Ohaiyo on SEA Dota’s weakness: “SEA players think having skill is enough. They lack the understanding of being a team.” cover image

Ohaiyo on SEA Dota’s weakness: “SEA players think having skill is enough. They lack the understanding of being a team.”

We interviewed Ohaiyo during TI11 Playoffs break and talked about the Dota 2 scene in SEA, BOOM Esports recent achievement in TI and more!

Veteran Malaysian player, Khoo "Ohaiyo" Chong Xin is widely known for his Dota 2 legacy. He was one of the legendary players that blew up on Dota 2's biggest stage, debuting at TI3 and then attending every TI from 2013 until 2017.

Now away from competitive play, he continues to contribute to the Southeast Asian (SEA) scene as a coach and an analyst. He most recently boarded the BOOM Esports ship right before it sailed to The International 2022. And to no surprise, he continues working hand in hand with former teammate, Chai "Mushi" Yee Fung - who he had constantly teamed up with throughout the years.

We reached out to Ohaiyo during the TI11 Playoffs break and talked about how he joined BOOM Esports, the state of SEA Dota 2, TI11, and more.

Ohaiyo last played competitively with the Vietnamese team, 496 Gaming in November 2021 but with no success, he decided to step back and dive into coaching with team RSG in April 2022. A couple of months later, BOOM Esports suddenly announced his arrival to the team as the team's analyst.

Hello Ohaiyo! Thank you for doing this interview. I would like to first know how you became an analyst for BOOM Esports?

Ohaiyo: Actually I'm more so considered an assistant coach for Boom Esports than an Analyst. So what went on is right after we (RSG) lost TI11 qualifier in SEA, Mushi contacted me to help him and BOOM at TI11 so I agreed.

In 2013, Ohaiyo and Mushi played together under Orange Esports. They went on to place 3rd in The International 3, losing to Na'Vi in the Lower Bracket Finals. From then on, they constantly played together under teams like Team Malaysia, Fnatic, and most recently IO Esports in 2021. Now they remain as a duo, helping BOOM Esports in the backlines.

How would you describe your relationship with Mushi? How was it working together over the years?

Ohaiyo: For me, Mushi is like a big brother in real life. He taught me a lot of things not only in Dota 2 but also in life. Working with him is very fun and I enjoy it because we are really close.

According to Dota 2 analyst Ben "Noxville" Steenhuisen, BOOM Esports had a one percent chance to make it to the main event during the Group Stage of The International 11. They went through a 3-way tiebreaker elimination match and went on to beat Team Spirit in the first round of the lower bracket playoffs. BOOM Esports inspiring TI run ended after they were defeated by PSG.LGD.

BOOM Esports had a wild ride this TI. How was your reaction to them almost being eliminated in Group Stage and then defeating defending champions Team Spirit?

Ohaiyo: The game definitely shocked me. They came back from the group stage and also beat Team Spirit. It feels like BOOM Esports is a different team between the 1st-3rd day of the Group Stage compared to the rest of the days.

The SEA region is arguably the weakest region at TI11. What do we need to make SEA great again?

Ohaiyo: For me, the problem with SEA players is they think they only need skill or macro and they feel like they can achieve a lot of things already. But since Dota 2 is a 5-player game, it is pretty much about how to cooperate with your teammates very well and play with each other. I think SEA players lack responsibility and the understanding of being a team - that aspect of staying together and improving. Because for me nowadays, skill is already a basic thing in the Dota 2 scene and the hardest part is how to become a good team.

SEA players think they only need skill and they feel like they can achieve a lot of things already. But since Dota 2 is a 5-player game, it is pretty much about how to cooperate with your teammates very well.

The International 11 received multiple backlash leading up to the days of the tournament. The Battle Pass' new system resulted in a lower prize pool and the Playoffs had a disappointing venue. The community has been in active discussion on whether Dota 2 is heading toward its demise.

According to Puppey, TI11 has lost its TI vibes - small venue, lower prize pool. What do you think is the future of Dota 2 from now on?

Ohaiyo: Puppey is right. This is one of the worst TIs I have ever been to, but I didn't attend TI8 to TI10 so I'm not so sure about this. About this TI, it didn't make me feel as excited as before. But I'm sure if Valve takes a look at this year's TI and is willing to make this game better, then I'm sure better things are coming.

Many pros are retiring and a new generation of players is joining the scene. Are there any old-school players or retired ones that you admire and wish for them to return to competitive Dota 2?

Ohaiyo: Hahaha, maybe Dendi ? -since I like him very much when I started playing professionally. He is one of the players that I admire the most and I love the way he is always himself.

Dendi during his years in Na'Vi.
Dendi during his years in Na'Vi.

Have you ever thought about returning to pro play? If so, what team do you want to play with?

Ohaiyo: I don't really have an answer. For me, I still can play as a pro but now I feel that lack of passion to pursue pro play. I have to think carefully because if I really do go back to pro and I don't put 100% effort, I'm not only going to waste my time but also my 4 other teammates and the organization.

Among all TIs that you have seen, which one is your favorite and why?

Ohaiyo: I love to see OG, especially at TI8. They showed us that you should never give up on what you love. Trust your close friends and teammates and you boost each other up.

OG Esports had a Cinderella run during TI8, sprinting all the way from the open qualifiers to become the world champions. They are known for their friendship and teamwork, and they brought significant awareness about mental strength and stamina in the Dota 2 scene.

Any message to your fans and supporters?

Ohaiyo: Thank you for the support! SEA didn't get good results for the past few years but soon I believe that a team is going to carry SEA to the Grand Finals of TI. Love you all.