Source: https://www.cybersport.ru/dota-2/interviews/intervyu-s-gpk-izvinite-za-dva-meidzhora-i-boleite-za-nas-na-ti10-my-postaraemsya-pokazat-svoi-maksimum - (04.10.21) (by Cybersport.ru)
Danil "gpk" Skutin talked to cybersport.ru about Virtus.pro’s preparations for The International 2021, the first TI in the players’ careers. The young midlaner shared his thoughts about the team’s preparations to TI, moving forward after two failed Majors, finally getting a coach and more. The interview was taken during the last day of their bootcamp on October 2nd.
— Today is your last day at bootcamp before flying to Bucharest . How long have you been here? Getting tired from this type of practice?
— We’re here for about a month. I’m not tired at all. The opposite actually, it’s cool to work like this.
— Your new coach and sports director joined you during this bootcamp. How did that affect your practice plan?
— I can’t say it changed our practice much. Anatoliy ‘boolk’ Ivanov [coach] brought a lot of new ideas we’re working on right now. The sports director is responsible for morale, he’s helping us be more responsible and giving us confidence.
— How would you evaluate this month of bootcamp? What were your leisure activities?
— We definitely improved gameplay wise and just got more confident as a team. Our free time was spent watching YouTube, listening to music, playing some basketball at 11 pm. Just the regular stuff. [Everything indoors] of course. We’re taking Coronavirus very seriously.
— The September 26th patch didn’t look particularly impactful from the regular player perspective, but did it affect the professional meta in any way?
— I wouldn’t say it changed the game itself in any way. Everyone just got some new heroes: some got better, some got worse. Nothing special, a casual pre-TI patch.
— What is your opinion on the midlaner meta? Which heroes are most likely to never be seen at TI?
— I’d say Broodmother, she was in the meta for a long time. Maybe Morphling also won’t be seen mid. It is hard to say, since any team could surprise you. I think we will have 8-10 meta heroes mid.
— Is the current meta comfortable for you?
— Yes-yes, we are confident in your heroes for sure, as well as all meta heroes. We had no issues adapting to the new patch.
— How much different will the meta be since ESL One Fall?
— In my opinion, we will merely see different heroes. And we didn’t have all of the top teams attending recent events: no IG or EG and PSG.LGD played with a standin. I think those are currently the best teams.
— During the DPC you’ve said you don’t scrim with CIS teams. Who were your practice partners now?
— We played a lot against PSG.LGD, IG, EG, OG and T1.
— How much effort do teams put into those pre-TI scrims? Is there any fear of giving away strategies?
— Well, there are no thoughts to specifically “not reveal strats”. Each team simply has their pool of heroes and you wouldn’t be able to ban them all anyway. You can’t really give away a lot of strategies. A good team will always have something else and some more signature heroes prepared.
— Which one of your practice partners impressed you the most?
— I think it was OG. Despite playing with a standin, those guys have a very powerful playstyle. PSG.LGD are also a very strong team, and I think are the main contenders to win TI10. Though you could include EG in there as well. I’d pount those three teams out.
— Did you borrow anything from them?
— I don’t think so. We pick our own strong meta heroes and try to build strategies from there.
— You didn’t mention Team Spirit…
— No, we didn’t play with them at all. We prioritised other teams.
— Which teams specifically VP had trouble against?
— I don’t even know, we will be playing our own game, high skill Dota. I can’t name a troublesome opponent. Everything depends only on us.
— The International being moved to October gave teams two extra months to practice. Did that help you or hinder you?
— I think it played in our favor. We got boolk as our coach and he gave a whole lot to the team. It’s good we had these two extra months to practice with a coach.
— You didn’t want to get a coach for a long time since you’ve said you didn’t need one. What changed?
— I think our results at Majors affected this decision. We won two CIS league seasons without building a sweat and then just straight up failed at Majors. Moments like these make you think you’re doing something wrong. It shook our confidence as well. So we decided to get boolk and he’s helping us with everything.
— You didn't pick him right away. What was your review process and why invite boolk after all?
— We got a coach after ESL One Summer. We had two options, obviously I won’t name the other person. Ultimately we decided that boolk just fits as a coach. We got him to test him at a tournament and everybody liked working with him, so he’s staying for The International.
— Community often argues about how serious teams really are when it comes to online tournaments. Did you really do your best or were more about testing strategies?
— We definitely wanted to win, especially after two failed Majors. Ultimately got second and third. When we got our coach at the second tournament, we tried to do what he was telling us to. It was our primary focus. Same with the bootcamp.
— It’s been long enough to evaluate what actually went wrong at those Majors. What’s your input on them?
— We had a lot of issues there, all of those factors intertwined: some had bad form, some had bad morale and so on. We are much more serious about these things now when preparing for TI.
— It’s the first TI for all of you. Any trepidation?
— Right now none. We’ll see how it will go at TI itself. I think each team will have to be dealing with jitters one way or another, but I hope we’ll manage it. It will all depend on our performance.
— Do you imagine the moment you will first step on the stage yet?
— No, I think I perceive this as just a tournament. There will be a lot more of those in life. You shouldn’t focus specifically on this one TI. At least that’s how I feel.
— Feeling any pressure from your fans? Especially considering all those high expectations.
— No stress from it, but everyone realises that the pressure is there. Virtus.pro is a team with a rich history, so it is natural that people expect a lot from us. We don’t stress over it, but obviously do want to do very well.
— Have you been reading fan comments and analysts' predictions during your bootcamp?
— Sometimes someone could read something out or joke for fun. But everybody knows we want to show our best.
— Which results would you find satisfactory, or at least not disappointing?
— Everyone who’s going to TI wants to place the highest. But there is no bar we absolutely have to beat.
— Any words for fans?
— We’re sorry for the two Majors. Cheer for us at TI10, we will try to show our maximum.