posted by Tigrish,
This interview was conducted before it was confirmed that the team would stay together under the name Zero. Originally published in Russian, translation is based off the English transcript.
Hey, Sing-sing. Let’s start with some personal questions.
Can you tell us where were you born and how you ended up in Netherlands?
I was born and raised in the Netherlands, since my parents moved here from Hong Kong before I was born.
So you’ve never been to Asia?
I’ve been there on holiday, and also to visit family.
Do you plan to ever move back there? Maybe to join some China PRO team or just go back to your roots?
I don’t think I'll ever get such an offer, and I enjoy my life as it is in Western Europe.
Your English is pretty decent. What other languages do you know?
Obviously I speak Dutch, I also speak Chinese (though I can’t write it) and some random phrases from different languages. Nothing special really.
I heard that you speak Dutch only with your sister. Why is that?
It's just easier to have a conversation in Dutch, as my Chinese is pretty poor.
Is your sister somehow involved in e-sports?
Nope, not at all.
Most Russian people hear about the Netherlands not because of tulips or cheese but because of soft drugs being legal. What is your opinion on this? Do you smoke regularly?
I don't smoke it much anymore, it's something more for 16 year olds or special occasions with old friends - weed really isn't that rampant here :D
Do you study or work somewhere at the moment?
Not at all, streaming pays more than most jobs for people around my age, and those jobs don’t have any career prospects, so I'm probably sticking with this for a while.
Do you still live with your parents?
Yeah, I still do, though I’m probably moving out soon, whenever the opportunity arises.
When did your parents start treating Dota 2 as your job? Did they tell you to find "a real" job?
They actually have no idea what I do, I just do whatever, and they never really tell me to find a ''real'' job, since I earn enough from Dota 2 as it is right now. They don't really care about my situation as long as I'm happy.
Hm. And how did you explain your trip to TI2?
I told them I was going away on a trip with some friends and just took off…
Is it true that your room is located in the attic? Because in your streams the ceiling seems to be sloping.
That's my old room, I'm in a different house now, and nah, that wasn't the attic, in fact that was only the second floor of the house-- it just happened to be in the corner.
Can you explain what is going on in this picture?
I have no idea :D
Tell us something about the history of your nickname. Is it because you like singing?
Not at all, a good friend of mine dubbed me SingSing and I just stuck with it.
Let’s discuss The International 2.
Kuroky replaced CWM in Mouz for TI2. Was it a good decision in your opinion? Why did you choose him as a stand-in?
It really was a good decision. We chose him because he had by far the greatest amount of experience--not just LAN but also Dota. On top of that, we played with him before and it worked out well, so it just all fell together quite nicely.
I think you’ve practiced with most EU teams. Which of them performed better at the tournament than at practice?
We actually only played M5 from EU teams and that was at the second day of the Valve boot camp. They performed about the same at the tournament.
Did you expect the results such as those from the Chinese teams and Na’Vi?
Na'Vi not so much, the Chinese teams – definitely. The shape they were in after just watching one or two group stage matches was insane. Also, they are all known LAN players which is an insane addition as well. Na'Vi looked very shaky early in the tournament, but they really got their shit together and just went all in.
Do you think your teams’ results would have been different if you were in the list of invited teams from the start?
I’m 110% certain it would have been different. For one, we would have actually played some Dota 2 beforehand, instead of just showing up and expecting a nice free Dota 2-related vacation.
[u]Some questions Regarding Starladder next.[/u]
Your team took 2nd place at Starladder 2 LAN Finals and 3rd at Starladder 3 LAN Finals. In the group stage of SLTV 2 you dodged the bullet in the last round and took 4th place out of 5 teams. What went wrong?
We had a really bad day the first day of SL2, poor play, poor communication, some members had a really bad mood after the long traveling time. Luckily we shaped up and lucked out of the group stages.
How did you manage to pass such a strong group at SLTV3? Did you arrive beforehand and prepare?
We prepared a 2 day online boot camp - that was about it. This time we just went into the games with a much clearer mind, and with a captain that understood fully how our opponents would play. It helped us mentally prepare ourselves on how to approach each game.
In the play-offs losers bracket of SL2 you lost the first map every time but then made a comeback. Was it all about adapting to your opponent?
Adapting, some luck, and opponents making more mistakes than on the first map.
At SL 3 you managed to beat Empire in the winners’ bracket, but in the losers bracket it seemed you had no chances. What changed?
We had a REALLY bad day - tons of bad plays by me, followed up by almost everyone. We couldn't even pull off simple combos or standard initiations.
In the LB final of SL2 when you faced M5, Dendi was commenting the match and shouting like crazy in every fight. Was it disturbing you and your teammates?
Huh, I didn't even notice to be honest, and if anything, Black probably shouted even louder!
