Sun "Agressif" Zheng plays hard carry for CDEC Gaming, who qualified for the tournament out of the Wild Card slot. At the end of the TI5 group stage, CDEC finished second behind Evil Geniuses. They will be playing Cloud9 in the first round of the Main Event.
This interview was translated by Victoria Hu.
What did you expect of yourselves going into the tournament, coming in through the Wildcard?
Coming here, the expectation was just to do as well as they could. [CDEC] only expected to get to main stage, which everyone is doing this year, but you now, [the team] came and they played well, and continued to do well, so perhaps it was a little unexpected, but [we're] happy with the result.
Something we're seeing you play a lot is Gyrocopter, Queen of Pain - they're very common picks this tournament. What do you think their strengths are and why they fit in?
These heroes are particularly suited to [my] playstyle because [I'm] a fierce, in your face player. They're also really good in the early game, and that suits [my] playstyle.
Something we're seeing a lot of people characterize the Chinese teams as is five manning; something we're noticing from him is that he roams very efficiently. Is that something he feels is a strength of his, and how does he approach it?
[I haven't] been playing carry for that long, so [I'm] not really how to characterize the different between how [I play] and how other carries play. But, [I'm] just really big on getting stuff done early and looking for those early kills.
Is that kind of quality important in this current meta in order to get the snowball rolling early?
Because CEDEC is so new, and most of the players haven't had much experience, [we're] just really playing their own playstyle, [and we're] not really necessarily big on the farming compared to other teams. Rather than this meta directing how [we] play, it's more like the team's' playstyle.
Obviously you guys did very well against other Chinese teams in your group; do you think that's just a symptom of you guys being able to play them more often in domestic leagues?
[We] actually don't get to practice or scrim together very often, rather [our] condition was good when they competed against each other in the group stages.
Obviously you guys 2-0'd Vici, 1-1'd, EHome, 2-0'd Newbee; do you think those teams might be having their share of problems as well?
Losing frequently and consistently can be a big damper on morale, so [I think] that if they can fix the team morale in the next three days, they'll have a very strong showing in the main stages.
CDEC are facing Cloud9; do you have any thoughts about the team, especially after getting to watch them during group stage?
[We've] actually fought C9 before in different competitions and they've lost, so they're hoping to have a better showing this time around and beat them.
I was just talking with one of the C9 players and what they're saying is that the Chinese teams and Russian teams in their group played very similarly and they thought that EG, Secret and themselves have their own playstyle. Watching their games, do you think that's true?
Maybe the Chinese teams and the Russian teams seem similar because they both go for the early game aggression, and [I feel] like C9 is more of a farm until a certain point, and do things while you farm rather than early game aggression.
If you guys defeat C9, you'd either be facing LGD or Empire. Who would you rather be facing and why?
[I] would rather fight LGD.
Is that because you have more experience playing against them and you know how they're going to come at you?
Last year, CDEC lost to them three times, and [I want] to take revenge and even the score.
That's interesting to hear because they implies you have pride in your overall record. Is there a point where you have to forget how you've done previously against the team and say like 'okay we're gonna focus on winning the tournament'?
It's not so much about the history I guess, [we're] already scheduled against C9, and [we] want to do well, so [we're] gonna fight whoever comes after C9 if they win, there's just more to talk about with LGD because [we've] fought before.
Were there any teams that surprised you in either side the group stage besides yourselves?
Coming into the tournament Vici Gaming was looking stronger than they performed, but EHOME is doing better than [we] expected and IG is not doing as well as [we] expected.
Did the wildcard serve as a good positive momentum for the team coming into the rest of the tournament? Was a victory there something they assumed was going to happen or was it 'okay,we did something good, now we have momentum for the rest of the tournament.'
It's their first TI, so coming in through the wildcard stages and winning was a really big boost to their confidence and morale.
Matt Demers is a Supervising Editor at theScore eSports, and is doing interviews from The International in Seattle. You can follow him on Twitter.