One of the North American scene's most promising up and comers of the 2012 - 2013 season, Kurtis "Aui_2000" Ling is now on Speed Gaming, one of the most talked about foreign teams of the new season. In fact, we selected this week to have the Canadian on our 20-20 because he and his team will in fact be in Korea from today, playing in the Nexon Supermatches.
That's right: Aui will be on stream this week, and we're going to be keeping this thread open the whole while. Have something to ask him? Just pop right in and leave your question here for him. He will answer the 20 we pick for him after he gets home at the end of the week!
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 Aui will answer them, after which the answers will be slotted in below.
Ask away, TL!
- How are you liking the switch to support, and do you prefer it to playing carry? [ShAdZ_ZX]I think I like playing support a lot and I actually love the transition because there’s just so much to learn. I think I actually prefer it to carry simply because of the hero pool that support allows me to utilize. There are a lot of heroes that can just do so much in a game as support (Chen, Visage, Enchantress, etc.). The biggest change that I like (although this is less true for a carry in this meta) is how many different places I can go in the early game. I can go to literally any lane at or near the start and have a significant impact in the game. Also as an ex-core player (1 2 3 role) if you ever solo a core as a support LOL :D
- What are the biggest differences in mindset (not in actual gameplay) between playing a carry and a support in pro games? [iv~nk~j]I think that the differences in mindset are actually diminishing a lot with the new patch--I think that the carry player can often provide quite a bit of space for the entire team (i.e. EE style 1 protect 4). However, the entire concept of running around winning lanes for your team mates, calling out certain ganks and movements, and overall creating space for your team is pretty big. I know I recently had a 12 exp per minute game vs EG at like 7 or 8 minutes and I probably would have killed myself if that happened before, but I was so happy during that game (except for feeding via two very obvious mistakes). I was actually always very confident in the concept of catching up/playing personally from behind (I think i played 2v3 lanes for a month straight in officials/I played quite a bit of tiny) so I actually really like that part of support play.
- During a TI3 interview, you stated you were planning on taking a break from competitive Dota to focus on finishing up on school. What made you change your mind now that you joined Kaipi? [Kuroeeah]I was definitely considering taking a break from competitive Dota before TI3. I think that the event itself changed my mind. That event was simply insane. The crowd really made me want to keep playing. So in essence you guys made me change my mind.
- It seems that an important aspect of a championship calibre team is anchoring themselves on experienced veterans and having them as a form of motivation/leadership (Puppey with Na`Vi, Loda with Alliance, Mushi with Orange, most of the Chinese teams have a veteran as their leader). How important do you think that is in a professional team? Having been on teams with less experienced players/leadership (Dignitas, Speed) how have your teams built up teamwork, motivation and direction? [pdd]Personally, I don’t think that the veteran factor is that big of a deal. For example s4 leads and captains Alliance and they’ve been the best for quite a long while. I’m relatively certain Mushi did not lead Orange in game, but I could be wrong about that. I guess it definitely helps to have someone who can increase team motivation, which I think the three listed players can all do quite well.
In both of my teams, I think teamwork, motivation, and direction are built up by playing a lot. After playing with people a lot, you tend to develop a mutual respect and trust for them, which in my opinion should carry into your teamwork. I think that motivation is mostly individual, although a bad environment can hamper motivation, so having fun while playing can be a big factor here. I’m not quite sure how to answer the direction portion of this question to be honest. I guess direction depends on how well-respected and strong the leadership within a team is.
- Seeming as you just met your teammates in real life for the first time, is there anyone you think of differently now? Was there anything that really surprised you about them? [broodbucket]Well I had met everyone but pieliedie before (Dreamhack, TI2) but to be honest everyone was pretty much how I expected. Pie was maybe a bit more clowny in real life and maybe sing a tad more serious but they’re all still clowns. Maybe I didn’t expect them to be such caricatures of their online selves, but honestly I don’t know what I could have possibly expected.
Oh actually maybe how tall everyone was. I knew Bone and Envy were tall but I never really put it all together. Except sing :D. But it’s okay--sing makes up for height in Kappa.
- How is the overall environment like during an intense game on the team? I imagine having EE and Sing Sing as teammates makes things a bit more interesting than usual. Are they as colorful in a serious game as they are while streaming? [Dreamer.T]I think that our team environment is better than my old team’s environment but that’s really the only comparison I can make. Also I’m pretty sure I can say x team’s environment is better than my old environment where x = anyone so I guess this isn’t a really good indication.
I think that EE and singsing are definitely toned down while playing seriously, but they’re still similar. I don’t think either of them put on a show on stream really, they just let loose.
