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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Coming out victorious at DreamHack Open Rio de Janeiro 2019 boosted AVANGAR up the world rankings all the way to #14. Team’s veteran Bektiyar “fitch” Bahytov talked about their performance in Brazil and other events, as well as adapting to the new map in the rotation.

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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Coming out victorious at DreamHack Open Rio de Janeiro 2019 boosted AVANGAR up the world rankings all the way to #14. Team’s veteran Bektiyar “fitch” Bahytov talked about their performance in Brazil and other events, as well as adapting to the new map in the rotation.

MagicaL: “We had to learn to be independent in some way”

MagicaL: “We had to learn to be independent in some way”

After a stellar performance at ESL One Mumbai, where the CIS-based Natus Vincere finished 3rd, ahead of TNC Predator and TEAM TEAM, team’s midlaner Idan “MagicaL” Vardanian answered the most pressing questions.

Even though they started the event with a loss against Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao’s TEAM TEAM, they quickly came back with two straight wins against compLexity and TNC Predator. After defeats against Mineski and Keen Gaming in the playoffs, Natus Vincere had to make do with a third-place finish at the Indian event.

But considering recent performance, this could still be a great result for the team. The last few years in DOTA 2 were less than successful for the Ukrainian organization. Four-time The International attendees and three-time finalists NaVi find themselves desperate for top positions.

Last week’s ESL One Mumbai 2019 was meant to serve as a way for the CIS team to bounce back. The 20-year-old midlaner Idan “MagicaL” Vardanian talked about the event, esports in India, stand-ins, and many other topics.

How did you like India?

We lived in a very nice hotel. It turned out to be very cool. But there was a very big contrast: as soon as you leave the hotel, there are people that sleep on the street.

What about the spectators and the fans? Were they rooting for you?

Yes, the mob of fans were very “pumped”, we felt the support. Even when we were just coming out, they supported us a lot.

Did you try any Indian food?

ESL provided its own food, they did their best, and we had access to it all day. I tried Indian bread: it’s something similar to matzo.

How are you feeling?

I feel okay, in a working spirit. We are not tilted, top 3. Need to get home and practice.

How did you like Misha as a teammate?

A good guy, brought a lot to the team. Even though he was just a standin, he was involved in the team. I liked playing with him, I think it’s mutual.

Why did you choose Misha as a standin?

Chuvash has a good relation with him, and Misha is also a captain.

Playing with standin, is that a useful experience?

I think so, yea. Especially when it is the captain. When Akbar left us, there was a lack of calls, information. Everyone had to get involved, offer something of their own, throw ideas around, take responsibility. So this is useful. We have learned to be independent in some way.

Keen Gaming players said they lost to you “by chance”. What do you think about that?

They did mistakes, we did mistakes. As for me, we deservedly won the first series, and they — the second.

What heroes would you like to add to your pool?

Ember Spirit. Of course, I play Ember, but I would like it to be my signature hero.

Whom would you call a favorite in the upcoming Major tournament?

Same old teams. Team Secret, Virtus.pro, Team Liquid. I think Liquid should show a good result.

Dendi left Tigers. Where do you think he will go next?

I don’t know really. He plays well, he practices a lot, he just needs to find the players, or that the players find him. It just didn’t work out in the Tigers.

What teams would you like to play against?

Against the strong teams. Team Secret, Team Liquid, Virtus.pro, PSG.LGD.

Could you assess the team atmosphere on a 10-point scale?

Actually, this is my only team, where we have a friendly atmosphere. There is no such thing that people try to blame each other. I think it’s 10, we just need to work more.

To whom would you give the MVP title of ESL One Mumbai 2019?

Blizzy. Actually, I already wrote that the midlaner of Keen Gaming is worthy of that title. He is one of the strongest on the laning stage. I re-watched the replays, watched how he played, and this person knows what he is doing.

Who is the toughest to face on mid?

Against No[o]ne-, perhaps, SumaiL, Midone.

Besides Vici Gaming and PSG.LGD, who is the most interesting Chinese team in your opinion?

In the Chinese scene, everyone is very cool. In China, right now it is like a slaughter: seven teams that are battling each other. I would highlight Keen Gaming, they play very cool.

What country would you like to visit as part of LAN-tournament?

The United States. Doesn’t matter where exactly. Los Angeles, New York, Miami …

Share your thoughts on the Dota Pro Circuit format.

The fact that the top 12 goes to The International is appropriate. As for the Major and Minor tournaments, I would immediately invite the top 3 of the Major to the next Major tournament.

The best heroes on an offlane in this patch?

Beastmaster, Dark Seer and Pangolier.

What heroes would you buff or nerf?

