GH: “When it comes to competition, Mind_Control is fearless”

GH: “When it comes to competition, Mind_Control is fearless”

After lackluster results in the second half of 2018, Team Liquid are ready to reclaim their throne at the Chongqing Major, according to Maroun “GH” Merhej.

Liquid have been struggling ever since August, when they finished 4th in The International 2018. What followed was an underwhelming performance by previously one of the best teams in the world. It was time for a change.

But a roster change wasn’t what they needed. What they needed, was in fact as simple as a bit of rest.

Team Liquid gave up their spot in the Major and took a much-needed vacation and it paid off. Right after their return, Liquid took first place at the MegaFon Winter Clash, defeating Natus Vincere in the Grand Final.

According to Maroun “GH” Merhej, a good rest was long overdue for the team.

Team Liquid decided to take a little vacation after qualifying for a major. Were you about ready for one?

Everything has long gone to the fact that we will go on vacation because after TI7 we had almost no rest. We continued to play tournament after tournament. During the year we began to feel that we were tired, but there was no time for a break, there was TI8 ahead. So we decided not to step on the same rake. Immediately after the end of TI8, there was not so much time before qualifications for a major, so we decided to skip the first tournaments together to take a break and focus on the next goal.

Team Liquid has been playing together in this lineup for two years now, this is an amazing achievement. Don’t you get tired of one another?

Yes. Usually when we take a vacation, we rest both from the game and from each other, because we have to spend 2-3 months with the team. And these are seven people of different nationalities, with different histories and different cultures. There comes a time when you start to move away from each other, already something does not click. And then you may need a little time to reload your feelings and become friends again.

How did you spend your free time?

I didn’t do much, honestly. I just rested with my family, I often met with friends. Spent a lot of time in front of the computer, but did not play. Just watched movies and TV shows. I went to the gym, went in for sports, enjoyed a delicious meal. And here we are again.

While you were resting, Mind_Control played a major with Ninjas in Pyjamas. How did you respond when you heard about his plans?

This is a funny story because on the day when the team discussed this, I could not participate in the conversation. So I just did not know about it. I later read about it somewhere on the Internet. And such: “Oh, MC will play with NiP”. It’s funny, because I was far from the first to find out about this, simply because I wasn’t there during the discussion.

In those matches that I saw, as for me, he played very well. He showed himself on Earthshaker and on other heroes. They entered the top 4, which is by no means a bad result. I was happy for him, the whole tournament was rooting. He deserves to play the major.

He told you how to play against NiP now? Are they good?

In fact, he did not talk much about being in a team. He shared that they have a completely different approach to the game, it is different from ours. They look at the game differently. He said the team is being led by PPD. They are quite masterful guys, but sometimes, when the game is not going according to their plan, they can have problems.

PPD on Twitter wrote “Mind_Control had just left the training room and told us he would destroy us at the qualifiers.” Do you believe he could say that?

MC is a nice guy, I like him. But when it comes to competition, MC is fearless. He is able to say anything, because he strongly believes in himself and his teammates. I think he can confirm with his work any word.

Speaking of the latest tournament results. Kuroky set a record by playing each hero in an official match. Do you think there is a player who can achieve the same?

Perhaps you never know for sure. I think there are other players who have been on the stage for 5-10 years and continue to play. But this is a great achievement — to be the first player who played on all the characters.

Do you remember how it happened? Maybe someone said that there is an opportunity to pick TA for Kuroky?

We did not take part in this decision. It happened spontaneously. We just wanted to have fun and enjoy the game. Kuroky has a draft, so he can do whatever he wants. He simply said: “I want to play on TA” and pressed the button. We just answered this: “Okay. We trust you, play TA. Go!”. Of course, we were shocked for about 10 seconds, but then we looked at him, he looked at us and we decided: “This is Kuro, he can do what he wants.”

How do you manage to keep calm constantly?

In fact, I am not always calm. Sometimes I have to go through difficulties. Sometimes I need time to collect my thoughts. For all the time I realized that it is better to remain calm and deal with problems without emotions and aggression. So you will find a solution much faster than if you get angry and nervous. To solve the problem, you must first cope with anger.

What should a person do when he feels the approach of tilt? How to avoid it?

