OUR STREAMERS
EHOME (L-R from top) zeal, zzq, 7e, shiro, planet

Nicholas Lim, better known as zeal (named after the Zealot from Starcraft), is a 24-year-old Malaysian, currently playing in the offlane for the Chinese organization, EHOME. Despite Liquipedia stating he's a stand-in, Lim is a permanent member and has been one for the past four months. "I've been a permanent member since the start!" he clarified about his place on the team.

Lim recounted to me the story of how he ended up in EHOME last year. Unsure of what he wanted to do after graduating with a degree in computer science, zeal received an invitation from EHOME to play Dota 2 for them. “The deadline for the DPC (Dota Pro Circuit) registration was ending and they didn't have a lot of time to try out new players. They asked me, 'do you want to play with these four guys? They are young, around your age.' I took some time to consider their offer," zeal told me. Since he was interested in playing Dota 2 professionally, it was no surprise he said yes.

EHOME before zeal

Prior to accepting EHOME's offer, zeal had no experience playing with his current teammates. Shiro, 7e, planet and zzq were four rising stars that EHOME had signed for the new season after their previous roster parted. By happy chance, zeal fit right in with the guys and they went on to finish top four in the DPC CN 2021/2022 Tour 1. EHOME had a 4-3 score, with their losses handed to them by the big boys of the division: PSG.LGD, Team Aster and Royal Never Give Up (RNG). An impressive result for a somewhat new team.

I asked zeal what it was like to have to play against some of the best teams in the world. He responded, "they are more experienced so they have better in-game decisions than us. But it's kinda fun to play against them especially since I have friends on the opposite side." Just like EHOME, a handful of Chinese squads also field Malaysians in their roster. JT and Oli in Invictus Gaming, xNova in RNG, and NothingToSay in PSG.LGD. Going against them reminded him of the good old days back when he was a nobody competing in amateur Malaysian Dota tournaments.

zeal with Dota Hero teammates

"I used to go up against players like NothingToSay and he would always demolish me, so I escaped to the offlane, where I don’t have to see him for ten minutes!" zeal joked. In case you didn't know, Lim used to be a mid player but switched roles because he felt he couldn't be the best. He played mid in his earlier teams because none of his friends wanted the responsibility. Once he got to know better carry and mid players, he transitioned to the offlane where he found himself performing better. He believes he has much more potential as an offlaner than a mid player.

While it's a dream come true for zeal to play Dota 2 professionally, competing in China is a far cry from the events he used to compete in during his secondary school and college days. "In China, teams are much more structured. I had to learn to play Dota the same way. It was hard at first but after some time I got used to it." No longer was he playing for tiny prize pools or arbitrary titles, the Malaysian now represents one of the oldest organizations in the game's history.

From L-R: shady, Chidori~ , zeal, bun, Ghost
From L-R: bun , sync , umattbro, zeal , shady

It's also one of the reasons why a lot of Malaysians have moved to China to compete in Dota 2 professionally. "A lot of Malaysians play in China because of the infrastructure and tournaments. There are not enough organisations to back up new and younger players in Malaysia. Malaysian Chinese players can also communicate with Chinese players easily."

That being said, zeal still hasn't gone to China yet, and likely won't until May or June this year. Issues with visas (possibly due to the pandemic) have left most of the Malaysians playing remotely for the Chinese DPC this season. Fortunately, ping isn't a huge issue - playing from Malaysia through a VPN gets him about a 50 ping connection to China, sufficient for a game like Dota 2. He has seen a preview of EHOME boot camp and looks forward to going there someday. Until then, he'll be busy playing and training from Malaysia.

Lim's daily routine consists of 2-3 sets of scrims a day (best-of-twos) in the afternoon until night, with an hour break in between for dinner. When they run into problems with the game, they have lane practice against each other (sometimes before their scrims). After training, they are free to do what they want though they are encouraged to play solo rank to improve their mechanical skills. They get one day off (Sunday) for breaks and use it for additional practice when they have tournaments coming up. When he has some downtime, he unwinds by playing games like Monster Hunter, CS:GO, and Apex Legends casually. During busy periods, he doesn't touch other games at all.

