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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Resolut1on: “After DreamLeague, my belief in the team and in myself began to disappear”

Resolut1on: “After DreamLeague, my belief in the team and in myself began to disappear”

Roman “Resolut1on” Fominok said that due to frequent defeats and underwhelming results he lost confidence in himself and in the team. A disappointing 16th place finish at the latest DreamLeague Major was a final blow for the team.

Forward Gaming lost to Ninjas in Pajamas in the first round of the lower bracket of the DreamLeague Major and left the championship. The team took 13-16 place and earned $10,000 US dollars and 75 points Dota Pro Circuit points.

In an interview with RuHub, Fominok also explained why he performs better at The International, and also why Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Arora moved to the fourth position in Forward Gaming.

About Forward Gaming Issues

“As the team thought, we had a problem in three cores that we do not stack. Three greedy cores, and no one makes space. It was one of the ways to solve this problem — we changed MSS and UNiVeRsE. UNiVeRsE is such a backline player: when someone goes forward for his sake, he can give all his spells perfectly, and the Quartet in this patch is more conducive to his style.

It was the idea of SVG, everyone supported her, it was interesting for everyone to try. Plus, this is something new — it will give a fresh breath of air to the team. Everything was good initially. And MSS feels pretty confident on offlane, and UNiVeRsE quickly caught up to it. But again something is missing, the problem with the synergy in the team. “

About his personal form

“I’ve already tried everything. I played all those greedy morphs, I played on DK, CK, Ursa. Everything I need I can do for the team. <…> What will happen next is not yet clear.

Honestly, at the end of this tournament, I began to lose faith in the team and in myself. This series of defeats is huge: you no longer understand what is working, what is not working; what characters we can play, what we should avoid. I need this faith in the game now to find me again. I will work on it.”

About preparing for tournaments

“I cannot physically and mentally prepare for each tournament in the same way as I prepare for The International. Then I just close in the game and do not go anywhere. I’m in the bootcamp for a whole month — and then we can roll. I can’t do the same for every tournament, because I’ll burn out at some point.

I made this approach to this tournament, played 16 games a day to [be the best]. I was dead tired of the last place finish in each tournament. I wanted to change something. Now I feel very shaken. I need to find my play style again, find how to play with the team. We need to deal with this somehow.”

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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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Armel: “We didn’t qualify for the Major, so we wanted to prove ourselves here”

Armel: “We didn’t qualify for the Major, so we wanted to prove ourselves here”

After TNC claimed the trophy of WESG 2018, Armel Paul “Armel” Tabios talked about the problems that the team had before the tournament and preparation for it, as well as his plans on how he is going to spend his part of the prize money.

The 19-year-old told carry for the team, defeated China’s Keen Gaming in the grand final, grabbing the lion’s share of the $890,000 USD prize pool.

On their way to the final, TNC Predator overcame one of the favorites and last year winners White-Off — a Russian team built around four Virtus.pro members. Although few tier 1 teams chose to attend the event it proved to be great showcase of things to come for TNC.

After their victory, Armel talked about the importance of this title for the team and what a victory on the international stage means for the players.

What is your mood just right now after taking the WESG trophy?

It’s amazing. When we came to this tournament we had a good practice, even with two days of practice with our new offlaner. Overall, we played very well on scrims and had a good feeling before the event.

How hard was it to adapt to Raven as he was a third position player?

It wasn’t that hard. We all played together before, so we know the way he thinks and plays. He needed to adjust a little bit. For him, it’s pretty much the same, but now he is the player who creates the space and not the one who uses it.

Describe your attitude to WESG as a tournament.

This season of WESG is a good tournament. Obviously, it’s not a DPC event, but for us this tournament was important.

Was it all is just about the money?

For me personally, it’s not only about the money. I just want to win against tier-1 teams because we didn’t qualify for The Stockholm Major, so we wanted to prove ourselves here and redeem our confidence. We had a rough time, we were a bad team, and this tournament is the best practice for us. And now, we gained our confidence back and I believe that we will play better on the next Major’s qualifiers. We don’t have a problem with our gaming performance, it’s all about our mentality.

You were one of the favorites here in Chongqing. It’s quite unusual for you, doesn’t it?

We don’t pay much attention to it. Moreover, we didn’t see us as favorites because there were so many strong teams like EHOME and Virtus.pro, who were the defending champions.

By the way, Valve recently released a new update. What do you think about it?

To be honest with you, when it was just released, we thought that Kunkka is a dead hero. But after we used him a few times on practice, we found out that he’s almost as good as he was before despite his power on a lane stage is nerfed now.

