The International 2018 might be over, but the hype is definitely not gone. It’s going to be an event that we will remember for years from now on and not only us, the Dota 2 fans, but also all the players who got the chance to compete in this year’s edition.
Team Serenity was formed only in September 2017 and despite not qualifying for any Dota Pro Circuit event, they delivered the big surprise by coming from open qualifiers for TI8 straight into the Main Event of the biggest tournament of the year. At the end of the group stage in Vancouver, we had another nice surprise when we discovered that their players were extremely open to socializing and not afraid to take any interviews the many media outlets present at the press day asked them for.
We had the chance to talk to two of the Team Serenity players. Our interview with the offlaner Zhao “XinQ” Zixing can be found here and below you can read our chat with the team carry, Jin “zhizhizhi”‘ Zhiyi.
Hello Zhizhizhi and big congrats on making it into the Main Event at your first ever The International, it must feel good.
It definitely feels good. The competition here is extremely tough and every game we played in the group stage was very close so, to be honest, overall, after we played all these games for four days in a row, we feel pretty exhausted.
You had to play against the tougher teams right from day one and you managed to take a game from both Virtus.pro and Team Secret. Did you expect those results or making a draw with them was exactly the morale booster you guys needed to go forward through the next three days of matches?
It’s like you said. Those victories gave us the energy for the rest of the days because these two, Secret and VP, were pretty much the strongest teams in our group so being able to take two points from them was very difficult.
You say they were two very difficult teams but now you will be facing Fnatic in you first lower bracket match, which is also a bo1. EE-Sama and his team are known for their strange approach where their opponents are feeling drained out on all levels, mentally, physically, emotionally. Are you excited to play against them, do you feel ready to deal with EternaLEnVy?
I think we will try to play the things we know we are good at, especially against this kind of team. I don’t know exactly how we will approach this game but we will try something, that’s for sure!
— DOTA 2 (@DOTA2) August 21, 2018
A few weeks before TI8 I spoke with Shadow from Wings Gaming and I found out that he is really rooting for you guys. He also said he feels that comparing Serenity with the TI6 Wings is not that far-fetched because you do have those few ingredients that they had. You play a bunch of different heroes, you have unusual strategies and item builds, you do all the crazy stuff. Was the Wings Gaming story from TI6 a source of inspiration for you guys?
Yeah, we’ve been definitely inspired by Wings and we learnt a lot from them. Especially after they won the TI6, there were so many teams and players in China trying to learn from them. As for us, yeah we wanted to become like them. They are very good teachers.
How hard is it for a young Chinese player to actually break out into the high competitive scene? You guys, for example, are probably the biggest revelation of this TI, as for Wings I know they played for a few years together under different tags before making it to TI6. CDEC from TI5 have also had years of grinding behind, so what does it take to make it from tier two, tier three status in China to play at such a high level of competition?
In China it’s a lot about who do you know. If you’re good and you know some people, then you will get opportunities to show your skills. If you’re good, but don’t know too many people, you might still get some chances, but if you’re not that good and you also don’t have any kind of connections you most probably won’t get any chances to play in a higher tier team. Where’s I feel like in Europe or CIS let’s say, the players there get more opportunities to show themselves. So, they can try once, they can try twice, they have more ways to enter in tournaments and really make a break out. In China is basically about who you know.
You personally have some LAN experience already, you’ve placed top 6 at ESL One Hamburg with Keen Gaming, for instance, but the rest of your teammates are super new to the scene and TI8 marks their first big LAN. Do you feel extra pressure on your shoulders because of that, how confident is the team as whole going on to the big stage of Rogers Arena?
I don’t think the pressure will be much of a thing for us. Maybe we will get nervous when it comes to our experience with certain heroes and certain situations and I feel like maybe someone will make a small mistake on a certain hero, but no, I don’t think our run here will be all down to pressure.
What’s coming up for Serenity after TI8. Do you guys feel like you are good friends, have good synergy and will stick together regardless of the Main Event result, or is it room for anything to happen in the post TI8 shuffle?
Right now I feel that we will keep playing together because if someone decides to go to a different team and there is no chemistry there, then everyone is wasting a lot of time and the next season doesn’t have as many DPC tournaments as the one that just ended.
Alright, then I wish you the best of luck in the TI8 Main Event and I hope we will get to see more of Team Serenity in the next season. Thanks again for taking the time to talk to us today and thank you, Joshua Lee, for helping us today with the translations.