Getting into tilt is normal. Many people suffer from this, including me. In this case, I am trying to figure out what caused me to lose my temper, and deal specifically with this. Sometimes after the games, I feel tilted, so I just go out, take a deep breath and don’t play for 30 minutes or an hour. Just trying to relax. Just take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are playing a game that you love and are just trying to have some fun. You do not enter the game to shout at people.

 

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Boo1k: “If we play relaxed, then we definitely play much better”

Boo1k: “If we play relaxed, then we definitely play much better”

Six months and four additional qualifiers, that’s how long has it been since The Kuala Lumpur Major — the last Major Gambit attended. Anatoly “Boo1k” Ivanov, coach of Gambit’s Dota 2 squad, said that the team is approaching qualifiers for the Major in a bad state of mind.

At The Kuala Lumpur Major last year Gambit were eliminated in the group stage after two straight losses against Fnatic and Tigers. Since then followed a series of unsuccessful qualifiers and regional events.

But while heavily underperforming at the online qualifiers, Gambit proved time and time again what they are capable of on the biggest stage. Just last month they finished second at ESL One Katowice 2019, just behind Clement “Puppey” Ivanov’s Team Secret.

Team’s coach Anatoly “Boo1k” Ivanov addressed those issues in an interview with Maincast, he also said that the players were already accustomed to playing in front of an audience, and also named the most comfortable conditions for the right performance.

About playing on stage

“I think the guys have no jitters, nothing like that. We played ESL in Katowice on stage. There was a fairly large audience. Therefore, for us it is not the first time. If it were still something new, perhaps uncomfortable situations would appear.

And there is more motivation for us too: when there are spectators, it seems that the tournament is a little bigger than when you play in a closed room and silence around. ”

About Major qualifiers

“At the Major qualifiers every time something goes wrong. We cannot solve it or correct it somehow. Probably it’s still early for us. It seems that three months have passed only, and during this time we have not been able to show the result we want in the qualifiers.

But we played only two qualifiers to the Majors. Yes, they were unsuccessful, but it seems to me that if we take a long distance — a year or half a year — then we will probably show better results.

To be honest, it seems to me that we are just trying too hard. We very much want [to pass to the Major] and from this, when something goes wrong, we get even more upset. It all accumulates like a snowball.

As a result, we are not very worried because we need to win a Major — we just want to play better. It stars in complete chaos due to the fact that we are not in the best shape to qualify for the Major. So it coincided. I hope this will all be forgotten in the long run and we will simply perform well, regardless of whether it is a Major or something else. ”

About unusual strategies

“If we play relaxed, then we definitely play much better. I do not know which ideas we steal, or where we get them, but we test a lot of ideas during clan wars. Perhaps, therefore, it seems that we are playing with not the weakest teams and they take something from us.

The fact is that there is no strong pressure on us, and we are just starting to try to implement some ideas. Someone, perhaps, may like these ideas, and then they take them from our practice to themselves. We have a lot of ideas. If we do not have any pressure on each other or in our own head’s, we can realize our ideas in-game. It happens to me too.

In the grand finals of the past minor, I had a wild realization. In one of the games I said: “Guys, I don’t understand what is happening at all. What about our draft?”. I was so annoyed with myself — I am the coach of the team, it was on me. I stand and think: “Here I am a moron.”

It is also excitement, pressure, or maybe lack of experience. I do not know how to justify it. Returning to the clan wars: when we set ourselves a clear task and we have a great idea on how to achieve it, we play much better. ”

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RodjER: “I’m not the calmest player in-game. Sometimes emotions get the best of me”

RodjER: “I’m not the calmest player in-game. Sometimes emotions get the best of me”

It will be a hard month ahead of Virtus.pro, and support player Vladimir “RodjER” Nikogosyan discussed the team’s morale approaching the tournaments, current meta, and response to his critique.

It was a bitter start of 2019 for Virtus.pro. They finished second at The Chongqing Major, just behind Team Secret. At MDL Macau 2019 they had to make do with a third-place finish after a defeat at the hands of Evil Geniuses.

Starting this week Virtus.pro will attempt for their first title of 2019, this time at DreamLeague Season 11. RodjER and his team will face off EHOME, Mineski, and Forward Gaming in Group C.

With teams like Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses, Team Secret, Vici Gaming and many other top teams in attendance, the fight for $1,000,000 dollars will be till the bitter end.

