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ESL Berlin Major player interviews

During the thrilling Berlin Major of 2023, Ivelin was able to talk with some of the key figures of this exciting tournament.

During the thrilling Berlin Major of 2023, Ivelin was able to talk with some of the key figures of this exciting tournament. We put some of the highlights together of the interviews with BZM, Jenkins and Jabbz, but you would be able to find the full transcripts of these interviews, together with those of MindControl, Sumail and Matthew here:

Written by Ivelin Zhelezchev & edited by the Link News Team

BZM- a rising star in the Western European scene, the 18-year-old Bulgarian came to the scene and immediately started turning heads. Having already won a major, his future achievements can only be prophesied. A beastly young midlaner, his Invoker, Templar Assassin and Ember are nothing to be scoffed at. We managed to catch him on the 5th of may before the Major games.

First of all, thank you for sitting down with us. Are you happy with your performance at the Berlin Major so far?

So far so good but I think we can do more in my opinion.

You’re in the lower bracket now, do you feel more anxious when you’re on the brink of elimination?

No, not really because we’ve already played against the two “big bosses” of the tournament so there’s nothing to be afraid of.

How’s the team mental situation with two stand-ins? Is there a difference in the dynamic of the game?
The dynamic is different but it doesn’t affect us that much that they’re stand-ins. Both of them stay until 3am to think of strategies, to talk with coaches or players that are not here – Chuvash, DM, Misha. I feel like there isn’t much of a difference even though they are stand-ins.

Who do you think is the OP hero of the patch? Something that you think is quite strong right now?

Obviously Medusa

Some specifically mid hero?

Alchemist, Windranger and Void Spirit.

What about some hero that you miss from last patch? Anything that got nerfed from your pool?

I mean to be fair they didn’t change that much so I don’t think so, although Invoker got nerfed. I think that’s the hero I’ll miss especially his talents that got removed.

Are there any players that you feel like have influenced your playstyle when it comes to the midlane?

Before, I used to look at the way gpk [Position 2 of Betboom] played mid but the past couple of months I’ve been focusing on Quinn from Gaimin [Gladiators] and Kiyotaka from [Nine] Pandas.

What about general influence? If you could follow the career path of anybody who would that be?

*points at Mind_control* That man is an inspiration to the Dota scene, not just to me so it would definitely be him.

On the topic of Mind_Control, how would you feel if DM and MC switched and MC came permanently to OG?

It would be cool in the sense that there are two Bulgarians on the team but I don’t think he’s ready to play without Kuroky. Plus, I don’t think there is a serious gap between the skill of MC and DM where the change would affect the team greatly.

You’re still 18 so the topic of school must come up. How do you deal with that? How do you find the time in between DPC, Majors and other tournaments?

I go basically about twice a year just for exams and the other time I’m home-schooled. But I keep up, no falling behind.

Does it happen that somebody from the team tells you about stuff they’ve seen on reddit, like tips and tricks or something like that?

Maybe Taiga sometimes but if it’s not something super important or necessary per-se we try to avoid reddit talk.

Last question, what do you think of the Bulgarian Dota 2 Scene nowadays?

For sure, if we draw a comparison between the Bulgarian scene from five years ago when there was exclusively MC, Nikobaby and СТОМАНЕН, there is more people that have shot up in the ranks. We have lil pleb who’s been high rank for a while and even almost made it to division one in Western Europe. We have other high ranking players and I think overall we can’t say that we’re close to the biggest group in the world but we’re also not the smallest anymore. We might not have that many people but the few that we do are high rank and are generally good players.

Thank you very much for your time with us, good luck at the major!

Jenkins – an up-and-coming content creator turned analyst, beloved by many in the Dota community. Famous for his many Dota tutorials on YouTube with his series called “Herald Review” and being a former professional player under the banner of Arkosh Gaming, Jenkins has found himself a spot in the hearts of many Dota players due to his humor but also due to his knowledge of the game. He agreed to this interview after all the series concluded on the 5th of May.

First of all, thank you for agreeing to join us here. We don’t have much time so we’ll start immediately. What is your opinion about the patch 7.33?

My general opinion about the patch is that it’s chaotic, it’s fun. A lot of my friends that quit the game have come back to the game and I think that’s important. A lot of unbalanced stuff, the vanguard meta, the pipe and the crimson. But any new patch will come out and that will be an issue. Obviously, we didn’t have enough time before the major so they’re not gonna do a huge balance patch. I think this patch has saved Dota. I legitimately think this patch has extended Dota by 2 years and then in 2 years another patch comes up. But this was a big one, like it’s so much fun to play.

Yeah, when it’s been 2 years without a patch it feels like the drought has ended. In a way this patch feels even bigger than 7.00.

It does, it does, it feels like whatever the window was for the previous patch, this feels like the biggest window that I’ve ever seen. We’re gonna be able to figure out the patch, maybe in a few years. I mean the portals add so much, they actually add so much to the depth of the game and sort of the new objectives. I think there’s a lot of doomsayers out there but like no matter what Valve does they’ll go “Dota is dead”. Fuck these people.

