syndereN: 'Being unpredictable is going to be crucial'
mTw are looking at the top of their game after clinching the wild card qualifiers for West and earning a slot at The International later this year. Captain Troels 'syndereN' Nielsen talks to GosuGamers while at boot camp with his team about this weekend's Dreamhack Summer '12.
Alright, so my first question would be about the wild card qualifiers. I bet it's been one crazy week for your team. Tell us about it.
-"Before the qualifier week started, we had a little downfall in our play, and I guess we dragged the remainder of that into the first match against VP. We didn't play as solidly in that game as we are capable of, and ended up losing 1-2. Luckily, we manged to pick up our pace, teamplay and coordination again, and kept winning 2-0's until the final 3-1 against NEXT.kz.
I'm so glad we rose to the occasion, and we just seemed to build more and more confidence along the way. Winning the finals was exhilarating, but also very relieving, as we had been getting increasingly stressed with the uncertainty of our attendance over the last many weeks."
Well, about the finals - with no disrespect to NEXT, the games were rather one-sided. Let's just suppose you had casted the finals with Tobi, what do you think you'd say went right for mTw? (Click for VoDs)
-"I just feel like we controlled the games (apart from game two which they won) well. We got off to a good start in all the other games, and increased our lead constantly by taking towers to reduce their area of comfort as well as claiming Roshan.
At the same time, although we had a big advantage, we didn't rush things. We controlled the map, so we took the time necessary to build an advantage of items and experience that was big enough for us to feel comfortable pushing the base.
We have been receiving a lot of criticism for playing 'boring, passive Dota 2', but I respectfully disagree. The massive advantages we got in these games are not obtained through 'passive play', but by putting pressure on the map both in the laning phase and the early-mid game.
Being aggressive is not only about killing heroes, it's about map control; and well, in such an important tournament for us as this, we clearly prefer to feel in control before pushing for the barracks when the enemy is turtling, rather than taking a chance which could lose us our advantage. We won the first game in 25 minutes, the other victories took longer--it depends on various factors how early you can win.
Basically, what went well for us was that we obtained control early and maintained it, while NEXT.kz needed to get off to a better start in order to not get locked down and dominated."
Yes, I believe Korok mentioned that in an interview too, referring to mTw's playstyle as 'safe and conservative'. Well, what were the emotions on Skype during the fourth game? Cool/composed or screaming 'yes bitches we got this'? *grins*
-"Staying focused during the game while of course realising we were in control of the game. Eventually when we got the mega creeps and the GG there was yelling... *grins*"
What about after the game? Did you personally celebrate the victory in any way..?
-"Well, nothing special apart from being extremely happy and relieved - there are limitations to how amazing celebrations you can make alone in your apartment... *smiles* I wasn't at our current bootcamp at the time; only Socks, Mad and Funzii were."
I take it that you're there with them now?
-"Yes, we are gathered here now. Mad is not here just now as he had some exam to attend to, but he will arrive tomorrow and we'll practice up to DreamHack!"
Cool then, I guess with your victory at the qualifiers, we won't see you casting at The International (even though many of our forumers were calling for that). Did you think about your plans for TI' 12 had your team failed to get a slot to the event?
-"In case it was completely guaranteed we would not be attending, it is very likely I would have commentated with Tobi. However, even if we hadn't won the qualifier, it wouldn't have been certain that we couldn't attend. There's always the chance that a team is unable to attend for whichever reasons such as VISA, rosters breaking up or what-not, so that option is of course still there for the other teams which didn't qualify.
If VALVe take the same approach as last year, they'll call in a team to replace any team which is unable to attend, as well as have a 'last minute backup team' in case some team doesn't show up--last year it was Nordic eSports who didn't get to play, but still had a really good time being a part of the event. We'll see if VALVe follow the same model once more.
Hopefully, of course, all the invited and qualified teams will be able to attend."
About the boot camp - correct me if I'm wrong, but this is the first time you have met up with the new roster in person. How are things so far? What do you think playing with them on LAN this weekend will be like?
-"It's the first time we meet up together, yes. We've been playing together for quite a while already so we know each other's personalities quite well, and everything is shaping up nicely. It should be a good mix of seriousness and fun, like bootcamps always are. *smiles*"
That's nice to hear. Let's move on to Dreamhack now. Last year, your team took the title at Dreamhack Winter as WHB. What's different for you (apart from the weather) going into Dreamhack this time around?
-"I guess you should ask what's not different! We're a completely different roster now, the scene has developed a lot, more and better teams are attending, we are invited instead of going through the BYOC qualifier...
All in all, it'll be a bigger and tougher tournament this time around, and I both hope and believe we can provide results. Also, I'm looking very much forward to meeting a lot of nice guys from the other teams, I think DHS12 will be a blast!"