Zeal used to stream his games on Twitch but stopped due to lack of motivation. Not having a strong following when he's the kind of person who thrives on viewer interaction felt depressing after a while. Perhaps one day he'll pick it up again.

Wrapping up the interview, I asked him a hypothetical question. If a huge organization came to Malaysia to start a new Dota 2 team and he got to play position 3, who would fill up the other slots? His answer: NothingToSay in the mid lane, MidOne for carry, and ah fu and Oli as supports. However, he mentioned that it probably won't happen.

"The thing about an all-Malaysian squad is - there are motivation issues. Everyone has different commitments and when you're based in Malaysia, everyone is more chilled and tend to do their own things. Everyone won't be pressured to improve and will stay in their comfort zone, which is why I believe that's one of the reasons why Malaysian teams haven't been thriving. Everyone is too comfortable with each other." What a bummer. Perhaps things could change in the future?

He also shared some advice for people interested in improving their offlane skills. "Watch good offlane players, not me, watch Faith_bian, Collapse and iceiceice (his favourite offlaners) - they have very unique hero pools and tend to take over games by themselves and they are cool people. Watch a ton of replays, play a lot, die a lot and try to get experience from dying to see how far you can go."

"If I have any fans, thanks for supporting and continuing to support me. I'll try my best to get into The International this year and hope everything goes well for me. Stay safe and stay healthy." To his haters, "I don't really care about the comments that people say though some of them can be really cruel. But I'm happy to be playing Dota professionally, and they're not!"

Catch zeal and EHOME in action in the DPC CN 2021/2022 Tour 2: Division I, happening now until 22 April, live on Twitch and YouTube. Keep up to date with the player on Twitter.

We recently got a chance to speak with Adib "Adibz" Razak, the in-game leader of Clutch Guerilla, who recently qualified for the upcoming season of the PUBG Mobile Professional League MYSGPH.

The 24-year-old from Taiping, Perak started playing PUBG Mobile about three years ago, when his friends introduced it to him. He fell in love with the game immediately and continued to play it daily. Getting good enough at the game, he entered and won many small tournaments with his friends and realized he had the capability to go pro.

Through his connections with TheFarang Esports, Adibz held tryouts for select players from their various squads and formed his very first official team: Farang Guerilla. From then on, he was introduced to a world very different from the minor events he used to stomp. Now he was up against the big boys in the scene.

Farang Guerilla didn’t make a huge splash with their debut. But they never gave up - even after failing to qualify for two PUBG Mobile Professional League seasons in a row. Fortunately, their perseverance paid off and in January this year, they won the PMPL MYSGPH S5 qualifier, giving them a slot in the prestigious league. The years of experience together gave them a leg up on the competition. In February, the team was acquired by Clutch Esports, a Singaporean organization and received a minor rebrand to Clutch Guerilla. Since then, they’ve been hard at work, getting ready for the league to begin.

When asked about what makes the team work well together? Adibz replied, "We’ve been playing together a long time and understand each other very well. We know each other’s weaknesses and strengths which helps us improve together easily."

Adibz was a natural fit when it came to leading the team, being the oldest of the boys also helped. “My teammates always listen to my calls!” he admitted. "The hardest part about being a leader is keeping morale up when they’re feeling down. On the flip side, the best part is the feeling you get when you lead your team to victory. It helps when everybody on the team is funny. Nobody is too stubborn or serious." An important factor since most of them live together in a team house.

(From L-R) Shinzi, Funky, Adibz

While they do have minor conflicts (like regular people) it's never enough that it becomes a problem for the team. Living together makes it easier for the team to play, learn and study together. The team works together to come up with strategies but Adibz has the final say when it comes to execution.

Here’s what their daily routine looks like from Monday to Saturday: waking up, lunch, practice, dinner, and some more practice. They literally live and breathe PUBG Mobile (Adibz mentioned he doesn’t play any other games!). Occasionally, they’ll go out for sports and they get to relax on Sundays when they aren’t competing.

