Winning The International —
Interview with MinD_ContRoL
First of all congratulations on your victory at TI. How quickly did it hit you that you had just won when it happened?
Thank you. It hit me after the final honestly. I didn’t have any feelings after the win. I kind of had empty feelings, I don’t know why it just happened. I knew I had won TI it wasn’t like it was a dream or something, I just had a very big emptiness but now I’m good after a month.
So looking back on it do you still feel that way?
It’s not an emptiness anymore, it’s the biggest achievement for me that I’ve ever had. It just feels like… great stuff. History. I’m in the history books now so it feels good!
I’ve asked you this twice in the past. A year and a half ago you told me your goal was to reach TI. Half a year ago just before EPICENTER you said it was to win TI. Now that you’ve achieved both of those things have you set a new goal for yourself?
Not really but I think it’s going to be winning a second TI. That is probably going to be the new goal. For now I’m kind of a bit bored from the game, from Dota. It’s probably because I’m waiting for the new patch. So for now I don’t have any plans but we’ll keep playing obviously. We still want to win tournaments but when the new patch hits we’ll see what the goal will be for me. Obviously aside from winning a second TI *laughs*.
Even though you say you’re bored you’ve been playing a lot of FPL...
I mean I just want to play Dota. I really want to play the game but when I’m in the game it gets boring, a bit, not much but a bit. Before I used to play even more.
For TI what were your preparations like?
Before TI we were already in Seattle, we had a boot camp there in a really nice house. We just practiced there, like every other tournament. We bootcamped and practice against other teams. We scrimmed against them and then we moved to the TI hotel and we scrimmed there as well for one or two days and then we played TI and that’s how it went.
We still don’t see other teams picking that much KotL in qualifiers, what made that hero so lethal when you guys played it?
I think it’s more about the individual player skill. For us we have GH and he’s really really good at that hero. He’s extremely good. He does things that other KotL’s don’t do. It’s pretty simple, he’s just better than them at this hero. That’s just a fact. That’s the only reason I think.
Do you think that Icefrog might nerf the hero even though it’s really only Liquid that plays it?
I don’t know because I don’t speak to icefrog but I can guess that he might nerf all of our main heroes. Prophet, Keeper of the Light, Shaker and the other heroes. He already nerfed Shaker before TI. He’ll probably nerf Venomancer and Necrophos for sure. I’m not sure about Keeper of the Light though I don’t think it’s a imba hero I just think GH is very good with the hero, that’s what I think.
The group stage at TI went really well for you guys, you went 13-3. Did that help your confidence going into the main stage?
Yeah definitely. The year before for TI6 it was actually the opposite, we were like 3-13 or 2-13. It was that bad. We only had two or three wins during the group stage and the rest we just lost. It was pretty demoralizing in 2016. 2017, this year it was much better I felt much more confident and more comfortable going into the main event. It was much better for me at least.
In the video (Liquid Dota 2 Champions) you say being in the upper bracket is nice because you have those two lives. You lost in the first round to IG, how did you recover or prepare for the losers bracket?
Me personally, I didn’t prepare very well because I was really sad when we lost to IG. We always lose to IG. Kiev Major we lost to IG and got knocked out and then here again we lose to IG and I was really sad. When I woke up the next day though I was really fresh and I wanted to just beat everyone up so maybe that is what made us win TI. This is what motivated even more, it made me want to beat everyone.
What impact did Kuro have for you guys in that situation?
He has a very big impact. He has a lot of experience and he helps us a lot. He really helps us, individually and as a team, he gives us a good speech and helps us feel a lot better.
During the draft you huddle around Kuro while he drafts, why did that start happening?
I started doing that during one of our bootcamps I think and then I did it in tournaments as well. I just want to talk to him because I sometimes have suggestions during the draft. Sometimes I help him or discuss some things with him. Maybe it kind of helps with morale too and I give him suggestions at the same time.
Secret was a very close 3 game series. Did coming out on top in that series help you recover from your loss to IG?
Winning over Secret helped me recover a lot. I was kind of desperate after losing to IG so after the win against Secret I was very confident in myself. I think I played pretty bad against Secret but my team carried me.
I think you all pulled your weight pretty well at TI, especially in your match against VP which broke the record for longest main stage game at TI.
Yeah I played beastmaster in that one.
When you get into those situations how do you approach those games?
Well you know there was that moment where I refreshed bkb and teleport after being Reaper Scythed. You just play honestly. I really like playing Beast and I have like 300-400 games on that hero. I know a lot of late game situations on that hero so I felt pretty chill in that game. I didn’t feel any pressure. I made some mistakes but it wasn’t because of pressure, I wasn’t really pressured at all on that hero in that game either.
