Extensive interview with ArtStyle
The captain of our Dota 2 division, Ivan "ArtStyle" Antonov, sat down with us during the Christmas holidays for an extensive interview. He talked us through topics like current situation of Na’Vi’s Dota team and the importance of a coaching. ArtStyle also gave us an overview of the CIS situation with special attention given to the new talented players and teams that he feels like have proven themselves in the last year. He even has shed some light on many situations that are usually hidden from non-players - for example, his widely discussed Shallow Grave at TI5. Check out the video interview in Russian and the complete transcription in English down below!
— Hello, my friends, it's New Year’s Eve and now I'm in my hometown of Kharkiv, at Vanya's place. We have a very special background - we've chosen it for a purpose. So, here with me is Captain Jack Sparrow, I am Santa Claus, and we will discuss very interesting topics. Vanya, how are you?
— Good evening, I'm fine. Everything's alright.
— You know, I think it's time to sum up this year, make plans for next year and everything like that. You had a really interesting year. On one hand it was good: you came back at pro scene and… Well, I want to hear from you - how was this year for you?
— Yes, this year was really difficult, but at the same time simple and unusual. This year I came back in Dota, in Na`Vi, then I disappeared from Na`Vi.
— You had quite a journey...
— Yes, but then I returned to Na`Vi, but even without Na`Vi, this year was full of unusual events. I mean, there were both good and bad things. This year will be remembered, but I don't know whether in a good or a bad way. But I hope next year will be very good for me.
— Anyway it's probably a step forward for you...
— Yes, of course. I move forward, there is a kind of action, it's already good. That's how it is.
— Now you are back in Na`Vi, you played for 2 months, tried to build a team… Well, you gave a small interview to navi-gaming.com, where you said you tried to create your own team, but something went wrong. Can you elaborate on what happened there? You said you wanted to bring some new players in...
— Oh yes, I remember now... I didn't really try to create a new team. I played with SFZ, trying to develop new talents. It was my main goal. I mean I went there to look for some players. There was an idea to create Na`Vi Juniors, which got everyone hyped. But in reality...
— What did you want?
— I really wanted to gather some young talented guys, because Dota nowadays… I can compare Dota and CS: in CS very few young talents appeared recently and in general the CS scene consists of 5-6 top teams. In Dota nowadays, absolutely any team can beat any other team. No one, not even EG or Secret or Chinese teams, have a 100% certainty of winning. Every one has its weak spots, so I wanted to find very good young players to try with them. I could find 5 really good players - can I tell about it?
— Yes, yes, of course.
— General is a very cool guy. Ax.Mo has proven himself during my research. It wasn't for Na`Vi in particular, but I saw those guys and they were really good. Shadow is good as a captain - the way he sees the game makes him very unique. Also there were a lot of good guys, like Iceberg and Ramzes. Those are young talents who will shine in the near future, and they will be Dota stars. Even considering the poor example of MMR, they are among the top there and they are really worthy. They are really strong, but the problem is to combine them, their characters. Because they are young, they have their own behaviors and interests. It's hard to bring them together and say that they are a team now, because they will pressure each other and argue and stuff.
— Sorry, roughly speaking, could a team tag save them?
— I mean if we would take them in Na`Vi organization… a team tag and a competent person who can unite them would've saved them. When I was fighting for those guys, like Iceberg and Ramzes, Fly who played in Na`Vi and Goblak turned to them in the right time. Together they united those guys, and they are really experienced guys... I mean Goblak and Fly, they can control those guys and form a really strong team. Team Spirit will be a very strong team, however I don't quite understand General's role, because he joined a team with a captain, but they don't have an organization behind them. I don't know what to say… It's not like they don't have a captain, they do: sQreen is a decent captain, but the problem is that almost all of them are impulsive. Recently Illidan joined the team; he's a very good carry. They've gathered really great and good players. But honestly, I can't quite understand how they can play together as a team.
