The Rise of Galaxy Racer’s Malaysian Sensation: AlaCrity
Vincent “AlaCrity” Hiew Teck Yoong, a young Dota 2 player from Malaysia, was hailed as one of the rising stars of the local scene after he showed off his talents with Mineski-X in 2017. It didn't go as well as most would have hoped following this point and success was finite.
As time passed, AlaCrity worked hard, improved himself, persevered, and gained a greater understanding of Dota 2 to finally break through with Reality Rift by qualifying for the DreamLeague Season 13: The Leipzig Major in 2020. The happiness of qualifying was short-lived as the event resulted in a 13th-16th place finish.
DreamLeague Season 13 was something to cherish, but AlaCrity was yet to win a significant tournament in Dota 2 in almost four years after he went pro. Though it took another year, it finally came with Galaxy Racer in 2021. Galaxy Racer won the BTS Pro Series S7: Southeast Asia (SEA) after beating the best teams in the region. It may not have been the biggest competition in Dota 2 esports, but it featured Fnatic and T1, SEA's The International 10 (TI10) representatives, and other teams that had displayed great gameplay over the last six months.
In Galaxy Racer, AlaCrity joined forces with some of the brightest and most talented players in SEA - players like him who were hailed as emerging stars but never really rose to prominence that many had expected.
The Malaysian midlaner has had a churning professional career where he faced challenges, conquered them, and now finally finds himself in a rejuvenated and promising Galaxy Racer roster.
AlaCrity's first strides in Dota 2
Like many emerging sports athletes, AlaCrity was influenced by two of Malaysia's greatest Dota 2 players - Chai "Mushi" Yee Fung and Ng "YamateH" Wei Poong.
“When I started playing Dota, I saw people like Yamateh and Mushi playing games and earning money. I wanted to achieve the same thing so I just went for it,” said AlaCrity.
In contrast to expectations, his family was fairly accepting of him attempting to build a career in Dota 2 esports. It wasn't all rosy, however. He was good but in order to become the best, he had to continue to improve his conceptualization of the game while gaining experience.
“How I dealt with it (challenges of the game) was every time someone told me I was wrong or scolded me, I tried to keep that in my head when I practiced the next time.”
During AlaCrity's career, he played a lot in the midlane for various international and Malaysian teams. Initially, AlaCrity was a greedy midlaner who focused heavily on farming. However, over the years, after battling in the SEA circuit with different teams and different roles within each of them, he evolved and became a more well-rounded player.
“In most of my teams I had a very farm heavy playstyle, but they needed me to be a playmaker. So from all of my teams, I learned how to create tempo in the game as well as how to be a better playmaker.”
AlaCrity's success story with Galaxy Racer
After competing with various teams over the last few years and having limited success in the upper echelons of SEA Dota 2, AlaCrity joined Galaxy Racer in September 2020. As time progressed, the roster underwent some changes, but AlaCrity retained his place in the team. The Galaxy Racer squad finally gathered its current five person roster in May 2021, in time to compete in The International 10 (TI10)'s SEA qualifier.
“I knew from the start that a lot of players were probably going to get changed if there were better replacements. At some point, I was one of the persons on the list too but in the end, the decision by our coach was to keep me and that’s kind of how we ended up with this roster.”
It has only been a short time since Galaxy Racer’s current squad got together, but the group is already gaining momentum in the SEA Dota 2 scene. Although they did not win the BTS Pro Series Season 6: Southeast Asia or TI10's SEA qualifier in June 2021 and July 2021 respectively, their performances certainly made some heads turn.
Unfortunately, they failed to qualify for TI10. As a team, not qualifying for the game's biggest stage, which has over $40 Million USD at stake, must be heartbreaking. But AlaCrity is a player who can take it on the chin. He says, “you take it as an experience and you try to improve from it. The next day you wake up and you try to be ready again.”
AlaCrity and Galaxy Racer would go on to stick together, a decision that allowed them to win the BTS Pro Series Season 7: Southeast Asia. It was a stacked event with all of SEA’s top Dota 2 teams including TI attendees, T1 and Fnatic competing in it. After a fierce competition Galaxy Racer emerged as the best by defeating Fnatic in the grand final. When asked about the victory, AlaCrity modestly mentioned that the team still had a long way to go. “It doesn’t really have an impact on me because we are still a new team and even though it was a really good experience for us to win it, there’s a lot of things that we can still learn.”
Although Galaxy Racer won the BTS Pro Series S7, AlaCrity noted that there were still external factors and challenges that prevented them from playing in optimal conditions. Bootcamp, an essential component of a strategy-based game like Dota 2, is currently lacking because of the travel restrictions.
“The biggest challenge is probably that we do not have a bootcamp right now because of the pandemic. We can’t really watch replays together easily. It’s all on Discord right now and it’s not the easiest. Secondly, not being together with your team means that if you learn something from a pub, you can’t efficiently share knowledge with your teammates,” he said.
The 7.30 Dota 2 patch brought a breath of fresh air after a prolonged period of a stale meta that resulted in the same heroes being over-used in pubs and in official matches. While it is encouraging and refreshing for the average Dota 2 fan, a new patch usually means hours of reading, testing, and research for pro players, scrambling to get ahead of the curve.
AlaCrity's approach to patch analysis is very hands-on. “At the start for me, I usually want to play my best heroes to see how they feel and try new things on them. The whole team should be doing the same thing and then from there, you can only move forward,” he said.
This seems to be a common approach among some of the best Dota 2 players in the world. They rely on intuition crafted through years of training, both on and off the tournament stage.
AlaCrity also provided insights into the unique nature of SEA teams and what T1 (the top team in the region for most of the DPC season) might have at the world stage of Dota 2 - TI10. According to him, SEA teams are unique. In other regions, overall metas are set. It's either farming or aggression for the whole region. “Whereas in SEA, teams are more to their style like the aggressive teams are aggressive and farming teams want to farm. T1 has always been a very good team but sometimes they can be inconsistent,” he added.
AlaCrity and Galaxy Racer’s vision for their future in Dota 2
“I just want to qualify for the Major and we have the potential to be top four at least,” said AlaCrity when asked about his short-term goals for the post-TI DPC season. In terms of longer-term objectives, he hopes to qualify for every event, as well as to finish in the top four in every main event.
AlaCrity is still relatively young, but he has been around the scene for a while now. Retirement, however, is not something that he has considered so far, as he plans to continue to play for the time being. However, he did mention that if it had not been Dota 2, the Malaysian midlaner might have been taking care of his family business. “I'll probably be doing real estate with my family members (if not Dota 2)”, he said.
Galaxy Racer is currently competing in the QH Sports Dota Series 2 and will be soon beginning its campaign in the BTS Pro Series S8: SEA. AlaCrity expressed his gratitude and wish for continued support from his fans to enable his team to grow.
Note: Parts of this interview have been edited for brevity.