Synderen: 'We're really grateful for mTw's support.'
Arguably one of the most popular European players in the Dota 2 competitive circuit, Synderen has long been known for being the humble sidekick of Tobi's electrifying casts as well as a competent player himself. From Shift to nevo and now playing for mTw, Synderen reflects on his career thus far in a New Year sit-down with Prodota's Morf-designer.
I heard that you learn English at your University, so how is it coming along? Are studies still your number one priority in life?
-"It's going very well. I like it, and I'm getting good grades, which I am content with. Yes, my studies have the highest priority, but there is generally no problem anyway. I find a balance so there's room for both university and other things in real life as well as Dota 2.
You said in the past that your parents insisted that you further your studies. Has something changed with you joining mTw? Are they supporting you now?
-"Nothing has changed in relation to my studies, really, and my parents always supported me playing as long as it didn't interfere too much with my school work. They know that I’m a pro player and they are totally okay with it. They were even quite proud about the DreamHack victory we achieved, so that's cool."
Do you have a girlfriend? Or there is no time for girls in your life?
-"No, I don't, but there is definitely time for girls in my life - it's all about finding the right one! *smiles*"
Let’s talk about money. Do you receive money from streams, or any partner programs of own3d or some other streaming service?
-"Without going into too much detail, we're currently building our streaming community on Own3d.tv - it's a cooperation between us and them."
How about mtw? Do they offer a stable salary? Is it enough to live in Denmark? Did you think about quitting DotA and finding a job?
-"Yes, there are salaries involved, but they are not high enough to cover the expenses of living in Denmark. And I have no plans of quitting DotA and finding a job - I'm currently focusing on my studies, so I have no space for a job. *smiles*"
You mentioned that commenting in pairs with someone else is similar to playing table tennis. Do you play tennis or maybe follow some sports?
-"Hehe, yes, I play tennis. As for following sports, I primarily follow the NFL. I'm rooting for Green Bay Packers, so the outcome of the last season was fantastic, and we're looking strong this season, too. Watch out! *sticks tongue*"
How did your team come up with the team "Wild Honey Badgers" and who proposed it? Are you all fond of wild honey?
-"*laughs* It was actually pretty random. For some reason, we came up with the tag "WH" and some interpretations were suggested, including Wild Honey Badgers. We liked it and switched to "WHB" so it was correct."
You are the captain of mTw as well as you were in Shift. Can you compare yourself to the best captains of CIS – PGG and Artstyle?
-"Hmm, it's a tough comparison to make - they're obviously really strong and successful captains. Honestly, I never really thought about myself in comparison to them, I just focus on my role in relation to my own team."
I know that you like playing Night stalker. Did you know that fans call Artstyle “Ivan-Balanar”? Do you think you can beat him 1v1 on Night Stalker? *smiles*
-"Yeah, I love the hero! Aggressive tanky ganker, it doesn't get better than that. *smiles* I didn't know about “Ivan-Balanar”, but I'm not surprised - he has done an excellent job with that hero in the past, especially at The International.
1v1 on Night Stalker? Sounds rather strange, but I'm up for a challenge for sure. I'm really confident with [the hero]!"
How well do you know Dota 2? For example, do you know how to remove the health bar animation?
-"I don't deal so much with the console commands. Mostly I use net_graph, ping, and some chatting commands."
Can you share some tricks or unusual tactics from Dota 2 that is not so well known?
-"Follow mTw competitive games. We're doing quite unusual things in many of our strategies, so there's a lot to see for ordinary players. To be more concrete, you can check our double Eul's vs FnaticMSI in game 3 of the DH Winter Grand Finals or our super heavy gank-push lineup in the match against TR in BenQ 'The Clash' #2."
What can you say about HoN players in Dota 2? Do they have a future?
Yes, definitely. They have different ideas and ways of playing. That can be both an advantage and disadvantage for them. It's all about adapting to the enemies and meta-game.
Do you still enjoy streaming, or it’s more like a financial outlet for you?
-"Yes, I still really enjoy streaming - both as a co-commentator and as a player perspective streamer!"
Have you ever streamed while drunk? Also, a few guys from our forums believe that Tobi is on drugs or some powerful alcohol because he does crazy things and always has so much energy while streaming. Is this true?
-"*laughs and grins* No, I haven't streamed while drunk, and I don't think I will. Tobi isn't on drugs; he is just super energetic and crazy all the time. That's what we love about him. His "alcohol" during casts is energy drinks. This explains all of his energy, don't you think? *winks*"
Why do you choose to stream with Tobi when you could be streaming alone? Don't you want the spotlight to be completely on you? Do you feel like you are always in his shadow?