I would nerf Mars or even remove him from the game. And I would buff Storm Spirit, Zeus, Queen of Pain and Shadow Fiend.

Would you be able to play the Carry position in official games?

I think so, yes, but would need some training.

Why not swap during the official matches with Crystallize?

We can do it, but we won’t be able to show our best, what we are really capable of. We need certain practicing to do, both me and Vlad, so that there is synergy with supports. But we will train it.

What can you say about the TEAM TEAM scandal?

In general, it is very sad for the guys, since one of the players bought tickets, booked a hotel for his parents. You spend your energy, you qualify for a Major tournament, it’s a shame.

Do you consider yourself as a tier 1 mid player?

I think not yet. I lack the skill and experience. But I’m close to that.

Which tournament was most memorable for you this season?

I think EPICENTER will be most remembered. This is the most important tournament, with the exception of The International.

Highlight your favorite talents.

I listen to Lex, Olsior, V1lat and CaspeRRR. Among the English speakers are ODPixel, TobiWan, SirActionSlacks, Redeye.

How do you like the idea of the OpenAI?

It’s cool. I do not quite understand the concept for what it is, but, in general, I would like to practice 1v1 on the midlane.

Would you like your own set for a hero?

Yes. For the Templar Assassin.

If the mid is taken in a pub game, what do you do?

Recently, this has not happened. And yes, I raised my MMR. If it happened in the past, I would just go to another lane.

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fitch: “Vertigo is very difficult for me”

Coming out victorious at DreamHack Open Rio de Janeiro 2019 boosted AVANGAR up the world rankings all the way to #14. Team’s veteran Bektiyar “fitch” Bahytov talked about their performance in Brazil and other events, as well as adapting to the new map in the rotation.

Mag: “You can’t just adapt and give the captain’s role to the new player”

Mag: “You can’t just adapt and give the captain’s role to the new player”

Natus Vincere bounced back after a crushing defeat at the DreamLeague Season 11 and took 3rd place at ESL One Mumbai last weekend, taking home $35,000 dollars. Andrey “Mag” Chipenko talked about their performance there.

The last few years in DOTA 2 were less than successful for the Ukrainian organization. Four-time The International attendees and three-time finalists NaVi find themselves desperate for top positions lately. The last win for the team was over 18 months — a first place finish at Adrenaline Cyber League. And even that was with a completely different lineup.

These days NaVi have a much younger, less experienced roster. According to team owners that was at least partly intentional — the players are still growing, but they are improving quickly.

At DreamLeague, however, NAVI suffered defeats against Evil Geniuses and Vici Gaming in the group stage and a crushing loss against Clinton “Fear” Loomis’ J.Storm in the Loser Bracket Round 1.

Last week’s ESL One Mumbai 2019 was meant to serve as a way for the CIS team to bounce back. Even though they started the event with a loss against Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao’s TEAM TEAM, they quickly came back with two straight wins against compLexity and TNC Predator.

After defeats against Mineski and Keen Gaming in the playoffs, Natus Vincere had to make do with a third-place finish at the Indian event. But considering recent performance, this could still be a great result for the team. In an interview with cybersport team’s coach Andrey “Mag” Chipenko talked about the event.

How do you like the tournament in India? Were there any concerns about the quality of the tournament?

Probably everyone had their concerns about the tournament but in reality, we got a sick hotel, there is very good cuisine, everything is organized well and comfortable. There are practice rooms in the hotel. There are no issues and everything is great. In my memory, this is one of the best hotels that has been provided for the tournament.

Did you manage to try something from the local cuisine?

I don’t really want to try the local cuisine. Even though I lived for two months in Malaysia, I don’t really like spicy food. At the tournament, we have some fresh delicious fruit. Personally, I eat here rice and fish.

There is also a swimming pool on the tenth floor. If you have free time, 15-20 minutes in the evening after the games or early in the morning you can just go there and chill out there.

Do the locals like Dota 2?

I can not speak on that yet, we haven’t gone anywhere. We will be at the venue only tomorrow, we’ll have an autograph session. It seems to me that there are quite a lot of Dota fans out there, and for them, this is a first major event.

How much did you manage to play with Mikhail “Misha” Agatov? Did you have a bootcamp before the tournament?

There was no bootcamp because the team just finished playing qualifications for the Minor (bootcamp was during the qualifiers), and there will be no bootcamp with a stand-in before another tournament — we had to rest.

We played online with Misha for about six days after qualifications. Had time to strategies some stuff. Evgenii “Chuvash” Makarov previously played with Misha for a quite some time in Comanche. So between the supports, there is a good synergy.

