PSG.LGD finished second in their group at EPICENTER XL and therefore they were pitted against Virtus.pro in the opening upper bracket rounds of the main event. On the day off, between the group stage and the playoffs, we managed to steal a few minutes with their coach, Yao “QQQ” Yi and we tried to touch a few topics: preparation going up against VP at a CIS event, how did LGD decide to use the coach for the drafting phase, the DPC points and the chances for PSG.LGD to make it to TI8 via a direct invite.
Congrats on the group stage run, top two in a group with Mineksi and Liquid, I guess it must feel pretty good . Were you guys a little bit scared when you saw the groups draw because of Mineski who beat you in the DAC grand finals and FlyToMoon who delivered some upsets at the latest StarLadder Minor?
No, we weren’t scared at all. Our roster is in a pretty good shape now. It’s been about five or six months since xNova joined us.The team is ready, we are not afraid of anyone at this Major.
That’s nice to hear especially because of your decision from last month to withdraw from the SL Imba Minor. You said back then that you want to prepare for the Majors and of course, everyone is now watching PSG.LGD. How confident are you now that PSG.LGD can qualify for TI8 via DPC points?
Right now we are eighth in the rankings but the teams on the 6th and 7th are really close in terms of points and with three majors left for us, this one, the MDL one and the SuperMajor, I think there is a very good chance for us to get the points needed for an invite.
PSG.LGD will start the playoffs in the upper bracket and a victory against Virtus.pro will already ensure some points. You also have a victory over them at DAC and I’m sure they are looking for revenge. This time the battle is on their home soil, do you feel ready for this, can you take a second victory over them?
Virtus.pro is a tough adversary regardless of where you play against them. We have a lot of respect for them, we always looked at them as a respectable opponent, we always took the games versus them extremely serious and we are very glad we have the chance to play against a team like VP. I hope we can win again, but the way I see it, is that something was not right with them at DAC. They weren’t the team we saw the entire season. However, they look much better at this event.
Some people said that you and Mineski somehow got lucky at DAC because of the patch. Do you have any comments on that, did you really feel that the DAC patch with Pangolier added to the CM and the few item changes really boost your performance?
Yes and no. Here is the thing; now, the patches come faster and the changes are not always minor ones, as everyone was expecting. And the question for all the teams is: can you adjust to a new patch as fast as it is demanded? Because if you do, that’s the most important reason for why you are successful these days. I think the tournaments are super fair for every team now. We all enter the playoffs day with just a few hours or a day of preparation on a new patch. The difference is made on how fast we can adapt.
Right, and here is where the coach role I guess is more important than ever. You are the man behind the players who must help them to find the best strategies in the fastest way possible. I’d like to talk to you a bit about coaching a team like PSG.LGD. The new Dota 2 fans might not know you, but you do have a lot of history behind. You’re the Chinese old guard, the oldest player at TI2, so there is no doubt you have a lot of experience playing at a very high level. How do you translate that into the coaching role?
picture courtesy of EPICENTER
I must say I’m not one of the super accomplished players, I feel like I could have done a lot more when I was active. But yes, all the experience I gathered back then helped me a lot to understand what players need, what they want from a long list of stats, for example. I think my competitive career is definitely what helped me get closer to them and created this connection between us, and eventually made me a good trainer if you want. However, I still have a long way to go and a lot more to learn and to develop in this coaching role.
The Chinese teams were the first to put their coaches to draft and besides Mineski, nobody from the other regions is doing it to the present days. Can you tell me how did you guys actually decide to do this, and why?
So, Valve changed the rule only last year. The coaches were allowed to stay with the players for the drafting phase only at the start of this season. And for us it happened like this: at the PGL Open Bucharest Minor we had to play with me as a stand-in, I was replacing Victoria. I was already their coach but that was the first tournament when I was with them, I was present in all the talks during the draft. At first, it was a lot of me helping the captain, bouncing ideas. After that Minor, we tried with me drafting but it’s not me deciding for them entirely.
We talk a lot during the drafts, I take into consideration all their suggestions, it’s more of a collaboration if you want. With every event, we felt we are doing better and better and we got to the point where we reached a Major grand final. So it’s been proven that an outside eye on the draft is more beneficial and we decided it is to our advantage to have the coach draft.
I know you plan to go outside with the team today. It’s the day off for everyone, a well-deserved one for you guys, so we will wrap up the interview here. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us and best of luck in the few events left this season.
You’re very welcome, and thanks for the interview.