Interview with CuZn: TongFu manager talks new roster, potential new squads, and more

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!

Source: http://dota2.sgamer.com/news/201309/152606.html

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DK.rOtK talks DSL and ECL, and hopes for TI3: “All for TI3 and BurNIng!”

Replays.net: Hello xB, welcome to this interview with Replays.net. DK quite nearly didn’t manage to make it to the ECL matches this time, can you explain to us what happened?
DK.rOtK_xB:
Following DSL, the feeling was that we lacked the drive to win championships, and so for a few days we soaked in an atmosphere of disappointment and demotivation. After that, the club’s boss called out to us to gather back at our Yunnan base, where we held a team meeting in which we all reiterated our collective desires to win. We all felt that with so little time before TI3, we should do this for ourselves, and go out there and try our best once again. So with that understanding, in the end we managed to set aside all other obligations in order to participate in ECL.

RN: In the DSL you guys lost, where do you think you lost?
rOtK_xB:
Our in-game performances and pre-match preparations were both inadequate, and our mentality wasn’t in the right place either. In the offline environment, execution and performance is very key.

RN: Did this have anything to do with the fact that just the day before, your team had defeated TongFu?
rOtK_xB
: Yeah, we had a bit of overconfidence.

RN: Then what will be your team’s goal in participating in this ECL?
rOtK_xB:
We lost in the DSL, taking second place. In reality, this result is one that we can accept, because after all, the second place result is one that we fought for. We all care about the process, so in our meeting we had agreed that this time at ECL our goal is just to fight it out and do our best, whatever we can achieve as long as we do that, as long as it’s in the top 8, is something we can take.

RN: So your DSL result was certainly not poor, second place. Then why did you say earlier that after this loss, you were all seriously demotivated?
rOtK_xB:
Because, the team didn’t feel united. Everyone focused too much on the result itself, and forgot to actually have the heart to fight for it.

RN: Many people are saying that ECL, being an offline event, is your place to shine. Yet today we didn’t hear you do any trash talking, why not?
rOtK_xB:
I feel that something like trash talking should be done in moderation. The inherent nature of it is to simultaneously raise your own team’s spirits while lowering the other team’s, so keeping it at a reasonable level is enough. It’s been around all along, yet because I was one of the early adopters of this, I got the reputation for being a very aggressive trash talker. Really, over all these years, whenever I do partake, I always keep it to a certain level without going too far. For example if they’ve already called GG, and you’re still shouting and yelling… this is not something that I will ever do.

RN: Well, then will we see your trash talking abilities later on here?
rOtK_xB:
It’ll be contingent upon the atmosphere at that moment. Typically the best times for it are when a game is really close and tight. If one side is really far ahead or behind, there’s not much power behind it, it’s only when the game is back and forth, intense, that its effects are truly seen.

RN: Over the first two days of competition, many viewers and spectators are saying that it is just this kind of offline environment, with no soundproofing between the two teams, that provides for the best trash talking.
rOtK_xB:
I also feel this way. Being able to shout at each other, face to face, that’s what really gets the blood flowing. If you look at other competitive sports, none of them will have any soundproofing; if you’re playing basketball, you aren’t going to have covers over the players’ mouths so they can’t speak. In the end, games aren’t won on the back of shouting at each other.

RN: With TI3 approaching, what goals and thoughts do you have for it?
rOtK_xB:
TI3 is the true challenge for us. It will be time for us to truly show everything we have, and the goal is top 3.

RN: We all know that B-god will be retiring after TI3, how do you and your teammates view this?
rOtK_xB:
Our DSL-related meeting also touched upon this issue. We all understand his decision, because BurNIng is not only respected and admired by all of us, but also the entire scene and other players. So we all agreed, that with TI3 very possibly being B-god’s last tournament, we must strive to leave no regrets for him, for this unmatched teammate.

RN: 820 in a recent interview mentioned that he thought your team’s playing style is relatively stale and predictable, what thoughts do you guys have on strategies for your team?
rOtK_xB:
Before, we had always played 4 protect 1. After doing that for a while, we realized that as long as BurNIng’s farm is impeded significantly and he doesn’t get fat, then we would have no way into the game. So back and forth, we always came back to leaning on the 4 protect 1 heavily, the goal being to make sure that he does get the farm he needs. In reality, 4 protect 1 doesn’t really suit the current versions of the game, so we’ve made complete changes to everything. Because B-god himself might’ve been unfamiliar with having less farm to work with in early game, so the new strategies for our team encountered some early challenges and growing pains. Now, though, BurNIng has said, he can play anything in any style, and if he is needed to go up against heavy pressure, then he will carry the pressure, and thus our team has opened up many new styles, and we’re now able to play almost any style, and willing to play any style.