When it was just you and the three Chinese teams left how did you approach each series? I guess we can start with LGD and LFY.
LGD and LFY. I think we just played our game. We didn’t think about them that much. I mean We respect them a lot because they’re very good, especially LFY. We just played our game though because we knew our game was better than theirs because they’re Chinese teams and they all play the same way kind of. The difference between those three teams is that they play different heroes but their strategies are the same. They just go 5 man and push towers, all they do is 5 man. They’re very good but their strategy is not that good, ours was better. So if we play our game and play good we would win and that’s what happened.
Is that why your Furion was so effective against LFY? The split push that hero offers is pretty good when you know the other team is going to 5 man.
I played the hero against them because I just wanted to play Prophet really. I practiced him a lot before TI, I wanted to play him already but I didn’t so I wanted to play it in that series and I thought it was a good hero. It’s the main reason I play that hero. The reason I split them was because of their play style. It just happened in the game though, I don’t make those decisions before the game. In the game you see what is happening and then you decide what to do.
We saw your Furion again in game 1 vs Newbee and then it was banned in the next two games.
Yeah they had to I guess.
Your preparation clearly worked based on how the games went, what did you specifically prepare for?
The only thing we really wanted to do is ban the Earth Spirit of Kaka because he’s really good at Earth Spirit, he’s really fucking good on that hero. So we banned it and then we knew we could roll over them. Well we didn’t know it but we wanted to and then we did it *laughs* obviously we can’t know those things. We just banned his Earth Spirit and then we played Dota because we didn’t want to face it.
We already talked earlier about how you felt after you won so going back to FPL for a moment, have you noticed any players that have stood out that not many people know about?
I see a lot of good players but most of them lack something. I don’t know what it is but they lack something to be on the tier 1 level which is all the TI players. I see some of them though and some should be noticed but in particular no. They have their good days and they have their bad days and I think you need to be consistent if you want to be noticed. You can’t just have one shitty day and then the next day you play good, that doesn’t mean you’re good. You need to play good every day in my opinion, or most days at least. If they play consistently they will be noticed for sure but one day playing good doesn’t mean you are good at the game. I mean they are good at the game but not pro level good.
With the upcoming new system with all the Minors and Majors, you guys will probably be invited to a lot of the events, what are your thoughts on the new system?
I think it’s going to be better because there’s going to be much more games and that’s, personally for me, it’s very good. I really like playing Dota and more Dota is much better for me. More tournaments as well, more lan tournaments I think it’s good. It’s more opportunities for the smaller teams and the bigger teams as well. I like the points system as well because I think some invites from the previous TI’s are not deserved in my opinion. This way people will have to work hard for their points. They can’t just chill at some tournaments because they know they’ll be invited. For example let’s say OG knows they’ll be invited because they won a Major so they can just chill at the Summit but most likely right now you can’t do that. You’ll have to tryhard at the Summit tournament. I mean I’m not saying OG didn’t try hard at The Summit! I’m just saying every team will try their hardest when points are on the line.
What do you think about tournaments like the Captain’s Draft one becoming a Minor?
I think it’s a good idea to get something new going on but I don’t like it personally because I don’t like the mode, but I still think it’s a good idea overall to do something new. I think it’s nice.
Have you discussed how TL is going to approach the new season?
We haven’t talked about it yet but we’re going to be at StarLadder and ESL Hamburg and maybe Dota Pit which is in October as well. We didn’t talk about future events, I think we’ll probably mostly attend Majors and some other Minors but most should be Majors because they’re much more important.
What do you think about the Major only having 8 teams?
I think it’s fine because there’s so many Majors. There’s a lot of qualifiers and I don’t think the same team will win them every time. I also don’t think every big team like Newbee for example or us, we’re not going to accept every Major invite. We can’t play everything, it’s not possible. We get tired, we burn out, we can’t make it to every Major so we’ll miss some of them, it’s normal. Then someone else will get an invite instead and that’s probably how it’ll work out.
What was Heen’s impact during TI? What did he help you with?
During the tournament not much for me personally because he helped me before TI started. I was ready for TI because of him, he helped me a lot in the boot camp. He told me about my weaknesses both mentally and as a player and I worked on them and I did better at TI. He helped me improve a lot and he keeps helping me even now, he keeps messaging me about the game.
Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today.
No problem, this was my pleasure. I just want to say thank you to everyone who watches me and supports me. My family and friends, thank you for everything.
Writer & Interviewer OmniEulogy