Zhang "Innocence" Yiping is the captain and support player for Wings Gaming, who finished in third place in Group A at The International 2016 Group Stage. Ahead of their match against Digital Chaos in the Upper Bracket on Monday, Innocence spoke to theScore esports about growth in the Chinese Dota scene and the team’s stability.
How are you guys feeling bouncing off of the group stages?
We feel pretty satisfied so far, but overall still feel quite a bit of pressure because every opponent here is really strong.
Do you feel like coming out of best-of-twos and into the main event is better for your team or worse for your team? In terms of the way that you guys play with momentum?
I think it's relatively good for us because we've played so many, we get to play everyone, and it kind of just lets us, as a team, adjust our form and find our form over the process.
iceice did an interview a while ago where he said that your [team's] goal was to play every team before The International main stage in terms of scrimming and learning about them. Have you had a chance to play every team?
Right now there's probably still one or two teams that we haven't scrimmed with.
Are there any teams that you're particularly worried about, especially if you haven't scrimmed them in the past?
Every team here is pretty strong so anyone can beat anyone, but we feel that if our form is really good, then we can beat people. But then if not, then we might get stomped too.
I've noticed in interviews, compared to every other team in The International, you guys seem to be the most humble and the most down to earth in terms of recognizing your weaknesses and your strengths and your experience. How does that play into the way you approach the game and the way that you communicate with each other?
So mainly it's to find the problem right away and talk about it, because if you kind of just let problems sit, it doesn't help, so the best way to do it is you find the problem and you talk about it, and you talk about it and you find the solution to it.
So you guys spend a lot of time outside of game together as well, do you talk about the game when you're jogging together or going to the movies? Or do you have separate time, sometimes to talk about the game and sometimes to be spending time with each other?
As a team, I feel that we have quite a good team atmosphere, everyone gets along very well. So honestly, it depends on everyone's emotions or what people feel like doing at the time. There's no real set time for anything, if we feel like talking about this, we'll talk about this, if we feel like doing this, we'll do this as a team.
A little while before this tournament, you had made mention in an interview that you thought the Chinese region after the shuffle from the Shanghai Major was still growing and that a lot of teams were still finding their feet. Do you have any concerns about the way that your region might get more difficult after The International, as these teams that didn't make it continue to grow?
I feel that right now, Chinese Dota is still in a growing phase, but as a whole, I feel that there's a lot of new players coming out of the scene at the moment, but they need more events, they need more tournaments to actually get to the level that they need to be.
Are you hoping for there to be more China-specific tournaments for these teams to grow?
As far as more tournaments in China, I feel like the main benefit or the main need in that case is for tournaments for the second-tier teams. It's mainly them that need more tournaments and matches to play. As for the first tier teams, it's more of a doing well and figuring out what to do in training and finding your own form, because for the first tier teams, you have lots of international events that you can go to.
How important has stability been for your team, and do you have any opinions on how other teams have approached their own stability or lack thereof?
I feel under the conditions that the team all trusts each other, believes in each other and everyone has the ability to be where they need to be, I feel that stability within a team is extremely important, probably the most important, because in all the recent versions of the game, teamwork is extremely important.
What would you guys consider a disappointment and what would you be satisfied with as your final ranking at The International 2016?
Ever since the Spring Major, we've been thinking about TI. As long as we can make it to TI, then our goal or hope has always been to win the whole thing. Other than that, we haven't thought about anything.
Ryan "Gorgon the Wonder Cow" Jurado writes about Dota 2 and freelances for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.