Johan "pieliedie" Åström is a rising star in the Dota scene, and today, he appears on our Q&A so you can ask him about everything from Speed's run at MLG to their plans for 2014. Known for his strong support play, pieliedie has been around the scene for a while now.
This is pie.
Though he played with Kaipi for quite a long time in 2013, and was well known by those in the know, he rose to prominence after the team became RaTtLeSnAkE.int and then Speed Gaming, and in particular, after they won MLG Columbus 2013. Then, without further ado, we are happy to present to you, pieliedie!
Want to ask something? We'll do it for you. Just post your question in this thread. Our editors will pick the 20 best questions from this thread and pieliedie will answer them, after which the answers will be slotted in below.
Ask away, TL!
- How are you going to address the issue of half of you coming from EU and half from NA? Are you all going to move to EU or NA? [Geschan]There are not too many issues to be honest. The only problem we have at the moment is that we really can't play matches before 18:00 CET because of the time zone difference, and that Aui pings around 250ms to Luxembourg. I'm not sure if these are issues big enough to move everyone from the comfort of their homes but we're still looking into it.
- What do you think of the current Swedish Dota scene and its teams and players? Are there any up-and-comers to look out for? [leffe]I only really know one up and coming Swedish player, zai. That's because things have changed with regional inhouse leagues not really existing anymore. When i was playing back in the day I'd play in houses with only Nordic people and I kind of knew the skill level of every good swedish player. Now you queue up and play with what I always assume are Russians.
- Who is the loudest person on the team and who is the quietest person? [dUPzye]In-game I'd say I'm the loudest especially early game. I feel more comfortable constantly sharing my thoughts and how i think we should be playing, but this leads to me sometimes getting frustrated during more passive parts of the game when i feel we are in a losing position. Most quiet would either be Bone or Sing. They usually focus more on their own play and occasionally call ganks or team fight coordination.
- I'd like to ask whether Speed Gaming's organizational issues have all been sorted out i.e. are you looking forward to a trouble-free and competitive 2014? What is the biggest shift that you think that may happen this year within the team? [DaiWales]I think most problems regarding organizational issues have been fixed or are on the way, so I feel like we'll be able to focus on our Dota. Biggest shift within the team I have no idea, I don't see us role swapping and we're not switching any players, so just cleaning up communication issues and being more calm in-game I guess.
- Speed Gaming is known for their calculated and oftentimes aggressive play by using abilities and especially Force Staffs to their maximum potential. You all seem to place emphasis on combos that work together and you seem to be cohesive as a team whether you are behind or pushing an advantage. My question is, do you handle every aspect of the drafting or is there an opportunity for each team member of SPG to say which hero they think would be best for them to play? [NeThZOR]I try to involve everyone as much as possible, it raises the motivation for me and usually leads to better drafts. I mean naturally the offlaner should know better than me how a specific hero works if we see half the draft. At MLG for example I wasn't a big fan of either Lich or OD but both Aui and Arteezy were confident in those heroes so I tried to draft around that.
- In Dota 2, many teams have a great single tournament every now and then, but then go back to mediocrity for a while; often with some roster changes. Being stable and successful at the highest level for several months is something only a handful of teams ever seem to have accomplished (in the West). Are you confident you can reproduce your performance from MLG in the next few premier tournaments, and if so, why? [Mafe]I wouldn't say I'm that confident, but I still believe. How to be a good stable team i think is understanding your mistakes and people being honest and wanting to improve. If you have that I feel you'll be a good and consistent team.
- Your game as AA in MLG was one of the coolest things I've watched. Could you explain your thinking behind that? Was the AA + ET + CG combo premeditated or did you just realize that during the game? I noticed you were sort of sitting top lane farming so was getting Aghanim’s up on AA your strategy going into that game or did the game just develop like that? And how viable do you think farming a quick Aghanim’s on AA is and when do you think it would be best to go for it? [motumbo]The AA draft was originally meant for a Clockwerk trilane with Rubick but after trying it together with Weaver we understood that the lane was really strong and the thing with heroes like AA is that people kind of forget how to play against it, so it makes it easier for me to use the hero. I don't feel the hero is very good and with Weaver being nerfed together with Midas (which is a must-have on AA), it's hard to find play for him since he takes so much space and can be a big risk since a missed ultimate leads to your team playing one man down and you're also going to be a really easy target to gank with high levels which a lot of heroes can take advantage off.
