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There was something like a scandal in the Internet about your ex-organization Prodota, can you tell something about that?
Well, I can. To put it mildly, the opinion that’s popular over the Internet has nothing to deal with the reality. The situation was rather simple: at the beginning of April, we decided to sign a contract with certain conditions with the organization.
We’ve asked a bootcamp for teambuilding including payments for the flight, management, etc. This was our only demand except for the salary, and we wanted nothing more from the organization. We’ve been satisfied with all that, but we had problems with communication during our cooperation. Each our message on conference, which a member of organization attends, was taken by the organization like we’re asking for something sky-high rate. For example, we agreed on the bootcamp, and the first offer from the organization was a bootcamp in Kosovo. For certain reasons, for some players from our team it’s even dangerous to move there. That was an objective reason why we could not agree on bootcamp in Kosovo.
But from the point of view of the owner, it was like we were asking for five-star hotel, while we were just asking for a standard bootcamp for five players. We did not need hotels, we needed five computers and something to eat. We did not need some special conditions, but every time we questioned some of the offered conditions, it was perceived just like we are asking for 5-start hotel, but it was not like that.
The owner wrote that we had a secret plan, according to which we were to leave the organization after successful qualifiers to T17. However, it was not like that. We’ve told that we would never stay in this organization no matter the conditions, and when the contracts expire, I will prove that. We were dissatisfied with the relation of the owner to us. There was a feeling that he was interested neither in our progress, nor in the progress of the team. As I said before, any our suggestion on improvement of something was taken like we have too strong feeling of our importance, and want something sky-high.
Because of that, we just did not want to extend our contracts. As for the words that we would leave the organization if we’d qualified to TI7 – how was that even possible from the legal point of view? If the contract is legitimate, we cannot just leave, there are no such terms and I’m not really sure how that could be the reason to exclude us. If we would leave, then you should do something, as the contract was legitimate – you could sue us and the trial would start.
There was also an accident a couple of hours before canceling the contracts proceeded by a small prelude. We had qualifiers to DOTA Summit 7 and Galaxy Battles, and we wanted to go to bootcamp before the qualifiers to TI7 start. The owner settled the demands: if we would pass to the grand final in one of the qualifiers, and if we would join top-3 teams in another, we would get a bootcamp. We took top-3 places on both qualifiers, losing against CIS-teams on the qualifiers to The Summit, and on qualifiers to Galaxy Battle we’ve lost against CIS-teams and mousesports. The owner decided that these results were not enough to give us a bootcamp. We’ve took our decision, and in a week the qualifiers were to start, Garter came and told that he had a conversation with the owner. We’ve got to know, that he was ready to give us a bootcamp, and offered two ways of development of this situation:
- We gather with the team for five days. It means, that we arrive to the bootcamp, play on the qualifiers on the next day, and go back. We totally disagreed with it.
- Bootcamp for 10 days. We arrived four days before the qualifiers start, but of the team did not join top-4 teams on the qualifiers, then we pay a half of the price from our own pocket.
We were ready to accept the second variant, as we were quite confident in our strength, but we had one demand. This time, we wanted to have a manager on the bootcamp, as it was rather difficult without him previously. We were to settle the questions on food, searches of cashpoints, etc on our own. Once, we had too little time before the official games would start, but instead of dealing with important things, we’ve been trying to order some food on a Turkish website, and that was rather difficult. We needed to ask Turkish player TheCoon’a (Neta «33» Shapira) to help us. In his turn, he tried to solve this situation with the help of Google Translate and get to know our address. These things are not very important to us, but we cannot waste our time on solving them during the qualifiers. We want to concentrate on trainings not on solving the problems, but the owner thought that we wanted our own slaves to buy us food and stuff. As usual, he thought that we are too ignorant. That’s why we’ve parted our ways with Prodota Gaming.
Why did they want to have a bootcamp in Kosovo if the organization is from Balkans?
