Ph0eNiiX talks Wolves-deal and online tournaments
As a reward for their dedication, 2012 came with a special gift for the Frenchmen as the until then non-sponsored collective was picked up by Western Wolves, an affiliate of the better known LowLandLions, who created the second division, because they want the name LLL to only relate to projects in the BENELUX, yet dont leave their teams and players outside the BENELUX without support.
We spoke with the 20-year-old about WW's start in 2012 and what else the new year has in store.
Happy New Year PhoeniX. How did you spend Christmas and the holidays?
Thanks. I spent Christmas with my family and New Year with friends. After the intense training we did to be competitive as a team at Dreamhack and the Dota 2 Star Championship, I think that we more or less needed a small break! It was nice and relaxing, but I’m back for more DotA now!
The tournament season is in full swing already and you played a pretty stacked Brawl qualifier recently where you lost in the second round. You were also in the Jeesports qualifier where you made the quarterfinal. How are you finding your arrival back to Dota 2 after returning from your well-deserved break?
We got back to training about two weeks ago and things are going smoothly. We finally found a sponsor, Western Wolves, who I thank for their support. Our practice sessions are going well, with some impressive performances against very good teams. However, I still feel as though our tournament results are not up to par which is most likely because of our lack of experience when it comes to drafting or decision making in game. Our results in 2012 so far aren’t that good but I think that our efforts will pay off at last.
The Jeesports and Brawl qualifiers both fall upon the same day resulting in you having to play multiple competitive matches within a short time period. Do you find the schedule to be exhausting, or would you have spent that time training anyway?
We would definitely have spent this time training anyway but I have to admit that the schedule of those events isn’t compatible. We were not in the right mindset during the Brawl qualifier after playing in Jeesports matches all afternoon. As a result, we’ll probably not play both qualifiers next week. Considering that the level of the Jeesports tournament is not so high, the games we played there are pointless and it’s not good preparation when you have to play against the finalist right away. However there is a €400 prizepool in this tournament and I think we’ve done enough to qualify so you might not see us in the upcoming qualifiers. Instead, we find preparing for the Brawl qualifier to be a greater priority.
How do you like the point system that JeeSports is using? Do you prefer it over the formats of other qualifiers such as GosuCups or the Brawl?
Well, every point system has its own strength. While the Brawl qualifier rewards a good performance on a given day, Jeesports has a preference towards consistency. As I told you earlier, we still have trouble winning again and again in official matches so that’s why I think the Jeesports system suits us better at the moment. In the Brawl, Fire surprised everyone with an impressive strategy which earned them a well deserved qualification (Editors Note: Qualification slot went to N9 in an armchair decision later). This would not have been so rewarding in the Jeesports point system. That’s why I think both systems are good; a variety of systems allows different kinds of teams to rise.
With the ever increasing amount of online tournaments arising, which ones are you enjoying/did you enjoy the most?
The tournament I currently enjoy the most is The Defense because it’s well organised and high level. I’m sad that we couldn’t play with our best lineup at the last BenQ tournament because I usually love one day or two day tournaments. They give you a similar feeling as a LAN event (but of course not as good) and I find these tournaments more exciting. Not to mention that Dota 2 is evolving very fast and longer tournaments are somewhat disappointing sometimes. A team can perform very well in the first week, win against very a strong team and lose in the following week against weaker opponents. At the end of a one-day-event, you get a clear picture of who the best were on the day, and there is nothing to argue about.
When we exclude Jeesports and the Brawl pre qualifier, you have won only 2 of the last 10 matches. How can this current downtime be explained?
Well I will not be looking for any excuses, but we haven’t played lots of matches lately. If you look carefully you can see that two of these losses were against TR and Na’Vi at D2SC where they made the grand final. Three losses happened in BenQ where the lineup was not our strongest. The rest were against Dignitas, a team that performed very well lately but it was a close game, against N9 who we’ve latency problems even with a 1mb connection that some of us have, and against Fire with their surprising strategy yesterday.