- You and your Speed Gaming buddies go pubbing a lot during your stream/Singsing's stream, and you guys seem to be enjoying that. Do you think it is important for teammates to do this often to relieve the tension of competitive play? [NeThZOR]I really do think it’s important for teammates to like each other. While a big part of this is just to relieve tension, I think that the biggest part is the ability to point out mistakes. If someone you don’t respect or like points something out, regardless of whether they are right or not, I think that the immediate reaction from people is to get defensive. As a result, no one wants to really point out mistakes anymore in a constructive fashion--although they might flame with them. This in my opinion is a huge reason for stagnated player growth in Dota.
- Sing attributed the lan-choke to your team’s loss against Dignitas on the 4th. Do you think having the time to train in person with each other this December will completely eliminate lan-choke? And, more importantly, are you comfortable with your team in person? [Spirits]I think that in the grand scheme, we are a relatively inexperienced team and that any training time in a lan environment will undoubtedly help. That being said, we were definitely underfocused and underprepared for Korea. I am actually almost happy that we dropped that game because we learned a great deal about playing from that trip (in my opinion, losing always cements lessons in). I am very comfortable with everyone on my team.
- How came it that you decided to be a pro gamer and concentrate so much time on just one game? Did you just yolo and go "yeah im good in this game, I will make my money with this" or was there a bigger thought process? [sicQ]Honestly, playing games for money was never something that I planned at the time (thank god I’m not insane--considering the prospects back then). I knew I was good and I knew that I loved playing, and that was enough for me to consider playing a lot. In regards to Dota 2, this consideration allowed me to take a pretty small risk and join Potm Bottom, in which we mostly played over an ending university semester and the summer to start. Obviously this small risk reaped huge rewards. There was never really a #yolo moment of I want to #hardwork and #dedication the shit out of this game and make money.
I guess overall there was no real thought process for myself going pro. I guess there was a thought process behind taking a year off though, which was basically, I don’t lose anything so yolo--there’s my yolo!
- What are the downsides to a pro-gaming career that we don't often hear about? [Emporio]I think that this question comes up regularly enough that I think you guys have probably heard all of them. A popular one is what do you do with the experience once your gaming career is over. I think that equally important--especially due to how new the industry is--is how people are going to shift from being the centres of something so huge (to them at least) to probably being mediocre at other parts of life because they’ve invested so much time into pro-gaming. Basically what is Bulba going to do when he’s not the centre of attention guys?
I think the biggest strain for me personally are I have a lot of trouble maintaining some of my previous friendships. My main focus is gaming now. I don’t have a lot in common with people that I used to share a lot of things with; I don’t really make a lot of new fun experiences with old friends or see them at school either. This makes it sort of hard for me to interact with some people that I genuinely like but that I am not close enough to have previous bonds carry our friendship. I think I’ve found although maybe I’ve gotten closer to a few outside of gaming people, I’ve become relatively disconnected with the rest of my friends.
- How did your parents react when you told them that you were going to be playing Dota competitively? [LettuceAttack]My parents are actually incredibly supportive for pretty much everything. Although they were concerned when I wanted to play a lot of SC2. However I think a lot of fears were alleviated when I won a local tournament for SC2. The SC2 experience made it a lot easier for me to transition to Dota. I am now taking a year off school to play Dota with their blessing. Although I know that my parents are still concerned about my choices, they are definitely not overbearing and they allow me live my life pretty freely.
- In every game there's the social media drama from time to time and whatnot. We all want to push esports to the next level and especially make it more common and less taboo in the eyes of the crowd that doesn't even know this exists or still has the preconceived notion of it that we're all a bunch of basement dwellers. We all want the teams and players that are not top tier to get paid enough to be able to do this thing full time so the scenes, tournaments and competition will rise to a new level. What's your take on this? Do Dota teams have to have better PR standards? [Turboteckel]I don’t know if completely removing drama would be good for the scene. Outside of the gaming world I’m pretty sure there are a ton of people who make their living just from drama. Drama gives people something to talk about, allows fans to get to know players at another level, and can often hype up competitive matches. However, obviously there are times where drama goes too far. This is a sector in which I think a team like EG did a very good job with in Starcraft 2. People would care a lot less about some of their players if there was no drama, but when things go too far they will try to adequately punish their players (please remember pro-gamers are usually young, fairly irrational when mad, and imo on average not really social masterpieces). I think my overall stance is that I would like to cut down on some unnecessary drama, but not make everyone into a robot. Does anyone care anymore if a Korean without personality wins in SC2 anymore? Aside from that one gif on Dear losing on Reddit, would anyone really have cared if he wasn’t a royal roader--even then did anyone care with him being a royal roader? Perhaps I’m thinking of drama a bit too synonymously with personality, but I think the two are relatively correlated.
