BLOG: Ryze's journey to The International 2012
In a personal recollection of his peaks and troughs encountered this year, Christoffer Borregaard 'Ryze' Winther takes us inside his perspective on his team, from SK Gaming to monkeybusiness. The following parts were shared with GosuGamers in their original form and permitted for reproduction by the author.
One month ago, I was too emotional to talk about this past half year and how everything turned upside down and resulted in Mania, AngeL and Playmate quitting, leaving and retiring from the Dota2 scene. Now I can look at it from a distance, and hope you'll enjoy my input and view:
In the start of 2012, I was approached by miGGel, AngeL and Mania- to form a new powerhouse. Mania to replace CalculuS and Link to be replaced by FreshPro, Lacoste and a few others were considered. I was ambivalent. No idea how to properly react. I was in a team with 4 friends and why change that? Somehow we hadn’t practiced for almost 1 month together and everyone kept playing matchmaking or inhouse leagues. It had to change if we would like to beat the other European top teams (Na`Vi although in a slump, EG that recently returned from China, rising aL, and more).
I told miGGel that I wanted Link as the 5th player on the team, and they agreed to try it out in a couple of days – saying Link had to be way more aggressive in his play in order for this to work. We instantly started practicing daily – how awesome! And it went decent in our scrims. A couple of days later, we realized that infused was the perfect scrimming partner for us. Their coordination in ganks, teamfights and map movement was very good and they’d always pick a very early game oriented lineup and apply massive pressure on us from the get-go. It was hard to deal with and it improved our play day by day. A few weeks later we didn’t lose to anyone in scrims and official matches, even reaching #1 place on ggnet. We kept giving infused their Chen, as it allowed them to apply more pressure than with any other lineup. They also had some nasty combos with Chen, Omni, Dazzle that gave us a lot of trouble. In the end, it helped us improve a lot.
In the start of February, I went on holiday for 5 days and when I got back, a lot had changed. AngeL had found a girl friend and she was visiting him. We didn’t have much time to practice and suddenly a lot of official matches to play. We started practicing again a week before The Defense Finals, beating EG convincingly on our way to Na`Vi. The first day of our practice, we played 4 scrims versus Na`Vi. Lost 2 and won 2. They won one of the games in 11 minutes – I was motivated like no one else after this match. We had to beat them.
We played a lot versus It’s GoSu (Bulba, Korok, PIG, etc) in the following weekend and we kept falling for their baits. Kept ganking and they kept baiting. In the end we figured it out and turned it against them, as they’d waste their time baiting us, while we would do something completely different.
The day had come, and we faced Na`Vi. It resulted in 2-2, and them coming up on top with winner-bracket advantage. It was ok.. atleast we had some good games, and no one could deny our strength afterwards.
After the finals, miGGel had to prepare for final exams, AngeL & Mystress was moving together and various other stuff going on, which left us with no time to practice together. AngeL had 18 hours played last 2 weeks in end of march (Ja, martin jeg tjekkede haha :D). We were not the only teams with such problems as the previous top3 placer, EG, had roster problems, the dominant American team coL had TC away and next.kz lost their sponsor, which forced roster problems. CLG & Darer were quick to reach top popularity with the other top teams left in problems.
In the start of April, AngeL started working and only had time to play a couple of matches a day and it started showing on our performance as a team. We started practicing with Lacoste, Black and others, while AngeL wasn’t there and it worked out very well in scrims. We discussed it and told AngeL to be more motivated and dedicated. Unofficially it didn’t work out and AngeL was kicked from the team. He then formed a team with CalculuS, Playmate and two others. A few weeks after, AngeL & Mystress contacted us with a (100% legit) sponsorship offer that meant we could focus on Dota2 only. We had 2 hours to give an answer. We accepted and I had to tell Link, that he was replaced by Playmate the next day. It hurt. A lot. In the end we got scammed by Eclypsia.
It was a stressfull period. Am I on the team? What sponsor? Non-stop official matches? Study? Work? Will we get invited? Mediocre results? Stability ? Rumours of us not being invited? Who’s going to be the next invited team? Etc etc.
We decided to bootcamp to get something going for us as a team and it helped a lot. We got some good play going and got to know each other better. Tuesday after the bootcamp Playmate & AngeL got into an argue, and the day after, miGGel told me on sms that AngeL & Mania had decided to quit Dota2. I was shocked. It didn’t make sense. Still 4 invites missing.. The next day, yes, Thursday, I was contacted about us getting an invite. Wtf? But we weren’t even 5 players now.. I talked with Maelk a lot about this and he encouraged me to reach out and talk to AngeL & Mania about it. I was really depressed but also somehow relieved. It didn’t work out and they didn’t want to keep going. ‘Better give the invite to someone that really cares’… miGGel, Playmate & I wanted to make a new team, but a couple of days later I told them, I’d need a break to figure out wether or not I wanted to continue dota. I had exams going on during all this. Playmate decided to quit straight away.
This is the 2nd part of my journey towards The International 2012. The extension of the first part of the story, the beginning of a new path, the consequences of the decisions we make, and yada yada ^_^
After my exams in june, I played some friendly mixes with a lot of players – EvilIsNear, Alba, Nexus, Sunlight, sQreen, fckMad, miGGel, Stupidstars, Link, BENTZER, NotAHax, Sayuri, bdiz, Merlini, Buller etc and we played almost only weird ass strats and had a lot of fun. A couple of bigname teams asked me to join but I truly lacked motivation and couldn’t be asked to be part of another drama/ever-changing-roster team again. If I was to start playing again, it had to be friendship, stability and preferably danish.
