syndereN: «I like that Necrophos, Venomancer, Viper actually exist»

You visited the previous TI as a player. Did you expect such invite from Valve as commentator for The Internation 7?

Yes, I did. I actually knew in advance that if my team didn’t qualify they would want me to work as a commentator at that event, so I knew beforehand that it was gonna happen.

It was your second grand final that you were commenting with TobiWan. What did you feel after that?

It was a great final. I think it was a bit weird because it was 3-0. That was the first time it ever happened. It was cool to follow the storylines of the teams and I think, especially in the finals where the best team won. Maybe it would be more exciting if we had more than three games but there was something about a 3-0 victory as well, it was very dominant. It is also cool to see sometimes.

Were you cheering for any team at the last TI?

No, not really. I generally don’t really cheer for anyone, especially not if I am working on the event, I try to be non-biased. It’s hard to explain. Maybe you know, sometimes when you watch the game and you think: “It will be cool if this team wins”. But you don’t go into the tournament and you think something like: “Oh, damn, I hope this team is going to win the whole thing”. Just for every matchup, for very random reasons, maybe sometimes I find myself finding a cooler team winning over the other one but I try not to let it have any influence on my commentary.

Did any team surprise you from a good side or a bad one?

Actually, I predicted Team Liquid to win. So I guess that victory was expected but they almost got knocked out twice, they were very close. But I think the biggest surprise for me was LFY. I didn’t think they were gonna be that good. If I could have made my predictions again, I would have chosen LFY to win the tournament. I think that the team had the best coordination and the best team play but their drafting was not as good, especially as Liquid’s one. That hurt them a lot. I think that’s why they lost to Newbee as well in the upper bracket final.

Can you say a few words about OG, their 7th-8th place with the CIS team?

I think relative to the tournament and their probable places towards they held last year, it was very disappointing when they got the 9th-12th place but this year, the field was very strong overall. I guess OG was a bit disappointed but at the same time they felt that they didn’t lose to the pressure this time, they were just outplayed. They were playing, doing their best, having a good time and trying to win, compared to the last year when they had been trying not to lose. This time, there were fewer eyes on OG trying to count them as favorites. There were just better teams. The 5th-6th place is pretty accurate for them at this tournament.

Let’s talk about the CIS teams. Team Empire was playing with a stand-in in the face of Resolut1on. Do you have something to say about this? Did they surprise you?

Yes, they did better than I thought they would. They played very well around Resolut1ion. He was a stand-in but they made it work very well. I think he played exceptionally well for playing with the different team. He was one of the standout performers of the whole tournament, he played very well and I think the rest of the team did a good job too. As for Virtus.Pro, it’s weird because I think VP definitely had chances to go far. If they had beaten Team Liquid I don’t know what would have happened. They could maybe come at least to the finals. VP is a strong team but they still need to be a bit more consistent and have a bit clearer shot calling in really big games. That seems to be a little bit unavailable to kill for them sometimes like in the series against Team Liquid. I feel like in many ways VP should have won. They had 100+ minutes game. And I think VP was in a position to win that game in the end. But it got to a crazy late game where no one really knows what could happen. Maybe if they had been a bit calmer, they would have won that game. They held the 5th-6th place and Team Empire got the 7th-8th place. Overall it’s pretty good, it’s a tough competition. I think VP is probably the least satisfied of those two teams. Team Empire would have probably been okay with being the top 8. VP is always aiming for the victory or at least the top 3 at such big tournaments. Maybe they are a bit disappointed. They are the team of all the teams that we have talked about so far that placed the lowest compared to their potential  I think VP could have gone really far.

In the beginning of the season, you played with No Diggity. How did you become a part of the roster? Did they invite you or you created the team?

I was talking mainly with Era. I used to play with him. We talked about making a team and he wanted to play with some of his teammates that had been with him in The Alliance and NiP. We were talking with other players as well, but then we ultimately ended up with that roster. We got some extra players. Unfortunately, that team didn’t work out really well. I thought we should have kept playing for a bit and see if we could develop some more synergy. But especially the Swedish players just wanted to make something completely different together. So they just split off when they got a new opportunity. So I guess in the end, it worked out pretty well for everybody except MagE-.

Few words about MagE-. Where did you find him?

We were looking for a mid player. And I think for that role, this is a really good option to look at the upcoming talents in pubs because it’s a very mechanical role. You still need to have a different skill set. You can’t just be a mechanically good player but bad in communicating or a bad team player or inconsistent. I think MagE- still has quite a bit to learn about consistency and about communicating with his team. But we took him for the promise in mechanics. It’s hard to say how it really goes, you just try it out. And unfortunately, we didn’t have very much time to give him the experience he really needs. He had been playing for two and a half weeks before this happened. It’s hard to develop very much during such a short time.

Why did you decide to join MidOrFeed? Who did invite you?

