In this interview with CuZn, the TongFu manager reflects on recent changes, and talks about the future for the club.
SGamer: Thank you CuZn for this interview with SGamer.com. Now that TongFu’s new roster has been confirmed, are you finally able to breathe a sigh of relief?
TongFu.CuZn: Yes indeed, I can finally breathe easily now, and it feels great to relax.
SG: Following TI3, did you expect to see such huge changes come to your team?
CuZn: I did think of it, because there are always changes following big tournaments!
SG: Were there some ‘transactions’ being discussed already during your time in Seattle, then?
CuZn: During the time I was only focused on the matches, didn’t pay much attention to things outside of that. But I do know that there have been some foreign players expressing desire to come to China to compete, but I feel that communication and cultural differences is a huge issue there.
SG: Recently, TongFu players have become hot commodities. What preparations did the club have in case of a worst-case scenario?
CuZn: A complete restructuring along with a creation of a feeder/secondary team.
SG: What if this team that you’d personally helped build completely fell apart, did you consider giving up your career as an esports club manager as a whole?
CuZn: Yes, there were definitely thoughts regarding that. But as long as there is a player willing to stay, then I will continue my work.
SG: Was Hao’s departure a surprise to you?
CuZn: No, this was within my expectations. Hao’s performances this year have been excellent, and the scene has a relative lack of carry players, so having teams coming to ask about him is to be expected. Plus, it’s possible for any change to happen after an International.
SG: Hao, in a weibo post of his, stated that he would be playing with an added TongFu label on the end of his ID even though he’s joined iG now. Were the tears flowing for you after learning of this gesture?
CuZn: Nah, but I did feel that he’s grown to be more and more professional. He knows what he wants to do nowadays. TongFu is our club’s name as well as our sponsor, and TongFu Porridge has released products specific to each of our players. 🙂
SG: What are you going to do with those bowls of porridge that have Hao and Banana on them?
CuZn: We’ll just sell them through our T-mall store, or give them away in events. Our T-mall is at tongushipin.tmall.com, we welcome everyone. 🙂
SG: In this big reshuffle, what kind of role has the ACE Alliance played?
CuZn: A supervisory role. Just as Efeng says, without the Alliance, there would have been quite a few teams that get poached to the point of dissolution.
SG: How do you rate Zhou and Hao as players?
CuZn: Born in the same year, Zhou’s personality is more stable and steady, suitable for being captain. Hao is more aggressive and impulsive, suited for making big plays. In terms of results, Zhou has more than Hao I think, but Zhou’s form this year has been fairly low. Hao on the other hand, via his own hard work as well as his team’s growth, has been able to improve and even largely escape his old label of ‘feeder Hao’. The two players both have room to improve, so we’ll have to see what happens in this next year!
SG: A team’s captain seems to be very important, who was your team’s captain before? Has Zhou been confirmed as the new captain now?
CuZn: The captain before was actually banana. After banana left, we held a team meeting, and confirmed Zhou as the new captain, and the main drafter for us.
SG: ZSMJ’s transition to the 4 role has been fairly recent, do you feel that he will be able to fulfill the needs of this role?
CuZn: Yes he can, he is a very focused, very hard-working player, and we have a lot of confidence in him successfully playing the 4 role in our team.
SG: Whose idea was it to pick up ZSMJ?
CuZn: We made a list of all players who currently are able to play the 4 position, and then this was the result of a collective discussion.
SG: How do you rate this new roster?
CuZn: We’ll still have to see how they gel together. Their current level of play I think can only be given 70 out of 100, but there was some training today, and the results weren’t bad!
SG: Apart from winning TI4, what other goals are there for the next year? For example forming a youth squad to go play the NSL in Korea?
CuZn: Of course there are other goals, such as winning the ACE League, or defending our DSL title. This next year we might have three different squads. As for which team gets sent to play in the NSL in Korea, this needs to be kept a secret for now. After the big reshuffle this year, we’ve realized the increasing importance of having sub/feeder-teams, so we will definitely be creating a youth squad.
SG: How will you guys go about selecting players for the other two squads, then?
CuZn: We’ll have our coaching staff filter the choices. We’ve already got some new players in our sights.
SG: Apart from sydm, who else is part of the coaching team?
CuZn: Kabu, Gx, and one of Zhou’s friends. Of course there’s me too!
SG: Do you feel that coaches are a necessity to Dota 2 teams nowadays?
CuZn: I feel that it’s something you cannot lack, because coachs can arrange schedules, scrims, they can monitor the players and help them grow, thus allowing the players to focus on practice and competing.
SG: What do you think is the greatest challenge currently facing your club’s Dota 2 team?
CuZn: Lack of talent. Whether in terms of management or players, there is an acute lack. Because Dota 2 in China still lacks accessibility, the playerbase is still relatively small, so it’s very hard to find people. Many sponsors aren’t that interested in Dota 2, and so from a club’s point of view it is difficult to find additional investment.
SG: Do you think that things will improve once Dota 2 truly opens up to the masses?
CuZn: More or less, yes it will improve. Lots of loyal Dota fans will be able to play this excellent esports product, and as the playerbase grows, lower level tournaments increase in number, and thus more new competitors and sponsors will appear. I do believe that the future will be better!
SG: As a club, do you guys prefer league-format or cup-format tournaments, and why?
CuZn: It’s definitely the league format. Stable and reliable scheduling as well as publicity, this is good for both the players and the fans, and the regularity of the league format allows the club to plan things more easily.
SG: Okay, go ahead and say something to cap off this interview then!
CuZn: TongFu 3.0 awaits your support!
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