To say that Bai “rOtk” Fan is a highly accomplished player would be an understatement. Known for his risky style of play, rOtk has competed in three previous International championships and has now led his current team to the Upper Brackets of The International 5 main event. In his TI5 player profile, rOtk talks about his desire to help develop the Chinese Dota 2 scene and fights back tears when he introduces us to his biggest supporter, his grandmother.
It is no wonder that Bai “rOtk” Fan has such a widespread, acclamatory reputation. Bai started his Dota 2 career on Team DK, in August 2011. He remained on the team until August 2013, placing fourth in The International 2 and sixth in The International 3. After he parted ways with DK, rOtk joined Vici Gaming. As their captain, he led his team to their first premier championship title and then helped them skyrocket to the second place at The International 4, a tremendous performance.
Following his successful year as part of Vici Gaming, 2013 announced his retirement, planning to lay back for a while, and start casting and promoting Dota 2 in China. However, he couldn’t stay away from the competitive scene for too long. In December 2014, rOtk recruited other retired players and put together a team. He called it “Big God”. It wouldn’t be long until he joined team EHOME, in March 2015.
EHOME had to battle their way through the qualifiers in order to snatch a spot at TI5. They defeated CDEC, 3:1, in the qualifier finals and became the first team to qualify for The International 5.
Bai “rOtk” Fan’s gaming journey began long before he joined his first team, in his childhood. In his TI5 player profile, rOtk characterizes himself as a rebel child. His grandmother recalls how he used to often disappear from home for extended periods of time. She would usually find him at his favorite hot-spot, the Internet cafe.
It was precisely at his local Internet cafe that rOtk would first be introduced to DotA, by a couple of players, 10-year-older, who needed an extra set of hands on their team. rOtk was hesitant to join them at first. Years later, he would become one of the best Dota players in the world.
They told me to pick Zeus and follow them around just zapping things, so I said okay, okay I’ll play. Then, I realized: ‘hey, this game is pretty fun!’
The road ahead if him wouldn’t be as easy as merely picking a hero and clicking around the map. With a sense of pride, Bai’s grandmother talks that his commendable choice to pursue his dream and all the hardships that followed. Choking back tears, rOtk confesses his grandma’s support was extremely important to him when his father disagreed with his choices. “From the beginning to the end, she never gave up on me,” rOtk says.
After The International 4, rOtk had planned on retiring for one year and then return to play again at TI6. As quite often happens, plans change. He realized that the scene lacks fresh blood and chose to come back to the competitive scene to mentor EHOME’s fresh roster.