Since a lot of teams have coaches now, we asked him if Clutch Guerilla was planning to hire one. Muhammad Amirul "TopCast" Hazim Alias, the manager of the team who was present at the interview responded, “A wrong coach makes the team worse, from my previous experience, so we’re not rushing to get one now. After all, they’ve made it this far without one! But as a manager, I’ll be working with the team to help them out with strategies and analysis. Most of their training is mental preparation."

For their very first PMPL, Clutch Guerilla wants to exceed expectations. Adibz thinks that nobody will give them much thought since they came through the qualifiers. However, he wants to show everyone that the boys in the team are worthy of their PMPL slot. “We will not be afraid!”

Adibz thanks all their fans for support and asks them to keep supporting regardless of their results and keep them in their prayers to succeed. Follow Clutch Guerilla on Instagram, and catch them in PMPL MYSGPH S5!

Disclaimer: We received a near-final build of the game in exchange for an honest preview. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are the author’s own and not influenced by Future Friends Games, and/or its affiliates, in any way.

It's been a while since I've played an endless runner - the last one I remember being Subway Surfer or some other Canabalt clone. So when the opportunity to check out Gibbon: Beyond the Trees arrived, I expressed my interest and boy, I was glad I did. Gibbon is the latest game from Broken Rules, an indie development studio known for the award-winning Old Man's Journey back in 2017, and I gotta say it lived up to my expectations. I received access to a near-final build of the game to give my impressions and here are my thoughts.

Right off the bat, we are treated with gorgeously stylish graphics that the devs are known for. The game has some of the most luscious greenery I've ever seen (until the destruction set in and even then it also looked stunning). Playing the game felt like watching the pages of a masterfully illustrated picture book come to life, Gibbon is a treat for the eyes. The animation for the colourful apes was also well-executed - swinging from tree to tree looked and felt great.

In terms of gameplay, Gibbon is pretty straightforward. There are no points to score in this game - you move from left to right of the screen, jumping, sliding and somersaulting along the way to avoid obstacles in your way. By paying attention to the changes in the background, you can deduce the story of what's going on around you. You play a lost (pink) gibbon who embarks on a dangerous journey into unknown lands and uncover the plight of creatures around the world. Yes, it isn't all fun and games - the story contains some very real issues faced by the animal kingdom. Following the story isn't mandatory but it adds to the experience of the game.

The controls took a while to get used to (coming from other endless runners) and eventually felt adequate and "right" to use. Tap and hold one finger to swing from branch to branch, release your finger to let go of your branch and fling yourself forward, tap and hold with two fingers to slide down branches/trunks, or run on the ground, and swipe any direction to perform a somersault while in the air (gaining speed once it completes).

Gibbon reminded me a lot of Skate City (another Apple Arcade game) despite having completely different subject matter, they both have breathtaking visuals and are easy to pick up but hard to master. Yes, don't let its charming appearance fool you. Gibbon gets challenging at times, and it is possible to fail. There are sections in the game where you are required to jump across an obstacle - be it a huge ravine or a stretch of wildfire - and failing to do so leads to your death.

This brings me to my main gripe with the game: checkpoints. Since they aren't very frequent, it can make the game feel a bit repetitive as you'll have to swing for a bit before reaching the obstacle you have to retry. It would have helped if your character moved a tad faster but I guess it was done this way so you could enjoy the scenery at the same time.

Once you're finished with the story, there's an endless mode for you to play around with if you can't get enough brachiation action on your phone. All in all, Gibbon is a fun and entertaining endless runner that's worth checking out for the brilliant visuals alone. If you're expecting something more complex, this game isn't for you. However, if you want something that's light and easy to pass some time, I'd recommend it. Gibbon: Beyond the Trees is available now on Apple Arcade.

While esports has been flourishing in the country over the past few years, it’s been a mostly male-dominated industry, with representatives from the fairer sex few and far between. Things have certainly changed for the better, and spearheading her way to the top is Tan Sok Chen. Also known as ZhenZi, the 28-year-old Penangite has been at the forefront of the esports scene for her university, the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang community, as a Moonton Student Leader.

The postgraduate student from Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP), who founded her university’s esports club, started her foray into the MLBB scene back in 2017 when her fiancé (then boyfriend) introduced the game to her. It was her first MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) game, and she was hooked despite its difficulty. “It took me about 3 months to learn how MOBAs worked. And there were a lot of toxic players in the game!” she lamented.