I do not think that making the scene drama-free equates allowing people to focus on Dota by alleviating financial/social pressures. I do think that the second part needs to be done in some way in order to improve the competitive scene, but even then I’m not really convinced that reducing drama has anything to do with it.
- Last TI kinda showed Chinese teams struggle with creativity and adaptability and that their mechanical play wouldn’t benefit them as much when they play against teams who are not inferior to them in mechanics. Their mechanics will only take them so far, so to speak. I think you might miss out on the Western metagame which I think has proven to be the strongest one. So why would Speed Gaming benefit from moving to China? [lyxarn]I don’t think the premise of this question is true at all. Yes, Alliance and Na`Vi topped TI3, but I think that at the time the two were special teams, and while China disappointed themselves that’s just because they had such high expectations. I think that the Chinese metagame dominated much of TI3. A lot of Western teams went into TI3 thinking that they had the metagame advantage when it was really the other way around. This resulted in a lot of western teams trying to dodge scrimming the Chinese, which then resulted in some unfortunate first matches vs. the Chinese. For example, DK stomped us (Dignitas), but once we adapted to the Chinese meta, we did relatively well in groups. Another example is when Na`Vi went to China. Despite everyone thinking “oh Na`Vi just wasn’t serious, they were in bad shape for the start, etc,” I do not think this was the case at all; I think that Na`Vi got stomped so hard they had no idea what was happening at first. Then they adapted to the Chinese meta and used their previously garnered knowledge of the Western meta to adapt and rise to the top. We at spG hope to do something similar, which is why we did not go to China right after TI3. We did not want to be like LGD.int (no offense meant here, I am not referring to play or skill or anything) where they went to China right away and effectively were a Chinese team. Hopefully we will get the best of both worlds.
I also want to talk a little bit about the idea that the Chinese teams struggle with creativity and adaptability. I think it is true that the Chinese are relatively slow to adapt in some scenarios, but I do not think it is for a lack of creativity. I think that the Chinese are (and rightfully so if you watch them play) almost overconfident in themselves. This means that if they don’t come up with an idea, they might reject parts of it without fully exploring the idea. An example of this is the Maelstrom build on Lone Druid circa TI2. As some people might know, Potm Bottom played a lot with iG. In our games vs. iG, Zhou really liked the maelstrom build on Lone Druid, and for a lot of games, the build would fit both the style that Zhou and I played LD. However, as far as I know his teammates would get quite angry at him whenever he used that build, even if the item would allow them to take an early unexpected fight and tower, and allow him to still get a fast Radiance after Maelstrom.
Another example might be what I’ve heard 1437 refer to as honourable Dota around TI3 where the Chinese would pick 5 strong teamfight heroes and follow their carry around in hopes of fighting--think LGD.cn style for TI3. I think that this style would win 0 times out of 100 against Alliance. However, on the other hand, a LOT of trends are set by the Chinese and I watch a considerable amount of Chinese replays to learn. I think that as a result of biased tournament exposure, Western viewers often mistake Western metagame progression as innovation, when at a good deal of it is at least partially adaptations of Chinese thought and play. Furthermore it’s not like these problems are exclusive to the Chinese scene. I could probably name over half the Western scene as people who made fun of/disregarded Mekansm Viper and look where we are now. I actually think everyone suffers from these problems to some degree and that people should limit this criticism to the Chinese (i.e. I thought there was no way in hell pooled Naga offlane with a PMS could do well against brood and even made fun of Bulba for it--in retrospect i was wrong and I’m an idiot).
- In your experience, what are the main differences between Chinese, Western and Korean Dota? [Embryous]I do not think that Korean Dota as a brand exists yet; the scene is simply too new and imo is still learning from the other scenes. Honestly, my current interpretation of the differences between the West and China are sort of warped right now because I watch replays by team rather than metagame so I don’t really differentiate. The only real comment I can make here would more refer to TI3 where the Chinese were a lot more groupy than the West. Before I also thought that the West had more unique styles (Na`Vi, Dignitas, and Alliance were all relatively unique for example) and perhaps that was true then--and even then maybe it’s just because I watched/participated in so much more Western Dota--but now you have teams in the Chinese scene like DK who are also unique.
- Mechanically speaking, which aspect of your game do you feel has been impacted the most by having a Starcraft background, and do you feel that it gives you an advantage over others that play the game? [Senday]I don’t think my Starcraft 2 background has helped me in Dota 2 as much as my Dota 1 background helped me in Starcraft 2. I feel like I have very solid micro (although I feel like this is sort of undermined by having to play so much on Luxembourg--and even USE is higher ping for me than for a lot of Europeans due to my location and crappy internet) and multitasking, but both these things are relatively irrelevant in a lot of Dota games. I think that if I was a better Starcraft 2 player, then presence of mind--what I consider the ability to keep playing at your best regardless of scenario--would have been huge, but I think I suck at that in both games.