RN: So this ECL, your team is partaking purely for the purposes of getting more practice?
rOtK_xB:
Yes indeed. For TI3, this time we’re here to thoroughly transition our style.

RN: Then how many different strategies have you guys prepared?
rOtK_xB:
We’ve prepared many different ones. As long as we’ve thought of it, then we dare to use it. Right now we’re very liberal in this, we aren’t like before where we were very conservative in our style. In the past, perhaps we’d think of a strategy or a draft but not go with it because we weren’t completely comfortable or familiar with it, but this time we’re willing to use whatever we come up with!

RN: We wish you good luck, and you have the last word for anything you might want to say to fans.rOtK_xB: After all this time, especially in recent times, I really want to thank all of DK’s fans for their support. Just as one fan said to me: supporting DK is a kind of belief. I really really really thank you and appreciate you all for your support. And of course, also thanks to our sponsors Tt eSports for their long-standing sponsorship. Thank you all.

Source: http://dota2.replays.net/news/page/20130712/1832081.html

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TongFu team interview after their DSL win

Congrats to TongFu for taking champions in this season of the Dota 2 Super League. First off, we’d like to ask the three of you with tears streaming down your faces, what brought those tears about?
Sydm: For me, to see them win made me very happy. To watch them grow step by step, and finally win this title, the feeling is that for me, to give so much to this game and finally see some results in helping them become champions here, it’s a very joyous thing. We all love each other, and the win is a collective achievement.
Mu: Tears of joy; this has been my very first champion in a large event, and I hope that this is a new beginning for me. I will work even harder down the line.
Hao: I’m the same as Mu, really, hadn’t achieved a title at a large event in a very long while. To play together for such a long period of time and finally win a title, the tears falling are tears of happiness.

KingJ, you had a chat with Nekomata before the match, what was that about?
KingJ: His mom had said that it would be DK and TongFu in the finals here, with TongFu to take the title. At the time, I had hopes for this as well, but didn’t think that it would really come true like it has.

Before the match, there was an EHOME reunion. As an old EHOME veteran, did this awaken your desire to become champion today?
KingJ: It was a very emotional moment, but to be able to win against old teammates, current opponents… I’m still happy about it.

How do you all rate your coach, sydm?
KingJ: Coach has helped us improve on our focus and analysis, the effects have been great.
Banana: We wouldn’t have this title without our coach!
Mu: He is a legit coach.
Hao: He fully deserves to be recognized as a great coach!
Sansheng: Coach has helped us focus better, and become more disciplined, thus allowing ourselves to overcome our own challenges.

In the match-deciding Game 3, you guys picked Naga Siren and Razor. This was something we had seen from Zenith before, were you guys borrowing the strategy from them?
Hao: I think a lot of people had tried this before in practice, and we will make sure to prepare more strategies for TI3.

Banana has just had his 26th birthday, how will you guys celebrate tonight?
Banana: We’ll go celebrate by having a fun team dinner.

What do you think of Hao’s recent performances?
Banana: He’s becoming more and more steady and reliable all while maintaining his fierce and aggressive style, and he should be considered a top tier carry now.

Use your home dialect and say something to your fans?
Banana: Thank you for all your support (in the Henan dialect)

Your team had just lost previously to DK in the Alienware Cup, what adjustments did you make for this?
Mu: We lost yesterday, then we spent a lot of time discussing together. We felt that the loss had something to do with our own performances and form, our drafting, as well as our execution. But we also felt that the DSL match would be much more important, and so after our discussions, our drafting for the DSL finals was improved, but of course most importantly, we played much better.

How would you rate your opponents in the DSL finals, DK?
Mu: I think DK failed to perform to their own standards today, and their picks entirely fell into the traps we had set.

Can you talk a bit about the key points in each of the three games played, or share with us when you felt you had each game won?
Hao: The first game was determined from the drafting and lane setups that they would be at a disadvantage, and indeed they basically lost in laning phase, and we had a clean win. The second game with me on Anti-Mage, I got two kills and was very fat, while my teammates held the ship steady to give me more room to farm, but the win was probably secured later on when I had fully built out my items on Anti-Mage. In the third game, they attempted to counter us by changing their laning up, but it didn’t end up affecting us at all. Our supports rotated, and we ended up getting an advantage later in laning. The drafts meant that we had stronger teamfights, and when we took Roshan, that’s when we could had the title in sight.