The recent drama concerning your game in MDL comes to mind. Roman Dvoryankin, ArsZeeqq, No[o]ne all took part in the discussion, but you have remained uninvolved. Do you have any comments on this matter?

I tried to remain uninvolved as I knew they (analytics) were not correct, after all. As the players, we still understand the game better than they do. The things they’ve said — that we were at the level of pub games and died all over the place — is simply nonsense. I did not wish to convince anyone about anything.

A very level-headed approach. Overall, you seem like one of the coolest and most collected players. How can you stay so calm both in the game and beyond?

Actually, I’m not the calmest player in-game. Sometimes emotions get the best of me. I try to cheer up my teammates in-game: sometimes I can hype them up after a kill or a special moment.

Speaking of special moments: when was the last time you lost a dare in an official match?

It was just once! (laughs). It’s just a meme.

What do you usually do during the draft phase? What do you play, what do you do, what do you watch?

It’s situational. Sometimes I warm up in WarCraft, but usually, I just sit and look at the comps. Depends on my mood. Our first three picks are usually on the coach and Ramzes, but then the whole team chimes in, too. Actually, I believe warming up before the game is pretty useful sometimes.

Warming up in WarCraft – on some custom maps?

Nah, just Skirmishes.

Your overall opinion on Macau tournament?

We planned to treat this tournament as a practice of sorts at first, to try something new. We wouldn’t really have been upset even if we had lost to everyone and took the last place. In fact, we’re quite happy with the outcome — we’ve got to top-3 even though we haven’t prepared to the tournament much.

You were pretty close to finishing in the last place, actually, but in the first round of playoffs it seemed like you got pissed off and you made a comeback off it.

We played as usual, nothing close to getting pissed off. We were a bit more indifferent to the games in groups – we played as we could. We started preparing for our opponents in the playoffs, but again, nothing too special – we just played our own game. Just so it turned out that we kept winning and advancing.

Let’s talk heroes. You had some problems facing Lone Druid in the MDL. How would you rate this hero now?

It’s a strong hero. His benefit is that his support can leave him to his own devices if Lone Druid gets a good start. As a result, the support is free to roam and apply pressure elsewhere on the map.

LD is very hard to pressure to the point of complete uselessness. All in all, he creates tons of space for his team and he’s hard to face in the early.

We’ve also lost almost every game against Ursa and Lifestealer. How to properly play against these heroes?

These two are also strong meta picks. Lifestealer requires you to base your whole pick around not allowing him to snowball – if he gets rolling, he’s unstoppable. Plus Lifestealer doesn’t need much to snowball – just Hand of Midas and Radiance. Besides all that, he’s also an early game hero. We noticed in Macau that teams freely first pick him and win. And since we haven’t prepared to that tournament that well, we didn’t expect him to be a first pick snowball early hero.

Only over the course of the series we realized how to play against it. You have to carefully choose your comp against him and force him into your tempo. When he finishes his Hand of Midas, you have to force objectives around the map not to let him free farm. You have to force him into fights.

Ursa, too, is a strong hero. Ursa and Lifestealer have pretty different roles, though. Ursa is a semi-core hero who can’t be countered that easily. There are some uncomfortable picks for him, like Venomancer, but Ursa will still be able to do his own thing and create space.

How do you like Bounty Hunter in this patch? Which position suits him the best?

BH is either positon 1 or 3. He’s probably not going to shine at position 4. Usually, teams pick him on offlane or as a carry and base their comp around the idea of allowing him to freely roam, create space, and be overall unkillable.

What do you think of the current patch? Is it faster or slower than the previous one?

It depends on the teams you face. You can play a lot of different styles: you can just settle for Hand of Midas and farming, for instance. If one team amasses an advantage and goes for Midas, the other team has to do something about it as you can no longer just sit back and farm. Tempo depends on you. You can build Vladmir, Drums and Medallion, take Roshan and go for a fast finish. Everything depends on the teams, the drafts – many factors. Dota offers tons of variability at the moment, the games can be both very short or very long.

Hand of Midas finally got nerfed. What do you think – will this artifact finally disappear from the meta?

Yes, I believe it will disappear. It will be bought less, at least. I hate it being bought on supports – it’s just nonsense! It will still be good on heroes like Lone Druid and Lifestealer, on others – not so much.