-"I don't feel like I'm in his shadow. I feel like we cooperate and have equal space when I am casting with him. In general, I like being the co-commentator. It's less exhausting when you're two casters and the quality of the commentary is higher because you can discuss some things, take turns and look in different angles on some moments in-game.
I like streaming with Tobi because I feel we make a good couple - he's great at making exciting play-by-play, while I can provide with a lot of the expert commentary and strategic insight."
In one of your old interviews, you said that you enjoyed watching V1lat streams. Do you still watch him? What would say to someone who points out that "V1lat is not the same anymore"?
-"Sometimes I watch V1lat streams and I really like it! I don't know if he's "not the same anymore", though. I never really understood what he said, but I still really enjoyed it. *laughs and grins*"
Do you think Dota 2 will be streamed on TV some day like Starcraft in Korea?
-"I hope so. I think that the development of eSports over the last 5-10 years shows that it will be very possibly in the future. Maybe Dota 2 is another big step towards more acceptance and appreciation of eSports in the future, so that it helps build an environment with a great future.
I think Valve's choice of lauching "The International" shows that they are aware of what development is going on. I hope they continue supporting Dota 2!"
From what I understand, winning DreamHack is your biggest achievement to date. What do you expect to achieve with mTw, taking into consideration the current level of the current Dota 2 competitive scene?
-"We expect to get good placements in upcoming tournaments, but the competition is getting harder. There are lots of good teams out there, so it will be hard.
You stated that you couldn't attend Dota 2 Star Championship because of visa issues, but it is strange because it only takes a few weeks for people from Ukraine to get visas to Sweden. Was it so hard getting your visas beforehand, or did you have another reason for not attending that tournament?
-"We had one player without a passport, so he simply couldn't go and we would have to go with a standin. It's a similar to Na`Vi situation when they chose to skip DHW '11 because of XBOCT's exams.
Though, there were other problems along with it such as computer problems, almost no practice during that period, and some events to attend to in real life (project for me). We didn't want to disappoint our fans at the first LAN as mTw. When it all added up, it seemed a better idea to focus on future events instead of that."
What do you think about Dota 2 Star results? Can you comment on the top 4 teams?
-"I was really surprised that TR could beat Na`Vi in the grand finals. That was the big surprise for the top 4. I think everything else looks like it could be expected."
You were so close, barely passing the group stage of BenQ The Clash # 2. What can you say about your performance and level of TR?
-"*laughs* It’s true. We were quite disappointed with having 0-2 in the group stage, and got a final chance to go all-in versus TR, so we did. I think we caught them by surprise with our picks and play style that game, so it worked out. They are a good team, so we were really happy that we could win the game like we did.
What are your comments about your 0-2 loss to Australian team Natural 9? Have you ever played with those guys before? Did you have an unplayable ping in the semi-final?
-"They play a different style of Dota 2 that we will have to adjust to and learn to play against. It's all about adapting. It was the first time we played them, so we didn't really know how to deal with it.
As for pings, it was the same for all players pretty much. I felt quite fine during the games with about 0.5-0.75 sec delay, but my teammates said they had some periodical 3 second spikes. There might be some thing with the routing of the US West host to Sweden. We will have to test it more in the future."
Tell us about your 3rd place at the InsideDOTA Invitational. Why did you lose during semi-finals and was it hard placing top 3?
-"Not too much to say here. There were some good teams involved, and we lost 1-2 in the semis to PHG (now Dignitas) who are still undefeated. They are a good team, so it was no shame.
We had a really good game against FnaticMSI in the third place decider so generally our performance was OK. *smiles*"
A month ago, you said that we can expect improvement in your performance compared to DreamHack. But now you finished only 3rd at InsideDOTA Invitational and 3-4th at Benq The Clash #2. Any thoughts?
-"Every other team has improved and more strong teams are present, so we have some work to do.
We still need to tune in to our play style and really specialise in it. Our play at DreamHack was not fantastic - there was a lot to improve and there still is. We're working on it!"
Let's talk about your participationg at The Defense. Currently, you have a 4-0 score in the first group stage. What can you say about other teams from your group - SK, MYM and Problem???
-"They all have a good chance at making it far in the tournament, but I don't actually know if Problem??? will be playing the tournament and which roster they'll be using in that case. We'll see, I guess."
Whom do you see in top 3 of this tournament and why?
-"There are so many good teams, so I can't really give a top three at all. I know it's going to be a really close fight for the slots though, so I think there are a lot of exciting matches waiting for all of us!"
