Team SMG captain Yeik “MidOne” Nai Zheng recently expressed his appreciation for securing a spot in The International 12 tournament, which will be hosted in Seattle, Washington, in October. He credited veteran Volodymyr “no[o]ne” Minenko as the most important signing of the month.
The Malaysian had been underperformed in three seasons of the Dota 2 Pro Circuit SEA 2023 before surprising everyone by dismissing Lee “CDR” Jia He to make room for no[o]ne. And this transfer proved to be a significant choice that significantly improved the overall team’s performance in a short time.
During the SEA Regional Qualifier for The International 12 which ended last week, he became the most highlighted player thanks to his outstanding contribution. The team managed to beat their opponents in the upper bracket and finally took down Blacklist Rivalry in the grand finals with a very convincing victory. Even though their opponents showed great mentality, no[o]ne proved to be successful in breaking their effectiveness as well as bringing out the potential of MidOne who was playing close to him during those games. And MidOne is definitely pleased that the Eastern European veteran joined them at the right time.
MidOne said in an interview after the game that, as captain, he was partly responsible for putting together his team’s group and finding no[o]ne during these tough times. He said he did not think twice about inviting him to Malaysia.
“It’s mostly me. I am the one who looks for players and think about who to pick,” he said. “Luckily, we got no[o]ne here. It was good. Our roster is kinda complete because it is really hard to find good players right now.”
This comes as a big surprise, given that no[o]ne had no idea about the competitive scene in SEA before SMG approached him. However, given his record as a former ace for NaVi and Virtus.pro, there was no doubt that he would lead them through his extraordinary midlane play. And it was enough to convince MidOne to swap roles as a safelaner.
Team SMG will represent Southeast Asia with Talon Esports at The International 12, and they have the potential to be one of the surprises if they keep up their consistency as they did in the qualifying stage last week.