Vici Gaming’s coach Bai “rOtK” Fan sat down with the Chinese outlet MAX+ to discuss the tournament victory at ONE Esports Dota 2 World Pro Invitational Singapore. He talked about what are the main changes he’s done in his training after TI9, what are the goals for the new season and what did he mean when he shouted “CN Dota Never Die” upon lifting the trophy in Singapore.
Translation from Chinese courtesy of Blair Zheng
Hello and congratulations on winning the tournament! How does it feel?
It feels perfect. Like I said right after the tournament, it felt better than winning a Major, because we got a few consecutive wins from the lower bracket and claimed the championship at last.
What’s your plan next?
First, we’ll take a few days off, then we’ll gather at the end of January for a focused training. We hope we can keep up the good work and achieve a good result in the second Major.
When you claimed the championship at ONE Esports Invitational Singapore, you shouted out “CN DOTA NEVER DIE”, did you plan to do it or did you just come up with it in the interview?
Actually, I just came up with it. At that time, I wanted to say “CN DOTA BEST DOTA,” something familiar to everyone, but then I took a second thought and felt “CN DOTA NEVER DIE” might be a better one to boost our morale, so I used the latter.
So you just wanted to boost the morale of CN DOTA?
Right, that was my intention. I just wanted to tell people, whether the professional Chinese DOTA 2 players or the CN DOTA fans, that we still stand a chance to get back to the top.
You have won 4 international tournaments this year, basically, you are “creating a history”. Looking back at this year, do you have any special feelings as the coach of Vici Gaming?
The results are quite comforting. The only pity was that we weren’t able to bring out our best form at The International 2019. I hope we can make effective adjustments to our mindset to take the International as an ordinary tournament so that we won’t be affected by it just because it is THE International.
The championship at ONE Esports Invitational Singapore was a perfect ending for you to this year, but you didn’t seem to perform very well in the Group Stage. Did you encounter any trouble there?
Actually, our team usually need to take some time to adapt, so we were not in a very good form at the beginning of this tournament. But, as we played more and faced more teams, we did a lot of reflection on each match to help ourselves adapt and adjust. Throughout the tournament, the players and I were able to learn a lot from other teams, to learn lessons from their advantages and strategies, and to combine them with our own strategies.
The other Chinese team didn’t perform really well. Why was that, do you think?
To be honest, I think it’s just because overall we are not strong enough. This phenomenon has been lasting for over a year. I know quite well about the training in China, and I feel some training isn’t practical enough, either it is routine or it is too flashy, and this leads to low efficiency in training. So, this needs to be improved as soon as possible. However, as the saying goes, “every family has their own troubles.”
I am not so sure about other teams, and I am only certain about my own team. During the training before tournaments, our team worked really hard, and I felt it is effective. But during the scrims with some teams, I felt they were not effective at all, so I think this must be improved, or Chinese teams may still not be able to achieve good results in this season.
In this Invitational, your drafting strategy was well-designed, and it won a lot of advantages for the team. How did you achieve it?
I take every important tournament very seriously and I’ll design the strategies carefully. Sometimes it happens that when the players and I think we are fully prepared, we still run into a problem in drafting during the match. Anyway, I think in hardcore esports games, if you win a tournament, everything you do will be praised, but if you lose, nothing you do seems right. I think the drafting looked good only because we won; the drafting might not look good when there are defeats.
So, you don’t think you did well in the drafting at Chengdu Major, do you?
No. I was quite unsatisfied in the drafting of the first two matches, and afterwards, I knew which one went wrong. I just think professional strategies need to be analyzed by the professionals, instead of being casually judged by the fans. Though some followers like to make fun of me, I still get a lot of fans who are willing to discuss the strategies or the drafting with me rationally; they even PM me the points that we can improve on while watching our games, and I think these are great.
So you think that to some extent, the fans’ opinions can be helpful, right?
Yeah, at least this is the case for me.
In many tournaments before, you lost and got eliminated in the lower bracket. Why do think it happened and how did you manage to overcome it this time?
I think it was mainly because of our mindset. At the beginning of this season, with our new roster, I gathered everyone to have a meeting and said that our goal this year is not to claim championships, but mainly to adjust ourselves and our mindset. It seems quite effective so far, so I hope we keep up the good work.
Talking about this tournament, Slark has been an unpopular hero for a long time, but Eurus showed an 100% win rate on it. Do you think it’s because Eurus played him well or because Slark was buffed in this patch?
Eurus can play most of the heroes well, and the reason why Slark suddenly seems “buffed” is closely related to the combo and the strategy. Actually, in every patch, there are strong heroes in the meta, but this can only be discovered through combos. If you can’t get the right combo, then you may not be able to see their strengths.
After you won the Epicenter Major, you also regarded Eurus as the MVP, so are VG’s strategies highly dependent on him?
I think every team is similar. Eurus is position 1 of the team, and it’s normal that he has the most net worth in the team. But it doesn’t mean position 1 is always the key in games. It depends on how we do the drafting, and there are also games that center around position 2 and position 3. In such cases, the key positions must perform well to win the games.
Let’s talk about the next Major. You’ll play at the Leipzig Major during the Spring Festival, so you get to spend the Festival abroad, will it feel different to you?
Playing at a tournament abroad during the Spring Festival feels bad, because I won’t be able to spend it with my family. I really want to stay with them this year, because I didn’t spend much time with them in the first place. Originally I wanted the players to play abroad at the second Major by themselves, but then everyone said no and that if we went there we should go together, so I agreed to go. We may take a break after the Spring Festival, so I’ll spend more time with my family then.
Will you consider skipping the third Major?
Is it also because of Yang’s Visa?
To some extent, yes, because the third Major is held in the U.S., and Yang’s U.S. Visa has been rejected for 6 or 7 times already. Also, we need to take a rest. It’s unrealistic for us to play at every intense tournament.
Do you have any goal or expectation for the next Major?
Like I said, our goal in this season is not to claim championships. The most important thing for us is to make effective adjustments to our mindset and to learn from tournaments and make progress. We have a new talent on our team, Pyw. Though Pyw has played at the International before, he basically still is new to the scene, without much experience in big tournaments. This year I hope to cultivate him and release his potential.
Speaking of Pyw, we noticed a small detail while you were accepting the award on stage. You gave him the trophy as soon as you received it. Was it on purpose?
This is a VG tradition. When our new talent plays at LAN tournament, we have a small ceremony to pass the trophy to the new talent first and to make him feel the warmth of this big family; just like when Fade returned to the team last year, I passed the trophy to him first as we won the first LAN tournament.
We hope you can achieve better results in this Major and thank you for accepting our interview.