We got a chance to talk with TianMing about himself, Azure Ray, the current Dota patches and his expectations.

TianMing(天命) is currently the hard support player for professional Dota 2 team Azure Ray. Many people might have first noticed him during The International 2023, where he played with Somnus, chalice, and fy. In fact, TianMing has been playing Dota professionally for 10 years.

TianMing's history

Before joining Azure Ray, TianMing spent several years at EHOME, Team Aster, and Keen Gaming. His best result was achieving Top 6 at the Chongqing Major in 2019 with EHOME, alongside Faith_bian and y`.

Unfortunately, that roster fell apart soon due to many complicated reasons. In 2023, TianMing finally participated in his first TI and won the ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023 afterward.

Esports.gg got a great chance to sit down with TianMing before DreamLeague Season 23, talking about his career, the current shape of Azure Ray, and his thoughts on the latest game patch.

This interview was conducted in Chinese and translated to English by the interviewer.

TianMing's first International in 2023 with Azure Ray (Image via Valve)
TianMing's first International in 2023 with Azure Ray (Image via Valve)

His personality

Esports.gg: Hi! You’ve been in Europe for a while now this year. Are you getting used to it?

TianMing: Yeah, it was a bit hard at first, not a big fan of the food. But now I'm used to it.

You've transitioned from position four to position five, where the hero pool and playstyle is different from regular hard support. How would you describe your playstyle? What are the advantages?

TianMing: I think I prefer to put pressure on opponents, which is an advantage. On the other hand, it will be a weak point when it comes to defense, sometimes I might feed.

When you qualified for The International last year, you wrote down on Weibo "It's been 10 years, I finally have the chance to chase my dream". Your professional achievements have been noticeably better than it has been for a long time. What do you think is the reason?

TianMing: Luck. I think my skills were good enough in past years. From my perspective, I feel everything we do, 70-80% will be on ourselves, and the remaining 20-30% is luck. When luck or the right moment arrives, results may follow.

TianMing's Weibo: "It's been 10 years, I finally have the chance to chase my dream"
TianMing's Weibo: "It's been 10 years, I finally have the chance to chase my dream"

About Azure Ray

After the team reshuffle, how do you feel about the team's atmosphere and chemistry?

TianMing: The team atmosphere has always been pretty good. But for the chemistry, it depends. You can tell it when you see our tournament results.

Who has the strongest voice in terms of leadership or team decision-making in your team right now?

TianMing: The shape of our team is not really good right now, maybe no one has a really loud voice.

You've teamed up with Bach (Faith_bian) again after five years. Do you notice any changes in him compared to previous years?

TianMing: I don't feel much changes in him. Back then, captain y` was the one who called the most. As for other aspects, my impressions aren't particularly strong.

EHOME win The Bucharest Minor 2019 (Image via SC PGL Esports S.R.L.)
EHOME win The Bucharest Minor 2019 (Image via SC PGL Esports S.R.L.)

When the team has scrims, what aspects do you usually focus on?

TianMing: I think the training process for professional teams is similar. We start by reviewing our own performances and then discuss team-related details together.

Will you treat scrims differently from official matches? There were rumors in the past that teams might not reveal their strategies during scrims.

TianMing: It probably did happen in the past, but not anymore for now. When we go scrims, we might be not as careful as we do during official matches. You might throw one by one during scrims, which is barely to happen in tournaments.

Chinese professional teams often live together for long periods. How do you balance between normal life and practices? With this year's intense schedule, how do you usually relieve the pressure?

TianMing: I think most Chinese players are used to living with their teammates. Feeling stressed, pressured, and tired is normal, not just in our industry but for everyone. Personally, I don’t feel the need to relieve it. When you're busy, you don't really have the time or energy to focus on this.

Azure Ray win ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023 (Image via ESL Gaming GmbH and Adam Lakomy)
Azure Ray win ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023 (Image via ESL Gaming GmbH and Adam Lakomy)

Differences between regions

Now you've been traveling a lot this year, do you feel any differences between the SEA region and the EU region in terms of pubs or scrims?

TianMing: When playing pubs, I feel the SEA server is not SEA anymore. It's like the CN server now. [Note: Many Chinese are playing in the SEA server these days]. Generally, players in the SEA server seem to have a stronger desire for kills. When we are in the EU server, I think the average MMR is higher, and many people prefer to play support. As for scrims, we mostly scrimed with EU teams and not much with SEA teams because of the tournament schedule this year, so I don't have much to say here.

What are the differences do you think between the playstyles of European teams and yours?

TianMing: I think every team plays similarly nowadays. Everyone is learning how to play like Team Falcons, Team Spirit or Xtreme Gaming.

I think this patch is torturing everyone, not only those who play games but also those who watch them.

AR.TianMing(天命)

Talking about game patches

It's very hard to go high ground in this patch. What's your opinion on the current patch?

TianMing: I think this patch is torturing everyone, not only those who play games but also those who watch them. When you don't want to lose in important matches, it will last at least one hour.

Do you have any expectations for the next patch?

TianMing: Valve, please don't bring League Rune into Dota.

One last question: Could you please list your top five favorite support players?

TianMing: Fy, fy, fy, fy, fy. If you want me to list ten, then it's fy x 10.

Stay tuned to esports.gg and our Dota 2 section for more upcoming news during DreamLeague S23!

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