The meta of two, three, four Midas which lasted for about a month appeared outta nowhere! Midas wasn’t even buffed, but for some reason, all the teams suddenly decided to build it. Is this something completely spontaneous?

Someone set the meta. There was a tendency before: you gather advantage, buy certain artifacts and set out to finish the game. But someone decided that it’s too much of a risk: if you make a mistake, you lose. But if you were to buy Midas and farm first, you let your opponent make a mistake while farming since you know you’d certainly win if you just farm for around 10 minutes more.

What do you think — is the meta formed by the subjective or objective factors? For instance, teams that win more than others dictate the meta. Even while the heroes they pick and artifacts they build may not be the absolute best ones in the current patch by far. But still, they make it work, so everyone follows their footsteps. Or are there some objective factors that form the meta?

The lower-tier teams get ideas from the outside. They see how strong teams play and attempt to copy them. At the same time, higher-level teams try to think for themselves, create and test something new. For instance – we caught a glimpse of a Viper with Rod of Atos – completely unseen before. I first saw it in a public match in China, where some guy from somewhere around 2000th spot went to the jungle on the third minute, bought Atos and simply obliterated everyone. Someone picks it up and thinks he’s a genius.

What is the strength of this build?

Viper breaks TPs with Atos. It’s pretty easy to escape him otherwise. Early game Atos is very strong. Mobile heroes get slowed down and fall over. And overall, Viper simply gets more survivability and becomes harder to kill. But before MDL Macau nobody used such Viper even though it was quite popular in Chinese pubs. We just didn’t expect it at all.

You had your one year VP anniversary not so long ago. Got any gifts? How was it?

Nothing much. It’s just a nice feeling that I’m in the team for a whole year already. Just some jokes and banter, nothing else.

There have been lots of different tournaments lately. Do you watch anything besides Dota?

We have watched the CS Major together with the boys. I have discovered CS’s great entertainment value — worth to take a look sometimes. But I don’t really watch other stuff, just some random streams in my free time.

Your schedule’s pretty packed right now. Have you considered skipping some of the series?

It was our calculated decision. We wanted to play in the WESG since it’s got a good prize pool. And, obviously, you can’t really miss a Major. It was our conscious decision to play more, practice more, then have a good break and get back to it refreshed.

How’s the team’s morale? Is there any incentive to chase the number one spot of the DPC rating?

The first place alone doesn’t mean much. It’s a chain reaction of sorts: we want to win the tournament, win the prize, and prove to everyone that we’re the best team. There’s an incentive to win every tournament, and if we do win, we’ll get the top-1 DPC spot.

Who are the opponents we should look out for in the upcoming Major?

Not clear yet. So far I can outline Team Secret and Team Liquid, they’re in a good form. Not sure how PSG.LGD are holding out, they’ve changed their roster and it’s unclear how they’re feeling.

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Dendi: “People want to see either immediate success or instant failure”

Dendi: “People want to see either immediate success or instant failure”

Danil “Dendi” Ishutin explained how he chose the new team and why he joined Tigers, assessed the level of teams from the CIS, shared his opinion on the meta and discussed the possibility of changing the position.

Eight years — that is how long Dendi played for Ukrainian team Natus Vincere. Through good and bad times, through hot and cold. Among many other respectable results, NaVi, lead by Ishutin, won The International 2011 and came in second the two years after that.

The last few years weren’t that great for Natus Vincere. The team struggled to constantly show good results and a big change was needed. In September 2018 NaVi management decided to bench its star player Danil “Dendi” Ishutin.

Four months later, Dendi joined Tigers on loan, together with David “MoonMeander” Tan, Kenny “Xepher” Deo, and Sivatheeban “1437” Sivanathapillai.

In an interview with Russian DOTA 2 caster Vitaly “v1lat” Volochayu, Dendi talked about the recent months of his life — leaving NaVi, joining Tigers, among other topics.

About choosing a team

“A lot of teams approached me, I can’t even remember them all. But I was not interested in all this. Some of them were interesting, but I simply couldn’t afford in this position, because it’s a double-edged sword. People are waiting for some results, or, conversely, haters are sitting and waiting for me to fail.

