posted by Jaywalker,
As both team captain and carry player for cn Invictus Gaming, cn Yao 'Zhou' Chen is known for his consistency and stable performances. As the defending champions, iG received their invitation from Valve to participate in The International 2013 today. joinDOTA had the opportunity to interview Zhou, and he shared his thoughts on iG's growth, the upcoming G-1 LAN finals, TI3, and more.

Thank you for agreeing to this interview and congratulations on being the first team invited to The International 2013. How has your team developed since the last International?

I feel that since TI2, we have gained a lot more confidence in our play and are able to function better as a team.

As the carry player and team captain, what are your priorities in game, and what is your thought process as your make team decisions?

As both the captain and the carry player, the most important factor is to see myself as the center of the team during matches and decide if pushing or teamfights benefits myself and the team. Successful decision making is based upon my experience and judgment over the years.

Are there any key weaknesses you are focusing on improving inside iG right now? And what would you class as your team's greatest strength?

Whenever we lose a match or a scrim we will have lengthy discussions about the reasons for our losses, as well as improving our weaknesses. I believe our greatest strength lies within our teamfights, as we are able to keep calm and think objectively.

If you were to pick teams you believe will be invited to The International, who would they be and why?

Na`Vi is an obvious invite for Europe, but to be honest I am not too familiar with the other top teams in the West. In terms of Asia, I believe both Zenith and Orange are strong and clear favorites. Other teams are similar in skill level, and I can't truly judge which other team is ahead. If we talk about China, I have no idea how to judge because there are simply too many good teams here.

What parts of Zenith and Orange impressed you enough to justify their selection for TI3? Is it enough to compete with the chinese teams at their current level?

I believe that both teams have strong fundamental skills and vast experience. They also showcase certain unconventional strategies that are effective. We Chinese teams regularly train against them and improve ourselves.

Do you feel it is important to get more experience playing against the Europe / US teams in a competitive environment?

It's very important. The playstyles of European and American teams are not similar to ours, with different ban/picks and strategies. If we do not understand them well we will lose badly. Of course this will apply for them as well.

There has been alot of discussion about teams traveling from the Europe and North American scene to China to train, being the first to do so. Do you feel there are also advantages for the Chinese teams to travel to Europe to compete?

There are certain advantages. If Chinese teams were to train in Europe/NA, we will be able to gain a better understanding of the playstyles of the teams in the region. However, it could backfire as we may gradually lose familiarity of the playstyle in Asia.

Lets talk about your recent triumph in the G-League, where your team performed well and defeated Do you feel that your team has now successfully figured out’s playstyle? Do you feel they are still worthy opponents?

They have always been an opponent we have huge respect for. Through our trainings with, both of us are able to improve significantly. Our success was not because we truly gained complete understanding of their playstyle, it was due to our team's consistent performances and stability that allowed us to defeat them.

iG has successfully qualified for the G-1 LAN finals again. Last year your team lost to both LGD and Orange and had to settle for fourth. What preperation do you have in store this time?

No team is invincible. When we lost, it just meant that we were not prepared and did not perform strong. We will be looking to identify our weaknesses, and increase our training efforts for the upcoming matches.

While Wisp is a popular hero in the Western scene, the hero is largely ignored in the Chinese scene. What are your reasons for disregarding Wisp? Do you feel that the hero has strengths that could be used by your team?

This are just issues with a team's gameplan and playstyle. All players have their own unique strengths, we should not be playing based on a hero's strengths/weaknesses, but through the player's maneuver and execution of a hero.

In the current hero pool, what heroes do you feel are underused and could have potential to make a huge impact in the competitive scene?

Vengeful Spirit, Weaver, and Alchemist. It's hard to tell their impact until we actually see it happen.

Thank you for doing this interview with us. Is there any message you would like to send to fans of yourself and iG in the western scene?

I sincerely thank all the support from our fans in the West. Despite the long distance between us, it cannot weaken my love for you.

*Photos from Valve.