Dota 2 Invited teams spotlight

Dota 2 Gosu “GosuGamers” Gamers
For the Favourites: fnatic.ANdre and SK.Ryze

Andreja 'ANdre' Mahovic by
So ANdre, it's been a few weeks since you were picked up by FnaticMSI. Please tell me what changed in your gaming life since then. I saw you have gotten jerseys and equipment. Are you also able to commit more time to playing competitively?
Hey Kongo, and hello to all the readers as well! First of all I wanna say that I am really excited about the trip to Sweden! Can't wait for DreamHack to start! I am proud that we will be representing one of the biggest organizations in the world of e-sports, FnaticMSI. It's been a few amazing weeks, we have never been this happy and dedicated, and we also practiced as we never did before. We always had a huge moral and strong will and we always aimed for the top, but this time it is different and positively so. The jerseys are awesome as well as the jackets ( I didn't show that, yet *smiles* ), but the gear from Steelseries is simply - amazing. As for our commitment, well, I hope we will be able to practice like this for further LAN tournaments as well.

You mentioned the upcoming DreamHack, which is also the reason why we are sitting here. What are you looking forward to the most this weekend?
Mostly, I'm looking forward to spending time in a foreign country with my awesome team mates and our new manager, Danijel, as well as hanging out with Firas (Flow4v), the SK-guys (Calculus kaelling !), Phoenix and the other Frenchies. I'm also looking forward to my team competing in the tournament as I think we are currently in the best shape ever so far. I'm curious how the BYOC tournament will look like and if there will be any strong teams, besides the well-known WHB. Of course, it will be a really great experience to meet all the people from FnaticMSI, staff members as well as players.

I can almost grab your enthusiasm and your aim for Dreamhack seems to be clear. With Na`Vi not attending would anything else than first place be a disappointment for you?
"I hope we will be able to practice like this for further LAN tournaments as well.."
To be honest, I am really sad that Na`Vi won't be attending. It's always fun to hang out with Dendi, especially when he is around GordaN. As for our aim, it is always the same, as I've already said. The 3rd place on ESWC was a disappointment for us as well in a certain way, but that's how it goes with best-of-one. If we had one chance to make things right, I'm sure that we wouldn't have made the same mistake as we did versus EHOME. I feel a bit better now that we were able to beat them at 'The Defense' tournament though. It is all behind us now and we are all looking forward to this tournament, and yes, anything less than a first place would be huge disappointment for us. Considering the amount of effort and the amount of practice, I'm sure we won't let that happen.

In regards to The Defense: When you compare online tournaments in DotA, whose results did not always convey a convincing message of who is better in the game (ping issues/delay), with online tournaments in Dota 2 now, do you think the reputation of these events will change and rise to a similar level as LANs?
There are other issues besides ping/delay, such as maphacks and stuff. I always prefer LAN tournaments and if I could, I would attend all of them. They have a lot bigger social component and for me personally, that matters the most. You spend time with different people, learn about different cultures, see a lot of new things and so on. And from my experience, that extra pressure that you feel on LAN and shaking hands after a game are things which can't be experienced through an online competition. Due to all of that, LANs can never be compared to online tournaments. Overall, I think teams perform better on LAN than online. I just hope there will be more tournaments like The Defense, as they will raise the reputation of the game and its tournaments to a level above the current one.

Compared to your earlier DotA LAN in 2011 ASUS Summer, you seemed to have shaped up enormously in every aspect. Especially in terms of physical presence including the shouting. How important is it for you or your mates (g0g1) to release emotions. Is the object behind it also intimidating your opponents, or just for making yourself feel better.
"He (g0g1) knows how to boost the moral of players, which is the key factor to performing well when you are far behind in the game"
Having Baja around once again is really a pleasure in more than one way. He brings a lot of calmness and stability to our performance. He is simply one of the best players I have ever played with and also the key to our improvement. When you have a player of his qualities on a support role, your whole team feels confident. As for the emotions, yes, they are always present. If they weren't, everything we do would simply lose it's point. It is very important for us, and I like that all of my teammates are like that. It has nothing to do with intimidating our opponents. It's simply how we feel about our success. GordaN is a great captain and he knows what it takes to lead a successful team; I am really happy that I am a part of the team under his leadership. He also knows how to boost the moral of players, which is the key factor to performing well when you are far behind in the game. Not many people can do that.

You mentioned a new sixth man who will accompany you to Sweden as manager. At ESWC, you had Flow4v providing moral support. How important would you consider having a coach or motivator behind you at a LAN?
It can surely provide a lot of benefits. Flow really understands the job, and as for me, he was and still is my teammate although he never played. Somehow, after this ESWC, I think my team felt the same as I did. I can tell you that Flow provided more then moral support for everyone. I'm 100% positive that our new manager, Danijel, will continue doing the same as Flow did, as he has a lot of experience in his job. I am happy that he is the one in charge of us now and I feel very confident and great about having him around. The support he provided us with is simply amazing, and I want to thank him for that. Having a coach like either one of them surely can benefit in a lot of ways and I feel honored that I was and am able to cooperate with both of them.