What is your favourite hero that got buffed in 7.33?

Ogre because I think the change where he has literally 0 intelligence is really funny but it actually leads to really interesting item decisions that u don’t have to make on other heroes. He is inherently a spell-casting hero. And yeah, you want all these strength and tank items so it makes an item like Heaven’s halberd more valuable. Of course, you can multicast and it’s obviously pretty good on him but you’re getting more multicast chance on it and more mana. I know everybody hates Medusa because she’s OP but I think the zero stats changes are my favourite things because they make the decisions on those heroes so different from everything else.

Which hero you’re sad that it got nerfed in 7.33?

Let’s see what got nerfed in 7.33? Riki, fuck Riki, well support Riki is fucked. I’m trying to think of something else that got nerfed..

Nature’s prophet?

Oh! Good call! I would say Nature’s prophet is one of them, but to be fair I have felt sad about Nature’s prophet ever since they removed the greater treants because I really liked the rat and split-pushing bullshit. I thought that was a very unique way to play the hero. But the hero inherently will always be in the meta due to the nature of his global teleport. A spell like that is way too broken to be fully out of the meta for long.
Do you think it’s more important to secure your own wisdom rune or securing the enemy teams?

I would say stealing the enemy wisdom rune is probably more important because in Dota in general for example if you’re farming a camp in front of the enemy base, it’s good, because that means they are not farming the camp and not only are you taking their gold but they are also not getting any. You’re also playing close to their towers and their area of the map and their resources. And when you go back to take your own wisdom rune, you can leave the area to a carry to farm there and secure it for a couple of minutes. Whereas if you take their wisdom rune, they have to respond to that and in Dota the team applying pressure is generally better than the one trying to relieve the pressure. Proactive teams always get further in tournaments, reactive might still do okay but it’s the proactive ones that win.

What about the Tormentors? Do you think teams should put more effort on them?

To be fair there is value in the tormentor’s but there’s also a lot more risk added when it comes to the Tormentors. Dota really is just a game of poker in that regard. It’s risk versus reward. You’re hedging your bets. If you try and take the enemy tormentor but you fail, you might just throw the game while it’s a lot easier to just run back and do yours when there’s a small chance that the enemy team contests you.

Those were my Dota questions so I’m going to move on to different topics. Do you read reddit? If you do, do you use it for feedback on your content or just for fun new stuff?

How often do I read reddit? I have a rule where I have 15 minutes in the morning where I’ll read it and then I don’t open it for the whole day. Sometimes I’ll read some before bed but I’ve been reading more and more books. But that’s my rule, 15 minutes in the morning. Sometimes when I thought I’ve had a bad day, like I haven’t done my best effort while on a panel I’ll check for feedback and yeah sometimes I fiend because it’s hard not to, I try not to as I think it’s bad for your mentality to read negative shit but sometimes it’s just fun to see stuff like watching Ramzes get killed by a tormentor, that kind of stuff. You miss things and you wanna see what the tech people are up to.
That’s what I like about it, Dota is like a community and I think any forum would be good for that but for us it’s reddit.

Back when you were on Arkosh, did you prefer being a player more or talent?

Oh my god, you’re gonna get me fired. I would say that Arkosh was like a really fun mix of all the things I like. It was content creation, playing Dota and also like talent work because we were doing livestreams and gags and bits. And we were making new content which is why I felt sad when Arkosh ended, the way that it ended because it was like a really nice creative outlet. So I would say Arkosh was more fun because I got to play and reach out into the competitive world of dota players and then it also combines talent and streaming and content creation. So it was like a mix of everything that I’ve done.

Last question, now that there are less Heralds due to the Glicko system that was introduced to Dota matchmaking, what’s going to happen with Herald Review?

Dude, I’m excited. Now if I get a sent a herald replay. Like before it was actually a broken system, I would get sent a Herald Review and I would watch and be like “these guys are actually good” some of them were crazy like standing in the base for 50 minutes and then coming back to play the game and win. There were a ton of people who were around 1.2k MMR and I was just confused how is that the bottom? Like you don’t need that much to improve to like 2k or 3k where you’re starting to talk about above average dota players. So I’ll say I am excited for the Glicko system because I know when I get sent a herald replay, it’s going to be all the funny shit with people playing high, people new to the game.

That’s all the time for today but thank you for being here with us!

Jabbz – a relatively less known name to the Dota 2 scene, Jabbz is the mastermind behind most of team Liquid’s recent success having stepped up in a role as an analyst and coach for the team. This interview was conducted on the 6th of May, just after Team Liquid’s game versus Evil Geniuses during the ESL Berlin Major.

What are your initial thoughts about the patch as a coach and as a player?