During the playoffs, Keen Gaming showed that even Vengeful Spirit can be used as a carry. So maybe the current meta is a bit more flexible?

Well, I think that they just saw how Team Secret used it during ESL One Katowice 2019 and just copied the draft. In my mind, the meta is pretty much the same now.

Your strongest opponent of the whole tournament?

White-off. They are playing like a tier-1 team in many ways. Before the final, I supposed that Team Ukraine would beat Keen Gaming, but the Chinese team showed confidence in drafts and game decisions. And we have to remember that KG qualified to the Major, so we couldn’t underestimate them.

I was surprised by the fact of how many people from the SEA region are rooting for you. Did you feel the pressure of responsibility?

We didn’t feel any pressure. Like at all. Before the tournament, we had issues with our confidence. And all our problems have gone so far. Now, we are just happy.

How will you spend your prize money?

I haven’t made plans for it yet. But for such a huge amount of money, you can buy anything! To be honest, I will most likely buy a car.

Speaking about the SEA scene, it looks like that Fnatic is on a much higher level comparing to all the other teams from the region. Why is that so?

It’s all about IceIceIce, man! He’s too good. When he joins a team, that team always starts to dominate the region. It happened that year with Mineski, it’s happening this year with Fnatic. Obviously, they have some good players, but so we do. So for me, IceIceIce is too good.

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7ckngMad: “Of course Ana will return to OG”

7ckngMad: “Of course Ana will return to OG”

OG’s Sébastien “7ckngMad” Debs talked about the current meta, the Starladder ImbaTV Minor, their new teammate iLTW, and the return of Anatan “ana” Pham to the squad.

Starladder proved to be another underwhelming event for OG. The team fell in the group stage after two straight losses against the Russian Old But Gold lineup. Even though they managed to win against China’s Royal Never Give Up, their overall performance was less than stellar.

One of the possible explanations may be that team’s newest addition, the young Igor “iLTW” Filatov wasn’t allowed in Ukraine following the geopolitical situation between Ukraine and Russia. Thankfully, iLTW was allowed to play for the team from his home, under the supervision of Starladder admin.

Sébastien “7ckngMad” Debs talked about the event and his teammates in the interview.

Let’s start with the most important topic at the moment: iLTW was not allowed into Ukraine. What was your plan for that?

The tournament organizers said that iLTW will be able to play online under the supervision of a StarLadder judge so that he does not break any rules. That was the only option that we had.

Have you ever thought of playing with a coach?

No, we wanted to play with iLTW.

Players from the CIS rarely perform in European teams. Only Resolut1on can be called an exception. Why did you invite iLTW and what do you think about his potential in top teams?

With iLTW, I played a lot in matchmaking and noticed that he is very good. He perfectly shows himself in the micro. I would say that he has talent. Therefore, we remembered him almost immediately [when we needed a carry]. ILTW has huge potential — he works a lot and approaches the game very seriously and professionally.

In addition, he has the motivation to win. In many ways, he reminds us of ourselves when we were just starting our career in DotA. He has the motivation and talent — everything you need to become the best. I think he is waiting for great success in this discipline.

I just have to ask you about Ana. Many sources reported that he is returning to OG. Can you comment on these rumors?

Of course Ana will return to OG. He did not finish his career but only took a break. Such rumors constantly appear.

That is, he will return to OG?

Yes, of course.

Let’s talk about the Minor. Many analysts considered OG, if not the main contender to win, then certainly one of the favorites. What other teams, in your opinion, are included in this list?

I think Vici Gaming and Gambit Esports were definitely favorites of this tournament. In fact, there were many strong teams here. For example, the RNG is also a very dangerous opponent.

In general, “DotA” teaches that in any tournament each opponent must be approached seriously. Therefore, no matter who comes against you, you have to act as always and do your best. The team looks not only at the favorites.

What do you think about the current patch 7.21c?

In general, this is a good update. The developers balanced some of the characters, but I didn’t like some changes. I do not understand why they strengthened Meepo. I think he was so good. For some reason, they improved it again. I love it when developers make characters balanced, and not reinforce only one side of it. If the hero is good only in a single situation, it will be impossible to use it in other cases.

The rest of the patch is very good. I liked that the developers had finally begun to change the system of denying. Look at how “DotA” has changed, when they stopped giving a lot of experience for selected creeps. Perhaps Valve still has to balance the sides — now the percentage of victories for the Radiant is slightly higher. Of course, this is not such a big problem, but, in my opinion, the winrate should be as close as possible to 50 to 50%.

What do you think of Mars? Already managed to play on it?

I have not yet taken Mars in matchmaking. Just tested it in training mode. Very funny and simple character with interesting abilities. In general, he did not seem to me too strong, but I always say this about new heroes. I think in a month everything will change. But for me now, he doesn’t look like a character from DotA — the hero’s model doesn’t really fit into this game, but on the whole it’s an interesting idea.

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9pasha: “The group stage will be difficult for all the teams”

9pasha: “The group stage will be difficult for all the teams”

World Electronic Sports Games 2018 start today and the battle for $890,000 USD begins. Defending champion Pavel “9pasha” Khvastunov returns with White-Off, but this time the climb will be much harder, he says.

White-Off consists of four Virtus Pro players — Pavel “9pasha” Khvastunov, Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev, Vladimir “RodjER” Nikogosyan, and Alexei “Solo” Berezin, as well as team’s coach Arsenij “ArsZeeqq” Usov. Joining them will be Gambit’s Andrey “Afoninje” Afonin.

Last year 9pasha’s Team Russia won $800,000 after defeating Brazil’s paiN Gaming in the grand final. That time they played with Igor “iLTW” Filatov, who now plays for OG.

In an interview Pavel “9pasha” Khvastunov talked about WESG, growing prize pools, arrogant players and the new hero Mars.

You are defending the WESG champion title. Does it affect your attitude to the tournament?

No, absolutely not. We came here only because we wanted to be here. And the fact that we are defending the title of last year’s champions doesn’t mean anything for us. We came to play Dota and represent the country.

You played with iLTW last year, this year you play with Afoninje. Can you compare the play styles of these players?

Now, Igor is playing in OG. He is a star! He is arrogant now, it is impossible to talk to him, he deleted everyone from contacts and does not respond to messages on the phone. And you can only contact him through a lawyer. He is a closed young man.

The previous year at WESG, you wore a funny uniform. Should your fans expect anything unusual?

I would like to, but we have not planned anything like that. We still have a cool form, but my form, if I may say so, has broken. I will be without it, that is very sad, but nothing terrible. I will not spoil it — we have a very cool, stylish uniform.

Who is your main opponent in this tournament?

It is difficult to say … Maybe EHOME? In general, here is a Chinese team that consists of five pretty strong players. I do not remember their exact names, but we’ve discussed it several times with the team.

What do you think about the participant list for this year compared to the previous one? A couple of strong Chinese teams have joined the competition.

People finally understood what WESG is. It’s just that when people came to WESG for the first time and got a lot of money, and they were paid, everyone thought it was just luck. When the same thing happened for the second time, then everyone understood that it was not luck. By the third WESG, everyone realized how much money can be earned here, and that “the money has a 100% win rate.” So now, it will be difficult to win, but we came here to fight for respect.

How did you prepare for the tournament?

We have essentially the same team Virtus.pro with one replacement, Afoninje. We haven’t played with him until today, but we understand what kind of player he is, what he is capable of, for all that we are watching him. With his team, Gambit, we both train and play official matches, so we have an idea of what he is made of. Therefore, we will cope with everything.

No[o]ne is a part of Team Ukraine at the tournament. Does it make your potential match more expected and principled?

I think Team Ukraine will not manage to pass through the group stage… Their group is very dangerous, which is the first reason. And secondly, you know, as they say, the one who is the most arrogant is the first to be knocked out. And they are the most arrogant. Well, they will cook for us some nuddles (laughing).

What do you think about Group A. And what about your own?

I took a look at them and I can say that it will be hard too. Generally, the group stage will be difficult for all the teams because only two teams can reach the Playoffs. That is what makes all the matches more hyped.

What do you think about the updated tournament system?

I’m not quite sure that I can definitely evaluate it. In fact, if you lose one Bo2 you are already in a risk zone. Therefore, it will be hard.

Let’s discuss the latest updates in Dota 2. How much do you think the game has changed?

Kunkka as a mid-hero is now very bad. Previously, he had a big advantage due to the fact that he could deny the creeps with Tidebringer. Now he cannot do it, so he immediately became a bad hero. Not even that bad… Rather not as dominant as before.

Midas is now an item that you do not want to buy for supports. You need to understand that the item is so popular because of the experience bonus, and not because of the gold. I wouldn’t pay attention to attack speed.

Have you already tried Mars in a ranked match?

So far, I’ve only played one ranked match. And one guy who played on him was just bad. But on the other hand, the abilities of the hero are very cool. It seems to me that in the future he will take the role of the third or fourth position in professional games. I don’t think he can be a mid-hero or carry.

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