The captain of the Gambit Esports Dota 2 team Artem “Fng” Barshak spoke about the confrontation with Team Secret in the grand final of ESL One Katowice 2019 and admitted that he expected defeat.

According to Barshak, before the start of the tournament he set the task for the team to get to the top 3 at the $300,000 event. The Russian team had a great start, even defeating the giants OG 2:0 in the group stage. Gambit lost only three maps out of ten in group A — twice against Team Secret and once against Forward Gaming.

In the playoffs, even though Fng’s team managed to secure wins against Fnatic and, once again, OG, they fell against Team Secret once again. 0:2 in the group stage, 0:2 in the winners final and 0:3 in the grand final — those were the results Gambit showed against Clement “Puppey” Ivanov’s Secret.

Gambit went back home taking a second place finish and $65,000 USD. And according to the team captain Artem Barshak, all things considered, that’s a great result.

Let’s start immediately with the results of the tournament. Second place — an excellent result. You’re happy?

My task was to get to the top 3. It seemed to me that we can definitely go to the top and defeat the first team there. But I understood perfectly well that it would be difficult to play against Secret, and I thought that Fnatic, Ninjas in Pyjamas, OG are teams that can defeat us.

What went wrong in the final?

In the grand final was the expected result. There were a lot of problems: starting with the basic mechanic in the lining and ending with some more difficult things. For example, the correct attacks on the towers or fights — how we pushed them, how they moved on the map…

Were you ready to face off against Team Secret?

After the group stage, when we played there with Team Secret, we got the impression that we were being toyed with. I, in principle, knew that Puppey likes to do that, but when you already feel it for yourself, you begin to think about it more and find ways to fight.

In the group it was that, conditionally, they took Lifestealer, we take Ursa, and from them this Nyx goes to a lower position, and to him comes some other hero who is potentially good against our strategy. Puppey likes to do something like that.

In the playoffs, Secret began to push even harder. They took adventage of the heroes who are good at this patch — in particular Viper. We also knew about that, the Viper is a potentially very cool hero. This was evident in the games at MDL Macau 2019. But due to the fact that we did not have time to practice with him and understand whether he suits us or not, we mostly ignored him. And after the games with Secret in the playoffs, we realized that Viper is somehow problematic.

By the end, we had a third idea: there is no point in trying to take what they have already seen from us. Everything that we did in the tournament, every draft — we completely abandoned it and invented three completely new ones. It turned out funny because, as it turned out, we took 15 different heroes. It came out absolutely spontaneously. But, as I said before, this is a very strong team, and you need to be strong in all aspects to defeat it. Starting from the draft and ending with laning, team fights, solutions in mid-game, late-game and so on.

In the final, you picked Naga Siren, which almost no one takes. Is that hero underestimated?

About Naga, I remember that we had two or three options. I’ve already forgotten what. Naga was just one of them. We knew that we’ll take Dark Seer, and Team Secret will take Anti-Mage. We decided that it could suit us.

The new Naga is pretty good against Anti-Mage, but on the condition that it has good networking, and AM has normal or lower. In fact, with Anti-Mage everything was perfect, with Naga worse than the average … And, accordingly, a logical outcome. But apart from that there were a bunch of other factors.

Nikita “Daxak” Kuzmin on the second map collected the Hand of Midas on Juggernaut. Is this a valid decision?

Actually, it seems to me that right now Midas on Juggernaut is one of the best artifacts. Because Battle Fury itself has become weaker: it costs 4 thousand gold, and you still need to farm after buying it. After buying a Midas, your ultimate becomes stronger at times. After that, you can buy another conditional Yasha, and then the hero turns out to be tempo, not greedy. Therefore, we liked Midas on Juggernaut very much.

Before the final, you confidently beat OG. With the advent of iLTW, this team has become stronger?

I would not say that we confidently beat them. Games really went the way we wanted, not OG. But they certainly were not easy, because OG had every chance to win the match if they played a little better.

As for Igor and OG … Frankly speaking, it is difficult for me to assess whether the team has become stronger. Because the results suggest that OG is now a bit stronger. At first they didn’t get out at all, then they went to the major, and now again to the minor, if I do not confuse anything.

Probably, with Igor, they look a little more interesting, because Pajkatt is the kind of guy who likes to customize the game around the team, so that people play the way they are comfortable with. And Igor is malleable and still young …

He will be asked: “Igor, what are your best heroes?” He will name ten heroes. And he will say: “Let me play this here.” And Igor will not say no. He will say: “Yes, it is easy.” Here in this spirit. Therefore, in this regard, OG has become stronger. But if we want to see OG in the top 3 majors, then this is not enough.

You have to play with her in the minor. Do you think this is the most serious rival of your team?

Honestly, I still have not checked who will play against whom in the minor. I’m not joking. As they say, you have to go step by step. We just returned from IEM, today is the first weekend for us in a long time after the bootcamp and the LAN tournament. Tomorrow I’ll probably see [the matchups].

But I suspect that, as always, there will be some strong Chinese team … If I’m not mistaken, there will be Vici Gaming.

Vici and Royal Never Give Up.

I have not seen, frankly, how the RNG plays. I think Vici will be a threat and potentially OG.

Is it fair to consider your team a Minor favorite after such a performance in Katowice?

Well, fair, I guess. Because, nevertheless, we beat the teams that reached the major and showed good results at the previous majors. And on the minor, even though we lost against EHOME with a score of 1: 3, I would not say that we looked like whipping boys.

Well, we also add the tournament from WePlay, which we won online. Therefore, yes, I would say that we are favorites. But Vici are favorites as well.

And OG behind you?

It’s just always very difficult to evaluate Chinese teams. Here, if I knew the power of the Chinese teams clearly, I would say, but it seems to me that this will be Vici, we and OG are in the top four.

What is the goal for the team for the rest of this season? Participate in all the remaining majors, earn a slot at TI?

– It is obvious that the slot in The International is the task for any team. It is silly to say: “We want to win every tournament”, or something like that. Yet “International” is “International.” You always want to get there.

But now the team is in such a state that everyone wants to play in all tournaments, where it is possible and reasonable. Accordingly, we want to win every tournament we play.

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