The owner of the organization is from Ukraine, but he lives in London, and the organization is based in Great Britain. They wanted to have a bootcamp in Kosovo, because Garter is from Kosovo and he could manage all the stuff there. The other question is that they did not want to send a manager with us who could solve all domestic arrangements. For example, at home, I can handle all questions with food, electricity or the Internet, and I control these questions. But when I come to another country, I need certain help. It does not mean that I need a sitter, I just need a manager for urgency cases and that was the main point of the conflict. In two hours, the owner wrote us that the contracts of four players were canceled unilaterally.
The answer about bootcamp organization from owner of Prodota Gaming, Maksim «XPEH» Dyakonyu you can read here
After been kicked you’ve decided to take Swiftending, why did you choose him?
We checked the list of leaders and analyzed the variants with carries. We’ve been considering three variants: iLTW, but we refused it as he would not leave M19. The second one was Badman, who was recently in MMP top, and everyone thinks he is a perfect performer. And there was also Swiftending, and we connected with him faster, as he previously played with MiLAN, so we’ve decided to try him. We’ve tried him first, and we were satisfied, so we even did not check the variant with Badman.
You’ve lost first qualifiers in grand-final against Cool Beans. Did you have a feeling that everything was bad and you need to start all over again?
Obviously, that was not the best feeling, but we accepted everything rather adequately as we played worse than Cool Beans. In fact, they just overpicked us, and everything we could do was to make conclusions and overwork our drafting style. The matter is that we’ve been playing a few trainings in new roster, and we were not confident in what style was best for us. These games helped us define our directions. We’ve been disappointed of course, but only the first few hours. We quickly brought us together, drew conclusions, and the next qualifier was absolutely different.
You won open qualifiers and started to play closed qualifiers just in 10 hours. Was that difficult?
It was rather difficult indeed. We did not like the schedule at all. Two matches were played simultaneously, and we were to play the first match of the day, and we were to play the last match of the day. First, we’ve played at 10 in CEST, the second match was played at 23:00 in CEST, and it was hard. Also, we’ve played five games instead of four, but perhaps it even helped us, as we have played two open qualifier matches, and got used to such a schedule. We haven’t slept in eight days, and the players were exhausted, but we were extremely concentrated. Fantastic Five had alike situation on the previous The International. They slept after the qualifiers about five hours, and they’ve almost managed to get to the main stage. Somehow it helps to focus. In such critical situations, the organism uses all its resources.
How would you change the qualifiers? Maybe you would give more days for having rest for the teams that passed open qualifiers, or maybe you would increase the number of days?
Well, I would definitely give one day for having rest, and I would not schedule closed qualifiers the next day after the open ones. That’s the first point. Secondly, even if this system was changed, I would not put two first matches with the participants of the closed qualifiers, but just with the winners of first open qualifier. I don’t actually understand why such a system was chosen. There is a room for changes and improvements, many variants.
How can you estimate the level of game of the European teams, well, except for Secret?
Even before ProDota dismissed a roster, we understood that we could fight for the slot. The main candidates were Secret, next mousesports, and during this season we were rather equal. If I’m not mistaken, we won one map more than they in our common matches, and all together we had 10 maps played. Thus, we knew that we can defeat them and were well prepared for the matches. But we had questions to other teams, Danish Bears, The Alliance, and so on. We had a rather good history of matches and we could beat all of them, so we were ready to the battle for the slot. In general, the level of the teams was just like we expected.
When the qualifiers to TI7 were announced, many thought that it would be nice for top 2 CIS and top 2 EU qualifiers to add a wild map online, what do you think about that?
It’s possible to create different variants, up to four teams from EU and four teams from CIS move to play-off, and these teams compete for two slots in Double Elimination bracket. But as I understand, Valve, when making a decision, were mainly focused on the top teams of the regions. While in CIS region only Virtus.Pro demonstrated such level, in Europe there were three-four teams of this kind. Or if we take SEA, which historically have been demonstrating good results on TI7, but there were several teams that demonstrated rather good games on LANs. I think, that was the main point for Valve. However, personally I don’t like their approach to hosting events. I like the system in CS:GO. It is more clear, more tournaments for tier-2 teams and there is a ranking system, so you understand where you will be invited, whether you can join majors, and there are also minor tournaments. I think Valve need to improve the system of qualifiers in Dota, either to take CS:GO system, or to create something new. They can do many improvements for the tournaments.
