In today's interview, we sit got hold of Jingjun "Sneyking" Wu, member of VGJ. Storm and one of the earliest pro players in Dota 2. He has played previously played under Team Dignitas and Na'Vi.USA although didn't find much success early on in his career.
Wu will be attending his third The International with VGJ.Storm that has taken the scene by storm and we thought it was only apt to discuss with him on topics ranging from his struggle in the competitive scene during the early years, on many iterations of his team -- VGJ.Storm, his newfound success after a long period of time, his goals at TI8 to his coach -- Aaron "Clairvoyance
" Kim and Jack "KBBQ
" Chen -- Team Director for VGJ.Storm, and the Dota Pro Circuit season in general.
Hey Sneyking. First of congratulations on making it to TI8. How does it feel on attending your third TI after a long gap?
It simply feels amazing. It is the pinnacle of what every dota player lives for. It is something that I've missed and finally will be able to revisit the good ol' arena.
Let's talk about VGJ. Storm for a moment. Your team had a rough start ever since it was formed. As a matter of fact, this is your second return to the team and after a difficult period its finally seeming to pay off. Take us through your mindset during this time period.
Despite the rough start that I had this season, I've always believed in my ability to play on a top tier level. That unwavering faith in myself led me to keep trying my hardest and at the end I was rewarded.
Even though I had very much faith in myself, dota is a team game at the end of the day. It requires a full five man squad and much more behind it. Fortunately enough, I found wonderful teammates and a sponsor that believed in us, VGJ. Storm.
Resolution seems to fit perfectly in your team and in fact has acted like a catalyst that's surged your teams performance. Tell us how did you convince him to join?
It actually took very little convincing for him to join our team. At the time we were very strong team that had just qualified for two valve sponsored events, GESC Thailand (minor) and MDL Changsha (major).
We were simply his best option at the time, but not to take anything away from Reso, he is an amazing player and also our best option at the time. As a result, it was like a match made in heaven and everything just clicked.
In an interview, Roman did mention that he decided to join VGJ. Storm as he saw the same hunger as he has in all of you. How true does this statement hold and where do you think this hunger will lead you?
I believe that the statement is rather true, everyone here is eager to win. For some it is their first time to finally to be able to play at the international, for others(myself included) it is a stage where we can prove our worth. Now that we have finally made it to this stage, it is only the beginning for us, the next goal we all have in mind is to win the international.
After impressive performances at GESC: Thailand and MDL Changsha Major, VGJ had a below par performance at China Supermajor placing 9-12th place. To what do you attribute this performance? Was it lack of preparation or something else?
The sub-par performance at Supermajor was something that we had actually expected. When you are the underdog, the unknown force, coming into a tournament where there is nothing expected of you. Is actually the best environment for both your team.
There is no pressure on yourselves to do anything and there is also no expectations from your enemies for you to do well. People come under-prepared or over-cocky into your matches when you are an underdog team. That was something that had worked into our advantage going into Thailand and Changsha.
However, after these two events, all of those underdog expectations were gone and people come extremely prepared in matches against you. When this happens to you, the games become much harder to play and a mistake or two will be the end of your tournament.
You've a versatile roster however let's talk about Yawar. As everybody knows he's the elder brother to Sumail and also a TI winner. At times, this also creates an impression of always performing that eventually leads to a heavy burden. How does he deal with it? Do you guys help him out in anyway?
Yawar is a player with extremely strong mental fortitude. He cares very little about what others say of him and that is a remarkable trait that he has. Sometimes words do get through the toughest skin, and when that happens we try to lift each others spirit and remind ourselves there is a reason why we are here and whatever we are thinking about ourselves at the time are not the reason why we are here. We are here simply to do one thing, play dota and perhaps hopefully win.
Speaking of which, Roman and Yawar keep on switching between their roles. Is this all a part of strategy or does this just happen?
When a new player joins your team it takes time to adjust and only through trial and error can a team find what is optimal. We had to experiment with various roles and heroes so that we can figure out whats optimal, and I believe we have done that.