So.. you're still rocking the beard? *grins*
-"Haha, not as much neck beard as last time, but I still have my beard, yes. *grins*"
And what about developments as a player? What would you say to your Dreamhack Winter self if you could travel back in time?
-"You should really shave..."
*laughs* Alright, let's move on to predictions now - which teams do you think will advance from the group stages?
-"Group A: mouz + Darer
Group B: aL + QxG
It is very likely that there will be at least one upset to my predictions, though. Anything can happen!"
And you believe the pro teams will advance from Groups C and D?
-"Yes. I have no idea who's attending on BYOC though, would be cool to see some more known faces show up."
Let's talk strategy abit, since we are nearing The International as well. You've been playing heroes like Leshrac and Invoker for mTw recently. How do you decide, for example, which skill to max out first (on Leshrac) or whether to play a Quas-Wex or Quas-Extort Invoker?
-"Basically, how you build any hero is case dependant. You can't really give a 100% skill build/item build argument for any hero. It depends who you're up against, who you're with, what you expect your role to be in the game, what kind of a start you have in the game, what your team needs, what counters the enemy--both on the lane but also in the mid-game/bigger picture...
Consider what you can provide with each available option, and decide which is better in the given case."
Ah, let's consider these two scenarios then (maxed Diabolict Edict vs maxed Lightning) Which lineups would they be applicable on?
-"Lightning pushes well and is good as a ranged harassment spell, so for the laning phase it's useful to push your lane for rune control and harass enemies you cannot really get in close on. It's also very useful for counter-pushing if you need to defend against a lineup which focuses on that.
Edict is obviously amazing against any hero you can catch in a stun and run down, as well as for pushing the towers down. Neither is always the better choice, it completely depends on what you need."
Brewmaster is another popular pick now that he entered Captain's Mode. Are there any other heroes that have the potential to surprise us this weekend?
-"I wouldn't say it's a surprise Brewmaster became popular--I expected him to make a huge impact. For this weekend, I don't know... There's always the option for any team to pull out a completely unusual strategy, but I don't expect any unused hero to become massively popular at DreamHack. The three new heroes (Gyrocopter, Phantom Assassin and Chaos Knight) will not be available, I believe."
Any hints on what your team has been up to? *grins* You got to give your followers something now that you took a break on streaming.
-"We'll be running five agility heroes all bottom and pray for the best. All in!"
Ok, let's assume mTw will be the champions of DH Summer. Who will be second and third?
-"Na`Vi and CLG."
Well, whatever the case is this weekend, Dreamhack will decide the top of European Dota 2 once again. But with The International down the road, we'll see the SEA and Chinese teams coming into play. Any plans on how you're going to prepare your team against them yet?
-"I guess the best approach to any team is to have different ideas of how to play and various strategies prepared in order to not get countered early on in the tournament.
Arguably, at the first International, Na`Vi kind of ran the same strategy all the way to the finals, but it was a different time. They were so far ahead of every other team that no one could touch them even when they knew what was going to happen.
To me, that massive gap doesn't exist anymore. Na`Vi will have a harder run this time if they want to defend their title; there are both good European/US and Asian teams who will be way better prepared this time. Being unpredictable and diverse is going to be crucial, I think.
Surely, the European/US teams have to prepare for the Asians, but the Asians also have to prepare for the Europeans. To me, it's really hard to predict the outcome of the tournament; I honestly have no idea what is going to happen."
Well, let's take mousesports for example. There was a rumor that the team was training with EHOME at one point in time on SEA servers. Do you foresee mTw biting the same bullet (lag, that is) and following suit?
-"I think all teams can benefit from practicing against teams from other continents. There are different playstyles and mentalities to the game, so you can really learn something about both your own playstyle, but also that of the enemy."
I'm going to round off the interview with one last question about GosuLeague. Your team qualified for the main division of season 2, where you'll be up against teams who also played in the wild card qualifier (NEXT.kz, mouz, Infused, Keita, etc). Any thoughts on how mTw will perform?
-"With the BO2 system, any victory counts as it's about racking up points--every game will count, so having a single bad game can eventually cost everything. I'm pretty confident we've got a good chance at taking a top placement if not win the whole thing.
We'll see, hoping for some good games!"
Alright, thanks for the interview. I'll let you do your shoutouts now.
-"Shoutout to mTw sponsors Sennheiser, XMG, Kaspersky and Eizo.
Also shoutout to meruna, Big D the Dunker, Jens K, The Ritz, BaHaya, High, and Jakob 'ALT ALT ALT FOR LÆKKER TIL LOVE' Nors.
Finally, a big shoutout to all our supporters. It's a pleasure to have you all backing us. Rock on!"