In the Grand Final (SL 2) it seemed that you gave up. Why didn’t you play your game and pick your usual heroes?
We would never give up, even if it looked like we did. The picks weren't my decision, and our captain drafted alone, so I don't really know anything about it.
Can you describe your impressions of Kiev, Ukrainians, and the venue?
Kiev is a really cool place to visit, it has a lot of nice places to see. Though it seems they have much lower living standards than Western Europe, so I wouldn't move there. The Arena is just amazing-- it has the perfect atmosphere for a LAN and any other gaming-related event.
Are you planning to visit Starladder 4 LAN Finals?
If I have a team ready for it-- then yes.
Moving to questions about your ex-team.
Please tell us the story behind this tweet.
Hahaha, that was after Darer knocked out Empire in the group stages. If Empire won instead - we would have been kicked out of SL season 2 from that point.
Mouz is famous for turtle play style. How does it fit your personality? In streams it seemed that you are pretty aggressive.
I actually didn't know we were famous for a turtle play style, I think it was more 4+1 where we go as 4, while Black, our 1 carry farms up. We only turtle it up when it's absolutely the last chance we have to win. Also I don't really care about how or what we play, I just listen to the captain and go with it.
Some time ago you were kicked out of Mouz and then you came back. What happened?
I actually left Mouz because I lost interest in playing with those guys, my mindset regarding the game was the complete opposite. I rejoined after Bamboe pretty much convinced me to do so.
After you rejoined, did everything change? Or was it the same?
It was pretty much the same, but everyone knew the team wasn't going to stay the same-- the atmosphere was horrible and eventually Twista formed a new team including me and Bamboe, under Mouz still.
Will The GD players stay together? Where are you planning to play in future?
That's something I don't even know yet. For now, all I can safely say is that Black, myself, and Bamboe are sticking together.
In your opinion, why are you almost the only team with an international roster in the PRO scene? What’s your secret?
Secret? Try having a total of two Dutch competitive players on the entire scene. It makes it hard to not be in an international team. There are only few talented players here due to the very small number of Dutch Dota 2 players.
Do you suffer from a language barrier?
Not at all, everyone I've played with and am playing with right now speaks perfectly understandable English.
What do you think about LGD.int? Do they have a future?
It depends… If they can throw their egos aside and work together not just as players, but as trustworthy friends, then yes!
A Few words about your streams.
They are sometimes quite crazy. Have you ever streamed being drunk or high?
Never have, and I probably won't unless I stream from a LAN with friends.
What about money from streams? V1lat recently said that streaming is more profitable than playing. Is that true?
It is, unless you're Na’Vi or one of the high tier Chinese Teams. But then again competitive Dota 2 pay is extremely low as it is - probably half the Dutch minimum wage (even if you won a lot of second and third places at various tournaments).
Do you like streaming as much as playing? I mean if you are invited to play at TI3 or stream it for 50 000 $, what would you choose?
Well, it depends I guess, if I have a team that would have a shot at top 4, even if it only earned prestige and not money, I'd definitely choose play over streaming. Otherwise - streaming all the way.
Why do you prefer streaming your own pubs instead of co-commentating PRO games?
I just enjoy playing a lot more in general. I often have no desire to watch other people play unless they're highly anticipated match ups.
Recently you stream very rarely. Why is that?
I’m busy traveling to LANs and scrimming mainly.
Will you start streaming more in the near future?
I doubt it - there are a lot of LANs coming up. I stream with all the spare time I have left pretty much.
Are you going to ESWC instead of NOTidehunter and what will your roster look like?
We probably are, but it's not a 100% certain, I'd say 95% or so. The roster will be the same as in The GD B-Team.
Some final questions about the CIS community.
Some time ago Valve added a “Russian” server but it is situated in Sweden. Do you think that Russian-speaking players insult everyone and should have more separate servers?
I don’t think it matters much, the only thing that makes western EU players dislike eastern EU players is the language barrier. Separating them by servers would relieve most of the hate, whether the servers are stationed in Sweden or Russia itself won’t matter, all Valve has to do is tag them properly.
On what server do you prefer to play?
I play on EU and Russia mainly, sometimes I'm playing on US east with some friends from Western USA.
Have you ever been to Russia? What do you know about this country?
Never been there, I know for a fact bears walk the streets, and tap water is replaced with vodka :D So I'm staying the fuck out of there.
But you like vodka?
Yeah, it's pretty much one of the few alcohols I enjoy along with whiskey and rum.
Have you ever visited prodota.ru?
Nope. I usually stay out of any non-English websites. Too lazy to navigate through any foreign websites.
As I understood from this video
you know a bit of Russian. Can you say something to our readers?
“Spasiba” to all the people who have been following me so far!
Thanks for your great answers. It was a pleasure interviewing you. Any shoutouts?
Shoutout to the GD studio for sending us to Kiev!