[TI9] Newbee - The Artists Formerly Known as Forward (2024)

It happens almost every year. Someone qualifies TI without a major organization behind them, and one of many esports organizations pick them up for the duration of TI. This year’s case was certainly a new one though. Forward Gaming went under immediately after the team had won the North American qualifiers for TI9, leaving pieliedie’s squad with an invite but no organization behind them. This might be the first case of a team losing their organization after qualifying for the biggest tournament in esports. Everything that happened to the North American squad was standard practice: many suitors lobbied the players, offers were made and benefits promised, and eventually a decision was made. The Artists Formerly Known as Forward would be playing under the Newbee banner.

The Artists Formerly Known as Forward

Before we get into the year that these players had, let’s take a moment to talk about Newbee and what brought them here. A winner at TI4 and a finalist at TI7, Newbee have fallen far since their 2017 finals appearance. They kept the same roster through both TI7 and TI8, but after a last place finish in the latter event, Newbee was forced to make changes. Unfortunately these changes left Newbee worse off and the team failed to qualify for a single DPC-event the entire season. Despite several roster swaps and attempts to fix the team, they failed to even make it through the open qualifiers for two minors. Newbee was completely irrelevant this DPC season and to make it worse this happened in the leadup to the first TI in China. So, they did what any sensible huge organization would do, they picked up the only available squad so that they wouldn’t miss out on the biggest event in the history of Chinese Dota. The players themselves are likely very happy with this as they’ll have access to better facilities in China than any non-Chinese team would be able to provide.

This now-Newbee squad had a rough year. Their starting roster looked strong, with two top cores in Resolut1on and Universe and a solid supporting cast of Yawar, MSS, and SVG. The team certainly proved to be the second best team in North America, but unfortunately that hasn’t counted for much this year. They qualified for the first three Majors of the season but only won a single Bo1 between all three tournaments. After the third strike, they were out. Universe, SVG, and Resolut1on left the team. With only Yawar and MSS left, the team had to rebuild, but how? They brought in CCnC, Sneyking, and Kitrak. What was once clearly a powerhouse of the North American scene now looked like yet another middling NA stack. The team actually performed worse than expected, eliminated by ixmike’s teamteam in the Paris Major qualifiers. More changes were clearly necessary. Thankfully, pieliedie recently left Mineski and was available to join. He brought the team much-needed leadership and tier-1 experience that Kitrak was unable to provide from the 5 role.

Pieliedie truly brought the team together. They took the NA qualifiers by storm, losing only a single game over the course of the whole event. They managed an undefeated run through the group stage, only losing their single game in the grand finals to J.Storm. The grand finals were more one-sided than the scoreline might indicate. While J.Storm took the first game, Forward turned it on and absolutely crushed J.Storm in the next three games. The finals proved that Forward weren’t just the second-to-EG or the best of the rest. Forward proved that they were a clear step above everyone else in the region. While it is unfortunate that their time at Forward came to an end, Newbee is surely very happy with their new acquisition. This team isn’t going to Shanghai to show up, take last place, and go home sad. They’re heading to Shanghai as a true dark horse with real potential for a strong finish.

DPC Major Performance

Player Highlight - Sneyking

Jingjun “Sneyking” Wu is a true veteran of the North America Dota scene. Playing competitively since 2012, Sneyking struggled for years to break into the tier 1 scene. That finally came to a conclusion last year with his time on VGJ.Storm. Taking 2nd place at a Major and then earning top 8 at TI8, this was Sneyking’s best year yet. Unfortunately, he was replaced with Universe after TI (clearly a mistake based on the results before and after this change). With Universe switching to position 4, Snyeking is now clearly the best offlaner from North America.

Sneyking is playing the best Dota he has played in his life. If you watch the TI9 NA qualifiers, you’ll see that he is not just performing beyond his own abilities, but simply outclassing everyone else in the region. His playmaking abilities and space creation for his cores, CCnC and Yawar, have made him a primary reason for his team’s recent performances. Sneyking clearly understands these players and how to play with them, he just makes it work. His Beastmaster and Axe in particular have been incredible. Favoring Shadowblade and Blink Dagger on his Axe, he makes the most of his ability to find key pickoffs. You’ll also see this in his scorlines where he ends up with dominating, carry-like stats. His total KDA for the last three games of the finals was a combined 34/2/47. That’s a statline that makes him look like a Miracle- or a Ramzes.