All those losses might look scary, but we know what we are capable of. We also stopped training as hard as we should have after D2SC, which is the main reason for the downtime. However, 2012 came with a lot of good resolutions and we’re now giving our maximum effort to evolve and rise as a top European team.
Our goal is to finish on top of this group. This may sound cocky but if you don’t have high expectations then you’ll never become a good team. We know that we can beat any team in this group, so we’ll take one match at a time and play our best.
You have recently been picked by Western Wolves, an affiliate of the better known LowLandLions. How did you get together and why did you decide to sign with them?
They contacted Socks one week before we signed with them. They were offering was what we were looking for, so it didn’t take long for us to reach an agreement.
What were you looking for? And will your gaming life change in any way because of the new deal?
We were looking for LAN support and we found it. My gaming life isn’t going to change that much yet, but what we get now is definitely better than what we had in the previous team and I really hope that our results and the Dota 2 development will allow us to benefit in the future.
Everybody who followed your actions over the last year knows that Dota is more than just a hobby for you. This is further evident as you weren’t shy to attend LANS despite not always having a sponsor to support you. This includes two ASUS tournaments, D2SC in Kiev, Gamescom in Cologne, Dreamhack in Jönköping and ESWC in Paris. Amongst all the experience you gained, what was the most memorable moment for you in 2011?
Every LAN I attended in 2011 was amazing, and I have been blessed with great memories from all of them. Being in the Cyberarena, Kiev, is something I wish for every gamer in the world, especially DotA players. I’ve been these 3 times and I’m still like a child when I’m sitting on a couch, eating food and drinking beer with DotA friends from all over the world while watching DotA action. The International has also been an amazing experience, living the dream in a four-star-hotel and fighting for an insane cashprize under such good conditions. Not falling short either was the atmosphere at DreamHack, which was something that words cannot describe!
How do your friends and family feel about your pro gaming lifestyle along with all of the time it demands?
At the beginning they were not okay with it. They were trying to stop me from playing in various ways but, at some point, they realised that it was something very important to me. When I first attended a LAN event in France and won a bit of money, they started to accept it as a hobby. Now that I’ve travelled all around Europe with my team, they are supportive towards me and show an interest in how well I’m doing. I’m not afraid to talk to anybody about it. My friends, family and even my teachers know about it and its better this way. You have to explain to people why you’re doing this; else they will judge you in a bad way. Sadly, playing video games is still not as respected as it should be in Europe.
The most recently Dota patch, 6.73, has introduced a lot of aspects that many players feel change the game immensely. How do you feel about the changes and how do they affect your teamplay?
The new items seem very interesting, but we’ll need more practice in order to know exactly what this new version is about. IceFrog tries to balance the game by buffing the weakest heroes and I’m not sure whether this is the right way to go. However, I trust IceFrog and am sure that the changes are for the best. As a team we’ve tried the new version a bit and it looks promising. No tournaments have switched yet so we won’t invest time in the latest version before they do so.
You have a very busy match schedule and it seems like there is a lot less time to prepare between games. Have you experienced anything similar in classic Dota?
This is definitely our busiest schedule ever. I dare say we might have had an even busier schedule for a certain week last year, but I believe 2012 is going to be the most action packed year so far!
I wish you best of luck working through it. Do you have any Dota 2 related resolutions for 2012, something you want to achieve perhaps?
Well, the thing I want more than everything else is to win a tournament in Kiev. As for a resolution, I’ll try to improve as a player as much as I can!
Then once again my best wishes achieving that, I’m finished which means it’s time for your last words!
Shoutout to Black and Prof.dr.martin, I wish them both to find a team that suits them. Thanks to Western Wolves and their sponsors, don’t hesitate to follow us on our website. And finally, thank you KongoTime for this interview, I wish to see you anytime soon.
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