Meet the M’sian who is one of the world’s top Dota 2 players at only 20 years old

Currently one of the best Dota 2 players in the world, Malaysia’s Cheng Jin Xiang, who goes by the screen name “NothingToSay” (NTS) has been in the news lately. He’s made it into the biggest esports tournament for the game, Dota 2’s The International 10 (TI10).

Held in Bucharest, Romania, NTS was sent off to Europe on September 15 to compete with his team, China-based PSG.LGD. They are competing to win from a prize pool of US$40 million, which is equivalent to a rough RM165 million. 

To root NTS on as he competes at TI10 on October 7-17, we took a look at his professional career to get an idea of who he is, and his past achievements in esports.

NothingToSay with his PSG.LGD teammates / Image Credit: LGD Gaming

1. He helped form an esports team at age 17

Born on December 21, 2000, the 20-year-old is considered by many in the Dota 2 professional scene as one of the best players of the game in the world. Perhaps it’s of little surprise, as he’s harboured a passion for the

As a high school student in 2016, NTS helped form a 5-person team that went by the name 818 Reverse Haven (now disbanded) after meeting a fellow player called Tan ‘jjz’ Jia Jun, whom he had met at a LAN tournament.

Dictionary time: A LAN event is an in-person esports tournament. LAN stands for Local Area Network, referring to the fact that everyone participating is playing on the same local network.

Esports.net

The team went on to place second at the ROG MASTERS 2017 Malaysia Qualifier and took home a total winning of US$3,026 (RM12,500)

(The converted US$ prize above is based on the currency rate on September 17, 2017: 1 MYR ≃ 0.24206 USD.)

2. He’s an indisputable mid-lane player

Dota 2 is a complex game with unlimited combinations of hero abilities. The map contains 3 lanes, where its top and bottom ones contain 2 heroes each, and the mid-lane player goes into a single battle.

The mid lane is the most important lane in Dota 2. A mid-lane player gets the hero level in the game, which goes by faster than others. Mid-lane players are expected to win their lane and subsequently help teammates make plays around the map. There is no room for mistakes.

In a 2017 interview with Gosu Gamers, NTS was described by his teammate as having a very aggressive and confident playstyle. “He is the main core of our team and always manages to pull off great plays,” said his 818 Reverse Haven teammate at the time.

Now playing for PSG.LGD, NTS has still maintained the role in the 5-person team. It was even reported on AFK Gaming that NTS’s impact was so immense that if he were to miss out on the competition, PSG.LGD would automatically no longer be favourites to win the tournament.

3. He’s earned an estimated total of US$142,276 in prize funds

In NTS’s 5 years as a professional Dota 2 gamer, he’s so far generated approximate total earnings of US$142,276 based on information from Gosu Gamer.

The largest prize pool won by PSG.LGD with NTS on its team is a whopping US$200,000 at the WePlay Animajor tournament in Kyiv, Ukraine back in June this year where the team came in first.

NothingToSay and his teammates winning at the WePlay Animajor tournament in Kyiv, Ukraine / Image Credit: Reddit

Though the above-mentioned winnings appear larger than NTS’s own earnings, most esports teams have clauses in their contracts where the organisation gets a cut of the winnings if it exceeds a certain amount. Based on data from Gosu Gamers, it appears that NTS took home US$40,000 from the winnings.

4. His career high for kills in a single professional game is 21

NTS’s career high for kills in a single professional game stands at 21. He achieved this feat while playing as Puck for PSG.LGD in Game 1 of their Group Stage series against VICI Gaming during i-League 2021 Season 1.

He also has an all-time 58% win rate where he’s recorded 186 wins and 114 losses out of a total of 300 games. Currently, NTS holds an Elo rating of 1,338.

Dictionary time: The Elo rating system is a method for calculating the relative skill levels of players in competitor-versus-competitor games. All players start at a baseline of 1,200 points. Players will take points from their opponent’s Elo score by defeating them, and vice versa.

Guardian.gg

5. He almost missed the opportunity to compete in TI10

In September this year, NTS faced difficulties in obtaining the necessary permits from the Malaysian government to travel overseas for TI10 in Romania.

PSG.LGD’s Dota 2 team manager took to the Chinese social media platform Weibo to clarify that on August 1, the team applied for NTS to travel from Malaysia to attend the tournament in Europe.

It was the team’s second time making such a request. They had previously done so successfully where NTS attended the WePlay Animajor tournament in Kyiv mentioned above.

However, the travel restriction issue was resolved on September 13, 2021 and NTS was given the green light for travel after his documents were processed by the necessary officials. 

The Director Of Communications for Malaysia Electronic Sports Federation explained that this process was delayed due to the high number of athletes who have been applying to travel. Hence, it took a while before NTS’s application got its turn in the queue.

“Esports is only one of many other sports within the nation. So they also have to process thousands of other sports athletes’ applications other than esports,” the director added.

With the matter resolved, we wish NTS and his team all the best in competing at TI10 safely!

-//-

Esports is a market that’s still experiencing massive growth, and it appears that it will not be slowing down anytime soon. More recognition has been given to the industry and its professions, and there’s a lot of money to be made for businesses or players in the space.

In 2018, worldwide revenues generated in the esports market amounted to US$776.4 million, and it’s predicted that the figure will further grow to reach almost US$1.6 billion by 2023.

Malaysia itself has made several moves to acknowledge and support the potential of esports, with one example being the launch of Esports City in Quill City Mall, KL. It’s a centre to host esports tournaments, events, and conventions, which will be promising for the further development of our esports industry.

For Budget 2021, the government also allocated RM15 million for the growth of esports. In the big picture, that amount isn’t extraordinary, and we expect to see a larger allocation for Budget 2022, since it would be a missed opportunity if we do not double down on our efforts to grow an industry with massive potential that’s also almost pandemic-proof.

  • You can read more articles we’ve written about esports here.

Featured Image Credit: Liquipedia / Dota 2

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