Can you share some details about your partnership with mTw? What are some of the terms of your contracts? Will you have to pay the organisation a share of your prize money?
-"I won't go into details about the contracts. Sorry! *sticks tongue*
All I can say is that joining mTw gives us some great opportunities. We're really grateful for their support, and we hope we can reach the mutual goals which we share with the organisation."
Currently you don’t have “big names” in your roster such as Loda, Drayich, Yaphets *grins* and so on. Do you consider players from your team the best in terms of individual skills? How do you plan to achieve something without sufficient LAN experience?
-"Each one of us have great individual qualities, I think. It's all about polishing our individual play, our coordination and overall strategy as a team. I definitely think we belong to the top tier of the competitive scene, so with some good determined practice I see no reason why we can’t achieve something big in the future."
Some time ago, you said that you often lose your early game advantage in the mid/late game. Did you understand the reason behind that and have you fixed it already?
-"We are still working on this, but I feel that we have improved on maintaining focus and not giving away much in the mid/late game if we have control of the game, though there's still improvement to be done."
You ex-teammates are now your main enemies (SK). Do you still talk to each other or maybe play inhouse matches on the same team as the guys from SK? Can you say that it’s easier for you team to beatt them because you understand them very well?
-"Hmm, I haven't really played so much with the guys after we parted ways, but I have nothing against them. It was simply natural to drift away from each other after we didn't play in the same team anymore.
Maybe we have a little advantage against SK because I played with them previously. I might know more than other teams about how they think and play in their games.
I noticed a tendency for many organizations to sign teams only after one victory (e.g. SK and Fnatic that signed Monkeys and 4gl after 4th and 3rd place at ESWC). You won DreamHack and got signed under mTw. Recently, Dignitas did the same with ex-TeG winning InsideDOTA Invitational. Don’t you think that it’s a big mistake? I didn’t see any victories from those teams after they joined their organizations.
-"In my opinion, it’s not a mistake. I think it's great that all the organisations show interest in the game. I just hope that they won't lose the interest again because of some issues with community, teams, tournaments or what-not. It's up to everyone to contribute to the creation of a scene that has a bright future."
Do you agree with people saying that Russian players are always trash-talking and ruining games? Do you think Valve should create a separate server for Russians?
-"*laughs* I don't know - I think generalizing like that is dangerous. All nationalities have trash-talkers and game ruiners. Russia has more of them, because they have more players in general.
The whole separate server debate should really depend on what is in most players' interest and also the interest of the Russian community. If they think playing with other Europeans is annoying because of the language barrier, then I don't see a problem in creating a separate server. The decision just shouldn't be rushed, and it seems like Valve aren't doing it."
Have you ever visited prodota.ru? What do you know about this website?
-"Yeah, I have checked it out on a few occasions. It seems like a really active page with a big, involved community. Great!
I obviously don't understand much in there, and Google Translator isn't that good, but I can understand some things in there with it *sticks tongue*"
What do you know about Russia? Many Americans think that our people are just drinking vodka with beards every day and wearing caps with ear flaps. Do you want to visit Moscow?
-"I don't know much, but I know that people are great at generalizing and stereotyping. Obviously Russia isn't like what everyone says it to be - hopefully they're just saying it as a joke...
And yes, I would love to see Moscow some day!"
Have you ever drunk vodka? And have you “tasted” a Russian girl?
-"Oh yes, I really like vodka, both as shots and in drinks. It's a great type of alcohol! *smiles*
I never “tasted” a Russian girl - strictly Danish ones. *sticks tongue* In fact, the only Russian "girl" I remember meeting is one of my teachers this semester at my English study, so..."
Can you say some words in Russian for our readers?
-"Yep. Привет prodota! Как дела? PE GE GE, BE KA BE, HAROOOOOOOOOOSH!"
As New Year is coming, I want to ask - how and where will you celebrate this holiday?
-"I will be celebrating it in an apartment that three of my good friends share in Aalborg. Good food, drinking and partying with friends. Can't wait!"
So I wish you Happy New Year! Thanks for the interview. Any shoutouts?
-"My pleasure. Thanks to those who will read it - especially those who support our team in our ups and downs. We'll do our best! Good luck in the new year, everyone. *smiles*
Shoutout to the mTw organisation and our sponsors: Sennheiser, Kaspersky, XMG and Roccat. You can support me at my Facebook page or Twitter.
Please also support mTw at their official website, Facebook page or team Twitter.
Prodota.ru - Original Article (Part 1)
Prodota.ru - Original Article (Part 2)
Facebook - Synderen's Page