After an amazing, and somewhat surprising run from Rave at DAC 2015, we had the chance to talk with one of their support players, Michael "ninjaboogie" Ross. In 2014 he made the daring move to South Korea to be a part of their upcoming Dota 2 scene, and has made quite the splash after joining the Filipino based Team Rave. In this interview we talk a bit about his past in DotA, and about what is to come for himself and Rave in 2015.
We hope you enjoy!
Interview with Michael "ninjaboogie" RossBy: Icystorage
So Ninjaboogie, can you first introduce yourself (name, years playing, and other experiences) for the people who haven't heard of you yet?
Hi, my name is Michael Ross, I'm 23 years old and I've been playing DotA since the age of 12. I swapped over to HoN back in 2010, and to Dota 2 in 2011 after The International.
When did you realize you could go pro? There are players out there who want to break out into the professional scene, but how did you do it?
I started playing local tournaments at the age of 15, and my team was the best there locally (Cebu, Philippines). After that the next step was taking the competition to the top teams in the country. Best advice I could give would be to work on your skills as an individual, and join a team and slowly prove yourself. Eventually you will gain more recognition and people will want to play with you.
Fast forward a decade or so, tell us what made you move to Korea to play for Rave. What's the story behind that?
After losing in the TI4 horribly with Execration, the team was reshuffled and I was left without a team. A few days later Cast asked if I was interested to join them in Korea and the next day I left to Korea.
Filipino culture values education highly, were there any issues with your family in regards to going pro for Dota 2 full-time? Especially moving to another country?
I've been gaming fully for a vast period in my life so they were okay with it as long as I was safe. I actually haven't stayed home in Cebu since I was 19. I occasionally visit but beside from that I'm in a different place for my gaming career.
Interesting, so how's life in Korea?
It's fun and boring at the same time. We pretty much just stay at home and play the whole time except for Jeyo since he goes out with our manager every now and then.
Moving on, what's the difference between the Korean scene and the SEA scene?
I think the difference is the mentality of the players, and that we are fortunate enough to be able to be full time. The problems we see happen in-game we have discuss and solve it ASAP, because if we don't there will be bad blood in the team house.
So playing in the same house was an advantage for you? Previous teams tried having team houses, but non-game issues eventually surface and create discord on the team. Is the team very close outside the game?
We've become like a family because we've stuck through things thick and thin. We all had to work hard to get to where we are, and we will continue to work hard.
How do you see the Korean scene 5 years from now? Do you plan on having a long-term career there?
Depends if more top teams will emerge into the scene. As of now it's just us and MVP, and it's been a promising show so far. I don't like to plan on the future so I can avoid disappointments.
Enough of Korea, you used to play the carry position for previous teams but now play the 4/5 position for Rave. Can you tell us anything about that? How did the change affect your play overall?
Back when I was in Mineski I was playing as a support for a year so it didn't affect me that much. I just needed to train my mindset as a support player.
Let's talk about DAC. You surprised a lot of people with your run in DAC, especially with your tie-breaker and lower bracket games. Did you guys expect to get to the top 6 (or higher), or did you just go with the flow? Tell us about the atmosphere and mindset of the team during DAC.
Once we won the tie-breakers the team's spirit and morale were high. We were quick to adapt a western style since what we were using in the group stage didn't work out so well. After we won against Hellraisers we realized the style was working for us and we stuck through. We realized we were playing in top form, and I felt confident we could win against iG. My personal goal for that tournament was to be top 5.
Do you think you could win against Big God if you were to have a bo3 rematch right now?
It's hard to say, but it would be a close match.
We're almost done. You guys just made Pinoy history by breaking the record of the highest Pinoy gamers in terms of prize earnings. You guys even made a couple of headlines. What do you think about that?
It's definitely an honor but now people will have high hopes for us. Which means if we do bad in future tournaments we will disappoint a lot of supporters. Thus why I prefer being the underdogs! I just hate disappointing people.
Hahaha, too late for that now. Did something change after DAC in regards to exposure? I bet you got a tons of offers for sponsorships?
I wouldn't know since I tend to stay away from the management side of the team. I'm lazy like that.
Last question. You missed the TI3 SEA qualifiers after you were removed from Neolution.Int and failed at the TI4 SEA qualifiers. Most fans are saying that you are the most likely the SEA team to be invited to TI5. How do you feel about that? Dream come true?
It's still a long ways away till invites will be released so anything can happen, but we will continue to try our best in every tournament we play in. I've always wanted to know how it feels to be a TI player but I'm definitely going to keep my hopes high as the year progresses!
Okay Good luck with you and Rave. Everybody, especially the Pinoys will be rooting for you guys. Any last words for your fans and sponsors?
Thanks for all the support!
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