If superstitions hold true, then it was never China’s year to win The International. After all, Newbee was a Chinese team in the West-East flip-flop curse, and the banner had already taken the TI4 victory, despite none of the players being the same as the 2014 roster. (Not that second place and $3,950,067 is anything to shake a finger at.)
Despite not getting the Aegis of Champions, Newbee left the event with a lot more dignity—and a strange slew of new admirers. Specifically, Song “Sccc” Chun has been pinned by Westerners as a particularly... charismatic figure.
Chinese players, to Western fans, have a reputation for being particularly stoic or unemotional (despite plenty of video evidence otherwise). Whether it’s because of the ease of access to narrative for Western players or because Western players just don’t follow Chinese players is up for debate. For that reason, when a player shows more than an inkling of pride or joy, it tends to blow up a bit out of proportion.
And yet Chun’s situation goes above and beyond those standards. The world has had their eyes on the 21-year-old player (going on 22 on August 18th, so happy early birthday!) since his performances this season, especially in all-star or 1v1 showcase matches. His performance as Shadow Fiend in the Upper Bracket Finals will especially remain in the memories of Dota 2 fans. The stellar work on the difficult hero helped cinch the Grand Finals spot against nearly-undefeated Chinese rival LGD.Forever Young.
Past his raw technical skill, the mid player was spotted out for his in-game energy, high talent potential, enthusiasm and, put bluntly, attractive charm. It’s not that he seems to be trying; really, his natural and genuine personality shone through.
So, naturally, fans and players started seeking him out for pictures. And frankly, he turns out well both on- and off-camera (despite a bit of a consistent puckered-mouth picture-face).
The first picture to blow up was one with him with Tal “Fly” Aizik, the captain of European squad OG by the team’s manager:
The shot shows the two giving each other an enthusiastic, low-key fistbump at The International 7’s afterparty.
Not to be outdone, OG carry Johan “N0tail” Sundstein quickly followed up:
Finally, Jesse “Jerax” Vainikka popped up to show off his own photo, probably late at night given the state of the Western player’s hair versus Chun’s:
(We at The Flying Courier not going to theory-craft on how much anyone at the afterparty had to drink at any point in these photos.)
Of course, the Internet has to get in on everything. In all fairness, some people had legitimate pictures of themselves with the Newbee star, such as this one with Roman “Resolut1on” Fominok:
There’s also a neat picture with rival mid and Dota 2 legend, EG’s Syed Sumail “Suma1l” Hassan:
That’s a lot of pictures for a Dota 2 star, even, right? Yeah, it’s pretty ridiculous.
Except, sorry, it doesn’t stop there. No, see, that’s exactly the point.
Oh yeah, here’s one with content creator and cosplayer Fwoshy:
And here’s one with a rando, /u/king_nielsen, who happened to be at the afterparty and had half a mind to capture the moment even before the fad kicked in, as if he knew he could get on the photo train all along:
And then someone found this neat photo with an Sccc fan, which turns out fairly impressive:
Ha. Hahaaa. Get it? It’s Sccc, and he’s with a... okay yeah here’s the last one before we start hyperlinking these, because this one is just stupid enough to show:
Because of the influx of Sccc photos, the /r/dota2 mods brought good news and bad news. The bad news is, they deleted all the Sccc photos, because they were legitimately taking up too much space.
It was actually notable enough that the Newbee Twitter took note:
Obviously, something had to be done by the mods.
First, they went ahead and deleted all the “Sccc photo” posts, as, no, they were unfortunately not seen as relevant enough to /r/dota2’s goals to be kept around. Plus, in the post-TI7 hype, it was likely that newcomers wanted to see more about Dota 2, and less... whatever this is.
When one has power, though, a power play must be made. Fans soon logged on to witness this easter egg:
And, per the request of many Sccc-fan users of the subreddit, this charming work of art was made to be the banner of the subreddit:
“Figured this was an okay compromise as we wind down the TI7 theme and need to remove (literally 12) sccc picture posts on the front page,” said /r/dota2 moderator Joey “Leafeator” Thimian in a “thank-you” thread posted by a user. “I'm glad Sexccc memes caught on, we spent most of last week swooning.” (The mods were present at TI7, and even had an interview with the player.)
And swoon the world did, as this barrage of photos showed. Fans are still praising the mid player’s outstanding performance and “cool” attitude throughout the event. From excitement in the booth to his chill exits, he captured the hearts and respect of Dota 2 players throughout the world.
Plus, who can resist moves like these: