Elephant shuts down after an underwhelming DPC campaign
After forming a superstar-laden squad, Team Elephant did not live up to expectations. The team has shut down the squad and has released all five players. When they started up, Elephant was one of the biggest threats in the Dota Pro Circuit but they failed to meet their potential.
A team made up of a large chunk of China’s top-tier players left their teams in 2019 after another bad run at The International. These players formed Elephant as an answer to the Western superteams like OG, Team Nigma, and Team Secret.
Elephant was touted as the superteam to end all superteams. China has always been the strongest region in pro-Dota and seeing their top players join one team should’ve been the key to the region’s return to success.
With players like midlaner Lu ‘Somnus丶M’ Yao, offlaner Zhou ‘Yang’ Haiyang, hard carry Zhang ‘Eurus’ Chengjun, support Xie ‘Super’ Junhao, and team captain Xu ‘fy’ Linsen, the team was in good hands. However, that did not end well as they were bounced out early in DPC tournaments and at TI10.
What went wrong for Elephant?
When it comes to talent-laden teams in sports and esports, the right balance should always be struck. In Elephant’s case, there were too many cooks in the kitchen. Fy and Somnus had chemistry from their days together at Paris SG.LGD but the rest of the team were all big personalities.
In addition, they were coached by the legendary Bai ‘rOtK’ Fan who is known as a loud personality. With so many big names in the lineup, there was a disconnect between the players because they wanted their time in the spotlight. They made it work somewhat because they were still one of the best teams in China.
They managed to qualify for TI10 and the whole Dota scene was excited to see them meet their potential. However, they did not manage to do so because they stumbled out of the gate and they lost to Evil Geniuses in the do-or-die lower bracket games.
There was already an example of this in Dota’s past including Secret’s superteam back in TI5 but they also crashed out of the event. Over the years, TI has proven that five superstars in the same stack can’t win the Aegis of Champions if they don’t have chemistry.
When you look at Elephant, they had rampant chemistry issues and Eurus and Somnus, in particular, were a bad fit alongside each other.
What is next for the former Elephant stars?
With the roster lock period ending in mid-November, teams are working behind the scenes to sign players. With all five Elephant players leaving, you can expect some teams will offer them deals to join their lineups.
Former Vici Gaming offlaner Ren ‘eLeVeN’ Yangwei has confirmed that he will team up with Somnus and his former LGD teammate Yap ‘xNova’ Jian Wei for the 2021-22 DPC. That has top-tier potential. XNova is an adaptable player which means he will be a good fit alongside these Chinese stars.
The organization is not decided just yet because eLeVeN, Somnus, and xNova will net a sponsor soon. In the meantime, the roster shuffle period is still ongoing and in a unique twist, so many teams are still holding out on announcing rosters.
Words: Cholo Martin