Fnatic.MidOne interview: "I want to play better than s4"
Having one of the highest MMR in the SEA region last year, Zheng 'MidOne' Yeik Nai was scouted by Fnatic to complete their roster after the departure of Dominik 'Black^' Reitmeier. Having been in the professional Dota2 scene for nearly three months now, Gosugamers talked to MidOne about how his life has changed after going pro.
Interview was conducted via Skype by Ben 'Pineapplecake' Tan
Hello Midone, I assume the team is on/ just got off Chinese New Year break?
Hanging out with friends, gambling, gathering with family and eating non-stop. I got food poisoning yesterday, it was a total nightmare.
Are you feeling better now?
Yea, just having stomach ache right now.
Being new to the scene, how has the pro gaming life been for you?
The pro gaming life is great and is full of challenges which I like very much. Starladder is one of the first major tournament I had ever joined. Comparing amateur and pro gaming life it's a huge difference, things works differently, out of my expectations. Now I spend more time on gaming.
When you say things works different, could you give some examples?
Communications in pro gaming is much more intense when compared to amateur gaming, and in pro gaming, regardless of win or loss, we have to watch a lot of replays to do much better next time. The timing in pro matches is crucial, we need to be very fast, and if we miss the timing of things, we will lose a lot.
In amateur games you don’t need to try very hard and it’s just like playing around, people don’t communicate much and even tend to forget the small mistakes they did. Everything in amateur games goes very slow with no efficiency compared to pro games.
It sounds like quite a big step up in skill from the amateur scene, how about the differences in your social life after going pro? How has it impacted your friends and family?
My parents started to support me after going pro and my friends are very proud because they have a pro gamer friend. When I was in the amateur scene, my parents would keep on asking me to stop playing; telling me about the common gaming stereotypes like, it’s bad for health, gaming doesn't help much in life and so on.
On the other hand, my friends were asking me to stop studying and go play Dota. I guess my social life hasn't changed much just that sometimes friends want to take a photo with me and then post it on Facebook, Instagram, etc.
How about the impact of going pro on yourself? Did you give up on anything to play for Fnatic?
The thing I give up is the time with my families and friends. Also, I’m currently studying in Malacca and Fnatic boot camp is in Kuala Lumpur, so every week I have to travel from Malacca to KL. It takes about four hours by bus and it's very tiring; but for training, I think it’s worth it.
What makes this training so worth it for you?
I’m new to Fnatic, I don’t really know anything about my teammates so training is very important. At every practice session, we try more heroes and we learn a lot of new things from the other teams.
What made you accept Fnatic's offer in December?
What made me accept Fnatic's offer is how Eric [Fnatic's manager] recruited me. I wasn't really willing to give up my studies, but after a lot of discussions, I saw this as a win-win situation for me. Also, the opportunity of getting into the pro scene is very rare so I accepted the offer.
When you first joined the team were you confident that you have the skill to play with your teammates?
Yes, I was confident I had the skill but I knew I needed to stabilize myself. For example, at Starladder I started to overthink, I had a lot of conversations with myself in my mind which made me feel very uncomfortable. I started to grow some sort of phobia and I didn’t really perform at my high level.
After your experience at Starladder, how satisfied are you with your place within the team and your growth as a player?
I’m very satisfied with my place within the team and I actually felt very depressed when I lost Starladder, but now I’m very glad that I lost because I improved quite a lot after losing and with my teammates' help, I got to know how to handle the pressure; right now, I’m regaining my confidence.
Your teammates have probably given you lots of good advice, who has helped you the most and what has he done to help you?
Mushi, because he has a lot of experience on solo mid. So most of the time when I have problems I will ask Mushi to help me. He also helped me to solve a lot of mindset issues. For example, when I got solo killed by s4, I became very stupid and didn’t communicate much with my teammates.
After the game I went to look for Mushi, he told me he never doubted my skills and it's fine to get solo killed. However, you have to remember that you haven’t lost the game, you need to continue and have the right mentality to be able to win the game - that’s the most important thing.
That's a good mind-set to have, do you follow that line of thinking in pubs as well? You climbed the SEA leader boards very quickly, how did you manage to do it, can you share any tips?
Yea, now I do follow that line of thinking in pubs as well. In the SEA pubs we have to pick for team’s greater good no matter what. Try not to whine too much about your teammates, try to be friendly to them and don’t bother about the MMR gap, just treat everyone as having the same standard as you so that you can communicate better with them and get to know how your teammate plays while the game is going on.
Sometimes I mute them all if they whine non-stop, I can’t play well when people whine at others in my team. When you see your team is giving up, you have to talk and make sure they understand the game is not over until one throne gets destroyed.
You have streamed quite a bit before, are you enjoying the fan interaction?
Yea I do enjoy it, most of the time I play party MMR with my friends and I troll a lot, but after looking at how my opponents are really trying hard, I stopped trolling.
Do you have any schedule for streaming?
Whenever I’m free I stream but I only have around 50 viewers. (MidOne's stream can be found here)
Moving on to the last part of the interview, how are you personally preparing for the Shanghai Major? Anything special you do?
The special thing I do is to look back on how people flame me and how people laugh at me when I got solo killed by s4. I train a lot and watch a lot of my replays and the replays of other pro mid players to make sure I’m more consistent before Shanghai Major.
Which pros do you like watching?
I watch s4 the most, I want to play better than how s4 plays, I like the way he plays for the team compared to other solo mid players. I also watch Miracle’s Invoker.
How about Fnatic, what preparations are you guys doing as a team? Have you been able to scrim with the top Chinese teams?
We are going to China for boot camp around the 15th so we should be able to scrim with the top Chinese teams instead of SEA teams only. We will start to scrim a lot when the Chinese New Year vacation is over.
Between now and the Shanghai Majors, have you set any goals to achieve?
Right now I hope we can scrim more and lose more while in scrims and do well in tournaments; I hope we can find the most suitable playstyle and heroes for our team. For the Shanghai Major, my goal is to become a champion or at least reach top eight.
After the Shanghai Major – or perhaps a long time after it – do you have any long term aspirations like moving to China to play?
If possible I would like to be with a Malaysian team or a western one, I don’t feel like moving to China. I will continue as a pro gamer.
That concludes our interview, any shoutouts?
Shoutouts to Fnatic, msi ,dafabet, DXSEAT, Alphadraft, zowie monitor, monster and NET ROAD TO 7K.