Interview with MK

Posted by "heikki" at 18 November 2010 21:10
GosuGamers caught up with the manager and sixth man of the Indonesian upstarts MK for a long and winding interview. Bbkdta gave us a detailed account of Indonesian DotA, his take on his team's experiences in ADC, and an overiew of the post-WDC metagame.

From left to right: Celine, Tonberry, Jascha, bbkdta, Don_Juan, Ritter

Well your team has definitely been getting attention on GosuGamers for the performances you've had recently. But still a large portion of the community is not very familiar with your team. Could you take a moment to introduce the players on your team and summarize their roles?

Don_Juan does all the "OMG" maneouvres
-"Tonberry is our captain. He shares his roles and heroes with RitteR, but mostly he plays the ganking role. RitteR is our co-captain. He gives a lot of thoughts on our gameplay, and in-game he mostly plays the side-lane solo heroes. Jascha plays the support role. He does all the warding and babysitting. Celine is our carry player. He does all of the afk-farming, and he is the most consistent player on the team. DoNJuaN is our star. He performs all the “omg” manoeuvres in our games. I am bbkdta, the substitute and manager. Basically an all around player, and I play what the team needs."

Could you give us a brief history of the team?

-"The team was formed around mid 2010, to compete in the ESWC Indonesia Qualifier (yes there was one, but the winner wasn't sent to Paris). At that time, the members were Tonberry, Jascha, Celine, DonJuan, and rLing. This roster only finished 3rd at the ESWC qualifier. After that, we competed in the ACG qualifiers, in which we lost to AlienwareDG. Afterthe ACG qualifier, rLing decided to leave the team due to his work, and then I came in to replace him. RitteR is our latest addition. We added him after I couldn’t focus on DotA due to college life. We managed to pursue him out of his retirement after we impressed him by winning the Ritter Cybercafe tournament hosted by his own LAN shop. I think that is all."

Could you help us learn a bit about the Indonesian DotA scene? For example, how active is the scene in comparison to other SEA scenes, such as Phillipines, Malaysia, Singapore?

-"The DotA scene here is huge in terms of numbers. But the downside is we categorize the players as ‘PRO’ and ‘ROOKIE.’

If you are a PRO, you will be limited to only a small number of tournaments. This really affects the growth of the DotA scene in Indonesia. No player wants to be labelled PRO, they all want to be ROOKIEs, which allows them to be eligible to compete in many tournaments, thus getting money out of it (even though it’s only a small amount money). If we could change this mentality, I believe that Indonesian DotA scene could compete with other SEA countries.

In Indonesia, players are categorized as PRO and ROOKIE
Right now the trend is positive, because our internet connection also getting better, so we can scrim and train with Malaysia and Singapore. That’s why we see new teams coming out from Indonesia, and maybe we could see 3 or 4 Indonesian teams compete in this year’s SMM. Still our main concerns is the ROOKIE mentality. We need to fight, and have winning attitude, and soon we will see Indonesia back in the top flight."

How are rookies and pros differentiated exactly? That is, who determines this and how do they determine this?

-"They are differentiated based on tournaments they have already won. It is determined by the community and it is very ridiculous. I honestly think that they should concern themselves more with training than arguing whether they PRO or ROOKIE. I guess they lack of attitude to win something big, so they prefer to be ROOKIE. With fewer PRO tournaments and teams, there is less of a platform for top teams in Indonesia to hone their skills, so it limits the growth."

Does this mean that a lot of teams that win rookie tournaments break up, and the players form different rookie teams?

-"Yep, a lot of roster changes. No consistency, no growth. Sometimes they prefer to be inactive for a month then become rookie again and play again. It’s very ridiculous."

Two of the most well known current pro teams are you, and AlienwareDG. Are there any other pro teams you think have potential?

-"You might have seen pLatinum in WDC qualifiers. They have potential. Then the ex-eLite; I don’t really know their new name, but if they can field a stable roster, they will always be a threat."

