Let’s start with The Bucharest Major. You’ve lost in the group stage. What happened?
I think we have improved a lot in this tournament, compared to ESL One Katowice. We are getting into a shape and a synergy. But we are just lacking something. We are still not on the level we want to be. So we are trying to improve and we will hopefully be ready for the next tournament.
Is the Swiss format better than one that was in Katowice?
Yes, it’s a lot better. We know what we want to do in the game. We are more initiative, everyone gives his own ideas because of practice. The more time we are spending together, the better we are playing together and getting a synergy.
Okay, what can you say about your Russian skills? Is it easy for you to communicate in the game and outside of the game?
It is easy for me to understand everything in the game but I speak more in English. I talk with my teammates in English for 90% of the time and give an information in Russian for 10% of the time. And I understand 60-70% of what they say when we have a talk outside of the game. Just because I don’t know every word.
Who helps you the most?
Dendi helps me the most. He is always friendly, tries to help me, gives an advice. He is a really good guy.
How did you join Na’Vi? How was it?
I saw that XBOCT had written on Telegram that they would need a stand-in to play in Jakarta. And I qualified for this with them as a stand-in. At the same time, there was WESG. But I wanted to play with Na’Vi at the Minor. They needed a support because RodjER was going to play for the Russian team. So I just asked Na’Vi’s manager if there was a slot for me and I would like to play. But he told me that there might be some roster changes, he couldn’t promise anything. Initially, there were four candidates for a slot in the team. So they tested me and decided to choose me. Tests were made during four days. One player was tasted in one day.
You had played with Na’Vi before that. In your opinion, was that a plus for you?
I think it was a plus because I had played three times with them. I have played with them in the qualifiers to GESC: Indonesia Dota2 Minor and showed that I can play on a good level and that the communication is not a problem. I have known Dendi for a long time, so they know me.
Is Na’Vi going to play at all Minors and Majors?
Yes, I think. We need points and we need to get more experience at LANs as a team to be ready for The International.
What about The International? Do you expect to receive a direct invite or to get there through the qualifiers?
We need to be in the top 8 by points, so we need to perform well. I think we will get a lot of points in Jakarta. I hope we will win this tournament. The top 4 is good because you receive DPC points in any case but the top 1 is much better.
Who is the worst opponent for you in the CIS region, besides Virtus.pro?
We lost to Effect. Effect is good because they play together a lot and have a lot of various strategies. They have replaced Cooman to iLTW. I think this will make the team better but not now, maybe in one or two months. Because I think that iLTW is a really strong player. But you can lose to anyone. Now, everyone knows how to play Dota. If you are not lucky or not practicing, you will be able to lose to anyone.
You have played a lot in the EU region. Can you compare the EU stage to the CIS stage? For example, the closed qualifiers.
Well, I was in teams that were not on the top level. So it was more difficult to play against strong teams. But I think the European region is easier a bit because top teams always get invites. But if you have a look at the CIS region, you have more teams there but also Virtus.pro and Na’Vi receive invites. They are almost the same. Because if the strongest teams are not in the qualifiers, it’s easier for tier-2 teams to qualify.
What can you say about your previous teams? Which one had been the best for you before you joined Na’Vi?
I improved a lot when I was in Elements Pro Gaming. I feel that we were a real team, we were close friends. In Double Dimension, we were good players but I didn’t feel that we were a family. I mean we were friends but not that close. I also improved a lot in DD but I really enjoyed playing in EPG with Balkan players.
What is your opinion about XBOCT as a coach?
He tries to help in drafts but he also tries to give more space for us to think more. If we are arguing or trying to find out what is better, he always comes and helps us. So I think he does a good job. A coach should not control everything. It’s not like in a football or a basketball, where a coach controls everything. A coach has to be more like a psychologist. He has to help players if there are any issues.
What about the fourth and the fifth positions? Lil and you swap positions from time to time. On what does it depend?
We decided that Lil would play in the fourth position on our previous bootcamp. I am also confident in the fourth position but I wanted to do the best for the team. I enjoy playing the fourth position more than the fifth one. But I am trying to be the best in the fifth position now.
Who is a captain of the team now?
Dendi has been a captain since the very beginning. But all of us help him. He can always ask us or we give him suggestions but he is the man that decides everything.
Isn’t it difficult for him to be a mid player and a captain at the same time?
When I was a captain in Double Dimension in the fourth position, it was really bad for me because I had to think about a lot of things before the game. So I was not in the game and was playing worse. But it doesn’t matter for him, he just destroys on his lane. But I mean that it should not be his job. We are choosing heroes and giving suggestions, so it should be more me and Lil or anyone who mostly supports.
Do you think that some of the tier-2 teams play using cheats?
Probably, no. Because it’s easy to see when someone plays with them. I don’t know if there is a maphack cheat. I’ve never seen such things in the matchmaking. I think Free-to-Play games can’t have cheats, compared to other games, which you need to buy. Because you ban cheaters and they need to buy another account. That’s how a profit can be made.
You have qualified to the final stage of WESG that will take place in China. But you didn’t get there because of GESC. Are you going to play in the next season of WESG?
Of course, I will play but it depends on how it will affect tournaments with DPC points. If there is a free time, I will go to WESG. But if not, I will stay with my team. The team and DPC points are in priority. I was saying this in Barcelona. WESG gives a lot of money and a lot of fun but that’s not what I am aiming for.
Photo credit: VPesports Andreea Esanu