“Newbee and the players, coach and manager of former Forward Gaming have come to an agreement that the team will be representing Newbee, as well as NA DotA, in the upcoming TI9,” Newbee said in a statement. “We would like to thank the players, coach and manager for putting their trust in Newbee and we wish them the best of luck.”
Though Newbee remains a popular and identifiable brand in Dota 2, 2019 has been a rough year. Roster changes have been a constant throughout the season and resulted in the team failing to qualify for any Dota Pro Circuit tournaments. The lineup started to find its footing towards the end of the season but still washed out of the group stage of TI9’s Chinese qualifiers.
This put Newbee into a position where the organization would miss its first TI since forming in 2014, but the dissolution of Forward Gaming opened up a back door to TI9.
Following the team’s victory in the TI9 North America qualifiers, the Forward Gaming organization suddenly announced its closure. This left the players in an awkward spot, as they were left out of tens of thousands of dollars from the team’s closure but were well-positioned to cash in by signing with a new sponsor for the event.
It is unclear how many suitors approached the team, but teaming up with Newbee comes as a surprise. Newbee is historically a Chinese brand and was even embroiled in controversy in 2014 following rumors that its players had criticized other teams in the region for signing players from Southeast Asia.
The hangup in this situation is the fate of Newbee’s standing roster. The team still retains a full lineup including accomplished veterans Lu “Fenrir” Chao and Song “Sccc” Chun. It is unclear where they stand with the organization following this move.
The former Forward Gaming lineup will return at The International 2019, which begins on August 14.