Sok Chen and her fiancé at the We Care Charity Program

Fortunately, she didn’t let that stop her and persevered in the game - Sok Chen ended up hitting Mythic rank at her peak! “Nowadays I play with my fiancé when he’s free, my teammates or other club members. I don’t enjoy solo games because there are a lot of noobs out there!” laughed the Penangite.

After getting good at MLBB, she took her interest in the game a step further - by organising tournaments for her university. Sok Chen had experience running events for games in the past when she was a Pirate King Online (an old school MMORPG) player, so it only seemed natural.

These events led to the formation of an esports club in her university in 2019, which became official after a 2-year trial period (the deans wanted to make sure that it wasn’t going to negatively affect the studies of those involved). “Funny story about that - when I started my post-graduate course, I didn’t have enough time to focus on my studies while being busy with esports. Thankfully, I had an understanding supervisor who let me switch to a part-time course!”

The response to the club was good but was also tinged with a little negativity. “A lot of the students complained about why there were so many MLBB events, but not for other games. What they didn’t realize was that UniMAP was filled with MLBB players. We encouraged these complainers to join the club so they could run events on their own but once they found out about the paperwork involved, they said thank you and goodbye!”

UEC Committee 21/22

Organising tournaments isn’t a walk in the park, as some of you might know. There are a lot of factors to consider and logistics involved. Not everybody is up to the task of undertaking such a monumental project. Sok Chen was one such person. Besides planning events, she occasionally took on the role of a team manager and entered a few tournaments as a player.

“As a manager, one of my main responsibilities was to set up scrims. If I didn’t set them, the players wouldn’t train at all.” She recalls a time when she had arranged for her team to play against Orange Lourve, a team from the MLBB Professional League. “We were very excited about the scrim even though we didn’t win.” (They lost 0-3, expectedly)

While she was capable of many roles, Sok Chen found herself most comfortable behind the scenes. This was why she applied for the role of a Moonton Student Leader (MSL) in 2019. MSLs were students from universities around the country who served as bridges between the game developer and their schools. For someone who arranged events for fun, that seemed like a lot of work. Thankfully, she was well compensated with in-game rewards, diamonds and a partial scholarship. “It was a lengthy process to become one! It took 2-3 months, there was a strict screening process with multiple interviews and a case study we had to complete.”

“In the beginning, I felt a lot of pressure being one of the only females in the scene. But as time went on and I met other women, I felt more comfortable,” she admitted. In her experience, the esports scene in Malaysia has been pretty fair to her. “I don’t think I get treated differently because I’m female. However, I feel that people have been friendlier after finding out that I’m a girl. A lot of people are shocked to discover that I’m not a guy!”

At the Intercollege Cyber Challenge

Since then, Sok Chen has had many events under her belt, the most memorable one being the GamePlan Intercollege Cyber Challenge (ICC) MLBB 2019, which was held in conjunction with Comic Fiesta that year - it was the highest tier tournament she helped to execute. However, she refuses to take sole credit for any of them. “Without the support of UniMAP or the recognition of Moonton, I wouldn’t be where I am today.” She highly emphasizes working in and with a team, especially for those looking to follow in her footsteps. 

“Study smart, take every opportunity to learn. Don’t be addicted to anything - be it working or gaming. Take time to rest, push yourself, but don’t force yourself. Don’t be selfish, when you learn something, try to share it with others especially if you work in a team. Learn together. If you work in a team and you learn something and do not share it with them, how can your team grow? Be humble, listen to the opinions of others before you make a decision. Always remember, we are not alone, we do not stand alone. We represent a team.”

She may no longer be a Moonton Student Leader but she’s still actively involved in the MLBB community together with her fiancé. They currently function as community leaders -  people who manage and interact with Facebook and Whatsapp MLBB groups, listen to the feedback and suggestions of the community and share them with Moonton. She also freelances writing event proposals and acts as an advisor to her juniors in the UniMAP esports club.