For Coach Sydm, you had not been highly rated as a player, yet you’ve seen great success and recognition now as a coach. What was the transition like? And how exactly are you going about helping your team and players?
Sydm: I hadn’t ever considered becoming a coach before this, and it was a bit of a coincidence or fate that brought me to TongFu. It was decided after I chatted with Hao, and I felt that becoming a coach meant I wouldn’t have to waste all the time I’d put in before. I wanted to dedicate myself to helping them, and I made them improve on their living habits, so they could focus completely on training and competing. And as an observer, I’m able to see many things that they might not be able to see clearly in-game, as well as be there to smooth over any potential conflicts. After all this hard work, seeing them able to win this title, I feel it’s all been very worthwhile.

Banana, as an older player, what have you done to ensure that you continue to play at a high level, even improving over your previous self?
Banana: Because I want to win titles!

What hopes do you have for your TI3 adventure?
Sansheng: The DSL title is just a beginning for us, and as long as we don’t get overconfident with ourselves, I feel that we can achieve even greater things at TI3.

Predictions for TI3 results?
Sansheng: Before this, we wanted to strive for a top 3 finish. After this, I think we’ll want to make sure we get top 3, and strive for top 2. We won’t talk about being champions at TI3 because we don’t want to put that kind of pressure on ourselves.

Can you all share you takeaways from this DSL win?
KingJ: To be able go the whole distance is a reward in itself.
Banana: We were able to do well in terms of teamwork and execution.
Mu: The biggest takeaway is to be able to win the title.
Hao: What Banana said, an achievement in teamwork with new teammates.
Sansheng: The biggest reward is that we proved ourselves, and increased our own confidence.

Say something to fans to cap off this interview.
TongFu: Thank you to all for your support, and thank you to our sponsor TongFu Porridge for their unrelenting sponsorship.

 

Pics and video from DSL Finals day: DK and TongFu

Worth checking out… some of the galleries load a bit slowly, but I decided against re-upping them to imgur because I don’t wanna steal views or whatever. Yeah. There are some shots of the venue, which is the new Gamefy Esports Stadium, pretty cool.

 

Pre-match: http://dota2.sgamer.com/albums/201307/8006_323420.html

DK eats breakfast (KFC, apparently): http://dota2.sgamer.com/albums/201307/8007_323445.html

Venue shots: http://dota2.uuu9.com/201307/447681.shtml

More venue shots: http://dota2.replays.net/pic/page/20130706/1830391.html#p=1

Fan interaction and crowd shots: http://dota2.sgamer.com/albums/201307/8004_323372.html

Lots more crowd shots and images from event: http://dota2.uuu9.com/201307/447697.shtml

Perfect World people speak: http://dota2.sgamer.com/albums/201307/8005_323401.html

DSL Finals Opening Cermony: http://dota2.sgamer.com/albums/201307/8008_323447.html

rOtk and DK live: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNTc5NzAwNDYw.html

TongFu’s awarding: http://dota2.sgamer.com/albums/201307/8009_323467.html

 

For.Love rumored to be making changes

For.Love’s hanci posted yesterday on his weibo: “The time to leave has come” — this comes after poor performances by For.Love in the Dota Super League, as well as failure to achieve a spot at the upcoming International 2013 in Seattle.

CZ, who had joined For.Love recently as a standin, is also said to be leaving the team, thus resulting in For.Love lacking players for two positions.

Fan comments lean towards agreeing that hanci was a weak link in the team and his departure is no loss, while CZ showed promise and For.Love should try to retain him.

Source: http://dota2.uuu9.com/201306/445064.shtml

Dota 2 Super League Preview

A quick preview of the groups and teams in the upcoming Dota 2 Super League…

The Dota 2 Super League (DSL) begins on May 10 in Shanghai, with 10 powerhouse teams congregating for a showdown via group stages, playoffs, elimination, and finals, for the chance at over 1 million RMB in prize money.

Group A sees a relatively larger gap in ability. Apart from it being expected that iG will top the group, all the other spots are up for grabs amongst the other teams.

1. iG: TI2 champions, widely recognized as the best team in the world currently, they’ve successfully dominated just about every major event in 2012 and 2013. Every position in the team is played at a world-class level. For iG, the only question is whether anyone else has the power in them to take them down, and challenge them for first in the group.
Star players: all of iG

2. LGD.cn: Third place at TI2, managed to defeat iG in G-1. However, they’ve undergone a series of changes lately, with LongDD leaving not long after joining, which highlights an element of instability within LGD.cn. Can LGD.cn show us a new face along with their recent changes?
Star players: xiao8, Sylar

3. Vici Gaming: A new team not long formed, yet the presence in their team of one of the three big carries of yesteryear, ZSMJ, brings a major talking point for viewers and competitors alike. Can VG achieve a top 3 finish in this group with such time-honored talent? And as a former LGD player, ZSMJ, who had once brought so much glory to his old team, will be looking to prove himself against them now. By his side, newcomer Cty is another point of interest to look forward to.
Star players: ZSMJ, Cty

