Firstly, thanks for taking the time to do this interview. So you’ve been on Fnatic for about 2-3 years and your captains have changed from Mushi to QO/Febby and now it’s EE. What’s the difference between these three?
I’ll talk about Mushi first I guess. I’ve known him and played under him the longest and when I compare him with EE, they’re basically the same kinda people. They have better leadership and would shotcall and tell us what to do and how to play the game. The difference between them is probably that EE is nicer and easier to communicate with. Although I’ve heard that Mushi has changed already but I don’t know. As for QO, I think he’s also kinda like a captain but he is a little more selfish because our playstyle has to be around him and it can be difficult to keep up with him. In that sense, at least Mushi and EE, especially, are more willing to talk and listen to what you have to say to try and coordinate better with you. So QO is slightly more arrogant in the way he plays the game and prefers the team to play around him.
I see. Right now, you’re basically one of the Top 3 teams in SEA along with TnC and Mineski and so far, you’ve basically been beaten by Mineski in a lot of qualifiers so have you guys thought about how to get past them?
Speaking of Mineski, I think that, at the moment, they play and do things faster. They’re always a few steps ahead of us. You could say that what they’ve done is what teams should probably all do from day one which is improve and play together and improve the team cohesion and playstyles and also increasing hero pools. It’s kinda like Wings at TI6. They just had too many playstyles and strategies, to the point that their opponents just didn’t know how to prepare for them and play against them, Mineski has that same kinda feeling.
So it’s a bit similar to Liquid in the last few months?
Yeah, you could say that but even if you wanna compare it, Wings is a lot more diverse than Liquid in the sense that they would want to pick different heroes every game. That said, Mineski is basically like that at the moment and you also have to consider the fact that their players are basically all top tier players so whatever it is they do and how they play, it’s just faster and better than us at the moment. So as far as beating them goes, I think we can only try to improve ourselves individually so that we can match them in those aspects.
Alright, so our next question is about Xcalibur. What separates him from QO and Mushi?
Um, why don’t we take MidOne as a comparison rather than Mushi cos he was the real mid player back then? So QO is actually a very farm-heavy player which kinda binds into the question of why he stands out so much on Immortals and why their playstyle works like that. Back then we couldn’t coordinate and keep up as well with him so he eventually left. I always hear that the way he plays is extremely aggressive but that’s his strong point. Speaking of MidOne, he is without a doubt the most individually skilled of these 3 players in the midlane. But at the time, Mushi and us all thought that he was still a little young in the sense that he was inexperienced, and that’s pretty much the same as Xcalibur. They’re both more focused on themselves and their own game but Dota 2, at the moment, is a much bigger game that’s more focused on the macro sense; you also have to think about your team and how to play with them. If they want to fight, you have to go with them and fight, you can’t just stay in your lane and farm and play your own style. I personally think this is how Xcalibur plays at the moment so he doesn’t have any special traits and doesn’t stand out but the skill is definitely there. He’s more of the kind that just follows and I think that just comes down to his lack of experience so he doesn’t really take initiative.
Speaking of Xcalibur, Mineski always first phase ban his Visage against you. Similarly, EG banned it against you in the 2nd phase of the 2nd game of the Group Stage elimination match. But when they let it through, why didn’t you pick it?
Oh, well I think that a few weeks ago, Visage was one of our best heroes and about a month ago we played a lot of Visage and we lost to Mineski. However, at the moment, Visage doesn’t really suit our playstyle and basically isn’t our first pick. When we draft we think about the teams we’re playing against and how they might react to Visage. If we think that they’re scared and can’t handle it then we will first pick it but at this point, we found teams banning Visage against us so we didn’t really practise with it anymore. Instead, we’ve been focusing on practising other heroes like Lich and Beastmaster. Consequently we kinda overlook Visage but the point is that we wanna play with what we’ve been practising and that’s why we’re not picking Visage either.
Speaking of Beastmaster, we have a few questions about that.
*laughs* I know what you wanna ask me about already. *laughs*
Yeah, so how did you come up with this rather special build where you go Phase Boots, Medallion, and Shadow Blade while also skipping Call of the Wild in the skill build?
*laughs* Actually this build… Well, first let’s talk about our playstyle. Of course I play pubs and experiment with new things. As for why we can do this kinda stuff it relates to the team’s playstyle because I couldn’t pull off this kinda stuff before when I was basically a utility-type offlaner, the kind like Tidehunter who just buys Mek and Pipe and initiates with a big spell. With the changes in the patch and the meta, I’ve basically had to become like a core player so our thought process is that right now, you can be greedy such that you can buy anything you want as long as you can pressure the opponents. When we looked at the results they seemed ok and even good. As for Medallion, I think that a lot of people are probably curious about my item build and my skill build. This is one of my personal ideas because a lot of people think that physical damage can’t kill Enchantress but she has low armour and a low HP pool so a single Medallion + Roar + Axes + right click combo will pretty much kill her. I’ve tried this many times and it’s worked so I chose it to play this but we got shut down. I think our coaches also chided me and asked me, “Who taught you to buy Shadow Blade?” *laughs*. So I told them it was just my playstyle.
