N0tail Interview @ EPICENTER Major 2019
Source: https://www.cybersport.ru/dota-2/interviews/nablyudaya-za-igroi-rebyat-dumal-bozhe-kak-og-khorosha-eksklyuzivnoe-intervyu-s-n0tail - (29.06.19) (by Cybersport.ru)
Source: https://cyber.sports.ru/tribuna/blogs/r2dota2/2497475.html - (02.07.19) (by cyber.sports.ru)
Johan "N0tail" Sundstein talked to Cybersport.ru about watching his team play from the sideline and evaluated his coach’s performance as his stand-in and explained the team’s role distribution. OG captain and also praised iLTW despite things not working out.
How would you evaluate Titouan "Sockshka" Merloz performance? He judged himself quite harshly.
He is just this kind of person, shy, very self-deprecating.. Sockshka ended up in a very unfair position, since he doesn’t play professional Dota. It’s like dancing waltz and then, in just a second, switching to tango. Things play out very differently. I think he performed much better than any of us expected him too, you have to give him credit for that.
What about Sébastien "7ckngMad / Ceb" Debs? Sockshka mentioned that Ceb’s level of play suffered because he had to take on the call outs.
Yes, I think Ceb said something about supercompensation. These changes in the team put everyone in an unstable position, but I think this is something to be expected and is normal.
Your strategies are chosen by a total of four players: you, Sockshka, Ceb and sometimes Jesse "JerAx" Vainikka. How do you divide your responsibilities?
Let’s say it like this: we all in OG build one house and everyone is responsible for his own room. But someone needs to build the toilets, bring in water pipes, plant a garden outside. I think all four of us are simply doing more than just our rooms.
Topias "Topson" Taavitsainen and Anathan "ana" Pham are good at what they do, but the four of us have been building houses for so many years, that we now perfected the art of plumbing! (laughs)
When you arrived at the event, you wanted to play against TNC Predator, but it never came to be. Were there any special strategies prepared?
When I was watching the guys play and win without me, I was thinking: “God, we’re good.” And that wasn’t about me: there were in a shaky position, meaning they had no chance to show their best team play. So now I just want to come back and watch what we are truly capable of.
I wasn’t thinking specifically about TNC or certain heroes I wanted to try. We had a lot of prepared stuff for this event and you know how far we managed to go despite the unfortunate circumstances. It’s not only about strategies, I just want to learn about our true power.
Sockshka and Ceb mentioned that most of the strategies had to be out aside and they had to do what they could come up with on the spot.
It’s mostly true, but we did use a few prepared things in our games. Most of them obviously had to be dropped, at the very least because me and Sockshka play different positions.
What went wrong against PSG.LGD?
In game one, LGD were doing what they needed to do and just played perfectly. But despite the result, I think they would’ve lost that game of we were to come back and replay it, we would’ve crushed them.
I didn’t have a chance to properly watch the second one yet, I only did it partially. I think LGD is just a very good team and we didn’t have a chance to play with full strength.
OG is forced to play with a coach for a second time and they still beat Team Secret. What is OG’s secret?
I think years of experience gave us the opportunity to fulfill ourselves and truly play like a team. Dota is a team game. Many teams keep changing roster due to players’ egos, their mechanism isn’t smooth. It’s a very complicated thing.
Why didn’t Igor "iLTW" Filatov fit into your team?
Ana wanted to come back, the option with iLTW didn’t work. We talked to iLTW, at the time it was unclear whether Ana will come back or not. Let’s not forget about the language barrier. It is important to understand each other in Dota and we also put an emphasis on theory.
Let’s take Russian language: you have more than 20 words to describe snow. Is that true? [Meaning the names for snow of Russia’s northern folk]. It doesn’t matter, the point is: every language can describe something in more detail. I have an English-speaking environment, but some Dota nuance would be easier for me to describe in Danish, something that would take 10 minutes longer in English. That was pretty much the problem. The main difference between iLTW and ana is the English language skill.
Nonetheless, iLTW was a wonderful player. We almost got it, but again, there were nuances. iLTW is very young, there were few big scenes for him. He was worrying a bit and it had its effect. I think it could’ve been even worse. Sometimes newcomers have a hard time because their teammates do not give them a chance to relax. Let’s take Amer "Miracle-" Al-Barkawi from the Balkan Bears times , pretty much the same player, but twice lower in skill, because he had no experienced and necessary environment.
Those were good first steps for iLTW. Right now he is back at playing pubs and he still crushes everybody.
Do you agree with Ceb’s opinion that Dota is unfair, since Ana could be retired for half a year, then come back and be one of the best once again?
It would feel unfair for most. Ana is in the top 10 of best players for many people, but for me he is one of the greatest people who ever touched this game. But this isn’t enough by itself, Ana is very humble and hardworking guy, he only needs a fitting chemistry, like any other player really.
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Cyber.sports.ru talked to the OG captain about his carry skill critique an also touching the sensitive topic of Fly in comparison to a difficult situation with Adrian "Era" Kryeziuback in 2014.
You’ve been considered a very strong mechanical player, your Meepo is still remembered, but in OG your carry play wasn’t all that good.
It still feels weird to me that people think so. I won four Majors as a carry and I did it on micro- and macro-intensive heroes. It’s some kind of mass misunderstanding that was born on Twitch or Reddit. The croherd behavior, one person wrote something and everybody started repeating.
Nobody who writes this isn’t as good of a carry as I was and am. It’s the herd effect. I warn young players about it, Ana, Topson. It’s a very weird phenomenon.
