This interview was done by 2009 during the ESL One Birmingham Major.
First of all commiserations to your team following the quick exit from the tournament. That said, what are your opinions on the format of this particular tournament?
Frankly speaking, the formats of tournaments, not just this one, every tournament, doesn’t really matter as much as the overall performance of the team. There isn’t really a fair or unfair format and there’s no absolutely good or bad format. Personally, I think it comes down to the players’ abilities and I don’t blame the fact that we’ve been eliminated on the format at all, it’s just that we weren’t good enough this time.
When the DPC started, Valve implemented this policy wherein coaches would be allowed in the booth during the draft. In mikasa’s case, he drafted for VG Reborn back in 2016 as he had to standin a lot. How has this policy affected your team?
Well, having the coach [involved] is a good thing in most cases. The thing about mikasa is that we can already draft and play ourselves, he just adds on by drafting for us such that we can focus more on the game itself. This way we don’t have to pay too much attention to the things outside of the game itself. It’s really a pretty big improvement for our team.
Valve released their Spring Cleaning Update back in February where they introduced biweekly patches, what’s your opinion on this frequency of patches?
It has a pretty good impact on the game itself because there’s always something fresh and new. However, in relation to the competitive scene, especially this season where there’s so little time between tournaments, the times at which they choose to release the patches aren’t good. It’s necessary for them to avoid releasing the patches during an ongoing tournament and they should definitely release the patches only after the end of the tournament or before it.
Would you prefer it if Valve were to change the frequency to being once a month or every few months or perhaps once every three to four weeks?
Well, not quite. Every few months is a little too infrequent. Actually, the downtime between tournaments should be enough and that’s probably the best because you also have to consider that their employees can work on a regular time frame. As long as the patches are done such that they are released after tournaments it’s quite okay. The greater the frequency the better, as long as it doesn’t affect the competitive scene too much.
Recently, we’ve noticed that the Chinese teams have been playing Lycan in the offlane, in position 3. As one of the teams that have done this more often, what is the main idea behind this?
Well, it’s really just that the players feel that what the hero does is closer to position 3 so they believe that we can just pick it. Right now, with the laning meta being focused on the side lanes with the 2-1-2 setup, there isn’t really a black and white kind of carry or offlaner. It’s more important to see how the heroes perform during the different stages of the game and Lycan is just much better suited to what a position 3 might do in terms of that.
I also wanted to ask about Ori. VG often pick DP or DK for him, why is that?
This is more of mikasa’s decisions as our coach and drafter. The others simply give their opinions and discuss sometimes. Usually towards the end of the draft, he will ask us which heroes will perform better. Since Ori doesn’t usually talk much, he has less opinions on the matter and usually if he doesn’t say anything, mikasa makes the decision himself and it usually turns out to be DP or DK.
Let’s talk about things outside of the game. Over the last few years, you have retired and come out of retirement several times, do you still have this constant change of heart about retirement nowadays?
I think this is rather dependent on personal feelings and circumstances. Basically, there’s still an unfulfilled dream and every time someone offers an opportunity to play competitively again, you react based on that desire in your heart. For example, you’ve already retired but someone suddenly comes up and asks you, “I have a very good player here, do you wanna play? Do you wanna give it a shot with him?” and then you get this feeling inside that you just wanna play. I haven’t really got any plans about these things and I’m just one of those kinda guys that goes with his heart so I follow my heart, if you get what I mean.
There have been a lot of tournaments over this season. How would you say the DPC has affected your life, especially relationships with your family seeing as you have a wife and a daughter now?
There’s definitely a huge impact and there’s a lot of things where you can’t really have it perfect on both sides. The club is like a family itself where there’s a lot of new people and you have to take care of them too. At home, let’s say I’m not around most of the time so I can’t really take care of and look out for too many things. The effect is just really huge but what really matters is whether my family can understand what I’m doing and why.
Would you hope for there to be much much less tournaments in the next season of the DPC then? For example, if they distributed more DPC points across less tournaments.
There could definitely be less tournaments. The schedule has been really tight this season and the Major/Minor system hasn’t really worked out that well because teams try to perform better in Majors and some might shun Minors. There’s also an issue where teams who want to play but aren’t good enough have very few chances to compete. On the other hand, teams that have lots of chances to play in all these tournaments feel really tired so the tournament system definitely has issues and needs some changes.
Lastly, let’s talk about your relationship with iceiceice. Is there a kind of rivalry between you two now that you have both started your own families and you both travel around the world playing in tournaments?
Well, between the two of us it’s really more of a friendly relationship but there is some rivalry and it’s not a bad thing. There’s more fun stuff and inside jokes and I’m quite happy for him as well seeing him at some of these tournaments.