As a coach did you have to change strategies and picks because of a stand-in? Or did he adapt to the role of Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev and his duties on the map?

You can’t just adapt and take the captain’s role. Imagine that a player just comes in and takes the role of Puppey (laughs). But I can say that Misha was perfectly able to fit in our team in such a short period of time, and he was able to bring something of his own views.

The first days of online practice I tried drafting, then Misha volunteered. I decided to give him such an opportunity, and I, in turn, tried to advise and help. And watched how it would turn out.

Who makes calls in-game currently?

They all do calls themselves. Without Akbar, they began to take the initiative. At first, we didn’t do very well, but there is already some progress. During this time, we have improved the understanding of the game plan for the first 10-20 minutes, due to this it has become easier to play, we have a general understanding of what we want on the map at any given time.

What went wrong in the match against us TEAM TEAM?

We were leading by 5k in the first game, we could easily win with the Hex on the OD, we just performed poorly. There was a moment where we made a mistake in mid, and lost about 3 or 4k net worth advantage, after that, it was harder to play.

The main mistake was that one of the carries had to play more greedily, but we were playing an all-in build — one went for Hex and the other got Diffusal blade and Manta style. And when the enemy got BKB’s, we did not have enough damage. We did not have a clear plan for the game, we made a mistake and lost.

And in the second game?

In the second game, there were difficulties with Ember. We didn’t have any “catch”. We could only kill him with Doom’s Ult, we were not ready for this hero. Because according to Dotabuff they didn’t play much with Ember, but they took him at this tournament, and we faced some difficulties.

But we had a chance to win the game — to the point that we went on to the throne, but something somewhere didn’t add up, used our buttons poorly, we died without buybacks. If we would have used our skills better we would have killed the opponents and closed out the game.

We then analyzed these games, broke down our draft, made some changes, came to the next day and already played better.

What knowledge did you have about the opponent before approaching the game against Keen Gaming?

They have a 100% win rate with Dark seer, Disruptor and 90% with Doom. It all went from there. We understood that they were favorites. I initially considered them the main favorites of the tournament, because they entered the top 6 of the previous Major.

We surprised them in the first game. They did not expect Dark seer from us. We understood that if we didn’t take him as the first pick, they would most likely take him. They weren’t ready for that, and we managed to win the first game.

The second game we got outdrafted. We could have taken other heroes … and it was difficult to play, we got crushed.

In the last game, we had a good draft, but they managed to do better on the lanes, and so we faced some difficulties. But they didn’t have a hard carry. They have Tiny Ursa, Death Prophet — and so you know that they are on time limit.

They do not have a save for the DP — this is a huge weakness. And so DP is hitting the rax with the Cheese, we jump on her, and no one can save her. We killed her even before she managed to use Cheese. That’s when we started coming back.

The first game gave us confidence because it was a victory against a strong team. Everyone understood that this was a serious opponent, but thanks to the victory, the barrier was removed, and we realized that we can easily win this series.

What do you think about Mineski?

We played scrims vs them. In fact, what is there to say… It is my former team (laughs). Of those guys with whom I played with left only Michael “ninjaboogie” Ross. I caught up with him, chatted a bit. Mineski plays well. We still need to prepare for the drafts. I think we can win. We’ll see how it goes.

You had a few days rest before the finals began. How did you prepare?

We did not rest. We had an autograph session scheduled, and after that, we planned to play scrims in order to prepare as much as possible for the finals of the upper bracket. In practice matches, we only played against teams from Southeast Asia or against those teams that were there. In this regard, there weren’t many options.

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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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NaVi CEO: “Investments will be necessary in the future. Esports does not stand still”

NaVi CEO: “Investments will be necessary in the future. Esports does not stand still”

The man behind the Ukrainian NaVi, Yevgeny “HarisPilton” Zolotarev, talked in-depth about running an esports team, expanding into international waters, creating a winning team and remaining profitable in highly competitive esports scene.

Natus Vincere CEO also talked about the appointment of Andrey “B1ad3” Gorodenskiy to the role of esports director, the opening of the academy team, recent struggles of their Dota 2 team and much more.

Recently Andrey “B1ad3” Gorodenskiy joined for the role of esports director. How did this idea come to be?

Similar thoughts started long ago. We are quite familiar with Andrey, we even played on the same team, but somehow all this time we went parallel to each other. Nevertheless, we constantly communicated, shared opinions about CS and everything else.

I have always considered him an intelligent specialist, he has a good eye for young talents, a lot of experience on the professional stage: a player, a captain, a coach. His main advantage, unlike the other 90 percent of former esports athletes, that he has a high focus on the business component, he understands the development of the club as a business. I think he is very suitable for this role.