So you think mechanically you’re still as good as you ever was, to go out there right now and how your best core?
Absolutely. But it is important to note that mechanically I won’t be as good as some other players. Like Ana for example. My main example. What he does is magic. It’s pure talent, pure magic. I can’t do what he does. But I can do almost (!) the same thing as he does, and I can do more with other heroes. For example, I can play Naga Siren and call my team what Naga can do and when. Ana can’t do it as well.
Who is the best Terrorblade player, you or Ana? It’s also a macro- micro-hero.
It depends on what kind of TB that would be, but I think out of all players I unquestionably used to be the best TB in the world. At some point Miracle became the scariest TB that Dota ever saw. That’s the usual cycle. Meta, playstyle, everything comes together, someone figures out the hero. The team notices this, takes it into their play, figures it out and now it is theirs. And you can relax.
When Miracle played TB, Team Liquid were almost unbeatable. You could crush them in the first 20 minutes, but if the game went on for 10 more - you lost. Things were different in OG. I was getting my TB and if I don’t get annihilated in the first 5 minutes, I annihilate them in 15. 15 minutes and the game is over.
That’s Dota. Someone can be good, very, very good in something specific during a certain period. And then the game changes. A patch comes out. The player loses faith in his idea or suffers a painful defeat with that idea. Then it could spiral down into defeats. That’s I am… well, there is one thing I could agree with my critics. At some point OG didn’t play as well, didn’t move as one. There were games when I had to play on heroes of a certain type, because our midlaner, Ana, played a different type. Maybe I didn’t show perfect play. But we were in search of our own style. The team as a whole wasn’t working all that well, because we no longer had that unique idea that was our own.
You and Tal "Fly" Aizik. I won’t go far, but… did you start hitting the gym before or after the conflict? You were in quite good shape by TI8.
Heheh. Yeah, I lost some weight at TI, partially due to stress, but also because of a good diet and a bit of exercise, not too much. I think people must pay more attention to it, at least an hour a day. Yeah, I think it was due to the diet.
Still, was it before or after the situation?
Well, I don’t think about that situation as “before” and “after”. I think I didn’t change much, I was looking fine by that point already. But after TI I made a lot of steps towards self-improvement. I have to say I feel… I love life even more than before The International.
Meaning mental as well as physical?
Physical, mental, many things. I got more aware regarding the topic of ecology. Which also adds some stress. You think about your mission, about the consequences of using planes, cars, the amount of trash you throw out, food you waste. I used to eat a lot of meat, three times a day. Now I am practically a vegetarian. I even think about reducing fish in my diet.
I think that the mass production of meat is a crime. Most people agree with it, but prefer to avert their eyes, don’t want to think about it. I also eat healthier food. My life improved for the better.
How you seen Fly’s interview at the previous Epicenter when he said something on the lines of: “My main goal is to win TI. If N0tail would disagree with that goal, then there won’t be a need for us to stay together”? Did it cause any suspicion?
Yeah, I think I saw it. I think… You’re giving it too much meaning. It was a very true statement. There is nothing wrong… nothing wrong to follow your happiness. It’s been a year since I saw the interview, so I’d need to take another look.
The man who follows his dream… It would be sad if something would stand in his way. If someone wants to win TI, but he wants to do it only with his best friend, then it has to be a part of his dream. You don’t have to do it with your best friend, just because someone says that it would be right.
I could form a team with anyone at all with the goal to win TI, work real hard for it. And if that someone doesn’t work hard enough, then there will be nothing wrong in me saying: “I think you’re not working hard enough and I would try something else to TI.” That’s all.
I don’t think there was something suspicious in his words. What happened in Birmingham… it was.. yeah, there was a lot. It was not easy at all.
At the end of 2014 you and Fnatic had a similar situation, correct me if I’m wrong. Era wanted to play at TI4, but you decided that he can’t?
It was a much more complicated and convoluted situation. Era was ill...
Yes, but he didn’t think so. He thought he was healthy enough to play at TI?
You would… I was there [raising his voice]. I played with this Fnatic, I was his teammate...
But those were Era’s own words.
Yes, but the point is that from our point of view… We had a talk with him, he said that he isn’t 100% sure that he can deal with the flight and stuff. We literally couldn’t figure out whether he would play at TI. We flew to a few events without him and had a thought: would it be more logical for everybody if Era wouldn’t even try to go to TI and we would play with Steve "Excalibur" Ye?
Nobody tried to fuck anybody in that situation. Era’s words were the result of misunderstanding and poor communication, partially from us, players, but also from Fnatic. They were seriously at fault for that situation.
The organization, they made a lot of mistakes. What they did put us as teammates in a bad light in front of everybody, even in front of Era himself. But in the end we did play with him at TI. Nobody tried to fuck anyone. Everybody wanted the best solution for all of us.
Are you friends with Era, Kai "H4nn1" Hanbückers and Kalle "Trixi" Saarinen?
I’ve met H4nn1 quite a few times after leaving Fnatic, only a few times with Trixi unfortunately. With Era… there were no conflicts between us, I didn’t see him often either, but we did meet in Barcelona, Shanghai.
In the end we all gathered because of one video game. We broke up because we wanted to play this video game different, or because we didn’t want to play it anymore at all. The game brought us together, that’s it. Everything comes down to the game. We want to stay humans of course, make correct and moral decisions on our path. Nobody wants to fuck anybody.
But we’re here because of Dota. We’re here because we want to win.
What about Fly? Have you met and talked things over?
I mean… no. [very quietly] There is nothing to talk about here.