Braxton "Brax" Paulson
LGD.int's Braxton "Brax" Paulson
Braxton "Brax" Paulson is currently one of the five Dota 2 players of LGD International who are blazing new territory in the Dota scene as the first fully international team to be signed and picked up by a Chinese gaming team. We took some time to pick his Brax's brain about his new opportunity, his new team, and their new competition. In fact, this weekend we're opening the floor for the Team Liquid community to throw down as well!
The Chinese scene has historically been rather closed off from Western audiences. Is this true the other way around as well? How close of an eye do you and the rest of LGD.int keep on tournaments that go on outside of Asia?
I would say if I wanted to access Western games from China it would be very easy. However, sometimes streams lag on the Chinese Internet, and you can't purchase anything from the Steam store, so for those without access to that it's a little bit closed off. For the most part we try to watch all the games. It's always nice to see how different DotA really is across regions.
It definitely is. That segues pretty well into our next question - Chinese Dota has always been thought of as a step above the rest of the world, but they are also known for a more stable and less flashy style. Does the extremely structured practice style and training regimen influence the playstyle of the teams there? If so, how?
It's just that Chinese people generally have more discipline, and they see DotA as their job, not just a hobby. When people in NA/EU are able to play DotA as their full-time job, the skill gap will close a lot.
LGD.int has employed a very snowball-y type strategy in its showcase games so far, employing very early Smoke ganks to gain the advantage in lanes and then transitioning into a 5-man push very early before the opposition can stabilize from the early aggression. Is this a style that you guys developed specifically to counter the stable Chinese playstyle or do you just think that it works well with your team?
Yeah, it helps give us feel as if we're controlling the game. DotA is much easier to play when all of your enemies' actions are predictable. We just try to force the enemy to play our style of DotA.
Well, it's definitely been working out for you so far! How long did it take to solidify your style of DotA? The players from LGD.int are from a variety of different teams, not to mention from all across the Western world geographically. Did the team dynamic and atmosphere come naturally?
It took us a long period of time to find the right playstyle for us. I'd say everybody got along just fine from the start. The biggest thing that affects team dynamic would be the phase where we lost like 30 games, almost all of them in a row, and the morale of everyone was completely killed. But once we made it through all the hard parts everything was great.
You probably most often take the position of solo offlaner for your team, which is one of the roles in the game that requires the most finesse and knowledge. What do you think are the qualities that define a good offlaner, and are there any noticeable differences among the variety of regional playstyles that you've experienced, say between the way a Chinese team handles the offlane vs. how a Western team does it?
A good offlaner needs patience and a little luck. In most 1v3 situations, a Chinese team does everything they can to keep you under-leveled. They try to control the wave perfectly while pulling to maximize the exp and gold gain on their support heroes.
A lot of people in eSports saw 2012 as the "year of the ARTS/MOBA genre" with Dota 2 and League of Legends becoming super popular. Did you ever imagine at the beginning of the Dota 2 beta that you'd end up in the unique position you are in as the only international team in China? What are your own hopes and aspirations for the future in Dota 2, and what do you hope to see in terms of the scene as a whole?
Nope, this opportunity came to me out of nowhere. Winning TI3 is the goal, and I hope that other people will have openings that allow them to do the same thing we did.
Let's close this off with a more "for-fun" question. If you could buff a hero who isn't seen often these days to make them viable in a competitive setting, who would it be, and if you could nerf one of the current common picks, who would it be?
I'd buff PotM, cause she's still got 43 base damage. I would nerf Lone Druid.
Well, with more and more sites and teams looking at Dota 2, and with Valve inching closer and closer to a full release, I for one expect Dota 2, as well as all of eSports, to continue growing, especially in the West. Any last words or remarks you want to leave?
Shoutout to our sponsors Razer, LGD, and Taobao! Special shoutouts to Nicholas and Ruru and of course to our fans!
Brax Answers Your Questions
By the TL Community
Brax will be back tomorrow with a Q&A thread! Starting at around
Have a question you'd like to ask him? Start now!
Questions and Answers
When are you going back to China?
Who contacted you to join the team? Was it a hard decision to move to China? How did your friends and family react?
Do the girls go crazy about Pajkatt in China?
What's your take on the big pause between the semifinals and the grand finals of G-League?
Which of the lesser known/up and coming Chinese teams do you believe to be the best? Which non-Chinese team do you predict will be the biggest threat at TI3?
What do you think about all that recent PL madness? At least Syllabear can be countered with Naix, what to do with PL besides "gank him and you'll be fine", any late game solutions in case early pressure didn't work?
Someone from your team said there's a cook that cooks for you guys and that all of you guys eat the chicken dishes. How often do you go out to eat? And when you go out what kind of food do you eat?
What do you think most teams trying to "break through" should focus on practicing?
Do you enjoy it more when training under the disciplined terms of the Chinese, or was it a tough transition?
Do you think it is enough for international teams to bootcamp in a pro house (preferably in China) here and there to play at a level at/near the Chinese teams, or is the only way to do it really to move there as you guys have?
Do you think there is a chance that dual lanes can have a comeback and become the new standard meta?
On the same note, what does it feel like to go for that decisive risk play when the chips are down?
How do you feel about the term "metagame"?
Do you have a backup plan in case iG counters your playstyle?
Do you train with SEA teams? How strong do you think the new Orange/Zenith rosters are?
Are you going to play in non-Chinese tournaments?
Have you guys ever played any straight up 4 protect 1 vs 4 protect 1 AM vs Morph type games against any of the other chinese teams?
How are you guys going to prepare to play iG? What aspects of your game do you think match up well against their playstyle?
What do you think about the new teams of ZSMJ and LaNm? Are there any good yet not well known teams you have encountered?
How was the lag in the earlier stages of the tournament?
Thoughts on Medusa competitively?
Who do you think is the most underrated offlaner?
What tips can you give to improve as a player? What's the best way to develop?
Who is the weakest player on iG?