I needed some kind of other option. From tier 1 teams no one called me anywhere. Perhaps because they are all stacked, perhaps because they do not consider me to be a super strong player — I have a tarnished reputation, since the last two years. <…> I wanted to get into the team, in which I would have some kind of faith in me. In any case, I would go to some team, because half a year has already passed [in an inactive role]. When Tiban called me, I decided that this option is pretty good, looking at the players who were there. In addition, I wanted to go to another region, I did not want to play here in the CIS.”

About teams from the CIS

“The level of the CIS in DotA is rather weak. Mechanically, the CIS is one of the strongest regions in the world. This is 100% true. In terms of mechanics, micro, laning, we have very strong guys, that is, they can smash those buttons very well. But in terms of strategy, in terms of macro, team play — very big problems. Because we have such a mentality, we all want to be cool. It is impossible to say where this sense of self-importance came from.”

About the possibility of changing the position

“I have a lot of experience on the center lane in the competitive DotA, but I have no experience in other positions now. Of course, I am sure that with my knowledge I will be able to adapt to any role. Some role may be better suited to me, and some — worse. But I can switch.

On January 22, Danil “Dendi” Ishutin became a Tigers player . The team was not selected for any tournament from the Dota Pro Circuit. Most recently, Tigers won StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Southeast Asia Open Qualifier, but dropped out of the closed qualifier after two straight losses.

You can watch the full interview in Russia here:

 

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KuroKy: “As a pro player you have to give it your all, nothing less”

KuroKy: “As a pro player you have to give it your all, nothing less”

After the abysmal performance at DreamLeague Season 11, Team Liquid will be looking to redeem themselves at MDL Disneyland® Paris Major next month. Team’s veteran Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi talked about the mindset within the team, preparing for events, and his career.

Earlier this year, at the Chongqing Major, Team Liquid found themselves one man short and were playing with Chu “shadow” Zeyu as a stand-in. There TL finished in respectable Top 8 position, considering they were missing one of their leaders, Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi.

In an interview with XBOCT, Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi talked about what it means to play with a stand-in at a professional level, playing with someone who doesn’t speak the same language, why they changed a coach, as well as his plans for the future.

About shadow

“Suddenly he [Miracle-] could not go to this tournament, and we had to very quickly look for someone to replace him. We talked to shadow, and he agreed. He were to play with us until the end of the tournament.

In general, this is a cognitive experience. Shadow is a very hardworking and modest person. It is easy to communicate with him because he knows how to listen. But it is difficult to communicate with him because he does not understand us at all.

He does not speak English, so if he wants to tell us something, he takes out the telephone and uses a translator. Here he wants to say: “I think this hero will suit us” — and shows me the phone with the translated text. It is such a small annoyance. But he tries hard and works hard. In general, we did our best.

The biggest difference for me as a leader is that I gave him a lot of guidance on the microgame. We discuss the subjects — he asks for advice on what to buy. I try to tell him when to engage in fights or just farm.

I think he experienced undue stress playing with us. For him, our game system is new. He does not know when we want to fight, gank the enemy or something else. So I tried to help him all the time. The effectiveness of my game from this, however, suffered a little, but it was worth it.”

About playing with a stand-in

“My personal goal was to find suitable strategies under the current conditions. When Miracle- could not come, the biggest problem was that the strategy pool shrank by more than half. I lost about 60% of my workpieces.

The fact is that our team is built around the rotation of the positions of MATUMBAMAN and Miracle-, but Shadow doesn’t really want to play in mid. So it is worth paying tribute to MATUMBAMAN because now he had to stand in the middle lane all the time and did a good job. He is truly one of the best players in the world.”

About changing the coach

“The coach is a very exhausting position. You can’t do this for long. And it seems to me, Heen is a little tired of this. He wanted to do something new. And together we came to the conclusion that yes, we had a good many years, won the International together and a whole bunch of tournaments …

It seems to me that at a certain moment the team wanted to change something. Not necessarily the players, just change at least something that would bring new ideas and fresh blood to the team. In such cases, you just change the coach.

I think Virtus.pro acted in a similar way, changing ArtStyle to ArsZeeqq . After The International, as for me, both us and VP were in a very similar situation. We felt that we needed to change something, but the team was good, and everyone knew that we could continue to win. And really won this composition. So somehow it all came to a change of coach.”