You are a CIS player, and what you like more: play with CIS or EU players?
Personally I prefer to play with EU teams because of the mentality. Perhaps, I just met CIS players who tried to turn a solo. It’s difficult to play in the team where everyone wants to be a leader. If there is only one core player around whom the game is built, it’s more beneficial to a team. For example, Team Empire and Fn. I’m not sure that now he is the one who demands the attention to himself and tries to build a team strategy around him, but when I played with him, everything was just like that. In fact, this variant can be rather effective, but this should be only one player in the team, and everyone else should understand what for they are playing and get ready to be in the shadow. In Europe, there are no such problems, that’s why it’s easier for me.
You won the slot, and many organizations would like to sign you. Will you check the offers or you would rather play on your own?
Of course, we will check the offers. We’ve got many of them already but we still did not discuss that with the team, as we are still celebrating the success. I think, we will start to discuss that questions in the soonest time. If we get an offer that satisfies us, and the organization agrees to our demands, you’ll see an announcement soon.
If you could choose the organization to play for, what you would prefer?
From the prospective ones, that perhaps could be interested in cooperation with us, this is Cloud9. I’ve been a fan of their old roster, when pieliedie, bone7, singsing played for it. So if I had such an opportunity, I would accept their offer.
What do you expect from The International? How would you prepare? Will you have bootcamps?
I would rely on my experience and tell that all personal calculations and feelings are so different from the reality, that it’s better to expect nothing and just do everything you can. I my career, I felt many times that I’m ready for a certain event, that I have many strategies, but in result, something goes wrong. Here are many factors that influence the results, and everything we could do is what depends on ourselves. There many stories when the favorites of The International could not help the emotional pressure. We do not want to take some obligations, we’ll just do maximum we can, and we’ll see how everything will turn on.
If you could ask Icefrog any question, what will you ask?
I would better ask Gabe to develop a good system of tournaments for tier-2 teams. Because now the system is like that: there are tier-1 teams which go to The International, a huge gap, and tier-2 teams which are close to get into The International or Major tournaments, but get almost nothing. You work, pay enormous efforts, but you can always leave with nothing. It’s not good for professional arena. I don’t like that tier-2 and tier-3 arena is not motivated by Valve. It seems they are not interested in their development.
Would you continue to play in the same roster after The International despite the results?
It’s a tough question. We cannot predict what will happen. Besides, I don’t like to forecast the future. Anything could happen whether tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. I think everyone plans to play in this roster. But we cannot know what will happen in future.
How can you characterize each player of the team?
- MiLAN is very emotional. He can fire up the team, he is our emotional engine. I would even tell he is a moral core of the team.
- Нета «33» is a very clever player, and he is also emotional, but in his own way. He is a great player with high skill implemented both in team and individually.
- Keyser is a meme-man. He’s very funny. Sometimes, during the team fights, I ask him how much mana left, for example, he never gives a concrete answer, but something like ‘enough’, and everyone start to laugh. So he is a meme-man for me.
- Swiftwnding has been playing for only two weeks with us, so I can say about him almost nothing. In general, he seems to be a prudent, cold-blooded player. He never blows up, he knows what he wants from the game, and what he wants from teammates. I like these qualities. He is a player you can rely upon in the game.
How did it happen that you became a team captain and in-game coordinator?
Initially, MiLAN was the captain. But closer to the bootcamp final days, right about May 15-16, we decided to try me for this position. MiLAN was not confident, and the problems with in-game coordination appeared, so in mid-game we demonstrated worse game than in the beginning. We’ve decided to change a captain, arrived, and a new patch released. After reading Changelog, I’ve got many ideas for a new patch, and I immediately took the captain position. Next day, we had an official match against Virtus.pro. In general, I did not want to be a draft, as previously I had a negative experience. In the previous teams, I thought that was not my position at all. But prior to the open qualifiers, I had a conversation with the team where we’ve decided that someone must take everything in his hands. The team assured me that I was the best candidate. They were confident in me even more that I was, and I appreciate that greatly.