Chai Yee Fung, best known by his gamer codename, Mushi, put Malaysia on the eSports map when he led team Orange Esports to third placing at The International 2013, the world’s biggest and most lucrative Dota 2 tournament.

Mushi and the all-Malaysian Orange Esports comprising “Ohaiyo” Khoo Chong Xin, “XtiNcT” Joel Chan Zhan Leong, “kYxY” Lee Kang Yang and “Net” Lim Wai Pern walked away with a cool US$287,438 (RM1,167,900).

Dota 2 is a free-to-play and extremely popular videogame by Valve Corp in which two teams of five players, each controlling a unique and powerful hero, attempt to annihilate the opposing team’s base.

The following year Mushi joined Team DK from China which took fourth placing at the The International 2014. Even though it was fourth placing, the team netted even more money – US$819,298 (RM3,328,970) – because The International prize pool increases tremendously each year.

In 2016, he captained Fnatic and led them to fourth placing at the tournament, bagging US$1,453,932 (RM5,907,600).

Mushi, who hails from Rawang, Selangor, fell in love with Dota while in school.

“Life was pretty routine with school and MMO (massively multiplayer online) games until I came across the original Dota, which is a WarCraft III mod, during my early secondary school days.

“When I first played Dota, I was attracted to the heavy emphasis on teamwork and the challenging gameplay.”

He took part in his first competition when a large tournament was organised in Rawang but lost very badly.

“It made me realise I was not good at all, and there was so much to the game than what I believed,” he said.

However, that didn’t stop him from becoming a champ, now with an estimated net worth of US$820,258 (RM3.35mil) according to esportsearnings.com.

Mushi, now 27, wants to groom younger players into winners.

“To be successful as a full-time eSports professional, young Malaysian talents should venture abroad and experience life beyond their familiar surroundings,” said Mushi.

“Getting out of the comfort zone and moving into a new environment will train players to be independent and expose them to valuable experiences and unique cultures.”

Malaysians have much to learn, he added, especially from Chinese players who are known for their discipline, rigorous training regimes and innovative strategies.

Throughout his career Mushi has always found the time to take younger players under his wing, including long-time Dota 2 partner Ohaiyo, “MidOne” Zheng Yeik Nai from Team Secret and “Kecik Imba” Fadil Raziff.

Ohaiyo, now with Fnatic, and MidOne, now with Team Secret, are already world-class players.

Mushi has since moved on to Mineski, formerly a Filipino team. The new mixed-nationality team is off to a good start, as it just clinched the PGL Open Bucharest title, and emerged runner-up at StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 3 in Kiev, Ukraine.