Five Years, 16 Teams, and One Indonesian Dota 2 Prodigy Who Never Gave Up: InYourdreaM's Story
Muhammad “inYourdreaM” Rizky, is not a foreign name to the Southeast Asian (SEA) Dota 2 community. The 23-year-old Indonesian star player has established his presence in the Dota 2 SEA leaderboard and has also played in several notable teams across the region. Currently, as the carry player for Galaxy Racer, a rising SEA team, inYourdreaM is well on his way to becoming one of the best Dota 2 players in the world.
The beginning of InYourdreaM's love affair with Dota 2
Back in his younger days, inYourdreaM spent his time gaming in his local internet café with his friends. One of the first games he played was the classic multiplayer game Gunbound and eventually, his friends introduced him to Dota. After school , he would spend a couple of hours enjoying the Warcraft 3 version of the MOBA game. Despite his blooming interest in gaming, he did have a few constraints.
“Back in the olden days, it was hard to get a PC because it was so expensive,” InYourDream told AFK Gaming. “So I had to go to the internet café. I started playing Dota 2 in 2014, because the internet café near my house upgraded their PC, so everyone could finally play Dota 2.”
As with any sport, small, local competitions can usually boost a person’s skill and tailor beginners to step into a higher level of competition. But opportunities were sparse for the Indonesian player.
“Back then, there were a lot of tournaments, but in my city, there were no tournaments in the internet cafes. A lot of tournaments were held in Jakarta, and my home town is in Bekasi so it's quite far,” he stated.
Though this was a setback, it didn’t take long for him to emerge in the pro Dota 2 scene. One of his earliest experiences in esports was when a friend requested him to play as a stand-in in a local mall tournament in Indonesia. The thought of pursuing esports as a career option had sparked, but he was still studying at that time so he did not really dive headfirst into a career in esports immediately.
However, despite inYourdreaM’s early hesitations about pursuing a career in esports, in late 2016, he finally stepped into the pro scene by joining one of Indonesia's well-known Dota 2 organizations - The Prime. Adhering to the position two role, his presence started growing in the local scene and throughout the SEA region. Together with The Prime, inYourdreaM competed in the Boston Major 2016: SEA qualifier #2 and placed 3rd-4th, barely missing the chance to appear at his first official Valve event.
However, his performances in regional tournaments had started turning heads, and soon, he got the opportunity to play for one of SEA’s biggest teams.
A rocky start to an esports career
In January 2017, inYourdreaM departed the Indonesian team and joined the international esports powerhouse, Fnatic, after being spotted by SEA Dota 2 legend, Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung. However, his time with Fnatic was short. He only managed to compete in one LAN tournament, ESL One Genting 2017 where they placed 7th-8th, before he parted ways with the roster.
Not too long after, a new Indonesian organization, BOOM ID (now known as BOOM Esports), signed inYourdreaM to its Dota 2 roster in 2017. Around the same time, in April 2017, he became the first player to reach 9k MMR (Matchmaking Rating) by exclusively playing on the SEA server. A Dota 2 player’s journey to the top of the MMR leaderboards isn’t normally easy, less so in an arguably difficult region like SEA. But inYourdreaM managed to make evident his calibre.
He stated that a positive mentality and luck is key to get a high ranking in SEA. “There’s so much stress. You also need to be lucky in the game. If you have five core players and they’re playing support, at that moment you should just abandon the game already”, the 23-year-old laughed. “I don't think you want to play a game with five core players, when they’re playing support, that's just wrong.”
InYourdreaM had also started streaming on YouTube where he broadcasted his journey to 9k MMR.
After the formation of BOOM ID and his addition into the roster, the team quickly rose to prominence in the Dota 2 scene in SEA, achieving respectable placings in multiple tournaments such as the Indonesia Games Championship 2017 and the Asia Pacific Predator League 2018.
As the young player climbed the Dota 2 esports ladder, both prize money and crowds grew. This undoubtedly added a huge amount of pressure on inYourdreaM. Many players, even seasoned ones, crumble under the weight of pressure imposed by tournaments, especially during LAN events. However, in the 2017 ZOTAC Cup Premier: DOTA 2 SEA, inYourdreaM continued to battle through and secured a third place finish by adopting a unique strategy of isolating himself from the roaring crowds.
“If we think there's a crowd shouting or booing at us, it's going to affect us. As a team, we have to think like, we’re five here, there's no one else outside and we just focus on the game,” said InYourdreaM about dealing with pressure.
Following this, in May 2018, BOOM ID announced the transfer of inYourdreaM back to his first official team, The Prime, which had been revamped to The Prime NND. The move was short lived and months later, he proceeded to join a brand new team called TNC Tigers featuring experienced western star, Sivatheeban "1437" Sivanathapillai leading the lineup alongside rising SEA players like Kenny "Xepher" Deo and Lai "AhJit" Jay Son.
InYourdreaM storms through the Dota Pro Circuit, triumphs in Valve’s Minor
From its inception in March 2018 to competing at The International 2018 SEA Qualifiers, TNC Tigers gained massive popularity. However, the team bowed out at third place, having been beaten by its senior counterpart - TNC Predator.
Shortly after, the team had to depart the TNC organization in September 2018, due to Valve enforcing a rule that “only allows for one team under an owner or organization to compete in The International”. The team then was renamed to Tigers, and together, they went on to win significant championships.
