Artstyle, and Team Success
Ilya "Lil" Ilyuk shared his thoughts about the upcoming Major, why ArtStyle was chosen as a coach, and what makes a successful team.
— When the CIS Major was announced, what was your reaction? What do you think about it being hosted in Kiev?
— A CIS Major is a good thing, but it would be better to host one in Minsk or Moscow. Ukraine is not as good of a choice since Russian fans will have more trouble going there.
— What is important for a player to have in a Major?
— The simplest things — to be fed well, to have good PCs, to have a practice room, to have a proper schedule and a plan. You should be able to go on stage and play without your monitor shutting down (which happened in Boston a few times, unfortunately).
— What other problems were there in Boston?
— Internet periodically dropping in practice rooms and a weird system for getting food. There was quite a lot of weird things really, but I can’t remember it all now.
— Starting with the Boston Major, play-offs are now single elimination. What are your thoughts on that?
— It’s bad for the players, but good for the show and for the hype. Single elimination doesn’t show the true power of a team as final team placements often do not reflect their true level. Let’s take OG for example; they take first place so they are the strongest team. Now there is another team, Evil Geniuses, who are also strong but can lose to OG, so they must place second. Hypothetically they could meet in the first round, so EG would place 16th when, objectively, they are second. Double elimination helps to avoid this kind of randomness. If a team plays well it will place high — if it plays poorly, it will place low. While in single elimination, anything can happen.
— Ad Finem never did well in a big tournament before the Boston. Was it due to the single elimination or due to their skill?
— I think it was due to both. They were at the top of their form at the time and riding the hype, plus they were the underdogs no one was preparing for. They didn’t play too poorly, but their opponents in each round managed to play even worse.
— How does communication work within your team right now?
— Everyone tries to make calls, but mostly the core position players do since they have a better idea of what we are capable of at any point in time. For example, we are approaching high ground and RAMZES666 says: “back, guys,” because he doesn’t feel his hero can go high ground and break everyone’s faces yet. Macro and such is on Solo. We draft together and discuss all of the picks.
— Right before the Kiev Major qualifiers you invited ArtStyle to be your coach. Why him?
— I believe that he is the only person in the CIS that could take on this role. He has a big volume of knowledge and experience — not only game related, but also psychological. He understands the game well and he understands how a team must function in this game. He knows what kind of problems can occur, how to fix them, how to solve conflicts, how to build chemistry and so on. He is practically the sixth player with independent authoritative opinions and he can strengthen the team just by his sole presence. There are no other people like him in the CIS anymore, so he was the perfect candidate. We have all known him well for a long time and we have always had good relations.
— There is a recent article where you are called the “McGregor of esports” and a notorious provocateur. Do you consider yourself to be so?
— No I don’t . I read it, learned a lot of interesting things, but it is mostly filler and inconsistencies. Unlike the people I am being compared to, I always think before speaking and speak what I think and feel at the given moment. However, that doesn’t mean that I will blindly continue following my opinions until the end of days. Also, I am but a part of a team and not an independent personality. I never win or lose alone — everything I say publicly equally affects the image of my team and organization as much as my own.
— Still, you consistently provoke your opponents and call them out.
— I do not believe so. I do not truly care about them. The only important thing for me is my team.
— What is the best way of handling yourself as an esports player? To keep firing up the viewer's interest in a match the way you do, or to keep yourself restrained and always shake hands?
— There is no single correct behaviour model — everyone decides for himself. Some like to be hypocritical, almost being overly polite. I personally do not like it.
— What should a good team consist of?
— There are a few components of a successful or potentially successful team:
- A “team” within a team. All members of a team must be friends (even if artificial), all must hear and listen to each other, to respect each other, know how to adapt to each other, to forgo your ego to the background.
- Chemistry. People must be compatible with one another; they must balance and strengthen each other. If there is a silent person, there must be a talkative one.
- Leader. There must be an absolute leader, whose word is law. He also must understand the game the best in the team and to know how to win as a team.
- Individually skilled players and strong personalities. You will never achieve any success walking shoulder to shoulder with a “weak” person with a wrong outlook, no initiative, or no fighting spirit. If that kind of person is your mid player — well, you might as well never enter the game.
Obviously you must not have any destructive personalities in any way — hello fn.
— Who is your most dangerous opponent in Kiev?
— Evil Geniuses. Only them.
— Why not OG?
— We've played against OG, and almost all of the games we lost (about ~10%) were lost because of our mistakes. They were never outplaying us, in macro or individually. I believe we are better in every way. Evil Geniuses on the other hand were always a team that can surprise you. So I would very much not like to meet them before the finals — same would go for them
— What result do you expect?
— It is too early to answer this question right now, we will have 40 days of practice before the Major, so everything can change. I believe everything always depends on yourself. You, and only you, lose or win – the opponent is there either way. Nothing stops you from being better and stronger than others.