TI Interview: rOtK on being both a player and mentor

by theScore Staff Aug 2 2015
Thumbnail image courtesy of Matt Demers / theScore eSports

Bai "rOtk" Fan plays for EHOME in a support role, but is a runner-up from last year's International with Vici Gaming. In the interim between Internationals, he left Vici, formed Big God with many other Chinese "legend" players, then eventually accepted a role with EHOME that is both player and mentor. EHOME finished the Group Stage with a 2W/5T/0L record, and will face Team Secret in the first round of the Winner's Bracket.

This interview was translated by Josh "Autumnwindz" Lee.

EHOME finished third in their group, and you guys didn't lose a match, how does that feel coming out of the groups relatively strong?

I feel that we really played to the best of our abilities so far after all we are a new team with two new players and this is probably only our second large tournament. In this case, the progress and process is more important than the results.

In that vein, does it feel that the training you've had has been vindicated?

It feels pretty good, because even though we're a pretty new team, the speed of our growth and maturing is quite fast. I'm very satisfying with it, and being able to beat some of those teams also feels good.

Team Secret's Zai holds you guys in very high regard because you do have three very experienced players leading two relatively inexperienced players. Is Chinese eSports structured in a way where they will respect your experience and that kind of veteran status?

I feel that in this case, the dynamic between us veteran players and the new players is a mutual one. There is a two way interaction for them, we as veteran players can share major tournament experience, but for us, they remind us of what it is like to be young again, to have that passion, that fire, it really lights something up for us.

Does the team dynamic allow for those younger players to have a moment where they say 'okay, we respect your experience but this is how it's done now?' Do the younger players have that moment where they're able to say 'just trust us on this'?

I will not just ignore them just because they're new. If I feel they're right, we will use what they say, and sometimes, if I'm wrong, I will admit it and say that they are right.

Something I asked ChauN back on the first press day, what had changed in him between winning TI2 and now, and he said he was a much more selfless player, that at TI2 he was very selfish in the way he was playing. Is it hard to become selfless like that going from a player role to a mentor role?

First of all, it's my confidence, I've gained much more confidence, especially in terms of my attitude towards the game, it kind of leads to a better amount of confidence while playing the game. Specifically, it's an attitude thing.

In the past, when I was playing, if we lost or we played poorly, I might get mad or go on tilt, but these days it's more about a good, steady attitude, and I'm able to adjust my mentality to what the game needs.

Does that come with the maturity of getting older? Or has it evolved with the game?

It's kind of not really about age, but it also is sort of about age. Mainly it's just maturity, and maturity comes from experiencing more things, and I've been experiencing more things and as such I've been thinking more and on more levels, and I've become more mature.

A lot of people had a very positive reaction to that valve player feature they did of you. Was it difficult opening up for the cameras and letting people in?

At the time, I had thought they were just going to interview me, I didn't know they wanted to interview my family. But it was after they interviewed me that they asked if they could talk to my family too. I called them, and my grandparents, they like guests, and they're very warmhearted and agreed.

When they asked me about my grandma, I just felt something, I don't really know why, but it just happened. That's just what it was.

Matt Demers is a Supervising Editor at theScore eSports, and is doing interviews from The International in Seattle. You can follow him on Twitter.