As we said in our article featuring the CS:GO team Ballers, we are all about raising the profiles of different elements in the local eSports scene, from established teams and individuals, to burgeoning stars. Today we are focusing our attention on a group of Dota 2 players with their sights set on the big money.
Introducing For The Dream, a Dota 2 team founded by Teodor “RipInc” Nel in 2014. The name may sound familiar to you, and for good reason. If not, don’t fret, we’ll explain it to you shortly. For now, let’s get back to the history of RipInc’s team.
“FTD was started in 2014 by RipInc as a mostly casual team. However, by mid-2015, there was a decision to be more competitive, and a substantial roster change took place. Following this change the team began to see success, climbing to prem division of DGL from open division, qualifying for DGC and finishing 5th/6th at DGC.”
Not a bad run of form for a team that started out as a casual outfit, right? FTD is a small team that decided to turn on the gas and burn some fools, and it all comes back to that enigmatic name of theirs. So, let’s chat about it a bit.
“The name ‘For The Dream’ is based on the old Chinese Warcraft 3 DotA team by the same name, led by Gong ‘ZSMJ’ Jian. They realised their namesake (The Dream) by winning SMM 2009, and dominated the Chinese scene in 2010, eventually becoming LGD. Our team wishes to replicate this same success on South African soil.”
That’s an unbelievably powerful motivation behind a name choice. And scarily appropriate, too. Within the last couple of weeks, our local heroes FTD have seen the same fortune the old Chinese FTD saw. They showed up in fine form to come second in the Dota 2 DGL Preseason Cup, losing only to the formidable eN.eVo in the finals.
Shortly after their silver medal performance, the team was signed by Xperts@Total.Chaos, a very well-established local competitive MGO founded way back in 1999. They are now officially known as xTc-For The Dream.
“We are ecstatic to have been picked up by xTc, and for many of us this is proof that what we’re working towards is worthwhile. It not only shows that hard work and practice can pay off, but also demonstrates that competitive gaming can actually be more than just a hobby – something many of us have only dreamed of. We are extremely grateful to xTc for giving us this opportunity and are committed to proving that they made the correct decision in signing us.”
Well done, lads, well done. But the work doesn’t stop there, and the team knows this all too well. Along with their marriage to xTc comes the opportunity to play against the big guns in South African Dota in the inaugural DGL Masters, featuring massive exposure and a handsome prize pool.
The team is aiming high for the DGL Masters, but are well aware that it will be hard work, as their new opponents are quite literally the best in the country.
“xTc expects us to perform to the best of our abilities, and our goal currently is to finish in the top 4 of DGL Masters. We believe that this is well within our reach, but acknowledge it’s going to take some time to reach the level of the likes of Bravado and White Rabbit Gaming.”
Well, now that we’re going to be seeing more of this team, let’s get to know the players and their roles. When FTD joined xTc, they were lucky enough to be able to directly port their whole line-up across. No one likes breaking up a winning formula, especially when every single one of them has worked so hard for so long.
Like we said, the team was founded by RipInc. He got together with Dennis “_DotA-and-Die_” Connellan to begin some strategising and recruiting. After playing together with a few potential members in scrims and pubs, they recruited Caleb “DOOMbunni” Semple and GW “Heffalump” Annandale. The final addition to their current line-up, Bernhardt “SoDa” Van Heerden, was made to replace Gysbert “Blacksugar” Nienaber, who now sits reserve for the team. None of the players had met AFK before they got together at the DGC Championships in Joburg last year.
Their training techniques are varied, including both solo and team practice. They all practice individually in SA and EU ranked pubs, with team practice generally happening three to four times a week, for two to three hours at a time. As a team, they train by playing EU ranked captain’s mode games, scrims against other SA teams, and pre-season championships like the DGL Cup. They spend a good chunk of their team practice time discussing strategies and drafting ideas.
Of course, as any competitive teams would, the guys at FTD expect premier tournaments to be run smoothly and efficiently. The lads were happy with the DGL Cup on the whole, but raised an important issue.
“The cup was run smoothly and the new website makes for a comfortable experience, our team did find it disappointing that no casters were provided for the grand finals though.”
Sidebar: casting is a valuable skill and a necessary addition to any tournament. Find out how to get involved and get dirty by checking out one of our previous articles featuring two local casting masters, Vudulew and Anthrax.
While being extremely dedicated to their craft, the FTD team still considers Dota 2 as more of a hobby for them, but they do have some plans in the works to change all that. Appreciate the fact that we chatted to them just before they publicly announced their move to xTc, and have a chuckle at how they were hinting at the move in their answer.
“This is considered a hobby by the team, however we are certainly interested in taking it more seriously and making money from it. Our plan currently is to become a DGL Masters team and possibly to stray from being an independent agent and join an MGO to achieve this goal.”
Sneaky little Hobbitses. Now all that’s left for them to do is follow in LGD’s footsteps and dominate first the country, then the world.
So, now we all know a whole lot more about the guys behind the future heavyweights of xTc-For The Dream. We think it’s an incredible journey they’ve had so far, and we wish them well in their future endeavours, including the Dota 2 DGL Masters.
The FTD players in the picture above are (from left to right):
GW ‘Heffalump‘ Annandale, Gysbert ‘Blacksugar‘ Nienaber (reserve), Teodor ‘RipInc‘ Nel, Dennis ‘_DotA-and-Die_‘ Connellan, Caleb ‘DOOMbunni‘ Semple, and hardcore supporter Dewald ‘dws‘ Wagener.
Not pictured: New offlaner, Bernhardt ‘SoDa‘ Van Heerden, due to recent roster changes.