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Our editorship made an interview with Lee «Heen» Seung Gon, the coach of the reigning world Dota 2 champion.
Heen told about the reasons for the recent bad performances, shared his expectations about the future of the team and also commented the new system of patch releasing, that is released every two weeks for Dota 2.
First of all, let’s talk about this Major. You played 3:2, nobody expected two losses from you. What happened?
How we feel is that we played five games and we should have won five of them. If you actually look at replays, these games were really favorable for us. I think there is no excuse for our bad performance. I think we had some issues with closing out the games. It’s the same game we have been playing for so many years but at the same time, there is a pattern to every tournament. And we are a bit confused about the game flow. For example, we are winning but we can’t see ahead how we actually win the game. So we played a bit directionless. We played a bit mindlessly in both games that we lost. We had a talk and then we played against Vici Gaming. I think it was our best performance in the tournament. I think Vici were also struggling quite a bit because nobody had expected them to be eliminated so fast. I think we didn’t play so well against OG because we were nervous as it was an elimination game. We have one day to prepare for tomorrow, so we will have a look at some things like how we should structure our game.
Nobody really knows what you are doing for your team. What are your responsibilities as a coach?
I do some things for the team like strategies and heroes they prefer. Because I’m more neutral. You know, a mid player sees a game from a mid player perspective, a carry player sees it from a carry player perspective and so on. So it’s easier for me to make an overview of the entire team and say: “We are good at these things, these things are not for us”. I talk to our team a lot and then try to balance out it. I ask some questions like: “What do you think, why we are not so good at this?”.
Now, you are allowed to be in the drafting phase. Is it good for Team Liquid?
It’s very nice. It’s very easy for me to see when the things went wrong even if we lose. Before this season, coaches had not been allowed to be in the drafting phase. You actually didn’t how the draft happened. But when I am in there, I can say that we have drafted these heroes because of this. It’s easier for me to find the reason why the game was hard. Overall, it’s very advantageous for coaches to know that their game theory is correct.
What do you think about the in-game pauses during matches? Like it is in CS:GO now. You can pause a match and have a talk about strategies.
It would be cool. Even being in the drafting phase is a very new thing for Dota 2. So every coach has to learn because this is a new experience for us. Maybe we’ll see this in the new season. And in such case, a coach’s skill will be a huge factor.
IceFrog has announced that Valve will release a new patch every two weeks. What is your opinion about that?
I think two weeks is too short. I think if you release a patch and then you have another patch in two weeks, you will not have enough time to see which changes are needed. Because Valve had wrong patches in the past. The meta kept changing even if there were no new patches. So how can you expect to see the full extent of the patch in two weeks? There is no consistency in how big the patch is. For example, the last patch was quite big. So how can we know if it’s going to be a small patch or a big one?
How often do we need to have a new patch?
I think that one in four weeks would be better. My idea is that two tournaments have to be hosted within one patch. Now, we have one patch and one tournament. I think there is not enough room for players to keep developing in the game. Even four weeks might be too short but two weeks are definitely too short.
What happened with Team Liquid in Katowice?
Actually, the same thing as here in the group stage happened in Katowice. We were winning the match against Vici Gaming in the playoffs, we were winning all games and then we had some problems. And we came here after Katowice. And it’s very naturally that we have the same problems. We have a nice start and then become directionless. People easily call that a slump. But I think our players are playing individually well but we are not playing well as a team. The early game isn’t about a team play it’s more about a raw skill.
So what do you need to play better?
I think it comes down to all five players taking responsibility and calling the shots. I think that a captain calling the shots in Dota is an old idea. A captain can lead the team and he leads the draft. But in the game, all five players should be comfortable with making calls together. Everyone should share their ideas. The more we play like this, the more they naturally see the same and make moves faster. If you hesitate for a few seconds in Dota, you may just lose the game.
What are the plans of Team Liquid? Are you going to play at some Minors if you are invited or only at Majors?
I think we will rarely go to Minors from now on only because of scheduling issues. There isn’t that much time until The International. And there is still quite a bit of Majors left. Including traveling, two Majors take one month. So yes, we mostly focus on Majors.