Interview with xNova: " Winning against Wings Gaming has been the most unforgettable moment"
The Dota 2 scene in Southeast Asia has improved considerably in the past year or so. Even though MVP Phoenix and the dominating Fnatic might be a thing of the past, teams like TnC, Faceless, Cluth Gamers and WarriorsGaming.Unity are keeping the flag of SEA Dota flying high! I had the good fortune of talking with their captain, Yap 'xNova' Jian Wei about WG.Unity's rise to fame towards the end of 2016, their slump after the release of Dota 2 7.00 and the way ahead.
Hello xNova! First of all, congratulations on qualifying for ZOTAC Cup Masters in Taiwan! How was the qualifier experience?
Thank you! During the second ZOTAC cup qualifier, the team was struggling with the roster changes and we weren't expecting ourselves to make it that far. But regardless, it was an amazing ending for us playing through the open qualifier and eventually qualifying for the LAN event.
We were one step away from some of the premium tournaments such as DAC and Summit, and I personally think the loses affected the players’ confidence and trust amongst each other
Roster changes are never easy to go through. Yet you guys seem to have adjusted quite quickly and it seems WG.Unity are on the right path again. Let's go back a bit. You guys nearly caused an upset against OG in Boston. Then qualified for Genting. But after that, WG's name disappeared for a bit. What happened after Dota 2 7.00?
I think one of the reasons WG.Unity lost popularity is because we didn't make it to any LAN events anymore after ESL One Genting. Our performance was neither consistent nor stable. We were one step away from some of the premium tournaments such as DAC and Summit, and I personally think the loses affected the players’ confidence and trust amongst each other.
Confidence surely plays a big part. But was falling one step short on these occasions because of difficulty to adapt to the changes brought about in Dota 2 7.00?
Initially, we found it hard to adapt to Dota 2 7.00. But as the time went by, we adapted pretty well to it. I personally believe that adaptation to the new patch was not the factor that caused our downfall.
What does WG.Unity’s daily routine look like?
While bootcamping, we have a meeting at the start of the day where we have a discussion and briefing about the rest of the day. Though the course of the day, the team plays some scrims and when we aren’t scrimming, everyone plays solo ranked games. We also watch and analyse tournament games together.
Many of the top teams have a coach or analyst amongst their ranks. What is the scenario with WG.Unity?
We don't have an official in-game coach or analyst yet. But a good friend of mine, Shenal ‘AB’ Daniel helps me and the team to improve our game and analyse upcoming opponents.
With teams like Faceless and Clutch Gamers coming up in SEA in the past few months, do you think the region can match up with Europe and China?
SEA has always been the underdog when it comes to international tournaments, but for the past year, the SEA teams have put up really strong performances. I personally think right now, the differences are marginal. It comes down to the draft where if you can pick the heroes you are comfortable with and execute the game plan correctly, I’m sure SEA teams can give the big boys a run for their money.
Winning against Wings Gaming, the TI 6 champions, is my most unforgettable moment
You’ve played in quite a few tournaments over the years. What has been the highlight of your Dota 2 career?
The memory that has stuck with me the most would be our game against Wings Gaming at the Boston Major, when we played them in the group stages. It was our debut in a Major and none of us expected we’d do so well in our first series! Winning against Wings Gaming, the TI 6 champions, is my most unforgettable moment!
Just as it seemed WG were on the right track, Valve threw in 7.06. What are your thoughts on the patch?
7.06 is a big patch. Somehow, it seems a lot like the patch before 7.00, especially with neutral creeps now spawning every minute. I personally think that this patch will depend a lot on how the laning stage goes. Mid lane will be the lane to watch because of the additional creep and the deny experience that has been introduced. Heroes like Lich and Enigma could be popular picks because of the experience gained by creep denies. Teams will also focus on heroes that are good at clearing neutral creep stacks.
My favourite changes are the ones made to Chen. The low cooldown on Holy Persuation and the level 20 talent that grants +1000 creep HP will make the hero strong again
What is your favorite change? Being a support player, do you think the new Dazzle scepter is good?
My favourite changes are the ones made to Chen. The low cooldown on Holy Persuation and the level 20 talent that grants +1000 creep HP will make the hero strong again. As for the Dazzle Scepter, I don’t think it is affordable to buy a Scepter for Dazzle. As he is played as a position five support, it would better to spend gold on positioning invents like and team invents like Guardian Greaves and Force Staff.
I concur with you. Scepter is a bit too costly for Dazzle. What are WG's goals for the upcoming months? What tourneys will you be participating in besides the ZOTAC Masters?
We won’t be participating in too many tournaments. We will need to prepare the Neso qualifier, which will be held before ZOTAC Cup Masters. The main goal after that is to qualify for TI 7!
TI always the tournament you want to be in! Any shoutouts?
Shoutout to all our sponsors DF Realty, AKRACING, Cooler Master, digi and Goblin Jersey and all the fans for continuously supporting us. Thank you!
All the best to you and your team in the ventures ahead xNova..hope to see you in Seattle!
Thank you very much, Sid!