4. TongFu: A team that seems to match the level of their opponents, strong when facing strong, weak when facing weak, they possess Hao and Mu, two top tier Chinese players, yet have been in terrible form recently. After switching out two players, can they re-discover their touch?
Star players: Hao, Mu

5. ForLove: One of the best of the second tier Chinese teams, ForLove has some history behind them, yet have always stuttered a bit when it came to results. They have fairly plentiful experience, yet haven’t found their own rhythm in making a breakthrough somewhere. Similar to TongFu, they’re appearing here after making rostre changes, and whether the changes will make the difference for them remains to be seen.
Star players: you, hanci

Group B sees a much closer spread in terms of team ability. Just who advances and who falls might come unpredictably. New teams in here may have new styles of play, DK itches to redeem themselves, and interest will be high in seeing whether LGD.int and Orange can break through in the Chinese scene.

1. DK: Predicting DK as first place here, isn’t necessarily because they are clear favorites in terms of ability in the group, but more because their past performances demand this kind of high expectation for them. They have the world’s greatest carry player, the Anti-Mage himself, BurNIng. They have trash talk king xB/rOtk, and they have Super, 357, and MMY, players who have won countless championships before. DK’s results in the past year have been poor, yet anyone who overlooks them does so at their own peril, because their experience and determination here will not be lacking — as long as they execute well, winning everything is not a dream
Star players: BurNIng, xB/rOtk

2. LGD.int: Runners up in the G-League 2012 Season 2, a team formed of players from five different countries. They train together with LGD.cn in Hangzhou, combining the light grace of European Dota with the steadiness of Chinese Dota, and this gives them more than enough to compete in group b. They’re the ‘foreigners’ Chinese team’.
Star players: God, Misery

3. Orange: The only true foreign team present here, representing the top of SEA Dota. Their star player and the heart of the team, Mushi, has been known for a long time with his stylish play and flashy antics. In the recent G-1 qualifiers, he led Orange to next offline stage, proving that they can stand amongst the best that China has to offer. As the sole truly non-Chinese team, can they make it all the way?
Star player: Mushi

4. RisingStars: Another new team, formed recently by former members of DT.Club and Noah’s Ark. They’ve got undeniable personal and team skill, but are lacking in match experience and adaptability. Their style tends to be over-aggressive, so a matchup with them in it is guaranteed to be exciting to watch. They also often bring out innovative tactics, and are a very imaginative team.
Star players: Super, Mofi

5. RattleSnake: A new team of old players, all of their members have rich experience. Their captain, Luo, is recognized as a master of strategy, and often brings unexpected picks and tactics. This team has been recognized as having great dark horse potential in the group.
Star players: Luo, LaNm

Source: http://dota2.17173.com/news/05062013/162347528_2.shtml

Perfect World’s Dota 2 Super League start date and groups revealed

The groups were determined by way of a draw, and are as below:

Group A: iG, LGD.cn, Vici Gaming, TongFu, For.Love
Group B: DK, LGD.int, Orange, RattleSnake, RisingStars

The matches will begin on May 10 at 19:00 China time, with VG vs LGD.cn

The rest of the schedule for the regular season of the league is below (all in Chinese time):

May 16: 20:00–23:00:A- TongFu vs Invictus GAMING
May 17: 20:00–23:00:A- ForLove vs LGD GAMING CN
May 18: 14:00–18:00:A- VICI GAMING vs ForLove
May 18: 20:00–23:00:A-LGD GAMING CN vs TongFu

May 23: 20:00–23:00:A- Invictus GAMING vs LGD GAMING CN
May 24: 20:00–23:00:B- NeoEs.Orange vs LGD GAMING INT
May 25: 14:00–18:00:B- LGD GAMING INT vs TEAM DK
May 25: 20:00–23:00:A- Invictus GAMING vs ForLove
May 30: 20:00–23:00:A- TongFu vs ForLove
May 31: 20:00–23:00:A- Invictus GAMING vs VICI GAMING
June 1: 14:00–18:00:A- VICI GAMING vs TongFu
June 1: 20:00–23:00:B- Rattle Snake vs Rstars Gaming
June 6: 20:00–23:00:B- TEAM DK vs Rstars Gaming
June 7: 20:00–23:00:B- LGD GAMING INT vs Rattle Snake
June 8: 14:00–18:00:B- NeoEs.Orange vs Rstars Gaming
June 8: 20:00–23:00:B- TEAM DK vs Rattle Snake
June 13: 20:00–23:00:B- NeoEs.Orange vs Rattle Snake
June 14: 20:00–23:00:B- Rstars Gaming vs LGD GAMING INT
June 15: 20:00–23:00:B- TEAM DK vs NeoEs.Orange