So actually this is the team I wanted to play with earlier. I was talking to KheZu but the original roster had Saksa who held the 5th position, the role I played. We talked about a captainship and he said that Saksa was going to try to be a captain for the team and to take care of that responsibilities. But after a couple of weeks, Saksa decided to take a break, he felt that he burned out from Dota. So he has taken a break for few months. He suggested me and the rest of the team try me out. We tried a couple of games and they really liked it. It was good both of them and me. I am very happy so far with playing with this team. I still need to improve a lot but the promise is very good for us right now.

Should we expect some organization that you will join?

We are working on it, it’s still very new but we are in touch.

So shall we wait for this in the nearest future?

Hopefully, yes.

Shall we wait for a coach in MidOrFeed? Maybe even Saksa?

I don’t think Saksa wants to coach. Also, I don’t know how much he is interested in this. He coached HellRaises at TI. I think he wanted to try it. I am not completely sure how well that went, how much he liked that, how much they liked that. As far as overall, I think we will get a coach somewhere down the line but that’s probably something that comes in connection with getting an organization. So we get the structure around the whole thing.

Let’s talk about the new Dota 2 tournament system. There are 11 Majors and 16 Minors. In your opinion, is that too much for Dota or it’s okay?

I think it’s hard to say this year. For now, maybe it’s a bit much. This may be hard for the fans to keep track of all the tournaments, there is so much happening. From the team perspective, I think it’s very good to give the tier-2 teams a better chance of qualifying. But maybe the structure has to be changed a little bit. Maybe it stabilizes itself. But for now, the tier-1 teams are still largely invited, they don’t have to play qualifiers as much. That means that they have a bigger advantage because they don’t have to show much, to play these games, to go through all this stress of multiple qualifiers. Especially when the qualifiers overlap, you have to choose the tournament to play in. That’s the problem when some teams need to pick and discard a tournament. They don’t really want to do that when there are circuit points at the stake and when Minors and Majors have the qualifiers at the same time. I think that is the problem when there are too many qualifiers in such a short time. But I mean so far, so good. I think it’s healthy at least that the teams get this chance. There could be some minor changes that would probably help the structure to be more on the fairway.

How do you think, is it fair to give points to the top four at the LAN or they must go to all teams that play at the LAN finals?

I don’t really like the point system. I think the Majors are worth too much compared to the Minors. It’s good that Majors are worth more. But they are worth five times more than Minors. I think it should be three times more because these Minor tournaments still have a lot of good teams. I guess the idea maybe is that the top teams that are very good will be able to play less advance and that will make them more exclusive and give them a chance to shine at these tournaments. But at the same time, it also makes these Minors very inconsequential. They don’t matter very much to any team, except the two teams that try to prove themselves. Realistically you won’t get enough points for TI unless you play more than two or three Majors in a season. So the tier-2 teams at the same time don’t have a chance very much. I think three times as many points will be good and there should be points for the top eight. The top four only is a bit strict. And on that topic, Majors should have a format with twelve teams and Minors must have eight. I think that’s okay. But if you are a Major tournament and you are supposed to have the best teams from all over the world, you can’t have the best teams in the world with eight slots. There is an element of randomness, some really great teams don’t make it. You can say that they’ve lost the qualifier. But at the same time are the regions equal in strength? If there is one slot for China, for example, does that mean that the second best Chinese team is not good enough? If there were twelve slots,  China would have two maybe.


You have played a lot with European teams and some of CIS ones. What are the best teams in Europe and CIS right now?

It’s hard to say with Team Liquid because we haven’t seen them play since TI. But if they had the level of TI, then they are a part of them. Team Secret looks very good. They won one of the qualifiers. Virtus.Pro is the best CIS team, for sure. There is no arguing. I would say OG, they are actually improving a lot recently. People thought they were really bad short after TI when they started playing with Resolut1on. But after staying on a bootcamp and practicing, they play on a much higher level. They are actually very good in my opinion. So I guess those teams are my top four maybe in Europe and CIS right now. I think OG is better than the second best CIS team.

What can you say about other regions such as China, SEA, and America?

It’s hard to say in America. I feel that they are beating each other all the time. EG qualified to the Major but compLexity qualified for, I think, two Minors and OpTic got into one Minor. If I just have to rate teams in terms of power ranking right now, I think EG is the strongest NA team, the second place holds compLexity and the third one is taken by OpTic. In terms of potential, I think OpTic will probably go further in a long-term run than compLexity, we’ll see. That’s what I think just right now. Mineski seems to be the best team in the SEA. They have won two or three qualifiers with iceiceice and Mushi roster. And I guess Newbee for the moment. They got second at TI, they beat LFY and another serious team today in the qualifiers to DreamLeague.

In one of your interviews, you have said that you like sports. What is your favorite one and why?

