG Vitality.
SAG then earned its biggest tournament win by dominating the first season of the CDA League. They finished with an impressive 7-2 record, winning over PSG.LGD, Aster, and RNG. A couple of months later at the end of June, SAG followed that up with a surprising 3-0 sweep over Vici Gaming to win the BEYOND EPIC: China tournament.
Now the team is looking to reach another milestone by winning ESL One Thailand’s $135,000 prize pool tournament.
After getting caught off-guard by Neon Esports’ trademark hard carry, Chen in the first game, Sparking Arrow Gaming answered back with two clutch wins off the back of their emerging hard carry player, Zhong “God-King” Liushuai.
SAG also has two extremely talented support players in Xun “September” Zhichuan and Ru “RedPanda” Zhihao, who often prove to be the difference makers even during the final moments of the game.
In the series against Neon Esports, God-King went for an interesting Anti-Mage build. Instead of being creative, the SAG hard carry went with the exact same build he had in the previous game using Faceless Void. God-King prioritized farming his Battlefury and Manta Style, but decided to finish his Silver Edge to counter Andrei “skem” Ong’s Spectre.
Despite opting not to build a Black King Bar, God-king, together with the rest of his teammates, were able to make it work. This shows that the team has an understanding of the current Dota 2 meta, and that they have a winning formula that can be used consistently.
The team is bolstered by veteran offlaner and former Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017 winner Ou “Op” Peng, and former RNG star midlaner Gao “Setsu” Zhengxiong. (Team Aster’s newly signed midlaner, Liu “白学家” Yuhao, is currently standing in for Setsu during the ESL One Thailand event.)
Sparking Arrow Gaming currently holds the top spot of Group B with a 4-1 record. Although, the Chinese team’s toughest test yet will be on August 31, the final day of the group stage, when they face off against Geek Fam.