- If you had only 3 points of advice for position #1-2 players, what would you say? [JFKWT]I’ve never played position 2 at a really high level but I think the biggest thing for both #1 and #2 players is to play a lot. Mechanics are actually huge when you’re usually in the top four farmers on the map and you better not be missing very many cs at any point of the game. I’d also want #1-2 players to know how damn scary they are at certain points of the game. If they move once and get a kill, then intermittently don’t show on the map (i.e. farm jungle) it’s really hard to play for the other team. And lastly, and this point never really made as much sense to me when I was a carry player, but makes so much sense to me as a support, push the lanes (situationally early, almost always mid-late). The game just becomes so much easier for your team when you’re applying pressure somewhere. As a bonus point, please realize that despite (hopefully) being the strongest person on your team, you are not your entire team.
- I love some of your old builds (Broodmother, Enchantress, the now standard Viper build etc.) and the thought behind it. Do you have any new thoughts about some heroes with new/changed abilities after the new patch? [DE3me]First and foremost, Atos is very good this patch.
Honestly this was probably a better question for when it was closer to the patch because I now have trouble differentiating between current and prepatch. Overall I think that the hero pool has definitely been expanded and that there are definitely less “omfg imba” heroes. I think that the only hero who I do not like at all now, that was previously in play, is Spirit Breaker, who can theoretically still be played with a Necronomicon 3 (I still do not like him).
- What do you feel about the Hand of Midas plagued games that we are seeing pop up rather frequently (granted your team really likes their farm)? Is this an adverse effect of 6.79 (more passive gold, etc)? Which direction do you possibly see the metagame going in the near future? For better or for worse? [yookstah]I really hate the support buying Midas trend but it’s legitimately good and it suits me so well. I think I’m just a change hater. It definitely is a reaction to the gold changes of 6.79 (25 extra gold per minute = 150 gold per 6 minutes = free wards), but I feel like there’s also a bit more to the Midases than just the gold change. The map is a lot more open to supports now that the offlaner is not level 1 at 5 minutes and has to catch up; a support can now take space that an offlaner would have had to take + the newly empowered offlaner can make up for the support not moving around now. I’d like to reserve my opinion on whether I like the direction the metagame is heading, but I’d hesitantly say I think it’s going for the better. I feel like the map is a lot more open and that more stuff happens in every lane in the most recent patch. Gameplay aside, it’s a lot easier to replicate pro games in pubs (before it was impossible to ever replicate a sacrificed offlane meta in a low-mid level public game), which can only make people more interested in the competitive scene.
- Rod of Atos is dubbed Rod of Aui by some casters (BTS casters come to mind, at least). What do you think of that item and how very few players buy it ever? What is your favourite item in the game, as in what would you buy every time if you just could? [Oukka]I think that Atos is legitimately a strong item but also incredibly situational. I find that people think that Atos is only really good for pick offs/chasing (which it is very good at), but the item has way more uses than just that. For example, some melee carries don’t want to go BKB or have short BKB timers so after their BKB is up you can just Atos them and they’re pretty much done doing anything for 4 seconds. A hero like Kunkka or Alchemist in certain games comes to mind here--or even a Lifestealer because rage won’t last an entire teamfight. The stats and range on the item are just incredible. I think Atos is my favourite item but even then, it’s definitely not an every game item.
- What does your nickname mean? [VoirDire]My username Aui_2000 came from when I was 7 years old starcraft 1 in 1999. My sister had made an email with the word Aiur in it--the Protoss homeworld--and my seven year old mind wanted to copy her. However, I didn’t want to completely copy her because my brain told me copying siblings is uncool so I flipped the middle letters, chopped off the ‘r’, added in the best year ever at the end. I don’t really know why I added the underscore but it was probably just for good measure. So in short it means nothing at all.
Again we have a few bonus questions:
- Which country do you prefer? Canada or Canada? [Juicy Orange]I’m still in my I love Korea phase but I guess i prefer Canada over Canada.It seems like national teams are all the rage, and Canada has many talented players. When will you form Team Canada? [thragar]Soon and we’d be the best.How to play support? [lilopuppy]Pretend you’re carry and hit creeps. Flame cores when they die because you took the safe farming space.What activity outside of Dota do you most often do for fun? [TanGeng]I like going out for long slow walks on the beach. Really I just eat food and get fat.Aui what are your thoughts on zoning arrows? [flamewheel]Zoning arrows are an integral part of any good Potm’s repertoire. It’s not about hitting the arrow, it’s about striking fear into the enemy’s heart.Writer: CountChocula
Banner image by: Team Dignitas