About goals

“Win The International for a second time. And the win two more Internationals.”

About the difficulties in the team

“I think the hardest thing we had was when you win one The International everything goes down. We had a desirable goal, and we put all our efforts to win the most important tournament.

And after we did I made a mistake, because I began to squeeze all the juice from my team. I want to win another TI, and they also want to win, and in general we had a very good season. We hit the top a lot of times, won one Major and two Minors. And when the time came for TI, we were completely exhausted. 

After the end of TI, we decided to take a big break. We missed the first Major to refresh our heads and take up the game with new forces. After all, be that as it may, the main goal of any player is to win The International.

This is a huge test — to win a second time with the same team, because these people have already won. But I accept this challenge, and I hope we can make it happen. As for me, this is a great motivation: to become not just the first two-time TI champion in history for myself, but to make it a whole team.”

About his career

“If you give in to the life of a pro-player, then you have to give it your all completely, nothing less. Career is your whole life. You have, in fact, no privacy. It does not give me problems. Many at first suffer, but quickly get tired of living like that. I still like this life.

When I finish my career, I will certainly spend almost all the time with my parents. As time goes by, parents grow old, so spend time with them at least sometimes.”

About unpleasant teammates

“Sometimes, when playing solo, you come across ruiners who just want to waste your time, and you don’t want to play with them. In general, yes, there are people with whom I hate to play. I don’t even know their names. I don’t care about them. I don’t even turn off the sound for them. I don’t even want to quarrel with them — it’s a waste of time.

Yes, I am sitting at the computer, I understand — you just play, but for me this is work. I have to get better. And I just can not do anything, just sit and endure. And then I will either allow the negativity to devour me, or try to keep calm and play on.”

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SirActionSlacks: “Dota 2 scene needs a villain — a real bastard”

SirActionSlacks: “Dota 2 scene needs a villain — a real bastard”

Everyone’s favorite Dota 2 co-host and analyst Jake “SirActionSlacks” Kanner talked about running Dota events, his coworkers, how to improve the viewing experience for the fans and much more.

Right after the conclusion of DreamLeague Season 11, where the Chinese Vici Gaming triumphed, bringing home $350,000 dollars, everyone was discussing the format of this particular event. For one, DreamLeague became known as a more relaxed, “fun” event, even considering its massive prize pool of $1 million dollars and its Valve Major status.

In a lengthy interview with the Russian esports coverage site cybersport, in his usual manner, SirActionSlacks struggled to keep a straight face and give a serious answer. In the end, it resulted in a funny, albeit interesting and informative read.

How are you? How do you like the tournament?

Well! DreamLeague is always great. It seems to me that since last season the tournament has grown a lot. That year it was also a major, but this time the scale increased significantly. I like the direction of this championship, its relaxed atmosphere, as well as the cool “DotA”, which is shown by the teams.

Would you like this format to adhere to more tournaments? Or let DreamLeague differ from everyone?

I think DreamLeague has its own unique image. Many tournaments are trying to copy this style, but I am not a supporter of this — in Dota 2 it’s not necessary to do everything the same way.

DreamLeague has been working in this format for a long time, but I do not think that now every tournament should be so relaxed. This unusual style looks even brighter when it is surrounded by major tournaments. Sometimes, on the contrary, I want to see more professionalism. <…>

But is this the right decision – to give the tournament major status? Maybe it was worth taking it outside the DPC?

Oh no, it definitely has no place in the DPC! Any tournament in which I participate in coverage is super-unprofessional. Take it away! This should not be in the official season! (Laughs)

[But in fact] it certainly has a place in the DPC. Because guess what? This is still a Dota 2 tournament. DreamLeague has been around for nine seasons! <…>

There are people who love Dota 2 for the fact that it has a lot of room for complex, in-depth analytics. Many professionals like to talk about it, go into dry details. But guess what? It is still a video game! It is full of people who want to have fun and spam memes! And they deserve to have their interests defended too.

A couple of years ago you played Omniknight and clicked skills with the mouse. Now you are sitting in a major as an analyst. Do you think this job suits you? Are you comfortable in this role?

Well, actually, I still click on the skills with the mouse. I do not use hotkeys because they were invented by cowards. It’s like heavy armor in anime. On the day when I decide to put the hot keys, I will be the best in the world!

