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E-Sports has always been regarded as a male-dominated industry where most professional players that end up representing their countries for tournaments consist of men. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t female players.

Despite the niche audience, there are tournaments and leagues focusing on bringing up female players and providing a stage for these talented e-sport athletes to shine.

One of the more notable tournaments for females in this region called the Female SEA League (FSL) held their fourth edition and the grand finals happened last Sunday. A Malaysian Dota 2 team called Grills Gaming was one of the finalists and after an intense competition against team DIA from Thailand, they managed to come out victorious with a score of 2–1.

Each member from Grills Gaming walked away with a router from Linksys worth SGD$539 and a full set of gaming gears from Creative BlasterX.

What Is FSL?

Image Credit: FemaleDota2 on Facebook

The Female SEA League started off in 2013 and it calls upon female Dota 2 players from around the Southeast Asian region to form a team and compete with other talented players.

This 4th edition spanned over a total of 4 months, starting from September 2016. A total of 23 teams that played weekly matches in the double round-robin format groupstage, leading up to a single-elimination playoffs between the top 4 teams last week.

This tournament has seen entries coming from a few notable teams, including NXA from Indonesia, Vegetable Fish Fizz (VFF) from Thailand, Asterisk* from Singapore and Mint AU from Australia.

Meet The Players 

Team Grills Gaming (GG) has a lineup of 5 members with all the members coming from Malaysia.

The captain is Stephanie “auroraa” Lim, with the remaining 4 members being Bette “istarx” Chia, Tiffani “Oling” Lim, Wei Sian “TimunSama” Wong and Nicole “Catosaurus” Lim.

Image Credit: Malaysian Cyber Games

Before the members came together to form Team GG, each one had their own background in playing Dota 2 professionally. The players have experience participating in mixed teams for local tournaments such as the Selangor Cyber Games and the Dota 2 Dew Challenge.

Members Stephanie and Wei Sian were part of team Half Bloods that went up against ADTR and MalayAllStar on the main stage during the Malaysia Cyber Games 2015, which was actually when the team first collaborated. Bette and Nicole only were added into the team later after they underwent a few roster changes.

Image Credit: Stadium Astro

In 2016, the girls decided to team up as Grills Gaming and sign up to compete in the 4th edition of FSL. They became the only Malaysian representative in the league.

A quick breakdown of their roles:

  • Stephanie “auroraa” Lim: Captain and drafter of Grills Gaming where she masterminds the strategy. Her position in-game is on the offense as the mid role with either an Invoker or Shadow Fiend.
  • Tiffani “Oling” Lim: Takes on the hard support role, collecting the proper resources for her team. Her signature moves include performing clutch saves where she uses her fast thinking to save her team during intense battles with her Dazzle or Vengeful Spirit.
  • Wei Sian “TimunSama” Wong: Provides roaming support where she uses her Lion and Earthshaker to attack enemies from all lanes rapidly (also known as ganking) and help pool in resources.
  • Bette “istarx” Chia: Plays the vital Carry position where she’s able to flash farm resources for the team early on in the game and then helps on the offense with a full-slotted hero such as Luna or Phantom Assassin.
  • Nicole “Catosaurus” Lim: Takes up the offlane role where she plays the role of support and a carry. Her well-executed ultimate moves from her Faceless Void or Tidehunter plays a key role in getting a comeback or emerging victorious.

The Struggles Of Being A Female Team

Mentioned in an interview with Stadium Astro, member Tiffani commented on the topic of why there aren’t as many female teams out there and the issues and factors that it probably stems from.

“Over the years I’ve played in many female teams, and more often than not it’s plagued with issues. First you have the attitude problems, as girls have the tendency to overreact to criticism, hindering team improvement in games.”

“That aside, it’s tough to find girls who share the same goals and visions—it’s just too easy to let the attention get to your head before you actually achieve anything. Then you need to consider commitments such as studies and work, also the geographical factor—if you can play or train together on LAN,” said Tiffani.

These were also reasons she linked on why it took longer than expected for the founding members of Grills Gaming to find fellow girls who shared their mindset and skill level. Their stubborn goal of forming a full-female lineup was also partly why they were searching for candidates for a while.

“This is why the champion title means so much to each of us. The moment of victory, when the opponent’s throne was destroyed, the five of us screamed in unison and slammed our fists on the table. And we turned around to see our coaches who came down to surprise us, beaming proudly at us outside the booth. And that was it… by far the most unforgettable moment in my life,” said Tiffani.

As a female gamer myself, it always feels encouraging to see fellow girls proving that gender should not come to play when it comes to skills such as those used in E-Sports.

Congratulations to the girls on their win and I hope to see them claim more titles to grow their name in the industry.

Feature Image Credit: Stadium Astro

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