- What has been your single favorite game "to draft" where you gave yourself a pat on the shoulder and think "I've done a good job, man. Feels good”? [Iplaythings]I liked the draft in the first game vs. VG in G-League, it felt like we banned out every support threat while getting a really good line-up that fit every player. Other than that I enjoyed the line-ups where we played a lot of Naga/Potm or Troll with Spirit Breaker and Enchantress, that was Envy drafting tho.
- Do you think there are any heroes in this patch that are completely unusable in competitive play? Do teams ever try stuff like Sniper in scrims? [whatgoat]I just quickly looked through playdota.com/heroes and I feel like there probably is a line-up or place for any hero. It's just that the most unused heroes like Sniper and Blood Seeker aren't good enough to be bothered with. What I'm saying is if you really wanted to you could probably make them work, but I don't see the point.
- I would like to ask why you seem to prioritize Sing's Mirana usually in the first or second pick. I do agree that its very potent, but I think that the threat of Sing's Mirana is a great tool that you have while drafting and that it can be used to fill one of those pesky ban slots from the other team allowing a support player like Aui to get a Chen, Visage or even Enchantress, or yourself to get a CM, Venomancer, or less likely an Alchemist. What are your thoughts on this? [Scotch Tape]Yes, this seems to be a tactic used by a lot of teams. It generally works better during LAN tournaments where heroes who really aren't that overpowered win a few games and give a team momentum scaring everyone else getting them to change their pick patterns. I think I see Puppey doing this a lot with Dendi or XBOCT where during a LAN tournament he'll see Dendi doing well with Invoker like he did in Star Ladder and from nowhere start first picking it or XBOCT with Weaver during TI3. This make drafting more comfortable for him and throws other teams off because thinking of counters etc. is very difficult in a LAN environment. You can see the similarities with us picking Potm/Lich/OD at MLG.
- How do you feel about pushing lanes without wards in the jungle? As the game stands today wards are scarce and it's hard for a support to have 4 wards at one time, and place 2 of them top, 2 bot. Should one play safer or is it worth taking the risk to be aggressive? [Gene(S)is]You just have to calculate the risk--how much you need the map control and what purpose you have doing it. If you feel locked in and pressured you can as a low level support do very risky split-pushing to force the map open for your carry, because most likely the first few times enemies won't rush to kill a lvl 5 Maiden.
- If this current Dota 2 version were used for TI4, what strategies and drafting styles do you think might show up? I understand that people tend to adjust their drafts for the biggest LAN tournament (and consequently biggest East vs. West one) in the world. Usually teamfight-oriented and “flashy” heroes are more favored than usual (Enigma definitely comes to mind). So as it stands right now, would that still be the case this year? Do you feel people would go for less gank-heavy/risky strategies? Any stand-out heroes? Thanks for your time! [Aisikle]It's so hard to say, I think you'd see a lot of early Invoker picking and Nyx getting more and more popular as the tournament progresses other than that I don't know.
- What do you think about support hero that we never see in the game? Why are they not picked? I'm thinking about Dazzle (first of all, we NEVER see this little awesome guy), Disruptor (we can see him sometimes) and the last but not the least Ogre Magi (I know you play it sometimes :D)
In this French Dota 2 game commentary, 7ckingmad & Sockshka of Sigma.int explain that the top 3 drafters in the world are you, Puppey and Goblak. What do you think about this? thx :p [VelJa]Dazzle is a decent hero we probably will be seeing more of maybe not as support but in a core role and Disruptor should be seeing more and more play especially when Slark is getting picked. Ogre Magi I have no hope for, sorry.
About being a good drafter I don't feel that way. In my mind I'm as good as any player on a top 5 team would be with a month of practice. I'm just not next level enough and I easily get sucked into drafting the same thing for too long and not daring to maybe force the team to switch up.
- What are the 3 most important concepts for support player in 5v5 teamfight in your opinion? [PetrBlaha]To understand your role like any other position, if you are playing Rubick there might be big spells you have to keep track off, so you have to sit in the back and observe or since you are one of the best initiators in the game you might have to suddenly initiate. You might be Bane without BKB and they have a Puck with Dagger then you have to wait for him to jump before you cast spells. If you have BKB on the other hand, it might be your job to break the smoke, sleep, grip and die first.
- How much of your skill do you attribute to playing pubs? When did you recognize you could be and start to develop as a professional player as opposed to just being a pubstar? What advice do you have for pubstars who want to break into a professional team? [MaZza[KIS]]I don't think pubs did much for me, I gained almost all my skills from being told by better players in inhouse leagues what to do (most of the time in the form of a snide remark or some passive aggressive talk or just full out yelling) and looking through the mechanics forum on the old dota-allstars forum to understand what items were optimal.