But seriously, analytics is a very difficult word. Technically, I am not an analyst, but a “co-host,” which means I can talk … nonsense! You must not … listen to me!

But in general, if you watch a lot of DotA, then you start to sort it out a bit. No doubt, I am not the smartest or even the most qualified person for this job, but they still called me. I’m not complaining!

How do you work with AdmiralBulldog?

I hate him. God, how I hate him. He is a terrible person. You will not believe what terrible things he says behind the scenes. He constantly repeats: “I hate my fans, I hate this game, I love League of Legends”. The contemptible little man.

It actually sounds a lot like him. Once I talked with him for an hour.

That’s it! He is very creepy! Dastardly, vile creature! He needs to stop! At any price!

And is Sheever the same?

Of course! Sheever is the most toxic, hateful person I’ve ever met.

Are there any good people in this tournament? Only MATUMBAMAN?

Yes, Matumba is a true darling. Very cute boy. Today he brought me a cake just for being cute.

Sorry, I’m kidding. All of them are wonderful people and have always been like this. And this is terrible! Dota 2 stage needs a villain — a real bastard. So that he would go on the stage in a coat and criticize everyone. But we don’t have that — everyone loves each other, loves our game, respects the fans … It’s so boring! But nothing can be done.

But in Dota 2, the situation is still better than in most games. For example, we have ArsZeeqq, who openly says: “We have destroyed our opponent, the game was easy.” I can not imagine that someone from other disciplines could afford this.

Well yes. Because they are boring! Because they can’t be themselves — Blizzard makes you say what you need. Therefore, everyone has to be so correct, forgetting who we really are – gamers! And these are not originally the most politically correct people in the world. Sometimes we flame, sometimes we have fun. And guess what? That is why we are so successful now. Therefore, Dota 2 is the best discipline in eSports – it really understands who its audience is.

Yes, sometimes we have very strange characters. But guess what? In fact, we are all strange, because we are all gamers.

Can you say that is why you chose DotA?

“Chose DotA ?!” I did not choose Dota, brother.

Did “DotA” choose you?

Exactly. Once I was a very handsome guy. I didn’t have bald patches, I was attractive, I lived a full life, I earned money … But then “DotA” ruined everything!

And there is something beautiful in its own way. Because it was then that I became who I always wanted to be in the shower … Techies spammer.

Are you happy about this?

Absolutely. Now I devote every day to spoiling someone’s games, to incorrectly analyzing matches and spreading madness and sadness around me. In the end, it is precisely for this that we live – in order to beat out as many people as possible before we go to the pearly gates.

It really looks like DotA! What would you like to do next? Seriously, are you tired of what you are doing now?

(Laughs) I have a very strange character. When I feel that I have succeeded in something, I immediately lose interest in it. It seems to me that in life it is important to constantly look for new obstacles, overcome them and thus gain valuable experience.

Specifically, at DreamLeague, I find it very interesting, because usually I am not invited to the studio by analysts — there are plenty of wonderful and talented people there. Yes, here I am having fun. In addition, I like to organize tournaments — soon there will be our Midas Mode, which we will try to conduct in the LAN format. And I am always looking for new tasks!

Last year I worked a lot behind the scenes of TI — filmed content, entertained the audience. It gives me great pleasure. Therefore, my future lies more in the organization of tournaments. It seems to me very interesting, this is my serious answer.

Do you want to say that we can lose you in the role of co-host and participant of the broadcasts?

I really hope for it! I’ve been waiting for someone to replace me for so long! (Turns to the camera) Guys, what I’m doing is not at all difficult. In fact, it is very easy. Why no one comes to my place? I need a replacement! I have been waiting for you for a long time! We already have a new TobiWan — this is ODPixel. LizZard becomes the new Merlini. Maybe, finally, someone will take the torch from me? You are welcome! Start shooting the content, please! I want to leave!

What qualities should a person have to successfully take your place?

Generally any! I constantly see the hate on the reddit and on Twitter about how I annoy everyone and have to leave. So, you can literally arrange it — just replace me! I really hope that one day someone will come up to me and say: “I watched your broadcast. You made a mistake in all predictions, your analysis of games is at the level of 2 thousand MMR, and therefore I decided to take your place. ” You are welcome! Where are you, you tryhard with 6 thousand MMR? Come here and set me free! I feel like a genie from Aladdin — I want to be free!