The only thing missing from Sneyking’s recent performances is a lack of hero variety. He only played four different heroes over the course of the TI9 NA Qualifiers, though for the most part it was only two heroes. Most of those games came on Axe and Beastmaster as he only clocked in one game on Centaur Warrunner and two games on Omniknight. It might look like Sneyking is a two-trick pony, but his hero pool isn’t the hero puddle it seems. The team clearly found something that worked with these heroes, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. TI qualifiers are the last place to change your already successful gameplan. We’ll likely see more heroes from Sneyking come TI, and even more sick plays as well. Keep an eye on him during Newbee’s games, he’ll likely be on the frontline, leading his team to victory.


(Click the icons to read more about the players)

[TI9] Newbee - The Artists Formerly Known as Forward (11)
Image courtesy of EPICENTER
Yawar is quite the interesting player. The older brother of Sumail, he’s been in his younger sibling’s shadow for years. While Sumail entered the competitive scene in 2015, Yawar took until 2018 before joining a proper competitive team. His time in VGJ.Storm and then Forward gaming was fruitful and while he didn’t win any major championships with those teams, he gained valuable LAN experience. The fact that he’s faced the pressures of a TI stage will be important in Shanghai. Yawar has historically been a flashy mid player, much like his brother, but has shifted to the safelane as needed. His current core-partner CCnC exclusively lanes mid meaning that Yawar will only be seen in the safelane at TI. Yawar’s safelane options are plenty varied with fighting heroes like Troll Warlord and Gyrocopter, but also farm-heavy supercores like Anti-Mage and Morphling.

[TI9] Newbee - The Artists Formerly Known as Forward (12)
Image courtesy of EPICENTER
CCnC is a bit of an odd player. Some know him for feeding on Nature’s Prophet, others know him (allegedly) as the reddit user lgdamefan, who leaked several roster changes after TI7. As a player, CCnC spent a bit of time on tier 2 teams before being picked up by PPD’s OpTic Gaming. Since then he’s managed to stick around on the top two or three teams in North America while standing in for EG whenever needed. It’s a good sign for you when a team like EG picks you as their stand-in whenever Sumail is unable to attend a tournament. CCnC is a very typical mid-player, enjoying heroes like Ember Spirit, Leshrac, Lina, and Templar Assassin. His Huskar skills have also been often-utilized by his recent teams, making him extremely deadly when left with the last pick in drafts. A very mechanically skilled player, you can expect CCnC to dominate all but the best mid players in the world.

[TI9] Newbee - The Artists Formerly Known as Forward (13)
Image courtesy of EPICENTER
MSS, much like his teammates Sneyking and Yawar, has found most of his success with VGJ.Storm. Despite being in the scene for years, MSS always hovered around the tier 2 scene, earning occasional stints on competitive teams like EG, Team NP, or DC. While none of these teams worked out long-term, it does show that top players believe in him, and with good reason. There were multiple periods in the last couple years where MSS looked absolutely dominant, carrying his team through the early game. While he isn’t the most consistent player, he can certainly hold his own with the world’s best when he is on point. Recently focusing on supports like Rubick and Enigma, MSS is a greedy player through-and-through. Luckily he is enabled by pieliedie’s selfless support play, allowing him to play up to his full potential with all sorts of Blink Daggers and Midas purchases.

[TI9] Newbee - The Artists Formerly Known as Forward (14)
Image courtesy of EPICENTER
Johan “pieliedie” Åström may not have been the hero that North America deserved, but he’s the one they needed. Joining late in the season, pieliedie provided the leadership the team needed just in time. While they might not have had a strong performance at the Epicenter Major, they improved by leaps and bounds before the qualifier, showing the strong improvement the team could make in this time. Pieliedie has by far the most tier 1 experience on the team, having taken several first and second place finishes with Team Secret. The ultimate sacrificial support, pieliedie is the perfect example of a player that puts the team before himself.

Since his last team with EternalEnvy, pieliedie has taken on the role of captain in all of the teams he has played in. With his old teammate and friend Aui_2000 helping coach the team, the two seem to have figured out how to get the most out of their players. While Newbee might not have the best players in the world, pieliedie seems to have taken after Puppey (during their time together on Secret) and learned the secrets to maximizing the potential of his cores.

[TI9] Newbee - The Artists Formerly Known as Forward (2024)
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