So you mentioned that in the current meta, you’re more like a core player. That said, back in TI3, a lot of people thought that you played Furion really well and we haven’t seen it in a long while. Now that it’s in the meta, why don’t you guys pick it?
To be honest, I personally think that my Furion was very good back then but it just isn’t as good anymore. At the time, I basically learned quite quickly how to play Furion by watching AdmiralBulldog which was why I played it so well back then. As for why we don’t pick it, we feel that he’s easily dealt with. Not to mention that when you play this hero against strong teams, it’s kinda over once you lose two fights because his comeback mechanic isn’t really there so he can’t split push down lanes as well especially when people pick heroes like Sven and Ember. As long as you lose a teamfight, since his teamfight isn’t that great, you basically lose the game. I also think that people have been getting better at dealing with Furion. When you pick Furion you should probably dual lane it because you want to rape their safelane. But if you can’t rape their safelane, for example if they have Sven + KOTL, once you stop being able to pressure them then he just becomes kinda useless and that’s why we don’t really wanna pick him.
Ok, we’ve noticed that you guys really like playing Wisp. WIth two excellent and well-known Wisp players in Dj and pieliedie, how do you guys decide who to give Wisp to?
I think we only give it to Dj now. The only exceptions might be if we take a page out of Puppey’s book and do something like Wisp + Chen cos Dj is better at playing Chen. From our perspective, Dj is a very skillful player so whenever there is a hero that comes to mechanical skill, Dj has definitely played it before. Of course pieliedie is also a very skilled player but we think that Dj is probably better than pieliedie.
Alright, so Valve have announced a new patch coming out next week, what do you guys think or want out of this patch?
Well, I think that, at the moment this question is kinda hard for a lot of players. Like right now, BuLba is coaching us and he’s well-known and praised as one of the smartest Dota minds and coaches in the world. Even he has said that, at the moment, this patch is a little weird and he isn’t sure how to play it. As a result, we aren’t sure whether the changes with the new patch will allow us to play more of our own kind of Dota. The meta at the moment is such that we think that it used to be quite simple in that the carry is the carry. Instead now we feel like the mid and the offlane are the carries what with all the buffs. For example, EE no longer really counts as a hard carry because his heroes aren’t really meta safelaners anymore. This is because of the lane and jungle changes so I think that the new patch might revert this in indirect ways and I hope that it makes offlane a little harder and safelane a little easier.
I see. Going into specifics though, are there like any heroes that you would like to see nerfed or buffed?
I think we can just look at these tournaments and see what heroes seem imbalanced. At the moment, I actually think that there aren’t really any massively OP heroes like back during the Anti-Mage era when you had players like BurNIng just win games with it. I also think… Wait what did you ask me again? *laughs*
Are there specifics nerfs or buff you wanna see to certain heroes? For example some other players have talked about Veno.
Oh right, right, yeah. Actually I guess that I would agree with Veno. My signature hero Dark Seer is pretty good against it actually, I think. I just think that Veno’s a little harder to deal with because you tend to take melee heroes. But I think his weakness is that if you pick heroes that are really good with Pipe and you can deal with him, kinda like with Pugna too. Maybe everyone, well I guess kinda like Liquid, they first pick it and it feels like they don’t really care about it. But I personally still think that a lot of heroes can counter it and I don’t think that there are any especially strong heroes. Hopefully Meepo gets some buffs. Maybe make it so that you can have 7 Meepos. *laughs* Maybe then we can pick it for Xcalibur cos he doesn’t get to play it now.
Great choice for a buff. But, for example, we talked to No[o]ne and he felt that Earthshaker and KOTL needed to be nerfed. Or Kpii talked about Veno and also felt that some position 4s could be nerfed. Don’t you feel the same about it such that maybe say like, Necro or Lich should get nerfed?
To be honest, if you asked me who I want to get nerfed it’s probably Timbersaw because I’m most afraid of playing against him. You think that in the current meta you can just deal with it by picking stuff like Ursa and Monkey but actually if you just take one tanky support and put it in his lane for 3 minutes then he basically becomes unkillable. Now that I’ve thought about it, I really think that Timbersaw should get nerfed. His passive was strong before but then it got buffed and now you get like 1 armour per stack. I think that he’s really hard to counter and that you probably have to take like 40 minutes to win, maybe around 30 minutes, that’s probably when you can really kill him.
Alright, last question, you guys are playing DotaPit next week, so have you guys prepared anything for that?
Actually, for these two tournaments, we haven’t really prepared anything because it was a last minute replacement kinda thing. We didn’t really practise much either because we felt that the patch was coming soon so there wasn’t any point. We thought that we should just play pubs on the new patch and figure out what we wanna do, just go step by step. For example, we just wanted to come to this tournament and look at these top tier teams and study and figure out how they play and how they draft. As for ourselves, I think we just wanna wait for the new patch and see but the meta is basically based on the champions of the tournament. To us, whatever the meta played by the team who wins a tournament, that’s the meta.
Thanks a lot for the interview and good luck in future tournaments and qualifiers, hopefully we can see more of you in future tournaments.
Thanks a lot, I hope so too. *laughs*
Interviewers: 2009, ShiaoPi