Half a year ago, you said otherwise. Then you said that you have to work very hard …

(Interrupts)It was a complete lie! (Laughs) But seriously, my work certainly requires certain investments. First of all, it takes a lot of time. But I cannot say that it is hard for me to do it, because I really love what I do.

So everyone who sincerely loves their work can say so. Yes it’s hard. But this is still a party! This is the best job in the world! I do not know, I would be happy to share it with anyone. So get out and follow the dream! Do not think that you are not good enough, just do it. Even if you fail, you will get great pleasure in the process.

In spite of everything, people see in you a person who just goes on stage and has fun. Can you show us some backstage work by Slacks?

Works? (Laughs) It will be difficult! Actually, a lot … well, not a lot, but decently time is spent on preparation. If only because I need to understand a little about what I am talking about. I need to feel a passion for the game, really love it, love the fans …

It is important to understand that my work never ends. Someone arrives at the office by nine in the morning, sits until 5:00 pm and goes home to spend time with the family and relax. I can not afford this. When I wake up, I immediately go to work and do not stop thinking about it until I fall asleep. I need to constantly check social networks, answer letters, communicate with my personal manager, with agency staff … with everyone!

Of course, it is exhausting. But besides this, you need to do some sort of remake, prepare for the broadcast. If you want to succeed, then you have to do the same. Especially if you want to take my place — in my case, everything looks like I’m not preparing for anything at all.

But at the same time, it’s just memes. They are not so difficult to understand, so everything is great.

I suspect that it may be difficult for you to work with individual players, because they are not too open.

What are you talking about? They are gamers, it’s very simple for me — we are alike. I have never met a professional Dota player who I wouldn’t like. We are very similar. I told this to people at TI when I explained why I like this tournament so much.

Every time I meet someone on TI, I have something to talk to them about. This is impossible anywhere else in the world. Because I know perfectly well who we are — the players of DotA. We are very different from any other group of gamers.

We love being punished. We love the pain that Dota 2 entails. We like to reach those heights that at first seem impossible. So I really have not met a single player who I would not like. Not even a single caster! Because in the end, we all sit in the same boat. Except Sheever, of course. She is a devil.

And besides AdmiralBulldog?

And besides him, yes. Horrible people. Just kidding. They are the best. Some of my closest friends. Probably … (laughs)

Which of the players did you enjoy working with?

I like those guys who know how to have fun, but at the same time know how to play Dota …

So… iceiceice?

(Laughs) Yes! Really yes! I am constantly asked what this guy is behind the scenes. Does he turn into a stern rude? Of course not! Even those players who seem very tough on the outside, remain gamers inside.

The nicest guys on stage are all sorts of Arteezy , Fly , n0tail . But even Cr1t- or s4 – those who seem calm and serious are actually very cool backstage. They will always say hello to you and smile broadly. I have never met someone who in communication would be unpleasant! Not counting the Bulldog. Just kidding!

In the CIS, a dispute recently arose about whether casters can criticize the actions of players. Do you think analysts — not specifically you — have the right to say: “This player screwed up”?

Of course. In this case, most likely, they will be wrong, because the players understand DotA at a level that analysts can never achieve. On the other hand, if you, being an analyst, are not able to distinguish a mistake from a correct action, then you should reconsider your choice of profession.

It is our job to communicate to the audience what, how and why the players do. As my dad said, what matters is not what you said, but how you said it. So it all depends on you.

You can say, “Oh, what a terrible choice of artifact” And you can choose this option: “This is a very unusual choice of subject in this match, I do not know why the player decided to collect it. Instead, you could select items A, B, or C. ”

The first option, of course, is much simpler, but is this the best option? Probably not. Because so the viewer does not receive any additional information. What can the phrase “this player made a mistake” do? Its author simply does a poor job.

But actually, I’m from America, baby, and our first amendment reads: “Say whatever the hell you want!” Yes!

How do you choose the tournaments in which you will work? 

Usually, I just desperately beg the organizers to hire me and send them letters, and sometimes blackmailing photos — I use all means. Sir, I’m not the most valuable employee. In fact, my presence has discounted many tournaments. So now I’m just crawling up plainly to THAT.

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