Talking about myself, maybe I can allow some mistakes to happen, maybe I'm not playing that well, but nonetheless, you can build a team along with me. I understand how it works and how the team should play. I don't really care who the players will be. I think that the most important thing is the team, not some solo player with a bunch of MMR points who can kill everyone. It should be a team, first of all. I don't know, it's been proved by ppd: Sumail has never had 8k. He had 6k or so, but he made a superstar out of him. They started to play really great along with him. Elements are really good players individually, but something doesn't combine them together. I consider Team Spirit as a strong team, but with Goblak and Fly, they'll forge a team out of them.
— Do you think that the future belongs to the young players?
— This happens everywhere, anyway. If we rename 'eSports' as a real sport, a new sport always comes to replace the old one. And there's the same analogy in eSports, when the old players will have to go, that's a common thing. And the young players will come instead, and they'll need a good coach and a psychologist. Let me explain why. Because when a 15 year old guy beats anyone, but he can't find a common ground with the team and he can't communicate with them, he'll most likely get kicked.
— Okay, I got it. What do you think about the new patch? Do you like it?
More yes than no. There're tons of imba stuff - everyone has already figured that out. Practically all the teams have adapted to these things. There are imba items which increase attack range of the heroes; both physical and magic range, they are really imbalanced items, as it was when Glimmer Cape was added to the game. It really spoils the game a little bit, but in fact the patch is very interesting; it allows you to play a fast Dota. I like it.
— How can the patch affect the balance of power in eSports? EG were the best on the previous patch. What will change with the new patch?
— Basically the same teams will remain in the top. The problem is that almost all the Chinese teams got a coach and a young squad of rising stars. They take them under their wing and provide them assistance. As concerns our teams, basically all the same teams will keep their level of play and continue to play well. The patch won't change much of anything, even now, judging by our training. We've just finished the game against Vega… any team can beat any other team. Nothing changes, the patch will not change anything, everything will remain the same. The same experienced professional players with a teamplay, they'll still play well. If a team doesn't disband, they'll be fine. And I doubt that some team will start to dominate all of a sudden. Almost all the teams that are stepping up, such as TeamSpirit, Elements, Prodota - they're gradually reaching synergy and teamwork. And they'll rock anyway. However, I think there won't be any surprises and everything will go smoothly.
— Do you like today's competitive scene? I mean in CIS Dota, there were only 3 teams in the scene: Na`Vi, VP, Empire... and Vega as well, I'm sorry. There are already Team Spirit, Prodota and a bunch of other teams that can really compete at the top level.
— Arcade is a very strong team by the way, ex PR.
— Why is this happening? What's the reason, do you think?
— All this happened because of the reshuffle. Before the first Major, all the teams added two young players as substitutes into their rosters, just in case something happened. And after some time, those players figured out how things worked, possibly sat on Skype with the team - I know some of those who sat on Skype with VP. So they saw how the team communicates, makes decisions, how the game goes, and they began to play the same way and copy them. And they can perform decently. In fact I can't say that Dota is easier than CS. But the experience in CS really matters, it's all about the experience. The shooting is also very important, but the experience… Let's take our team. Dania and Vania, my Kharkiv friends, whom I've known for over 10 years, we were in same school together.
— You're talking about Zeus and Edward?
— Yes, they still play at the highest level and now they almost win first places. I watched their last final against Fnatic. They should've beaten them. Literally one round... something went wrong, but they still rock despite their age. There're only 6 top tier teams in the scene, and even if some team appears, it will only be a matter of time before this team fades away. In Dota everything goes the other way around. Valve gives an opportunity for absolutely any team to qualify for the Major. It can be Team Spirit or Elements, two teams from the CIS region.
— There was a team from South America.
— Yes, Vega and us can fail. Any team has a chance, if they try their best and they understand what's at stake, and they understand that the organizers and the owners of Dota give them an opportunity. They take that chance and they do the right thing. There's a lot of young and talented players, and I can't say that they are selected by MMR. It's all about their desire to play. I've recently started actively playing pubs; I've never played solo MMR before, only party MMR. So I started to play and I've noticed a lot of talented players who play very well - not only in CIS, all over the Europe. They can really compete with any of the top tier players. One day everything will change, the question is only - when? And will they be able to cope with their issues? I'll tell you a small inside tip now - at TI, after a loss I went outside for a smoke with Vega players: there was Pasha and other guys, so I noticed that they still remained a team, and they're indeed a team. They lost the Wild Card in a shameful way. They knew they had to win, but they still remained as a team, and after that I said to everyone that they'll win a tournament if they stay together, and they did.
— They won ESL.
— Yes, and until now they're still playing together and are a very good team. Hopefully they won't disband, otherwise it will be a very big mistake for them.
— It turns out that the most important thing is to remain a team?
— The most important thing is the team, teamwork and so on. Even a super high-skilled player won't be able to beat a team. That's a fact. You still have to play CW together with your team. Understanding of Dota in RMM games is a good thing. When you can press all the buttons, know all the timings and so on, that's really good. However, teamwork is the most important thing.
— What about your team? At what stage are you?
— Honestly, we are doing quite poorly. On the one hand we're kind of winning... I don't see much of our problems: we can beat OG and Vega and all the rest. And we can beat them at CW, but I don't feel confident about our teamwork, and I think that the guys will agree with me. We lack that edge when we start to trust each other. Akbar makes a lot of in-game calls, as well as me. Dendi also makes suggestions and DityaRa. Everyone suggests something, but someone refuses to go or misunderstands… Just a simple misunderstanding.
— How do you fix it? Maybe some psychological aspects?
— No, misunderstanding can be fixed by gaining the experience of playing together. Our current experience of playing together is 3-4 games at SLTV and 3 games at BTS cup. Everything else is CWs. I'll tell how it goes: our opponents write gg at the 15 minute mark, even without losing a single lane of barracks.
— It means that you win CWs?
— Yes, we do. Enemies write gg at the 15 minute mark, even with the raxes still standing. We don't have the experience to finish the game. We win the lane phase, people write gg and that's it. And we have the same problem in the official games. We kind of dominated early game, so type gg already, what are you doing?! But they still continue to play, so what do we do with them?
— Wait, Vania, that's quite problematic. To be able to practice finishing games you have to qualify for LAN finals, but...
— We didn't really have a lot of chances to qualify for LAN finals. When we got together, the only LAN we had a chance to qualify for was Starladder. Unfortunately, we had to play against very tough opponents, such as OG, Secret and Liquid.
— Nonetheless, you won against OG.
— Yes. And Alliance by the way, who a month later went to China and won a tournament. We had really tough opponents. We didn't manage to win against them. We were fighting and trying our best, but we failed. Fortunately, we got an invite. And now we'll try to prove one more time what we are capable of. But at that moment, we were really trying very hard. Now that we're playing against CIS teams, we're doing better, more or less. But once again, I'm saying that as of now. Any team can bring some troubles to any other team. Okay, it might not work out in Bo3. In Bo3 probably more experienced and more cohesive team must win, but if it is Bo1...
— It's a roulette game then.
— It sounds kinda pompous... well, okay, a roulette. So be it.
— Okay. Alliance got back to their old roster, what can you say about them? Will they rock?
— I'm very happy for Alliance.
— Why so?
— We lost to them at Starladder. We beat OG but lost to Alliance. We thought: "What the hell happened to us?" We just had to beat Alliance and we would've qualified for Starladder. We thought: “what went wrong,” but then a month later they went to China and even with a sick S4, they managed to win a tournament. They are really a very good and experienced team. They simply got back to 2013. They've remembered how to play together as a team. I don't know why they parted ways, but that was a mistake. Everybody knows it now, because they just disappeared after that. That was a crucial mistake. Now they've gotten together again, and it feels that everyone supports each other. They are able to understand each other's calls at once. They almost do not allow mistakes to happen. S4 doesn't even have to play a strong hero at the midlane. He can play any support hero, such as Puck, Batrider etc. that's not even carry. He just needs to drag someone in and his team will finish the job. They are really a very experienced and a good team. I'm very happy for them. They've found their game and I wish them not to lose it anymore. Don't quarrel with EGM or Bulldog. Don't think that there's someone better than them. I don't know, maybe when they won TI they thought: "We are gods: let's replace someone and we'll be even better," but that was a complete mistake. They're a very strong and a very good team now. I don't know... they shouldn't have done that.
I'd recommend the same thing to Vega. I hope they'll see it after the Major… even if they fail to qualify for the Major, because most likely they'll have to play the qualifiers, don't disband guys. They'll just bring chaos and it won't lead to good results. They need to stay together. More likely, they'll win the qualifier and go further. But they will not have that moment, when they were about to disband, but they didn't do it. They will not have that choice whether they should disband or not. They still have to think that they are a very strong and a very good team and they will succeed.
— Okay. A while ago, VirtusPro made a replacement.
— VP are also very strong guys. They all are good. I can't say that the replacement was crucial. Illidan for me was a very good player, as well as Silent, maybe with a little different play style. They played together for a long time. Maybe they got bored of something and something needed to be changed, not in order to become better, but probably just to change the atmosphere within the team. Illidan and Silent both are players of the same level. I almost said of a different level, but I said of the same, huh? That's right, of the same level.
— Yeah, I got it.
They are really top CIS carry players. It doesn't make sense to switch one to another, they just wanted to change the atmosphere. They did it. They got a new morale boost and with fresh blood, who told them: "Guys, let's smash them all." They're crushing everyone. But when the atmosphere becomes boring, they don't talk to each other and get bored: "What’s up dude? - Meh...nothing." I can't say that Illidan is weaker than Silent, or Silent is stronger than Illidan. they are equal players. Just the atmosphere. Sometimes it can be changed.
— But how? Do you know how to do it, Vania?
They have changed a player, but the atmosphere in terms of morale... Easy!
— How do you change it? Do you have some method?
— It hasn't happened with me yet, because when we played everything did work out well for us, but then all of sudden it stopped working. Haven't had such moments when everything goes well and stable so I just get bored and want to change something.
— Recently, I interviewed Ugin and he said that you are a more experienced and mature player. You are able to find a common ground with everyone and you're more flexible in this regard. How do you see yourself?
— He probably thinks that way of me because at TI I walked along the promenade with him and Dendi and we discussed what was going on, how to put up with it and we asked him to help us to fix it. There was a breakdown within the team at TI and with his help we tried to find out what was the problem. He explained us that the problem is not among the players, the problem is that we play together and we are afraid of losing. I'm sure he told you about the way of the warrior and so on. And it really is, I agree with him. And not because I'm old or more experienced, I just always try to listen to the talented people around me. If someone says to me that it should be done this way and this is the right way, I have no reason to think otherwise. I don't have such thoughts as "I should doubt his words", I will always support him and certainly it will always be the right decision, because there will already be two of us to fight for this idea. If I go against him we will be one on one and we'll have to ask other guys: "Dendi, DityaRa whose side are you on?" But as long as we're together everything's gonna be alright. As concerning Akbar, there's nothing to discuss, at the moment he is one of the most talented players. This is confirmed by the facts, his current game shape, statistics and his past. He's a very young guy who understands the game very well. Perhaps, he shouldn't be distracted by some common in-game moments, better let him show his best game, rather than doing the job...
— Job of the captain?
— No, not of the captain, just some small calls. Akbar gives a lot of important calls.
— By the calls you mean some actions, like: "Let's go there guys"?
— Yes, roughly speaking. Akbar makes a lot of important calls, as well as I, Dendi, DityaRa and sometimes Ax.Mo. We all do the calls and it affects the whole outcome of the game. When the team rises to that level where other players will follow the calls without doubt… Currently we have fifty-fifty: "Let's go?" - "Nope" - "Okay then..." That's how it goes. When everything is done automatically, then everything will be fine. And it doesn't matter who'll be a captain, supports, carry or midlaner. If everything is done this way, it will allow, for example, S4 to play at mid on the support heroes, Core can be left alone at the hardlane, on a Tiny, for example. But as a result, he will be a core. Brewmaster can be a carry, but at the beginning he'll just run around, do some action and assist his core player at the hard lane. All the tactical calls and draft decisions should be made teamwise. When the whole team understands what do they want exactly and what they practiced, then this team is really good. The way how OG suddenly started to dominate, it took them 3 months to build up a team, they made almost 100% win streak at every tournament they participated. They made it to the Major, lost only 2 games to Vega by the way, and won the tournament in the end. That was done due to their teamwork - Miracle was playing both mid and easy lane, as well as Notail on a Meepo at the mid and Brew at the easy lane, that's a great example of teamwork. They have a really huge hero-pool, Moonmeander can play on a support hero or on a Sven, for example. And eventually, Sven from the hard lane will be a carry. They had realized it just in time and due to that they won the whole tournament.
Secret are more primitive in this respect. They don't do it this way… No, I mean surely they're high-level players, they can switch positions, but their original idea is kinda straightforward. We've a carry at easy lane, possibly at the hard line, but with trilane we've a midlaner on semi-carry heroes and hardlaner on support heroes, either Slardar or Tuskar played by Misery. OG are more versatile, Notail can play basically any carry hero. Team trusts each other, their hardlaner can transit to a main carry, it's been proved more than once by Moonmeander.
— Yeah, it sounds great, but you know... it looks kinda like amateurism: "I can go here, I can go there". Maybe we need some regularity?
— That's actually the point. How can you beat your opponent team in CS? You need good tactics, great aim and ability to read your opponent. If you read their movements and so on - I won't go into details, I'm not a pro in CS, but I understand the game. In Dota everything goes different way. You have first team and second team, here 5 people use their brain and there as well. Where will you find a weak player? That one which is worse at pressing buttons? There're heroes where you don't even need to press the buttons. Everything is based on how your team game is built. You always have to respect your enemy. This is the main mistake, Vega learned it at TI and they don't allow it anymore. Like: "We don't even care about these Koreans, what can they do?" But Koreans won and eliminated Vega from Wild Card, after that they realized that they have to respect any opponent and they started playing better. Every team thinks, every team has their own idea and thus they can beat you, you should always be careful and cautious. Don't allow yourself to think that you're the best or you're just cool. That's not true. You are always weaker, you should fight all the way through out of it. You were put in a bad situation and somehow you need to get out of this. It's the most important thought and only then you can win.
— I do really like your theory overall. There was an announcement a while ago - Na`Vi are looking for a team coach and analyst. Whose initiative was this?
— This was completely Zero's idea. Management as well and a little bit with my help. When I was searching for the junior squad I told Zero: "You don't understand, we need a coach, new roster and so on, we need masseurs, can't play without them"
— Are you joking?
— No, I was serious. Dota grows to another level. And it really is, every year the game grows unreally fast. And you need to be one step ahead of your enemy. But you can't be one step ahead just because of some in-game moments. Everyone tries to play and do his best, I'm also trying. I play Dota every day, I try to win. Maybe I lack something in some moments, but I still try. My goal is not lose, the only thing I wish is to win anyway. The only thing that can affect the game of those 10 people who try to win is external factors. Unnecessary tactic, statistics, moments when we can learn our opponent, I don't know anyone who wants to lose.
— Yeah, very unlikely that anyone wants to lose.
— Indeed, everyone wants to win anyway. So maybe some external factors can affect the game, so why not to arm ourselves. If there's an opportunity, let's arm ourselves with these factors. Maybe some diet will help and our brain will work better, how do we know?
— Those who take something from the real sport are indeed one step ahead. Coaches, nutritionists, this is all very important. Okay, who would fit the coach role in the CIS region? Former player or some no name, I really have no idea how the guys will play.
— Coach should be a very experienced player, analyst... it's all about statistics, I think it's a bit different.
— Vania, I'm sorry. I played one year in female team, am I an experienced player or not?
— You don't have the experience that only a really experienced player is able to have. There're very few of experienced players or captains, I can name all of them. I can also name those who don't fit this role.
— Yes, so who could it be then?
— I'll tell you. Honestly, I can name them: NS, LoH, Ars-Art… For the coach role. Probably a few of the analysts - I won't name Goblak, cause he's doing quite well with his team at the moment. And maybe he'll beat us in the near future. I won't name those players, because they're not forgotten yet and they can start playing again.
— Can it be someone from the Pro series?
— Be a coach? Very unlikely. There goes another thing, most likely players won't listen to him. I'll explain you why.
— He doesn't have authority.
— It's not about authority, imagine: I come to a new team with 5 new people. Not Na`Vi, just 5 new people. And I start to tell them something as a captain and they don't listen to me.
— Well, yes.
— It is also absurd, isn't it? Perhaps, it can be a new guy. But players won't listen to him, not because he hadn't proved himself yet, but because at the moment… We just finished our game, we understand why we lost it, but then a guy comes in and says: "You lost the game because you didn't pick Venomancer" So we'll think: "Are you stupid? What Venomancer..." But that's not the point, the point is that he needs to… Perhaps it's our CIS mentality, but this should be a person whom we know well enough and who had proved himself trustworthy. I'll listen to any pro player from Empire, VP and so on. If one of them would be our coach, I would listen to him, because he understands what's needed to be done at the moment. Any player.
— There're very few of them.
— I mean any player from those teams, there're a lot of them. Like 20. Pick up a player from any of those team, who'll help you to win, then I will understand that his advice is really worthy, because he understands what needs to be done. There are no bad players at the moment. Everyone tries to grab some top places anyway - at TI, at Major or at any other tournament. Everyone tries his best and everyone has his own point of view. But you need to respect every point of view, because everyone tries his best. You can't say: "You can't play this game dude". Everyone tries to win.
— Maybe a coach should possess such qualities as Ugin? (Na`Vi's manager) Psychological qualities and from a moral point of view...
— No. Here's a great example in Na`Vi. I'm just gonna praise them now. In particular Starix, he won all the titles with Na`Vi, he played very well. He became a coach and look how the team has changed since then. Personally for me, they have always been top 6-7 of Europe. They're officially rated 3rd now, but since they placed 1st or 2nd at the previous tournaments, they have not yet had time to catch up with the rest teams. They've really stepped up, I don't even know how to explain it, they are tier top now. Their Ukrainian friend, who was in the team with them, started to train them
— He took over the captain role. And now Zeus is just a player.
— Yes, and he's doing great. Starix took over his role. And that's the point, the captain is responsible for all of these moments… Honestly, there was a very shameful moment, in an official game I died from creeps. I threw AA's ult and was watching the fight and I was saying: "This one has 5 more seconds of my ult's debuff, focus him, then this one..." And then... what the f**k, I dropped the gem. Creeps killed me. And Akbar asks me: "Vania, how did you die?" I told him: "Don't even ask... Got killed". I really get distracted and not because I don't wanna play. I'm focused on the game and I really want to help my teammates in the fight. I have no idea how I forgot about myself, I don't know... Well, it happens, anyway we won.
— Do you enjoy the 5th position support?
— Honestly, most of the time, when I left Na`Vi, well not quite left, we had some issues. All that time I played Dota, I did play a lot, like 10 hours a day, everyday, I fixed some of my micro-moments, but the way I understand the game is still the same, nothing has changed globally. I watched almost all the official games, just sat eating near the computer and watching games. So, what has changed? Right?
— The position 5th support, do you like it? This is not your original role.
— It's been my role in Na`Vi for quite a long time and I’m okay with this, this role fits me perfectly, because I can focus on it as a captain. If this position is taken by...It’s like s4 on Alliance, I believe it’s worse.
— Yes, he's a playmaker.
— Yes, he's a very good playmaker and he needs to concentrate on his own game, he's a mid laner, which is a very difficult role now and if he will be unfocused at some micro moments and make some calls, then it can be a failure. I believe that all the captains should be playing supports, as does PPD, Puppey and the rest, Fly from OG as well, they all are 5th position supports, because they have a free time and their fails don't really matter; the main thing is to make sure that your teammates are playing very well.
— You know, I remember when we were watching Secret's replay at TI, Puppey was playing Ench, farming creeps in the jungle for 40 minutes and watching what's going on on the map. You have kinda the same role, so in general, do you like it?
— Not quite the same, I can't afford myself to farm jungle for 40 minutes. Either enemy's throne will fall or mine, I always try to do some action. But again, I think that if I sacrifice myself for the sake of Akbar, Dendi or DityaRa this is a normal exchange of kills, I die, but their hard laner or mid laner dies as well, that's always good. Of course at the end of game, at 50 min mark in the mass fight your support won't be so farmed, because he sacrificed himself for the sake of the rest teammates. Your teammates should finish the job, thus far it works for us, I can play a different role, but at the moment I don't think that I really deserve it or can play better than others do, now I play on the 5th position support and I've got a lot of catching up to do. At the moment I do really need to catch up, I can't say that at the moment I'm fully ready for Dota I'm not completely behind, but I'm not ready. I'm trying to catch up, playing pubs every single day, watching official games. When it's done, then perhaps I'll switch my role, but at the moment I'm indeed the 5th position support who just sees the game, makes the ingame calls and some basic things.
— Are you satisfied with your hardlaner?
— At the moment? Ax.Mo?
— Yes, Ax.Mo.
— Why did we decide to take him? We had a moment when we got together and we needed a hardlaner, the guys were already looking for one and I said that there are no free offlaners in the CIS region and we can raise our own. No point to lure away some hardlaner from another team - it won't give any advantage anyway. He either comes in and tells the team that everything must be done in a different way, or you just have to find a young player and raise him to be a good hardlaner. At the moment, according to the statistics of our games, we win more games than we lose, we win against really strong teams and we lose against very strong teams as well. We almost never lose to weaker teams but then again, Ax.Mo was originally conceived as an offlaner in the long term, he's a young and very talented player, with his own vision of the game. In the long term he can become a very great player and we won't even hold him. In fact, as Akbar in his time if we raise him and he will remain with us, then he'll win more than one tournament for us on his role. This role is very important and at the moment, I can't say that he fails. Today, in the 3rd game against Vega, he single-handedly turned the game around and gave us a chance to get back into the game - we lost all the lanes at the beginning, maybe it was our draft fault, in particular it was my fault.
— In the 3rd game?
— Yes, he turned the game around at one point.
— You were kind of winning the game anyway...