I wanted to build something with miGGel at first, but wasn’t sure if he wanted to play competitively again. I didn’t want to ask – I wasn’t even sure if I actually wanted to. And then Link contacted me and asked me if I wanted to be part of an all-danish roster. His idea was that we didn’t have to have a team of 5 stars, but rather have +3 talented players that would work their way to the top through months of stability and practice. He’d be gone for 4 months (August to November) but back to play again in November. The players he had in mind was:
Unicorn – super talented Danish player. Although fairly unknown to the pro scene, he’s coming from HoN and already stomping most European inhouse leagues.
FreshPro – needs no introduction for HoN players, as he won pretty much every LAN tournament with his former team, fnaticHon.
CuN- - a former teammate of mine, coming from DotA1. He used to play with me, AngeL, miGGel and syndereN, beating and losing to teams such as MYM, M5, Na`Vi and more. But had a break for more or less a year.
monkeybusiness: Link (c), Ryze, FreshPro, Unicorn and CuN-
I agreed, knowing it was a longterm team with potential to compete against the best. Link would take the role of captain. I already know his work-ethics are very high but with 4 months of military practice, it’s going to be dictatorship once he returns. Sounds good! ‘Hell yeeaarh!’ (tobi voice). Just one week after Sayuri asked me to play with her – joke aside – and miGGel, Merlini +1. Having played with them in some 1-day cups, I knew they were friendly players and in it for the exact same goals as I was.. However, I had already chosen to play with Link. I asked Link if he wanted to join them, and he declined. Stating he wanted a full-danish team as first priority and that he would like to establish his own team, rather than join one.
We got in contact with FreshPro (thanks Trixi), and Link talked with him for quite some time about the team and our goals. It must have been a hard decision for him, since he was playing HoN at the time and hadn’t made the switch to Dota2 yet. In the end, he agreed – as did CuN- and Unicorn. We were 5, handplucked by Link.
The first week of practice, Link created a google document with our practice schedule. Practice straight from work until sleep-time. Booya! And with a break in the middle of the evening for dinner, watching replays, streams etc. My expectations for our practice matches? Lose, lose and lose some more. And so we started out losing left and right versus low- and mid-skilled teams.. even match-making matches were hard. We lost games, we ought to win, throw and more throw. Dieing solo left and right. Haha, it was a mess. Worse than solo-queing mm..
At some point we started winning a few games and actually started playing good.. Ok, I lied, fucking terrible, but enough to win :D
A few underground teams were the next destination as we started scrimming versus GL, GU, WhA and more. A single game against EG and got stomped by Fear AXE!!! Hilarious match.. It went better than the first week of practice, and we actually managed to win some of those matches. I got to admit I missed my old team – especially miGGel.. and a lot of stuff I took for granted, just didn’t happen the way it was supposed to. It’s only natural, I guess?
We kept practicing and improving daily. It’s summertime and everyone has been busy with holiday and whatnot, so we had help from several friends to stand-in, when we lacked a player. DENDI LINA, king of water, and GU.Cr1t comes to my mind. What’s most important is that even when being only 4, we kept practicing. Suddenly, we started raping the teams we used to lose against, just few weeks back. How? No idea.. Didn’t expect this to happen so fast. We started winning matches against GL, GU, WhA, BFB, uebelst and more. Luck was part of many of our wins, but the increase in teamplay and individual skill was easy to spot. Still.. we’d get trashed upon by big-name sponsored teams and most likely lose most of our matches versus the likes of BFB, GL, uebelst and so on. We’re a new team, new players and got a long way to go.
Link leaves for army today, and will be gone all weekdays for the next 4 months. We’ll play with a 6th or stand-in in the meantime, to keep improving until he comes back. It won’t be a problem for Link to get back in shape once he’s back – he can do that in no time. The weekly schedule will vary from week to week, but it’ll be five to seven days of practice. Eventually – it’s a matter of time – the teams that beat us now, will get beaten. I hope to defeat one of the TI2-invited teams within the next month or so – which is quite a task considering our current shaky play and their motivation to practice and improve for The International.
At 19.00 CEST tomorrow, we start scrimming and CalculuS will stand-in for Link.. It’s bound to be fun as it’s looong time since I played with CalculuS, and we used to have shits going on. If you’re interested in following our games and the team, I’ll start streaming tomorrow with twitch.tv. I’m a newb at streaming, so go easy on me, haha. ‘If I knew where to search for co-op BOT games, I would – sorry for ruining your matchmaking game..’ FreshPro has promised to show some of his ‘Hon-Strats’! Basically it’s why get gold- when you can get xp-lead ?
In the end of the week, my team and I, monkeybusiness will challenge a team that’s stronger than our team and if we lose (we probably will..), we’ll have 1 week to practice and then it’s time for a grudge match to show who’s the boss of bizniz! (read: Link is, sorry… didn’t mean to question you.. sorry Link. Ok? :D)
Hit the subscribe/follow button on twitch, so you know when to tune in.
Hope you enjoyed 2nd part. 3rd to come!