Tigers, led by captain, 1437 had given inYourdreaM a new perspective on competitive Dota 2.
“When 1437 asked me to join the team and we won the Minor tournament (DreamLeague Season 10), he completely changed my mindset about how to play the game as a team. Before, I was just a pub player who liked to play individually, making solo moves. When I played with Tigers, they taught me how to play as a team. I learned that Dota is not an individual game.”
By winning the DreamLeague Season 10 Dota 2 Minor, the team booked its slot at The Kuala Lumpur Major which took place a mere five days later.
There, Tigers delivered a poor run which resulted in them finishing at bottom of the tournament. Fans to the merciless schedule, leaving little time for the team to rest and to recover from fatigue. The 16-hour flight from the Minor’s location - Stockholm, Sweden, to the Kuala Lumpur Major in Malaysia may have caused jet lag to the players and could have affected Tigers’ performance.
Unfortunately, the Minor turned out to be the last championship that inYourdreaM would win with Tigers. For a lot of players, suffering defeats from tournaments can take a major toll on their devotion for the game. But inYourdreaM’s motivations kept him going.
“When I played in Tigers, I enjoyed competing with high tier players more than chasing the money. But of course, money is an important thing right? Everyone wants money.” stated inYourdreaM.
After the team’s disappointing results in their last few tournaments together, inYourdreaM eventually left the organization and reunited with The Prime. This reunion, however, lasted for four months as the Indonesian star was then recruited into EVOS Esports. With them, he competed in The International 2019 regional qualifiers but was met with a disappointing end yet again.
In November 2019, inYourdreaM once again returned to the Indonesian powerhouse, BOOM Esports. After a few months, he then departed the organization and later on joined T1, ZeroTwo, and Team D in a bid to return to success.
The Reawakening: InYourdreaM joins Galaxy Racer
In May 2021, inYourdreaM joined Galaxy Racer, taking up the position one role. This marked inYourdreaM’s third official international team, after tons of back-and-forth between him and local Indonesian teams. The player who was once known for being the lynchpin of all-Indonesian lineups, now prefers competing with the best players in the region regardless of nationality.
“I think I just play better with a non-Indonesian lineup, because (for Indonesian lineups) we’re just not on the same page, for me at least,” says inYourdreaM. “It's not like they’re bad, the players I recently played with are actually good players. It's just that we’re not on the same page when it comes to tournaments which makes it very hard to win.”
Having taken on the carry role in Galaxy Racer Esports, inYourdreaM competed in The International 10 (TI10) SEA qualifier and showcased an amazing run; breaking records, and showing tenacity in continuous, long matches. However, the Indonesian player’s amazing run was ended by a familiar foe. BOOM Esports proved to be the most challenging team in the qualifier, for inYourdreaM and Galaxy Racer. “They had like, three heavy cores farming,” said inYourdreaM. “We lost to them in the TI10 qualifier and we didn’t expect that. They had such a unique playstyle during the run.”
Galaxy Racer, despite its lauded performance in TI10 SEA Qualifier, failed to book a slot to the grand event after dropping to the Indonesian powerhouse.
However, despite their failure to qualify for the tournament, the team stuck together and was later invited to the closed qualifier of BTS Pro Series Season 7: SEA. They battled their way to eventually clinch the championship of the tournament, defeating Fnatic 3-2 in an amazing grand finals reverse sweep.
The victory was a little unexpected considering Fnatic’s recent hot streak and experience. According to inYourdreaM, it underlined Galaxy Racer’s credentials heading into the next season of the Dota 2 Pro Circuit. They’ve established themselves as a top team and have proven that they’re ready to duke it out with the biggest names in the SEA Dota 2 circuit.
InYourdreaM plans for his future, talks about retirement
As The International 10 approaches, soon to take place in Bucharest, Romania, inYourdreaM already has a couple of goals in mind. For now, he is aiming to climb to the top of the SEA leaderboard once again and when the next DPC season kicks off, he aims to gather enough points to make it to the next edition of The International. He stated, “We’re going to practice more and more so we qualify for TI, and let's just hope we get top five in the next DPC circuit.”
He also reaffirmed that he wanted to play in SEA and that he wasn’t exploring opportunities from other regions. The Indonesian player said, “I don't really want to play outside of the SEA region because I feel like the SEA region is the most unique region. There are a lot of players that have unique play styles, (like) how they approach the game. I just like how the SEA region plays Dota 2.”
He also believes that SEA teams are amongst the best in the world and that this could be a year where they make a significant mark at TI10 despite some challenges. “I'm not a TI player but I think SEA is lacking experience in Dota 2. Top tier teams like Secret and PSG.LGD already have very experienced coaches and have been in the game for years. They have been on so many tours and played so many games,” said inYourdreaM. Yet despite this, he offered a glimmer of hope for SEA Dota fans. “I'm pretty confident T1 can actually have a top five finish this year.”
With only five years of pro Dota 2 under his belt, the thought of retirement is something he has not really explored just yet. If his pro Dota 2 career doesn’t work out, his failsafe is to pursue a career as a streamer. “I’m just going to do streams, I can stream other games too.” he stated.
InYourdreaM, together with the Galaxy Racer squad, is currently competing in the QH Sports Dota Series 2 and will be appearing at the BTS Pro Series S8: SEA on 7th Sept 2021. A final message from him to his fans was to keep supporting him and his current team.
Note: Parts of this interview have been edited for brevity.