During MDL Chengdu we took the opportunity to sit and talk with Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao, who was happy to share with us his opinion on NA pubs, his unorthodox heroes choices for ranked roles, his team’s playstyle in the Major and what got them eliminated in the playoffs after a near perfect run in the group stage.
The interview was conducted by Yuhui Zhu after Fighting PandaS got eliminated from MDL Chengdu Major.
Hi Envy, how do you enjoy Chengdu, the city, the hotel, the player treatment at this Major?
The player treatment here is one of the best, to be honest, and the hotel is also one of the best I’ve seen. I really like the food here, there are so many options, they did a really good job with everything. For example, the only practice place I’ve seen to be better than we had here was at the Manila Major. And besides the practice rooms, there’s all the little stuff that they took care of and thought about, that made our experience here so good. We didn’t go out that much, we went for a hot pot once and that was just a few minutes walk from the hotel. But, the area around the hotel looks really nice, like historical, or it feels historical, it feels like an old city, it’s really cool.
Did you enjoy the hot pot?
Oh yeah, I like hot pot in general. And there was like a giant gingerbread house on the first floor and you could eat from it. When you walked through the first-floor people were dancing onto some acoustic, it was a really nice Chinese feeling that you got from that.
Talk to us a bit about the team, how did you guys come together, was it you mainly forming the team, how did you get to this formula?
I was the one who put things into motion, yes, because I wasn’t playing at TI9, so I had a bit more time to think about this and more freedom to talk to everyone. I basically knew how I wanted the team to look like, and I had to wait on Sneyking and Aui_2000. I’ve talked to them the day after they lost at TI and things just went on from there.
With all of your teammates known for being vocal, who is actually making the calls in-game?
It depends on the game. I would say that Sneyking, I and Moon occasionally take over a game, but it’s also very possible that the three of us will stay really quiet. I think, on average, Aui and Bryle will talk the most or a good amount.
You had a pretty good group stage run and made it to the upper bracket, then you lost two series in a row, what seemed to cause the losses versus VG and beastcoast?
Against VG we just got outclassed, there is really nothing else to talk about, they are an extremely good team. Against beastcoast, I think we really drafted ourselves into a corner in both games. We made it really difficult for ourselves to play. We won the lanes in both games, but because of our heroes, we actually couldn’t win the game, and once they made a move or we made a mistake, the game was over.
If you could go back in time, would you let K1 play his Wraith King again in the second game?
I think we would. At the end of the day Hector (K1) is gonna play one of the Radiance heroes, so you have to decide between either you give him WK or Alchemist, or you ban these two, you let them pick Magnus, which actually opens even more of Hector’s hero pool. In game one, we let him play Alchemist, and after that we went like “ok, we won’t let this happen again”. So, in game two, you ban Alchemist and between banning also the Wraith King or the Magnus, you let WK in the pool.
I’ve noticed that you are playing more altruistic now, you don’t prioritize your own farm that much anymore, is it something related to this patch, or why are you guys making the farm distribution different from what we are used to seeing from your previous teams?
I mean, before, I would switch between one or the other, depending on my team. Like when I played with Fata or W33, I would generally be number one in farm priority, but when I played with like Abed, I switched between 1 or 2.
On this team, in the group stage, we won some games where I was playing number 2-3 and it worked, so we kept trying to make it happen in the playoffs as well, but we took it a step way too far.
We all know you were a bit upset with the new matchmaking. However, if we want to see the positive side of all that happened, we would say that you got to experiment a lot with the support role and core heroes that can be adapted to that role. Has the pub experience ever got you thinking to bring some of the most unusual strategies from pubs to pro games?
Actually it was during my time with compLexity when I played support, I played Axe support, support Centaur and they ended up being number one picks in the first Major of the previous season. But, sadly, that didn’t help me. However, I learnt a lot from that experience and I would still mess around in pubs occasionally. The funny thing is that I actually win every time I play these unusual support heroes in pubs. I enter the game with this idea of what I want to do with the hero.
The bottom line is that I want to give my carry free farm, so my carry always gets free farm when I play support Storm Spirit or support Slark, Void or whatever. I’m doing my role actually.
Do you see any kind of solution to how the matchmaking can be fixed right now?
I didn’t have as many problems since they introduced the fast queue, and now, in China, with all the pros being here, I find games quite fast. But in general, I think North America doesn’t have enough players, so just living in NA is a problem. I have to wake up early to play EU pubs, North America is just dead.
After TI9, have you considered swapping regions, try your luck somewhere else than NA, perhaps go back to Southeast Asia?
I care about Dota enough that I will pretty much do anything just to be on a better team or at least, what I think it’s a better team, which sometimes has backfired on me. So, any region is fine.
The next round of Major qualifiers is starting in about 10 days, should we expect any roster changes from Fighting PandaS?
With Secret, Kuro’s team, and perhaps OG, coming back with this second round of qualifiers, do you think Valve should give back to EU the 3rd slot qualifier slot? And if so, between NA, SEA and China, which of these three regions should have just 2 slots for the Leipzig Major in your opinion?
For the next round, I expect 3 slots for Major, two to Minor, or even 4 slots Major, 1 slot Minor.
Alright thanks a lot for your time and best of luck in the next round of qualifiers, it was a pleasure talking to you.
More interviews from MDL Chengdu Major: