Interview: ProDota National Cup
The ProDota National Cup is a new tournament bringing together nationally-based teams from around world, competing on behalf of their countries for a $10,000 prize pool. National cups are still new to Dota 2, so to talk about this interesting new tournament, I spoke with Sam “Sammy” Manuelson, manager of No Logic Gaming and owner of the ProDota organization.
Thanks for taking the time to speak to me. If you would, kindly introduce us to the ProDota organization and your role.
We are a pretty small organization in Central EU. An old friend and I worked for a Hungarian site and created some events in Hungary but unfortunately the scene wasn’t worth it to spend time, so we started to make some international events like the ProDotA Solo Ranked League, where solo players could join and play CM games for points and win monthly prizes. We had 3 series on that one and then we started to work with Hitbox and we already made 3 season of Hitbox EU Championship with them. About my role, I'm the owner.
I believe the ProDota National tournament is the first to feature teams around the world based on nationality. What inspired you to create a tournament like this?
I was wondering: why nobody was doing tournaments like this in DotA 2? There are so many nations and players around the world, and there is no World Championship. Like there was some trying with the iESF, which was a LAN event as well but I think that it didn’t have good followership, so they didn’t have another season. Actually when I thought about making this tournament, I didn’t know that there was an iESF already, but I knew I wanted to make a tournament like this. So this tourney was my dream we can say.
How did you pick the captains for the teams and get them on board?
I tried to get a big name from each country as captain, but unfortunately I think they are either afraid to play something new like this event or their managers / sponsors didn’t let them, so I asked players who I had on my partner list on Skype from countries which had the best followership. I hope after this season those who rejected our invitation, will join the next series when they see we are very flexible with their schedules and they can join a really good event.
Were there any players that you were hoping to get, but didn't or any countries that you feel should have been represented?
I tried to get the nations with the most followership all around EU but unfortunately there were some countries like Netherlands where I never could get a reply from somehow. And actually my second biggest loss was Belarus, because I had fng as their captain but he couldn't attend at this date so I had to replace him. I tried to get another player from Belarus but they couldn't accept the invitation either.
SoNNeikO will be representing Russia, while Funn1k and XBOCT will be playing for their home country, Ukraine.
People predicted that the Russia and Ukraine teams would be very strong. Do you think those predictions will prove true?
I wouldn't say it for sure, just because many nations have players from a lot of teams just like Ukraine and Russia. Of course they know each other and maybe they played some games together, but I doubt they are practicing for this event together and stuff like that. If you see the fact that for example we have Sweden, Finland and France who have played together as a team for a long time and if you check group A, Sweden won all of their group matches. Russia and Ukraine had draw games against not that strong lineups as they have. Then I have to say, I don’t think that the names or the rosters matter in this case.
And I have to ask… Yugoslavia? How did that come to be?
I had Buktop in my mind from the first time I thought about a national cup, so I was sure that he would join. But actually I didn’t know that he has two nationalities. He asked me to play with Bosnia, but after that his team Yinsanity disbanded ...so after I had to combine players from Bosnia, Serbia and one more nation. They wanted them to let them play as Yugoslavia because they have 3 nations in the team, and I have a really good relationship with Buktop so I let them. Some people just blame me because they think we are retards and don’t know that Yugoslavia doesn’t exist anymore, but some people like it.
The 2015 CS:Go World Championship included over 1,000 players representing 77 national teams from around the world playing for a $100,000 prize pool.
Image from hitbox.tv
National tournaments have gained notoriety with other games (like the CS:GO World Championships). Do you see this format making a similar impact on Dota 2?
To be honest I don't follow CS:GO tournaments, so I don't know how is it going when they have this event. But I think since I know it’s a pretty big LAN event, they don't have any other matches from other events or tournaments interfering. And as you can see, we have to cancel our games and make our schedule flexible so players can play their other games and we can have viewers on the streams as well. Of course if you are an organizer you have to make your event at the perfect time. We wanted to make the National Cup right after the International, when there was no other tourney going on, but unfortunately Valve rejected our ticket submission, and the players went for holiday after TI so we had to postpone everything. So if we can have better dates for the next series I think we can make it a really huge event with LAN.
What's your vision for the tournament in future years? How would you like to see it grow?
If everything goes well, and we can have next season, I would like to give a chance for all countries to join to a qualifier. Also I really want to have more big names from each nation and of course we really want to make the next series with LAN finals with at least 8 teams. So if everything goes well I want to increase the number of participants, prize pool, make a Compendium with the ticket and do a LAN for the event.
Do you foresee this as being a stepping stone toward Dota 2 and esports in general being recognized as an Olympic sport?
I really doubt that any PC or even Console game has a chance to be an Olympic sport. I don’t like to say this but what we are doing is not a SPORT, that’s why we call it e-Sports, because it’s different. So my opinion if someone believes that a game should be an Olympic sport, that's not truly realistic. But I always say if chess can be an Olympic sport then anything can be. Maybe we can have a chance, you never know.
For fans who want to watch the games, what's the best place to find the schedule and watch?
We have an official schedule which is a Google doc and can be find on our website, but my advice for everyone is DON'T follow that, because we have another schedule that is visible only for the managers / players and sometimes when we cancel a game or we agree on a time I just edit that one, and forget to refresh the public one. So my advice is to follow Gosugamers, Joindota cause they’re getting informed immediately when we have an update on a match, and they are usually updating their coverage immediately. Also guys: very important info! Dont forget to bet on the matches at esportgaming.com and Dota2lounge, and also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at prodotaeu.