Interview with Team Spirit's Illidan
This interview was done by 2009 during the ESL One Birmingham Major.
Thanks for agreeing to do this interview. I’m not sure to say congratulations or commiserations because you did a lot better than expected, especially for a last minute team but you have also been eliminated.
Yeah, we did pretty well, we 2-0’d EG and managed to take a game off Fnatic.
Considering Team Spirit’s position in the CIS region as one of the top 3 teams besides VP, and the fact that you will have to go through qualifiers for TI, how are you guys approaching TI?
We will have to go through the Open Qualifiers anyway, so it’s going to be a really tough and long road for us. If you want to go to TI, you have to be able to do it and if you can’t even get through the Open Qualifiers, you’re probably not going to TI even if you’re invited to the Closed Qualifiers, so it’s all or nothing for us. We had some issues before so we decided to change up our roster and right now we feel a lot more comfortable with ourselves. We discuss a lot more and talk about our problems and what’s going on in our games. For now, our results here aren’t a complete failure because we had a lot of difficulty in getting here. We were literally standing in the airport before our flights, waiting for our manager to come with our passports with the visas. We were in a great hurry and we only received our passports like an hour before the flight was to depart so we ended up a little unprepared but we did pretty well in the first day. The second day didn’t go as well but we felt like we put up a good fight against Fnatic but we fucked up a bit so we lost. We’re just looking forward to the Supermajor now and we’ll see what happens there.
What is the communication like in your team? You guys picked up Biver a few months ago so what language do you guys use to communicate?
It’s mostly English. As long as he’s listening and he’s interested in the matter like when we have team discussions, we will speak in English. When we’re just talking amongst ourselves and it doesn’t involve him we speak Russian. Sometimes, we will speak English so that he can understand what’s going on.
This roster is mostly the same as VP in TI5, the only difference being Biver instead of Lil, so do you guys feel like you can get a similar result if you succeed in qualifying to TI?
We’ll see. We’re aiming for a better result but who knows, right? It’s a really tough and long road so I don’t like talking about what to expect. First we have to get through the Open Qualifiers, then we have to get through the Closed Qualifiers, so we’re aiming for smaller targets like these first. For now, our goal is simply to perform well at the Supermajor then try to get to our peak for the qualifiers. It’s really tough for us because the Supermajor ends two days before the Open Qualifiers, so we basically have almost no time to prepare but of course, we’ll be prepared to play Dota and there will probably be some sort of patch again since each patch is pretty big nowadays. These patches change Dota a lot and I don’t think there were a lot of patches like this even when patches were as infrequent as once every 5-6 months, they never had such drastic changes. Now, for example, the changes to building gold, the formula for HP and mana, those are some of the most insane changes when you’re playing a tournament.
Speaking of the patches, as a pubstar near the top of the leaderboards, and as a pro player, do you think Valve should reduce the frequency of the patches?
I don’t think so, it’s a good system overall but the thing is that you need to have a stable version like before. If the patches come in the middle of the tournament, it can fuck anyone up. If there’s a stable version, you can play it throughout the tournament and that would be fine. I don’t mean that we should be playing an old version at the next tournament too but if a tournament is started on a certain patch, it should be finished on the same patch, even if the new patch is released a day before the tournament starts. It might cause some other troubles, but I think it would be better so that people can choose what they want at a tournament.
Let’s move on to heroes, let’s talk about Shadow Demon. Your team has picked it quite a few times this Major, what is the team’s opinion on the hero?
Shadow Demon can be really strong if you know that the enemy team probably wants Luna, for example, if they have people who spam the hero. Heroes like Luna and Spectre who struggle against their own illusions are the ones that SD does well against. His ultimate also got buffed a lot so he’s much stronger than before while remaining balanced, so he’s not like some kinda obviously imbalanced hero like he was before with Shadow Poison damage. He’s a balanced hero and has an opportunity to influence the game a lot.
You were well-known for Gyrocopter back in the really old VP roster with NS and Crazy. He’s a really popular hero that we’ve been seeing a lot of. What do you think of Gyrocopter at the moment?
I don’t think he’s much of a carry hero now. I never really liked him a lot even though I played him a lot and he was a really strong hero, especially when Flak Cannon had a 20 seconds cooldown, compared to when it was nerfed to 30 seconds, and now it’s 40 seconds. After it changed to 40 seconds, you can’t really farm anything much with it other than maybe one or two camps. Now, it can literally be the most active hero on the map but in terms of farming and carrying the late game, it’s not really a hero.
What do you think of the current build where people go Drums into Aghanim’s?
It’s the best build, in my opinion. Earlier on I was doing this particular build, even before the changes to Flak. It’s just better in terms of focusing someone or something in a fight so yeah, this build is great and I like it the most.
But you don’t think it will carry games?
No, I meant that it can carry, for sure, but it can’t farm well, if you get what I mean. You need to be active on the map and that’s how you get items on the hero. He will probably get more items by being active and making good movements on the map instead of just AFK farming. I’m not trying to say that he’s unable to win the game because if he’s like 10/0 and the enemies have less items, it’s still great. But in terms of stacking for him, farming those camps, and trying to micromanage your farm, it’s just harder and less effective with him.
The popular laning setup in the current meta is 2-1-2, and you guys have adapted to this, picking Axe + Sky lots of times. Do you guys find that it really suits your playstyle a lot?
Yeah, I guess so, they’re really strong together and it lets us play aggressively. I think Axe is really good right now and could even be a first pick hero.
You guys have DkPhobos who’s really well-known for his Broodmother. Do you guys have any strats prepared where you might choose to pick it for him?
Sometimes we decide during the last pick and sometimes we decide earlier if we want to run a Brood strat, it’s really hard to say. When we see the opportunity we have to think about what the hero gives us. It will give us map pressure, so people are forced to trilane or maybe there’s a really favourable 1v1 matchup for the Brood then we might pick it. It’s really situational for us.
Thanks again for the interview and good luck at the Supermajor.
Thank you too.