Royal Never Give Up, an organization with a huge fan base in China courtesy of their successful League of Legends division, committed to the Dota 2 scene in the TI8 aftermath, fielding not one, but two teams.
They used the two squads to mix and match players until they found the right formula for a TI9 run. Their main team roster was finalized only in April this year, but right now they have two of the LFY players that finished top 3 at TI7 and the scene veteran Zhang “LaNm” Zhicheng to guide them in battle.
Ahead of RNG's first series in the lower bracket at The International 2019, we had the chance to sit and talk with Du “Monet” Peng about his team struggles through the season, the Chinese qualifiers for TI9 and their mindset going into the playoffs of the biggest tournament of the year with basically not a single series won at a LAN since the team formed.
Thank you for taking the interview. You've had a pretty weird start to this season, a bit of drama joining this team. Did you believe that you could be at TI9 back then?
This season has been a bumpy road. We didn’t qualify for the first Major. After that, we struggled qualifying for Minors and got eliminated in the first round in many tournaments. It’s been tough and I didn’t believe that I could be at TI9 at the time. But then, we started to work towards the same direction and fight as a unit. It’s incredible.
Chinese qualifiers were regarded the most difficult one of all regions. What mindset did you have knowing that you have to go through Chinese qualifiers and beat teams like EHOME, IG to make it to TI?
We were actually pretty calm about that. If you want to play at TI, there will be obstacles. We had little DPC points this season but the qualifiers gave us another chance. So we told ourselves that we’d better stay calm if we want to qualify.
The TI9 group stage didn't go too well for RNG. In which series do you think you could have done better?
We had a good chance winning game 1 against VG and EG. I feel like we were not in our best shape, we didn't communicate much in game and there were also some mentality issues. As such, we lost many games that we should have won.
Rather recently, you added Super as coach and Flyby as offlaner. How did these changes affect the team?
Let’s start with our coach Super, he’s been a really helpful addition to us. He helps us get better at in-game communication and mid-game execution. He even gives our mid-laner some laning advice. In short, he’s contributed a lot, he teaches us how to read the situation and how to play the macro game in the late sage. As for Flyby, he doesn’t need much farm. Both carries in RNG take all the resources and Flyby is there to tank for the team. He can get a lot of work done with limited resources.
In the western scene, we look at you as a fast-paced carry who loves to ride the momentum. Do you think this patch favours your play style?
I think there are many ways to win a game in this patch. If you are good at playing pushing lineups, you can win by destroying your opponents in the early game. If you are good at playing late game lineups, you can win by defending and dragging the game into late stage.
Why is Gyro suddenly so good without Io? Why didn't people pick him without Io before?
The Io-Gyro combo was great last year. But Io got many nerfs this year: Lower Tether regeneration rate, Aghanim’s talent is removed, so Gyro doesn't need Io anymore. Moreover, Gyro received a 25 attack speed buff last patch which makes last hit much more easier. When the game goes late, he’s also strong with Satanic, BkB and Mjollnir.
You were top 3 at TI7, but you haven't been at the top of the competitive scene lately, how do you feel about going into the Bo1 elimination against Alliance, a team that is also very hungry for success?
Same here, we are also very hungry for success and have everything to prove. After all, we have a 0% win rate in playoffs this season.
Any shout-outs at the end of our interview?
Thanks to our fans for their continued support. We really appreciate that you guys keep supporting us despite we being that bad. Thank you!