— Initially we were losing the game, then he got a dagger and we started to win after his echo slam onto 5 heroes. We saw that moment, we were biting and we used this opportunity. He's a forward-looking offlaner, one day he will be a very tough player, there's simply no better offlaner than him at the moment. All the other offlaners usually play well, but none of them plays super uniquely. There're 4th position supports who play great: Aloha, Sonneiko in the CIS region. And Lil of course, he's very strong. As concerns carries who play really tough, all of them are above average level - DityaRa is above average, actually all of the carries are above average, Silent, DityaRa, everyone else, Burning as well, but none of them are very tough carry. They all play very well, you can say that they've reached their limit and they're on top of their level. I've already mentioned 4th position supports, I can also add a Chinese player from Vici, forgot his name, two letters...there are more of them, as of now, there's no such player in EG, I think Fear is not one of them, the same for PLD(pieliedie) and Puppey. Why do I think that VP has an advantage? They have Lil, we have Akbar, Vega has Solo, he's also a very experienced player. Speaking of midlaners, Miracle is clearly the best, ah, Cr1t is also a great support. Miracle is the best midlaner, Dendi is still very strong I think, I don't know what people write on different forums and so on - you haven't seen him in real action, you can see him only in the official game, when everything goes...
— When you got criticized for your graves.
— Yes, I had already solved it long time ago.
— What do you mean?
— It's my personal, but I had solved it, I don't know, you can judge this situation from your perspective.
— I remember Dendi was doing an analysis of this game.
— I can go easy on commentators when they need to make some hype, yell or shout like: "Wow, there's a fight, there goes ultimate, no buyback, crit for 900 hp, what the f**k is going on?! He's dead". I agree that such things are taking place, they occur anyway and you have to commentate play by play moments.
— Even unconsciously.
— Yes, and let's pretend that moment with grave was one of those, it was said just because it happened, but they don't see the whole picture. They don't see that Dendi is sitting nearby and typing GG, and I looked at him and thought: "He types gg..." and just used a grave. They don't see the whole situation in the booth. At that moment in the booth everyone already understood and accepted the loss and were just saying in skype: "Until the next year then..."
— Got it.
— And casters at that moment: "He used grave, AM blinks out", while 3 people were dead without buyback typing gg. I don't have any claims to the commentators. Once I thought what they are even talking about, but then I realized that they don't see the whole situation, they need to be excited, make some hype, that's actually why people watch them, they enjoy it.
— Soon you will participate at SLTV finals and there will be a bootcamp. What do you expect from the tournament? What do you think about the participating teams? Who will win?
— I can't say who will win, but obviously the two Chinese teams, excuse me, but even at TI I said that the Chinese are weak and then I regretted my words. But this time there will be LGD and Wings. I can't say that Chinese top teams are coming to us; with top Chinese teams it could be different, if Ehome and Vici had come, then perhaps it would have been different. I believe that this tournament will be surely taken by some European team not because I underestimate Wings or LGD, they simply have fewer chances, two teams out of 12, I believe that it will be possibly Secret, Virtus.Pro. Are they in the participants list? If I'm not mistaken there's no VP.
— There is.
—If they are in, then it's their tournament to win, I'm sure they will be fighting for the title, Liquid.
— Vania, what about you?
— We will try our best. Everything will be clear after the bootcamp, because we will be playing Major qualifiers from the bootcamp, not sure if open or regional qualifiers, but we will play it from our bootcamp. Don't know how it will go - if everything goes well, then perhaps we will be ready for Starladder, if everything goes bad, then you can imagine yourself. There's the main tournament of this half of the year and there's Starladder. We will probably get upset, or even quarrel, that's our CIS mentality... and we won't perform at a decent level.
— No quarrels, please, Vania.
— But major is the most important, everyone knows it.
— We want to see you winning finally.
— We are trying, been doing quite well lately, something like 9 wins to 3 losses.
— Well, fine. What do you want to wish to our viewers? It's New Year time, after all. Something good and kind. Vania, what do you want to wish?
— Happiness, health, good luck in your personal life and wealth! Yes, Leonard?
— Leonard and Kate.
— Yes, these are my cats, they always support me in my games and so far we're doing great. You will also get lucky!
— Friends, I want to wish you all the best, love and good luck! Win games and everything will be great! Bye.
Skulz 6 January 2016, 21:37 14024 0