It’s a really fun patch to play, I think, especially for pro players. It’s only been one tournament but the meta has already shifted. Obviously, there are some problem heroes like Medusa which is kind of a blanket ban every game and I think that should never be the case in Dota. I think the concept of a hero being banned every single game makes it wrong. Because I think what makes Dota cool is that you can pick any hero in any game and I feel like we haven’t had one hero get banned in every game in a long while but they released the patch right in front of the tournament so that’s just kind of what happens.

With more variables that can be affected during gameplay on the map it feels like there is a lot of chaos during the games and we saw that in the finals of Dreamleague season 19 and also so far here in the group stage and during the playoffs. Would you agree?

Honestly, yeah, sometimes you just don’t know why you lose but honestly throughout the tournament that’s become more clear and the games are becoming more stable in that sense. Teams are starting to understand more what their win condition is, how to not throw games. I think the meta has calmed down a bit from the last tournament [disclaimer, patch 7.33 was put in Dota the day before the grand finals of the previous tournament] and it’s becoming nice and it’s becoming way more fun to play than to watch.

With the two big map additions coming in the face of the tormentors and the wisdom runes, which one do you think is more important – securing your own wisdom rune or stealing the enemy teams?

I think it’s the same idea and at the same time when you trade the runes it doesn’t make a difference. It matters more about the tormentors. If you have a substantial lead before minute 20 and you get to actually take enemy tormentor, the game turns into a high percentage for you. Wisdom runes are obviously super important, but tormentors can lead you to victory. If you somehow manage to get both wisdom runes, that’s good of course but it’s really difficult against good teams.

As a Dota player this time, what hero have you been enjoying in pubs with the new update?

I mean, I’m a Venomancer spammer. I love it and everybody thinks I’m crazy for playing Venomancer but I think the hero is super fun and the new changes makes the hero playable. I think before you had to be a Venomancer specialist but now it’s playable. The only issue is that the way the meta still works kind of doesn’t favour any offlaner that’s not “the cookie-cutter” offlaner that every team picks. And Veno can kind of fall into that pattern but it’s still one of the more unique offlaners but at the end of the day it can still be played.

Any particular hero that you like which got nerfed with the coming of 7.33?

I don’t think I’m ever sad that a hero got nerfed because usually I play all the positions, I play every hero, so I don’t really specialise in any heroes and when the broken heroes get nerfed, I don’t have to see them anymore so that kind of makes me happy more than sad.

So far, I’ve seen contradictory opinions about Reddit, some say that they take actual effort into trying out new things from it, others try to stay away, how do you as a part of team Liquid look at “the dota forum”?

Yeah, I mean, I definitely read reddit and I think most of us do, but when a new patch comes out and there’s so many changes that you don’t know what to focus on, it’s a good thing to read reddit because that can kind of showcase any cool interactions or item builds and ideas. Then you can judge it yourself and decide whether that’s actually a good idea. But honestly I’m pretty sure I copied some ideas from Reddit but I don’t want to give them away now *laughs*.

When you draft, is it more of a one person taking the lead and making the final decisions or everybody chirping in with ideas? I spoke with OG yesterday and especially Mind_Control said that both in OG and in Nigma they draft together and decide on everything together and I’m just looking into more insight how it happens for Team Liquid?

I think drafting, there has to be a fine balance. You can’t have just one person draft but you also can’t have everybody drafting because then it gets too chaotic so basically you have usually 1 or 2 people in this case Blitz and Zai that kind of leave the draft. They come up with a plan and an idea for the game at least for the beginning of the draft. Obviously everybody has input in the heroes but it’s important that they fit the idea of the draft. It’s a collaboration of the team lead by two or one people that’s coming up with the plan.

So it’s like one or two people making the final decisions but everybody gets to have their say?

Yes, essentially that’s how it works.

With a new patch and especially one with such map changes it feels like the split between the Dire and Radiant has changed by a substantial margin, which side do u think has the advantage in the current meta?

So it’s hard to tell because last patch Dire had the obvious advantage with Rosh being Dire favoured. I think there is still a Rosh favourite side which is Radiant in this case because the way timings line up, usually have enough damage once it’s day-time and on top of that, later in the game you get Aghanim instead of Refresher which on average has a higher value. You can’t take the outposts so if you fight for the aghanim, Radiant can TP-in immediately while Dire has to TP and take a four second portal so that’s an advantage. Another advantage is the architecture of the map, especially farming camps. It’s still too early to tell exactly how favoured it is but it seems like Radiant is favoured in that and it’s easier to farm. On top of that, considering you have mana regen on the bottom side of the map and health regen on top side of the map, it might be favouring radiant because generally you will always have health regen but mana regen is harder to obtain for carries and they can use their spells more often. Even the radiant safelane has the two camps right underneath the T1 tower which are open to each other and you can see both camps if you just stand there while Dire has a treeline in between. And I think that matters because you can use that when you’re playing a hero like Alchemist. If you pull the wave, you can farm a wave and 2 camps at the same time. I think small things like that make it better for Radiant.

That’s all we have time for today but thank you for agreeing to this interview, good luck in your games!