Cosplaying is a great way to escape from reality

What a ride it has been for the soon-to-be-wed beauty pageant fan - from not knowing what a MOBA was to starting an esports club and marrying the person who introduced her to the game. Sok Chen one day hopes to become a school teacher - the cool one who teaches her students how to play MLBB. “I will contribute to esports for life! Esports is in my blood.”

And if you wonder what she’s up to, you can follow Sok Chen on her Facebook page and stay tuned to eGG Network for more news and interviews with personalities from the esports scene.

Disclaimer: We received review units, courtesy of Armaggeddon Malaysia in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are the author’s own and not influenced by Armaggeddon Malaysia, and/or its affiliates, in any way.

It's been a while since we got our hands on Armaggeddon's audio products and it looks like they've been hard at work pushing out new designs for their lineup. I received the Hornet-7 Pro 3D and Nuke 5 a couple of weeks ago, and since then I've been putting them through the paces and here are my thoughts.

Armaggeddon Hornet-7 Pro 3D

These wireless earbuds are very similar to the Hornet-3 Wireless Earbuds I reviewed last year, and upon first glance, I couldn't tell them apart from each other. However, when it comes to the case, it has a very different look. Where the Hornet-3 had a more subdued look, the Hornet-7 goes all out with the gamer aesthetics. It features an Armaggeddon logo badge and an LED strip around the opening. The lights come into play for checking the battery life remaining for the case (flashing red for under 10%, blue for fully charged). They also light up while the case is being charged through the USB C port in the back. Take note if you do charge it next to your bed at night - the lights are bright and constantly shift colours, with no way to disable them. I found this out the hard way during the first time charging the case.

Functionally, there seems to be no difference - you get the music mode, game mode, and the ability to answer calls and use your voice assistant. The lack of tactile feedback when 'pressing' the earbuds remains - it looks like they are here to stay.

Pairing the Hornet-7 Pro 3D was straightforward and hassle-free. I did experience the buds unpairing themselves occasionally but a simple case reset was enough to fix the issue. I used them with my laptop and smartphone without any problems.

In terms of audio quality, I have no complaints here. The Hornet-7 features a triple driver setup which is a step up over the Hornet-3. When testing it out with music, I found it pretty balanced with subdued mids and lows and highs taking precedence. Since the main purpose of these earbuds is to let you hear your teammates yell at you over voice comms, it makes sense. The issue with the audio clipping from the Hornet-3 is gone.

Comfort-wise - they are the same as the Hornet-3. The earbuds fit snuggly into my ears and remained comfortable even after wearing them for many hours.

Testing the quality of the onboard microphone (raw recordings, no adjustments done):

Hornet-7 in a quiet room
Hornet-7 while sitting next to a fan
MacBook Air mic in a quiet room
MacBook Air mic while sitting next to a fan

Quality-wise, there's not much difference between it and its predecessor - considering how it packs the same microphone, it's no surprise. Its noise cancellation is also effective at removing background noise. All in all, it's nothing amazing but definitely good enough for gaming and voice/video calls.

Battery life has been reduced to 28 hours (8 hours earbuds, 20 hours of juice from the case) - less than the Hornet-3 on paper but in practice, I didn't notice the difference. There wasn't a situation where I felt the pinch of not having the extra 4 hours. In fact, I managed to last over a week on a single case charge based on my listening habits. I know it's not the same for everyone but I think most people will be satisfied with the Hornet-7 Pro 3D's battery life.

One thing I realized about using the earbuds in 2021/2022 is that the lack of wires makes them great for use with face masks - no need to worry about any tangling. The Hornet-7 3D Pro has an RM169 price tag, which is pricier than the Hornet-3 but the improved audio experience makes it the better choice of the two if you're trying to decide between them. Shopee Link.

Armaggeddon Nuke 5 Surround Sound 7.1 Gaming Headphones

Sitting in the middle of Armaggeddon's PC gaming headset lineup, I found the Nuke 5 a bit harder to review. For context, on my home desktop, I use a Superlux HD668B headset running through a Behringer U-PHORIA UMC22 audio interface. For my voice, I use a Shure 55SH Series II also running through the same interface with a Klark Teknik mic preamp. While my own setup costs much more than just buying a pair of USB-powered headphones, I feel that it is absolutely worth the money especially since I use them for more than just gaming. Regardless, I'll try my best to give an unbiased review.