To continue on the topic of the Indonesian pro scene, how strong do you think it really is in comparison to the rest of SEA?

I think you can expect the unexpected from us
-"It all depends on consistency. We managed to win against and SB (sorry to the Vietnamese fans for the dc/reload issues) impressively in the 1st games we played, but then lost the 2nd games terribly. We still lack experience compared to other top teams. This can seen in our WDC matches against MuFc and our latest ADC matches versus In terms of the overall scene, compared to rest of SEA, I think we could be the darkhorses, the scene you could expect to do something unexpected."

Well, it seems like Indonesia, Thailand, and Philippines could all be darkhorses, as MK and Trust and Mineski/BG have pulled off some impressive victories. How big or small is the gap between these up-and-coming scenes and the more established scenes like Malaysia and Singapore?

-"I can’t tell you much about Thai and PH teams, but for us, the gap is big and has always been big. This motivates us to keep reducing the gap. If we feel that the gap is small, we will train less and it could affect our performance. As darkhorses, we need to keep our heads down, listens to critics, and love our haters so we could focus on our objective to surprise these top teams, and finally win something big."

You mentioned that a few Indonesian teams might compete in SMM. Does this mean that MK have a sponsor willing to send you guys to SMM?

-"Actually, we already parted ways with Markas Wonosobo. But we still use the tag for our games because changing names would confuse people -- whether we are the same team or not -- so we prefer stick with the MK tag.

We have Ritter sponsoring us now, because he has a cybercafé. Have you heard of the Ritter cybercafe? It’s probably the biggest in Indonesia. You should check his FB page, Ritter Rusli, and see his photo album, the one named Ritter cybercafé.

For SMM, we paid for and bought the tickets with our own money, and we will be attending, however any sponsors would be welcomed."

I'd like to ask about how your team trains. Do you guys play at Ritter’s LAN shop? What is your schedule like?

-"Our team trains regularly on weekdays, rarely on weekends. For Garena we play at LAN shops. But for daily play, we play at home, because we only play on the local PVPGN server. The connection here is not very good, and it’s very expensive if you want good international bandwidth, so at home it’s only possible for us to play on local servers for training.

We play from 10pm-1am regularly. We don’t always scrim; maybe just fun war, or public games, and our roster is separated into 2 different cities. Me and Ritter are in Jakarta, while the other 4 are in Surabaya. We only meet at boot camp, or at tournaments. If there is an online tournament, we use in-game chat to coordinate with each other. However for SMM we have been boot camping from November 14, and we’ll be doing it until SMM. We’re boot camping at the Ritter LAN shop."

Ah, so what's your boot camp schedule like?

-"We Play every day, talk about DotA every day, and then discuss. Unfortunately since Celine is in the middle of his thesis, he hasn’t been able to make time for boot camp. He still scrims everyday with us, but online instead."

How do you guys come up with your strategies? Do you analyze replays with your team for example?

The professionalism of the Chinese scene is one factor that keeps them ahead of everyone else
-"Because we’re online every day, we chat every day, so ideas come up nearly every day. Someone will throw out an idea about a new hero or something like that. But it’s hard to test new heroes in competitive games because you need a good understanding of the hero and the gameplay, so we end up only using ideas only in scrims. We analyze replays for gameplay, drafting, and timing. It’s important to have a proper concept that 5 of us understand so that in game there won’t be any confusion about what to do.

I think China exceeds everyone in this area. All 5 of them play with 1 brain."

Do you think it has to do with their approach to the game, or is it primarily because Chinese teams have more time to practise?

-"Frankly, I think it’s because they have training centers, so they can keep their focus on the game and less on other things. For us, we have work, college, and so on. But that’s not an excuse."

Well their scene is so much more professional in comparison to the rest of the world.

-"Absolutely. But that’s not an excuse, because the Malay scene isn't like them, but is also powerful, and the European scene is based on online play, but it’s also powerful. Ultimately I believe the professionalism of the Chinese scene is one factor that keeps them ahead of everyone else."

