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Let’s start with the beginning of your career. First of all, how did you come to Dota?
Well, I started playing from Warcraft. I played Warcraft III with my big brother and then I got into custom games and eventually into Dota, just like maybe 8 years ago. It’s hard to tell, 8 or 9 maybe.
How did you get into the professional Dota?
I guess I just played with some friends and got introduced to some guys who played on a tier-3 team. I started playing with them. And then I met some more people and eventually I started playing on a team with MiLAN, Xcalibur, Mitch and a Swedish guy Zeroji.
And after that you played in a big amount of tier-2 and tier-3 teams. Was it difficult for you to play at that level? Was it difficult to find motivation?
Well, not really. Because for me, I didn’t play at that level for so long. I guess it’s for players who play in those teams for 4-5 years and then I could see why they would lose motivation. But for me, I would say, apart from hiccups along the way, it wasn’t that bad. I kind of started with one team and then I joined a slightly better team, and another one and another one… I didn’t feel like I am not making any progress.
And what about Planet Dog? I mean, before The International and HellRaisers. Who invited you to the team?
I was playing with MiLAN. MiLAN was there for a long time since before No Logic Gaming even. And we wanted to play together for a long time. But I was in Kaipi, he was in EPG and he was always busy. And then both of us were out of our teams, but we tried to get the team together. At first it was bOne7, Arise and some Greek guy called Focus. We just register with that roster, we didn’t even play one game. And then bOne7 left and we started looking for supports and we found J4, at that time he was playing with a couple of guys, and we liked playing with him. And then we played to collect that for a couple of weeks I think, but then I left. I played with Horde. There were Akke, Xcalibur, Gorgc and Pablo. I played with them a month and a half or maybe two months and during that time my old team replaced Arise with Keyser and they played with some guy too. And after Horde disbanded, and Xcalibur joined that team. That didn’t really work well, we needed a carry player and Xcalibur was a mid player. We played together for a couple of weeks and we decided that it wasn’t working out and we looked for a carry player and we wanted to play with Garter. He had already been in the Prodota Gaming organization so we just joined Prodota, the four of us. Then we played together for a while, I think for like three months maybe. Before we were going to get invited to the qualifiers, naturally. I think it was two or three weeks before the qualifiers and Garter decided to leave the team. And this decision… I don’t know what it was about. It was very weird.
So were you playing as Planet Dog at the qualifier for The International.
Yeah. We couldn’t play in Prodota Gaming anymore, we got to move from the organization. Garter stayed in Prodota. So we had to find a new player and to go to the open qualifiers.
How were you looking for a player?
We were just looking for available carries. We knew Swiftending for a long time since he had played with MiLAN before. Apart from him, we were also thinking of playing with Badman. We couldn’t team up with him as he didn’t speak proper English. So we just got Swiftending and we were very happy with that.
Let’s talk about the qualifiers for The International. Was it hard for you? As no one expected such performance from you.
I guess, nobody really expected us to win. But I don’t know if it was so surprising that we made it to the playoff. I think the qualifiers were pretty weak. We were kind of playing at the qualifiers before but where we kind of usually reached the top at the later stages. I think we lost maybe two or three LAN finals and qualifier finals to CIS teams like Empire or Vega. We always lost against the CIS teams. We knew that we could beat the EU teams. Yes, we knew we could beat them. We didn’t think we would win. We just kind of got the other chance.
And what happened at The International? You held the last place at TI. What was the reason?
I would say the other teams were much better than us. Maybe we were not as motivated as the other teams, as we were kind of just happy to be there. I think it is something that happens at the first time. You are just happy to be there. TI is a huge event. It’s like a dream to qualify to TI. I don’t think we were so upset about getting the last place. We wanted to play at the main event, at least to make it out to some stages. I think we could have done it but we choked some games, we lost some games. I think we won one game out of sixteen. That is pretty disappointing but what can you do?
Who invited you to OpTic?
Zai had written me maybe a month before I joined. I think I got interested in playing with four or three guys from OpTic. I told them that it would be interested for me. They had some LANs coming up, Summit and some LANs in Malaysia. They just wanted to know what I was thinking and then they decided to play with Saksa. They played two LANs with Saksa standing in and he didn’t want to keep playing with them, I think. And then they asked me one more time. Ppd messaged me on Twitter and asked me if I wanted to play and I answered: “Sure, I want”.
And were you at a bootcamp in the USA?
It wasn’t a bootcamp. OpTic rented apartments for us. Right now it just means only I live there. Each of us has our own apartments, and we just play from there when they text us.
What’s your opinion about the NA scene now? You don’t have one team that wins all the qualifiers.
I think EG took some time to find the position with the new boss. After this tournament EG would probably have an easy time at the qualifiers. I think we could beat EG and compLexity could beat EG as well. But the other teams like us and compLexity and maybe Animal Planet, VGJ are also very strong. Immortals are actually not very strong lately, but they might improve.
What about your performance?
We are pretty happy with our performance.
Did you expect that you would get to the group stage?
I didn’t really think about that too much. We had been playing pretty good at scrims before this event. After ESL we decided that I was going to switch positions as I’m going to play offlane again. It’s much easier for me to play offlane as I’m used to that.
What are your expectations for the playoffs?
It’s Single Elimination, so it’s very hard to say. We are going to play with VP I’ve already played with them twice. I would say that we have good chances against VP. We’ll see what happens.
Is it a good opponent for you?
We could get a better opponent but also all the teams are very strong. That is not such a big deal.
What happened in ESL One Katowice?
We lost to VP in the first match and then we beat compLexity at the lower bracket and played against Team Liquid.
Did such result happen because Liquid were very strong or what?
Yes, we got a bad pick in the first game and were absolutely smashed. In the second game, he had some lasting input which I think we could have easily won the game. We couldn’t close up the game and it got pretty hard at the point. I think that eventually we could win that game very easily. So I was a bit disappointed.
If Dota disappeared, what would you do?
That’s a tough question. I don’t know. I would go to the university. And I’m sure I wouldn’t play any other game if Dota disappeared.
Are you planning to become a Dota 2 coach?
I don’t know. It’s really hard to say. I don’t know how the things will develop and how my life will go.