In terms of setup, the Nuke 5 does a great job here. It pretty much plugs it into your computer and you're good to go. If you have multiple audio devices, make sure you have it selected as your default output/input and adjust the levels accordingly. Most games will just use Windows' default settings for audio.

Comfort-wise, I found them a bit tight for my head. Not sure if my head is too large but I think it would be suited for somebody with a smaller skull. And since I wear thick-framed glasses, the stock earpads pressed them against my face causing a lot of discomfort after an hour. It was hard to keep them on for extended gaming sessions. I've found this to be the case with most stock headsets (I've replaced the earpads on my own headphones with soft memory foam ones) so I wouldn't fault Armaggeddon. However, when I took the headset apart to see if I could replace the earpads, it looks like you'll need to puncture holes in your third party earpads to get them to fit. Seeing how Armaggeddon doesn't sell their own earpads, it's something to take into consideration if you wear thick frames like me. The PU leather also gets pretty warm after a while.

Audio quality was passable. Music sounded pretty flat by default (without changing any software equalizer settings) - highs, mids and lows all blended with each other. I thought it sounded better when listening to instrumental music compared to songs with vocals, with its deficiencies becoming more obvious with the latter (especially with heavier music). Vocals lose depth and sound thin. If you're not picky, it's fine but it's definitely not winning any awards for sound quality.

However, when using it for its intended purpose: listening to teammates over voice chat, it gets the job done. Stay away from this headset if you plan on mixing or mastering music. Surround sound worked well enough but considering how good surround sound is mainly dependent on software these days, it's not much of a selling point.

Like the WASP-7, the microphone is on this headset is great. I was quite surprised at how well it captured my voice during testing even when I wasn't in a quiet environment - the onboard noise cancellation impressed me. My voice came through loud and clear without having to make any adjustments. It's probably the biggest selling point of this headset. Check out the samples below (raw recordings, no adjustments done except for the last one):

Nuke 5 in a quiet room
Nuke 5 while sitting next to a fan
Shure 55SH in a quiet room
Shure 55SH while sitting next to a fan
Shure 55SH after cleanup (for comparison)

One thing to take note of is that the mic will easily get bent out of shape if you frequently move a lot or take your headset off. The fact that the mic is non-retractable means there's no way to hide it if you're not planning to use it. Then again, you wouldn't buy this if you didn't want to use all of its features.

The non-detachable USB cable is braided (a nice touch) and features an inline remote - one dial for the headset volume, and a switch to mute/unmute the mic. Great for when you don't want to fiddle with onscreen or your PC volume controls while gaming.

However, being a USB device means the headset has some limitations. You can't plug it into an external DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) if you want to improve the audio quality of the headset. You're stuck with the headset's onboard DAC. On the plus side, this means that you'll be able to use it with any computer even if it doesn't have a soundcard (though that's pretty rare these days).

To plug it into a tablet or smartphone, you'll need to use a converter or USB hub. I tested it on a Pocophone F1 and it worked flawlessly, but my friend's phone (a Redmi Note 2) couldn't seem to recognize it even though it was powered (the lights were on). Results may vary depending on your device. But because of how bulky the headset is, I wouldn't recommend you pair it with your smartphone anyway, there are more suitable alternatives (like the Hornet-7). I also tested the Nuke 5 on a Mac Book Air (2020) and it worked with no issues.

If you're a fan of RGBs, you might like the design of the Nuke 5 - both sides feature a rotating light pattern that heavily screams 'gamer'. Unfortunately, there's no way to tweak or adjust the lights on the headset - they stay on as long as they are powered. If you're not a fan of bling on your headsets, you might want to skip this one.

Overall, the Nuke 5 is a decent way to spend RM85 if you're looking for an easy to use, bright and flashy, gaming headset with a good microphone. Not recommended if you have a large skull and/or wear thick-framed glasses. If possible, I would recommend saving up a bit more for better, more customizable headphones and a dedicated mic instead. Shopee Link.