I like playing pool and a table tennis and a badminton. I have always played with rackets for since I played tennis, badminton, I played table tennis in school. There were tables, so we were playing on those all the time when we had breaks between classes. I like watching different things for different reasons. I think it’s really cool sometimes to watch snooker, great tennis, and badminton matches. I think watching football is boring actually. A handball is big in Denmark, I like watching it too. The reason I don’t like football so much is the flow of the game. I think if you are into this sport and you are a fan of the club, it can be interesting. But as a casual, you want to watch a game and you don’t really cheer for anyone. You just want to watch the sport itself. I find a football to be a bit boring because you can play for a long time without any meaningful progress, without goals while other sports have way more dynamics like tennis and badminton where every point matters. You are very quickly building an advantage or lose. Similar in handball, there is a lot of action and goals. Sometimes football has that, it’s great but rare. That’s the difference. I don’t know there are so many things I like to watch. I just like to watch people when they are good at what they do. That’s fascinating, almost no matter what it is if they are professionals.

Have you visited any live event?

I actually don’t think that I have ever watched live events in sports. That’s a bit weird because I went to my first concert when I was 20. I never went to festivals. I like watching. I guess in Denmark especially where I lived, there were not so many big sports events. I lived in the north of Denmark. You know, the big part of Denmark is Copenhagen, there we have our big sports and stuff. I have never been close to it. And since I lived in Denmark, most of my life was fairly quiet. I suppose that’s why I haven’t really seen big sports events. Maybe I should go and watch something some time.

If you had to choose to be a commentator or a player, what would you choose and why?

Then I would choose to be a player. Because that’s my passion. I was in the position of commentator especially around TI5 year when I was working at every single big event. I was a part of the broadcast at many finals. I had a great time, I really liked it. I love commentating but the reason I started playing again was that I had this drive to want to play. So if I could choose one to be successful in, I would definitely choose to play. But the advantage of the commentating is that it is more stable. There is also a competition in it. You are competing indirectly against other commentators but it is a way more stable at the top, compared to playing. But at the same time, playing is just so rewarding for me like winning these games or feeling the improvement, getting better when qualifying for stuff. Playing with my team, growing it together is a very rewarding experience. And commentating doesn’t do that in the same way. It is still nice. If I chose one, I would choose to be a player.

The last question. If you had an opportunity to ask IceFrog anything, what would it be?

It’s a bit weird question. I have met him, I have been told. There was one TI where IceFrog met different people. We can say we met him but can’t tell anything to allow people to point him out of the crowd, we can’t say how he looks like or anything like that. That’s always a secret and I think it’s cool. I have given him a lot of feedback about patches and stuff. The thing is that if I wanted to ask him anything, I guess I could. But I don’t know what to ask and I respect the guy’s privacy and what he does. If you are speaking from a Dota perspective like ask him to change something in the game, there has not been such a problem in this patch but I hate Techies.

You are saying this in every interview.

Because that’s true, right?

Maybe someone like Necrophos, Venomancer, Viper?

Actually, I like that those heroes exist and I like what they do. But we see that they become stale over the time. We definitely want a new patch, we are looking forward to it but none of those heroes should be removed or anything like that. I think they make a lot of sense in Dota. There is only Techies that I think ruins games. I guess if I could ask anything for the next patch, it would probably be to balance out the 4th role because the 4th position was extremely powerful in the last patch and the 5th position was less impactful than I think it could be and than it used to be in the past. If you think about the whole balance system and how the game works, the 4th position gets a lot and the 5th one generally gets very little in the game. So if there was some way for the fives to have a bit higher impact in the game, for example, they would get more gold or the 5th position heroes would get buffed somehow. It’s hard to say and it’s hard to balance. Maybe it’s a leveling thing like it’s harder for the fives to get levels. Because pooling got nerfed and you need more experience for the levels. I am sure if you watch the games, you can tell that it’s different from how it was a year ago. I felt like the 4th position and the 5th one were closer in terms of game impact. And now, the 4th one is almost the carry of the team in some games and the 4th position makes the strong play in big team fights. And the 5th one is Lich that casts Sacrifice and Ice Armory or Witch Doctor that has Cask or something like Ancient Apparition with an ultimate but I mean that a cool spell is not that. I am sure that you understand what I mean. The foresters are a lot more flashy, they get more spotlight, they get more priority and they just do more in the game, have a higher impact. That’s what I would say it would be cool to see. They are completely different and the way they play. The fives must be made stronger, I guess. I think for the position one, two and three, the balance is nice right now. Oh, and one more thing - remove the extra creep in mid. Get it away, that’s my new thing that I really dislike. I was skeptical about it and think it’s not good, I hope that happens in the next patch. The reason why I don’t like the extra creep in mid is a forest mid laner if you know what I mean. There are more resources, more impact in mid. Before that creep was there, you had to choose which lanes to prefer but the mid-lane is naturally more important now. I don’t like that. I think it gives fewer options. You have to do something about that lane. Remove the extra creep - that’s what I wish them to do.

Do you want to give some shout-outs to friends or fans?

For everyone who watches, thanks for following my commentating and my playing. I hope to get some good results and make my fans proud of my current team.