Previously, Na’Vi did not have such a position?

Not for the last 2.5 years, but even earlier I myself was in this position when Alexander “ZeroGravity” Kokhanovsky appointed me in 2016. I worked there for six months and then took the position of CEO, combining it with the esports director, and ZeroGravity went into inactivity.

The position can be called new, but it is necessary for large clubs. Team Liquid, for example, have several general managers at once, who have distributed disciplines and regions among themselves. Na’Vi, like any other multigaming, requires personnel enhancement as well.

He will only deal with Counter-Strike?

No, by all teams, it will include Dota 2. An esports director is a person who is responsible for all the compositions of an organization. Transfer policy, tournament schedule, bootcamp schedule and more.

I took Andrey as an experienced specialist to build a vertical search, training and education of players. As a general director, I still have operational work, finance, media and marketing, the rest went to B1ad3.

With his signing, you will also open a youth academy?

Yes, in the near future it will really appear. By this time, the market had matured, and our organization had matured, human and financial resources appeared to implement these plans. All other details will appear very soon in the official announcement.

I can only say that there will be many opportunities for young players. I really want to realize our accumulated experience in working with young people.

So talking about your Dota 2 team. One cannot help but wonder when you have a team as well supported as yours, where are the results?

The conditions are really good, but if the players did not work at the same time or if we had questions about their discipline, then we can say that the organization slacks off or something else. Speaking specifically about the composition of Dota 2 — the team has no disciplinary problems at all, the guys worked and continue to work with maximum commitment, even after defeats.

I cannot say that we are pleased with the results, but we see their return, they live on DotA and there are no problems inside the team. There are only game moments that we are trying to fix.

Nevertheless, there are positive things — some players six months ago were considered to be unknown to anyone, and during this time they were seriously tightened up from the point of view of the skill, the pool of heroes, the LAN experience and so on. I try to look for a positive in everything and we will continue to work for it.

Do you participate in the life of the team? Can you suggest something or express displeasure?

There is a manager, coach, captain and even an analyst who works with players remotely. For the last bootcamps, we have attracted such a person as a mental coach, with whom we plan to continue cooperation.

I am not competent enough in DotA to prompt guys. First of all, I appreciate the game as a fan, I can be dissatisfied, angry about why they made a pick for that hero and not for another, to draw conclusions based on the words of commentators or analysts. With my game level, I do not allow myself any in-game recommendations.

Na’Vi was among the first to announce the opening of a division in Apex Legends. Right now you already announced the signing of two Quake world champions — Cypher and clawz. What went into this decision?

There’re a lot of unknown moments, the game itself faces certain difficulties.

Regarding the region: in the case of Apex — this is still two players from the CIS. When we choose the composition, the criterion of the region is not in the first place. We are after the players that we want, everything else is secondary.

We will take players and look at what the publisher will do, how much their efforts will be directed to the development of the esports component of the discipline. In PUBG we are now seeing a big recession, for instance.

Are you disappointed in PUBG?

It is too early to talk about our position, but we have serious concerns. The start of a Major league cannot be called successful. As an average person, I don’t see sponsors, I don’t see any views, and at the same time I see high costs associated with moving the team to Berlin.

The failure in the results of the team are related to this?

To a lesser extent, the season has just begun, the first phase has ended. The results are unsuccessful, but there is time to correct them. The concerns are tied to the discipline itself.

After a very long break, you recently signed foreign players. What led to that decision?

Fortnite is definitely a western game, not popular in the CIS region. Rainbow Six Siege — we wanted both a competitive line-up and the team that has a slot in the ESL Pro League. In the CIS, there is no choice in this regard, there is only one team — Team Empire, which recently signed the guys and did not intend to sell.

And getting more foreign fans while at it?

Of course, we perfectly understand that it is necessary to improve monetization. Unfortunately, this is hard to do in the CIS region.

We do not intend to leave the CIS esports, here are our roots. We, like any other major multigaming, are just trying to increase our presence in other regions. For example, in Team Liquid, FaZe Clan and Ninjas in Pyjamas, the compositions for Rainbow Six Siege are Brazilians.

Recently we could see stagnation in tier 2 esports — fewer sponsors, less audience interest, fewer fans. Do you think it may have a negative impact on esports?

In order for sponsors to pay good money, you need to show good numbers: reach, audience, views or results.

Sponsors calculate ROI (return on investment) — clicks, transitions and everything else, the more videos you watch, comment, etc. the better you’re off.

NaVi right now has no such problem. From the point of view of the business model, Natus Vincere can be called an independent asset, and it can sustain itself right now, but one way or another, investments will be necessary in the future. Esports does not stand still.

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