To break into the professional scene right from being a good pub player, you need some serious dedication. I really only know Arteezy who has done that, playing a lot of 1v1s and looking through replays in first person perspective while playing a lot of inhouses knowing his place.
For me I just never left my team. A lot of people give up and quit teams, but I just stuck around and with skill gathered from different teammates my team eventually became a professional one. I can't really give any good advice since I was carried along the way by other people. Their motivation keeping the team going: First Asuna put together the team clearly putting himself as the number one guy making all decisions and I just played. Later on Fata joined carrying us to a 2nd place finish in Gosu League Season Something. I then had no one to carry the motivation for the team, so we started losing a lot and the atmosphere wasn't good. I then joined up with ArisE, Zizou, qojqva and bOne7 where their motivation inspired me and I was back on track.
Envy later joined in and he has since then carried the team "spiritually". So you need one very inspired person and then the others have to share the same vision but they don't have to have the same energy.
- Any heroes that you recommend avoiding altogether if you wish to better your Dota play on a semi-serious level? [Deep Cocoa]No. I'm taking semi-serious as 4.5k+ MMR and I don't see any point in limiting your hero pool. You should of course not play heroes you don't enjoy, but in the spirit of getting better there is no point in avoiding heroes.
- Yo pieliedie, what are the favorite games from your childhood? [Zenniv]The first PC game I played a lot was Populous: The Beginning. I'd stay in entire weekends playing that game. Before playing much on the computer I played N64, games like Diddy Kong Racing, Super Smash Bros. and Mario Tennis.
After I got bored with Populous I played Heroes of Might and Magic III which honestly is one of the best games ever I think. Then I started playing Warcraft 3 and with that all custom maps including old versions of Dota. I also played some vanilla WoW, raiding with 25 year olds while not daring to use voice chat because I would give away my age with my very light voice.
- What do you imagine you would be doing if you weren't a Dota player? [MBV]I would probably have tried to study, failed (this 20/20 actually took a month to complete I think because it reminded me too much of homework), then started working some low-skill job.
- Did you find any habits by your teammates weird? Reveal everything! [Kosak]I didn't find anything too weird. Just Chinese ancestry seems to lead to loud eating and bOne7 will just stare straight into your eyes until you get uncomfortable--not on purpose I think but I wonder how he picked up that habit. He's basically staring into the distance but the distance is your eyes.
- What happened on your last night in Korea? [MinzySC2]Both teams went out together to eat at the Korean BBQ we always visited. Since it was the last day and we were done with all of our games the general idea seemed that we should be drinking a lot, so people start ordering cheap soju and beer. Since everyone is taking shots and I'm a sucker for peer pressure I join in and do whatever everyone else does--basically I keep taking beer shots for the entire meal. Hwanni had offered to take us out earlier in the week so we went to a place with him where we got some kind of VIP area (this is where my memory starts getting bad) where there is infinite of stuff to drink.
I don't remember leaving and I don't remember singing and I don't remember throwing up in the toilet that bone7 clogged earlier in the day and I certainly don't remember flushing it making me bathe in the mixture. I woke up still drunk the next day and ended up at the wrong airport so I had to rush to the right one. I ended up paying the cab driver in Swedish money because I had no Korean money left. It was almost a complete disaster. The funny thing is that I thought the Chinese lady beside me on the plane smelled like shit but when in reality I was the one smelling up the entire place.
We have a few bonus questions:
- Do you believe that your shackles are on LighTofHeaven level? [Liquid`qojqva]No, I couldn't possibly think fast enough to keep up with those kind of shackles.How was traveling around (MLG, Korea, China) with your teammates? Can you share some funny stories? ;D [xiituzi]I don't have a lot of stories, but Paul and Weir bringing us to what I believe was a pretty classy karaoke place was a lot of fun listening to bOne7 and Aui sing. Then later all of our awkward interaction with the girls that you apparently could pay to keep you company.Pieliedie, who comes up with the new strats mainly for your team? What is your favorite Swedish food that you would like to taste one day from Mama Kelly when you come visit our house when it’s up??? :D [kellymilkies]We all usually sit on TeamSpeak after we're done scrimming talking about what heroes we feel are imba, and if someone has thought of something we give our take on it. If it fits, we try to make it happen in scrims. Making new strats can be hard though because losing even in scrims is hard and that's usually what you have to do if you are developing something new.
I honestly don't know what Swedish food really is, I've heard Swedish meat balls, so yeah meat balls with potatoes that's pretty Swedish I think.Writer: CountChocula
Banner image by: Justin Blau of Neodota