Kindly take us through your practice regime.
Our practice regime is similar to many other teams. We scrim for about six days a week and each day consists of two to three sets of scrims followed by pubs.
Clairvoyance has been instrumental in helping your team to grow. He's an enigma to the community .. please tell us about him and in which ways does he contribute towards the betterment of the team?
For the public coaches are never much of a topic as they are not on the spotlight very often. However, they are critical for the success of every team. Clair in the shadows work with us in our scrims, pointing out mistakes, offering insight and helps out with what’s good in the meta.
Every team will face failure sooner or later and it is important for a team to be able to keep their heads up and stay motivated. Our coach helps us focus on our game while keeping our morale high. Something that is critical to the success of every team.
New DPC season has been announced and it's entirely different as compared to the first season. What you make of it?
I think the new dpc season is a lot more standardized and similar to other league systems. There is a lot more time for time off and teams aren’t forced to play practically everyday or give up chances for dpc points. My only concern is how many third party tournaments will be hosted next year because there’s only five valve events practically.
As per the new rules, teams under same organization cannot participate at the same time in a Valve tournament and VGJ has three teams. How is this issue being resolved? Also do you agree with the new rule?
I’m not too sure on what’s happening with regards to this yet I’ll keep everyone posted once we figure it out.
Summit 9 is going to be the last tournament before ti8. In all certainty, VGJ.Storm will be one of the teams to attend. In that case, in what ways has the team been prepping?
There hasn’t much been done in terms of preparation as we are on vacation as of this moment. However, we will treat summit as a warm up and learning experience for us going into ti. Doing well at summit is something that we want as historically teams doing well in the last event before ti tend to be a strong contender. But even if we bomb out it won’t be the end all be all, we will try to learn as much as we can win or lose.
Has the team received visas yet for ti8?
Since we are on break at the moment, we have not yet begin the visa process but that will be handled soon.
Tell us how instrumental Jack has been to the team?
Jack on the surface he is the manager of the team, but underneath he is much more than that. Jack is our cheerleader, our jester and role model. Similarly to Clairvoyance, when our team morale is low Jack often will have encouraging words and or do something funny to motivate the team, hence the cheerleader and jester.
While doing all of this for the team, Jack is playing 20 pubs a day more than anyone else on the day, he sets the bar high for those who play on this team. How can a manager play more games than a professional player? You can’t have that happen you got to beat Jack in the games played count.
Tell us when and where have you planned on a boot-camp since I know Roman is back to his home country.
Roman is back visiting his family, everyone will be back in New York soon and we will resume practice.
This one's personal. You've had your few shares of ups and downs, mostly the latter part, in terms of success in Dota 2. As one of the earliest players in the game who has found real success this late, how did you cope up with the disappointments that have forced ample of old players to go into retirement?
Disappointment is something that everyone will face when playing in any competitive sports. However, how everyone handles these things are different. For me, I personally try not to get too sad when faced with defeat but rather try to figure out what caused it instead. Perhaps it’s that fixation of trying to become better and eager to prove my own worth that has allowed me to stay motivated when the world appears to be falling apart for me.
What's the goal of your team at TI8? How likely is it that you'd have a very good chance to lift the Aegis?
Obviously, the goal for every team attending ti is to hold the aegis. But even if we don’t we will learn a lot from the event and it will allow us to have better odds at holding the aegis next time. As of right now I would say we have about a solid 5 percent chance to hold the aegis.
Alright, that does it for now. Anything you'd like to say to VGJ fans?
For my VGJ fans that are reading this, I want to thank you for your support. You guys are a critical part of our success. And I hope that I will meet some of you guys at Vancouver. For those who aren’t able to go to ti, you can still reach out to me via Twitter .
Feature image credit: Valve
Image credits: VGJ.Storm
Die-hard Dota 2 lover at heart. Reading and writing are not just hobbies; they're my life. Family man, ardent esports follower and a boring personality. If you would like to know more about my work, you can follow me at KarY.