With Southeast Asia’s top Dota 2 teams clashing in Division 1 of the Dota Pro Circuit, one hero rose to prominence with a staggering 83% win rate combined with a respectable 28% pick rate – the elusive but classy Pangolier. Despite the hero's low win rates in public games - 46% throughout all brackets and a decent but not great 49.13% in the Immortal bracket, he still finds himself picked in a meaningful number of professional games.

What makes this hero strong? Why do teams love this hero so much? Today we take a look from both a statistical as well as from a methodological perspective, on how this Disney-esque swashbuckler turned into a rolling ball of terror.

Moving the slow effect from Lucky Shot to Shield Crash increased Pangolier’s reliability

IceFrog rebalanced Pangolier in version 7.30 so that Lucky Shot no longer slowed, and moved it to Shield Crash instead. This made Pangolier much more reliable in providing disables because you no longer need to rely on randomized procs to provide a form of crowd control, especially before level 6 when Rolling Thunder is unavailable. The cooldown reduction was also welcomed, especially enabling position 4 Pangoliers even though Pangolier was traditionally played as a position 3 offlane core.

This change allowed Pangolier, whether played as a position 3 or 4 in the offlane, to have more laning partner options, such as in this game where Team SMG picked a Pangolier and Weaver duo and scored a win against Motivate.Trust. Previously, due to a lack of disables, picking Pangolier with heroes that had no reliable slow or stun such as a Weaver, Io or a position 4 Monkey King would result in a weak lane. Now that is not necessarily the case anymore. 

Flexibility in drafting made teams favour first-picking Pangolier

As Pangolier can be played in multiple positions (Position 2, 3, 4 and even the occasional 5), drafters favoured picking him in the first phase to conceal their actual strategies and keep their options open. Pangolier also does not have any real drawbacks other than his weak laning stage. However, in this teamfight-centric meta, winning the lane is less important than simply hitting level timings, hence when Pangolier comes online at level 6, he can still wreak havoc in skirmishes or even large-scale team fights.

Out of the most recent 10 matches in SEA DPC Division 1 where Pangolier was picked, 7 of these were during the first drafting phase, while in the other 3 matches, he was picked in the second phase. No Pangoliers were last picked, further elaborating the fact that this slippery fencer’s flexibility didn't require teams hiding their intention to play him. 

Pangolier is one of the few heroes that can reliably switch roles mid-game

Even if you picked a Pangolier for the intent of playing a position 3, he can be switched to position 4 and vice versa as the game state changes. Support Pangoliers favour Euls or Blink Daggers for reliable disables and to combo with his spells, while core Pangoliers generally opt for a Maelstrom or Skull Bashers to provide quick burst damage thanks to Swashbuckle’s ability to proc items. However, you can buy a Skull Basher as a support to rectify the lack of disables in the team, or defensive items like Lotus Orb, Aeon Disk and even a Shiva’s Guard no matter what role your Pangolier is playing the game.

Requires minimal gold to function but does well with it too

Pango can build all sorts of items for his team

If teams are planning to play a support Pangolier, they generally want Pangolier for Rolling Thunder in team fights to sow chaos with his spells, which means not having farm is less of an issue compared to position 4 heroes like Rubick. For example, in this game, BOOM Esports picked Pangolier for Tims against TNC Predator. He functioned with minimal farm as a position 4 due to the fact that the Phantom Assassin, Ember Spirit and offlane Outworld Destroyer on his team were soaking up all the gold on the map. He opted for cheaper items like Lotus Orb, Urn of Shadows and Aeon Disk to ensure his hero was always relevant in skirmishes and team fights. 

However, if a support Pangolier ends up farmed, options like more disables in the form of Scythe of Vyse or a Spirit Vessel are great options to further beef up your capability to annoy enemies in team fights. The hero also has the option to switch to a core playstyle, which players like Fnatic.DJ are known for (even picking up a Refresher Orb in this match against Motivate.Trust to score a victory despite being down in terms of the kill count).


Now that we went over why Pangolier has been performing well in the SEA DPC, it is time to know where to catch the action. The SEA DPC Division 1 by Beyond the Summit is available live on eGG Network Channel 800 via Astro or Astro GO, if you plan to watch on your mobile. Make sure you don’t miss out on the action!

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