Esports.gg sat down with JT- to talk about playing in front of the home crowd, the difference between SEA and China, the new patch, and more!
Thiay "JT-" Jun Wen is currently on the heated battlegrounds of the ongoing ESL One Kuala Lumpur, representing the newly-partnered G2.IG. The Chinese team is preparing for a Lower Bracket run on top of maneuvering the just-released gameplay update, Patch 7.35.
Esports.gg had a little chat with G2.IG's JT- to ask him about playing in front of the home crowd, the different experiences between SEA and China, the new patch, and more!
JT- compares the China and SEA regions
JT- is one of the most notable offlaners in the Chinese Dota 2 scene. He holds a Major title, which he had accomplished during the ONE Esports Singapore Major 2021. On top of that, he also reached the top 4 of The International 2021. He has a strong reputation in China. But his roots began in another region.
The 25-year-old Malaysian used to play in the local Southeast Asian (SEA) scene from 2017 to the beginning of 2019. He represented Geek Fam and Mineski to slowly climb towards the international scene. His breakthrough began when China's TI-winning organization, Invictus Gaming, picked him up in April 2019.
China has more scrims and they are more disciplined. SEA is more relaxed.
We asked JT- to compare his experiences in the two similar, yet starkly different regions. According to JT-, he does not feel too much of a difference as he speaks both the Chinese and English languages. However, he pointed out that China has a lot more discipline when compared to SEA, and he prefers a hard working environment to pursue great results.
“I would say both regions are kind of similar to me. Because I speak Chinese and I speak English as well. For me it’s not really much of a difference I think. China has more scrims, and they are more disciplined, the management requires us to be disciplined. SEA is more relaxed, I think. (Esports.gg: Which one do you prefer?) Maybe.. China? Because if you want to get good results, you have to work hard right?”
JT- talks about playing on home ground with G2.IG
For the first time in JT-'s pro career, he is playing in the comfort of his hometown. The offlaner was delighted to finally have the home advantage and the cheers of the local crowd. “I'm kind of happy because I'm playing in my hometown. This is my first tournament here,” JT- said.
Some players prefer the coziness of the home ground and some prefer competing in foreign territories. JT- has no problem enjoying both. One would give him more celebration and one would offer him with a new cultural experience.
“For me, playing in both (hometown and other countries) are okay. But if I play in my hometown, I would feel more celebration from the crowd. If we win the tournament, I think our fans or the Malaysians will cheer for us. But even if you play outside your country, I think it’s okay as well. We can enjoy the different cultures.”
(We started to struggle) by the time we were without Kaka. He's a good captain I would say.
A walk back to IG’s rough season
In 2021, JT- became the talk of Dota 2 town following a terrific performance with IG. However, the team would immediately plunge after TI10 and even fell into the dark pits of Division II. Throughout 2022, IG struggled to stand on their feet and JT- believes it is due to the absence of their former captain, Hu "Kaka" Liangzhi .
“Maybe (we started to struggle) by the time we were without Kaka. I think it was because we did not have enough experience during the tournaments so we were lost without Kaka. He’s a good captain I would say.”.
Kaka was indeed an integral part of IG in 2021. Kaka is a 31-year-old veteran captain who led Invictus Gaming to the glories in 2021. He is a TI runner-up, a high he achieved with Newbee in 2017. However, he chose to take a break from competitive gaming post-TI10.
About Patch 7.35
An ESL One event in Kuala Lumpur would not be complete without mid-tournament gameplay patches. While teams were preparing for a do-or-die elimination match in the Playoffs, Valve decided to drop a massive Patch 7.35.
Luckily for G2.IG, they won't play until tomorrow and have a whole day to do their homework. “I would say it's kind of a surprise but we still got one more day to prepare. So we are kind of lucky, I would say. So far, I’ve looked at the patch but it's still not enough,” JT- talked about the patch drop.
From his first impression, JT- has been eyeing Timbersaw as a fun offlane hero. The goblin has indeed been immensely buffed in Patch 7.35, gaining additional armor and strength.
JT- chooses the best offlaner
In one of our fun segments, we asked JT- to rank the current best offlaners. He couldn't really place anyone among the tiers but he mentioned Team Spirit's Magomed "Collapse" Khalilov as the best.
“Collapse. Yeah, Collapse at number one. And then… (you can put yourself too if you want). Myself? Maybe under Collapse. I got no TI win so wait for me to win TI then I will be at the same level as Collapse," JT- laughed.
Collapse has been praised as not only one of the best offlaners, but also best players in the Dota 2 scene right now. The Russian player recently won a TI title for the second time and also bagged a victory at the $15 million 2023 Riyadh Masters.
The offlaner has planned for a getaway in Malaysia to close the curtains for 2023. "(For the holidays), I plan to maybe stay in Malaysia and go to Sabah or Sarawak. Maybe Semporna?" But of course, before a relaxing retreat, JT- has a mission to complete.
Alongside the rest of G2.IG members, JT- will continue to fight for a lion's share of the $1 million prize pool at the ESL One Kuala Lumpur. Their battle begins tomorrow in the Lower Bracket against BetBoom Team.