Braxton 'Brax' Paulson is the position 3 player for LGD.Int which recently came second in G-League Grand Final to Invictus Gaming. GosuGamers caught up with him for an interview regarding the defeat his team suffered in the hands of iG, what they could have done better and Na`Vi's move to China.
Hello Brax. I’m sorry for your loss in the G-League finals. How are you and your teammates holding up?
We are all fine. The loss was more of an eye opener and we should have prepared better.
iG dominated game one and game two relatively quickly. What was your team’s analysis about the first two games and what could you guys have done better?
We messed up our ban pick in both those games. We took Lifestealer early to deny them Lifestealer instead of actually thinking ahead how it would change the lanes we wanted. In game 2, we ended up taking Sven and Pugna on our 4th and 5th picks for no good reason at all. We were rushed and picked useless heroes against Lifestealer and Lone Druid.
In the third game, you guys picked Lycanthrope to great success. Is it an one-off pick to introduce an element of surprise or do you think the heavily nerfed Lycanthrope is actually viable in the meta-game today? Do you think Lycanthrope will be more popular in the competitive scene in the future?
We've practiced a bit with Lycan and had a very high win-rate with him. It’s just a situational pick that exploits the weakness in an enemy line-up. A lot of other heroes are viable but they just need a line-up around them or for an enemy to have a weakness in theirs. That’s when the hero truly shines.
In game four, there was a 40 minutes stand-off at iG’s bottom barracks. Describe to us how hard is it to push into that barracks and why not dive into it with Aegis, two Cheese and buybacks?
We knew every hero had buybacks and they kept their positioning well. However, I do feel like we had openings when they were using Sand King's stun and Diffusal on the bear every time it tried to walk up the hill. We could have just jumped Sand King and walked in together as five. Of course they would buy back and fight but it gets the most important thing out of the way which would be starting the fight with a somewhat advantageous position. We just wanted to end the game safely without taking as many risks.
As the game approached 70 minutes, iG was suddenly on the offense. Phantom Lancer then started split pushing by sending illusions in to siege the tower and barracks. Was the game all lost at that point?
The game wasn't completely lost. We could have bought Battlefury on Juggernaut and Lone Druid but we didn't think the game would get to that point. We should have been able to push up the ramp if we took our openings instead of wasting 2 Aegis sitting outside their base. We still felt like we had a chance if they ever took a bad fight or got caught out. We did manage to take a fight and get 2 raxes and that could have potentially been the throne if we went all in for it. The problem for us is during the game, it's not clear what we should be doing. Phantom Lancer spamming illusions at us may have delayed us long enough for their other core heroes like Batrider to respawn. We were only able to take two rax because we split up and I dragged the Phantom Lancer and a support down bottom with me.
Many European teams pick Gyrocopter as a counter to Phantom Lancer. Have you and your team trained with that hero?
We have but there was no viable way of laning him this game.
You mentioned earlier that the team had no clear directions when it comes to drafting. Do you think you guys should have assembled in China at a much earlier date to refine this aspect of the game?
What I meant was we just picked ourselves into a position where they were able to out-lane us. We picked heroes that have no impact against their two core heroes, Lone Druid and Lifestealer. I don’t think arriving at China earlier would have helped us. We just needed to use our time better and actually focus on the things that mattered. We were trying to test new heroes instead of just perfecting our old heroes after not playing for 2 months.
Dendi mentioned in an interview that he is puzzled as to why teams like to take the game late when one mistake can cost you so much. Do you agree with that statement?
To an extent, yes. You can’t always end the game like you would like to in late game. Even a wipe in their base could lead to full buybacks. It’s much harder to fight the enemy inside their base when they can position perfectly and clear creeps.
Speaking of Dendi, what do you think about Na’Vi’s soon-to-be move to China? Are you excited to have another Western sparring partner soon?
Yeah, I'm glad another team is moving over. Rumor says they'll be competing in the upcoming G1-League. I'm still not sure about Na`Vi’s roster though. It still seems like they may need some more time to settle in.
Na`Vi’s CEO, Alexander ‘ZeroGravity’ Kohanovsky mentioned that Na`Vi will be the pioneers of the next Dota 2 meta-game. Do you think Na`Vi is a team of such calibre to change the entire meta-game of Dota 2?
Na`Vi’s definitely a team full of potential but it’s too early to say what they're capable of. I'm going to have to give the generic let us wait and see answer. I have no experience playing against Na`Vi but I do believe iG is the best Dota team in the world.
Many of our readers probably do not know the training condition you guys have received in China. Tell us something about China that makes the teams from the country so hard to beat.
All these players here dedicate their life to Dota. It’s their job and how they make a living. When it’s more than just a hobby, everybody takes it more seriously.
Do the Chinese players train like robot as many proclaimed?
Most of them do but it’s hard to tell if it’s more of just going through the motions or actual quality training. Going through replays and analyzing game drafts, lanes, and movements are generally better than just massing game after game.
Considering the G-League is your first Asian LAN tournament, tell us the differences between the fans there and the fans back in America.
That was actually my first offline tournament but the atmosphere was amazing. I'd definitely compare it to like a baseball game back at home. The production quality and enthusiasm of the fans was truly fantastic.
Speaking of production quality, many people watching the stream were very impressed with Gamefy’s production level of the G-League. Was it a lot of hassle to have to go through doing poses like these?
It was a huge hassle. I can confidently say that whole pose thing was one of the worst things I've had to do.
Gamefy also announced a recent partnership with Dota 2 official distributor, Perfect World to host massive Dota 2 tournaments in China later this year. Many speculate that it may be the qualifiers to The International 3. Will you guys be able to participate in that tournament or will the team go through the European selection?
I don’t know anything besides the announcement they publicly made.
A forum user interestingly stated that the reason why China can have these big tournaments all year round is because the organizers collaborate together to host these events and then maximise the profit later rather than cannibalize each other like the European scene does. Share us your opinion about his post.
I think that’s great and how it should be done. China is quickly taking it to a whole new level. Esports in general is very big in Asia and I believe it’s quite obvious that the Western scene will start to follow with the same idea. In china, there’s such a big audience when Gamefy and SITV play them on TV.
What is next for LGD.Int?
Preparing for all upcoming events. Our defeat at G-League was definitely deserved but hopefully we can learn from that and improve overall as a team.
Alright Brax. Thanks for the lengthy interview. Any last shoutout to your fans?
Yeah shoutout to our sponsors Razer, LGD, Taobao, Nicholas, and ruru. A big shoutout to all our fans and supporters and lastly to all my friends and family back home!