Well, what do you see as the differences between the scenes? For example, is there much that makes the European scene different from the SEA scene? Also, what was it like playing against Europeans during RGC?

-"We faced paiN!, BEV, FaxeKondi and Drz in RGC. What makes European scene different is they’re based on online play, while the SEA scene more based on LAN play. Teams here gather around more frequently and meet each other frequently, which affects a lot in terms of communication and coordination.

We faced Europeans in RGC, although we were disappointed with our performance versus Druidz. We know we could done better, but the LAN shop at Surabaya gets a high ping on USWEST hostbots, so we had to use Pain bot, which was also worse for us than it was for them, but I think that’s the consequence of playing online tournaments. Drz sure did have good strats, though, like using Centaur and Riki. For our games versus Faxe Kondi, we used sghost and uswest, so the host basically decided the outcome.

If in following years we could develop a better host for Euro vs Asia, better than USWEST (80-150ms for both), we could have better quality matches and maybe frequent scrims between the two continents."

So, I take it you were following WDC. Did you find anything surprising at all when you watched?

I didn’t expect that would beat Deity. Bro Chuan disappointed!
-"Of course the DTS strat surprised everyone, but the result was actually expected for me. I was quite surprised, though, that Deity was carried by Ferrari and not by longdd or Chuan. I mean Ferarri is the best performing player in the new Deity."

What did you think of winning by the way? Did you expect them to be so strong as to 2-0 both DTS and Deity? (Obviously you guys have played them before)

-"They’re on their form I guess. High confidence, supported with imba skills and good teamwork. However, I think should thank Roccat.Tr for waking them up during the group stage. If they didn’t suffer that loss, I don’t think they would’ve won the whole tournament. Although I didn’t expect that would beat Deity. Damn I lost tangos there. Bro Chuan disappointed!" *laughs

Has watching WDC helped you guys prepare for SMM at all? For example, did you see something in those games that informed you on the state of the metagame for the upcoming tournament?

-"Of course WDC gave us insight into 6.69. At least we got to figure out how the Chinese play this version, though I think because it’s still new, they still depend on .68 picks. So, I expect a lot more surprise picks coming for SMM. The metagame is still the same as 68, I think. Nothing very new, and it’s hard to really recognize the exp boost change."

Well, for example, did you you see the win DTS had over EHOME? And also MUFC's use of heroes like Chen and Enchantress? Do you expect that to enter standard play for SMM at all? Do you think 6.69 has helped more aggressive strategies become more viable as well?

-"For me, it’s still a 5v5 battle oriented version. We may see that DTS won impressively againts EHOME, but in that game DTS couldn’t win instantly after wrecking EHOME during early-midgame, they still needed additional farm to win the games. I believe they won because they had Dazzle, so they could constantly pressure. That’s why WD and Necrolte are picked often, and Alch as well: people tend to counter with minus-armor strat, or burst damage, but it’s so damn hard to execute.

ZSMJ showed us that a farmed Alchemist should take the undying nickname from the zombies!
Because it's battle oriented, the team that can last longer in a battle tends to win the game. Items like MEKA and PIPE are a must buy nowadays. Heroes such as WD, NEC also picked often, so I don’t see aggro strats coming in this version. How can you aggro if the opposition team has back-up stuns and turtle well? Also roshan is very important: a lot of turn-arounds are caused by this giant rock doll. And the last thing is that buybacks are still bad for aggro teams. You tower dive, they die, they buyback, you team-wipe."

We saw the hero Alchemist make some very impressive appearances at WDC. Were you guys and the Asian scene aware of this hero's seemingly ridiculous strength before WDC? Do you think a shift in the metagame has made him stronger?

-"I think we knew that Alch was strong, but we didn’t really maximize his potential, which is farming, and ZSMJ show us that a farmed Alchemist should take the undying nickname from the zombies. And now we see people abuse Alch more and more. Don’t forget to ban him if you can’t keep pressure on him though; he’s like the old Spectre."

So going into SMM, you expect to see mostly tanking and healing strats geared toward lasting in battles?

-"Yeah. Thats my view. Maybe I’m wrong, and we see teams gank each other to death and it’ll be déjà vu .48b!" *laughs*

We don't often see MK using these heal+tank strats that you mention. It may just be the ADC matches we’ve seen, but you guys seem to favour heroes similar to, like, SF, Sven, Puck.

-"We don’t have exact concepts about our strats yet, but we tend to use heroes that have battle power, so you might see we have boring picks like SF, ES, VS, Puck. We pick Necro actually, but Necro needs to solo sidelanes, and doesn’t fit into trilanes, so sometimes we can’t pick him and decide to ban him instead. The draft is one of the weaknesses that we need to solve in order to surprise at SMM."

What do you think of the new trend of picking Lich? We've seen it quite a few times recently.

-"For the armor buff, to get hero more tanky. Also, it counters melee heroes
and break your calculation for last hitting, because of that armor buff!"

But do you think he deserves first/second pick? Do you think he could be the new Venomancer in the sense that he could become an important part of SMM strategies?

Allowing gem on courier is a buff to turtling
-"No, he can’t. He doesn’t have pushing power, and he’s not a first/second, pick but I expect he will still be picked because he fits into trilanes."

What you saw at WDC hasn't been much different from what your team has been dealing with in ADC and in scrims then?

-"Yes, except DTS’s game, and LGD heroes. Gondar? Antimage?"

Yeah, LGD was buying early gem a lot too! Did you see how Beast Master would get a gem after boots, bottle, basillius?

-"Yes. Great strat. didn’t have vision and couldn’t engage. When Icefrog changed gem and allowed it to be carried by a courier it was a buff to turtling. Basically we only need gem to de-ward; after wards we can just put it in our base, and courier saves a lot of time needed to do that."

That reminds us -- what was it like facing teams such as and in ADC? Had MK had much experience with teams of that strength before, or was it completely new experience for you guys?

-"The game versus was the first game against Chinese for us. We’re definitely looking forward to facing them again. We were very excited to have gotten a draw in the game, and we think we could perform better if we could only maintain our consistency. Our performance in game 2 was way below our game 1 performance. For, it was just like any other Asian teams: we used to scrim with them a lot, even before ADC started, but of course scrims are very different from tournaments, so we still lacked experience in the big games. Both of these Nirvana teams taught us valuable lessons, and we try our hardest to compete at their level."

You recently tied with in your ADC matches. You won the first one, but the second game didn't go too well for you. Any opinion on those games?

The Nirvana teams taught us valuable lessons, and we try our hardest to compete at their level
-"We won by picks, I think, in the first game. Second game we picked a bad trilane. Lion didn’t fit that trilane -- maybe Lich would’ve been better. And we had terrible solo lanes. Picks were fine, except for Lion. Well, we play terribly in the 2nd game. We knew their Puck and CW traded lanes mid-top, and we should’ve traded SF-Puck, but we didn’t. In midgame we couldn’t coordinates well, and yeah, they raped us. If we managed to trade SF-Puck maybe we could’ve won the game."

You're facing How.Korea this weekend, correct? How do you feel about this upcoming match?

-"We haven't scheduled it yet, but it's within 1 week. The tie with ended our hopes of getting into the playoffs. But, we will try to give our best to end this ADC season as well as we can. Sad we aren't through. (In case you’re wondering, the chance of us getting through is like 0.0001%.)"

Alright, well I think we should leave it at that then. We wish you best of luck on your upcoming matches in ADC and we’ll be cheering for you at SMM! Thank you so much for doing this interview with us.

Do you have any final words? Shoutouts to friends, enemies, family, etc? Maybe your girlfriend? (I'm sure she reads GosuGamers.)

-"Shoutout to editha, nanaimoetz, Ritter cafe, best ADC admin Raziewei, underminer, and all our haters. For our fans, always expect the unexpected! And thanks to GosuGamers, for interviewing us. Thanks a lot for your time."