Thanks for answering our questions and good luck at DreamHack. Do you have any final words?
Huge shoutout to everyone who supports FnaticMSI, as well as big thanks to our sponsors MSI, SteelSeries, Eizo, Gunnar Optiks and RaidCall for providing us with all the support. Personal shoutout to Flow, Iyonic, and Slena! Thanks for taking time to do this interview Kongo! :) See you in Sweden, gotta go pack my stuff!!!
Christoffer Borregaard 'Ryze' Winther at ESWC in Paris
Ryze, one month ago monkeybusiness played versus 4GL in the ESWC third place decider. Today this duel would be addressed as FnaticMSI versus SK. Do you find it a bit unreal that Dota 2 became so fast moving as well?
Dota 2 is evolving unreal fast, especially considering that it is still in the beta. Imagine, more than 500 teams registered for the Dota 2 DreamHack offline qualifier. I'm really happy on behalf of Fnatic and can't wait to meet them in all future LAN events as SK Gaming (*smiles*). If you think Dota 2 is fast moving now, then wait for the game's release. The scene is going to explode! After ESWC, we got contacted daily by huge potential sponsors, so the interest in good teams exists already. I'm proud to be SK.Ryze now.

Your sixth man Andreas 'eatenfish' Windahl settled with not playing actively on a regular basis, but stays with you in SK as a coach/mentor. How important was it for you that he comes along and experiences the episode 'SK' with you. Were any further negotiations necessary to bring him on board with you?
He is an important part of our team. Teams are already practicing daily and we want to take it to the next level. SK Gaming shared the same goal as we did when they first contacted us. They gladly accepted him alongside the rest of us monkeys. (*smiles*)

Do you find it a bit disappointing in retrospect that old DotA and its clan scene, community and media did not enforce their qualities enough to permanently reside alongside CS 1.6 and SC2 or WC3 at major events such as DH and WCG? (ESWC marks the positive exception)
No, I don't. We love our community and everything that is part of it. If someone doesn't want to be part of it, they can go away. We didn't need external support to keep DotA running for all these years. The player base and scene is insane and with Dota 2 sponsors realize this. Obviously, with external support our community is going to expand massively in North America and Europe, increasing the amount of top teams and the general competitive level.

Looking into the future, what can we expect from SK at this Dreamhack and what is your aim for the tournament?
"We will most likely introduce a new itembuild/skillbuild on a certain hero that will make the community go "Wtf?"
We've been practicing a couple of new playstyles to test the newly introduced heroes and how they affect the metagame. I'm personally in love with Chen/Enchantress and we will most likely introduce a new itembuild/skillbuild on a certain hero that will make the community go "Wtf?" (*smiles*). Our aim will always be top one and to keep improving our performance at LAN. The difference between playing online and offline is immense.

What are you looking forward to the most this weekend?
I'm looking forward to the event as I've never been to Dreamhack before. I've heard rumors of old-school legends playing in the qualifiers, so I hope to see them advance to the playoffs.

Leaving Fnatic aside, how strong do you expect other competing invited teams like Shakira, BX3 and WHB to be?
"All I can sing is:
'MSI you got a problem.
We're comin at you now'"
I expect the competition to be tough. Each and every team invited have their own views on the hero pool and how the game should be played. Heroes keep getting added and last week's strategies are already old. I haven't played much against any of the teams - but from what I've heard they do very well in training matches.

You are currently 1:1 against your arguably biggest competitor for the trophy, Fnatic MSI. You won online at BenQ whereas they defeated you in Paris at the ESWC third place decider. Should you clash this weekend, why will SK win?
All I can sing is:
"MSI you got a problem.
We're comin at you now"

Thank you Ryze, good luck and see you at DH, please drop your last words below.
Thanks for the interview! I would like to thank SK Gaming and our sponsors! Thanks to SteelSeries and gunnar for providing us with gaming gear and gaming glasses. Shoutout to the South American community, I believe you deserve more attention from sponsors and future tournament organizers! :)

For the Challengers: BX3.Olich and TS.Socks

Titouan 'Socks' Merloz at ESWC in Paris
Socks, please tell us a bit about what happened to the team, from the termination of your contract with virus. Did you spend your time with training as usual, or did that lead to any changes in your gaming life?
Our contract with Virus finished after the ESWC. Afterwards Maldejambes decided to stop competitive DotA in order to focus on his studies; Garter wanted to stop as well. I decided with Ph0eniix and fckngmad to make a new team composed of only French guys. We talked to Dhany who played for aAa one year ago and Funzii who was in team BLAST. Both decided to join us for our new project. In the last month, we decided to fully switch to Dota 2 and we are training as much or even more as we used to do with the old roster.

How are the two new guys doing and why did you decide to specifically take Dhany and Funzii under your wing?
They are doing very well for the time being. Dhany brings experience as he played in the French team aAa for a long of time; he will fill the support role in the team. Funzii is a very skilled french player. I played a lot with him in inhouse-games, but he never had experience of playing in high level team before, so he still needs some time to be at the best of his level.

Looking at the upcoming Dreamhack that you will be a part of, what goals do you set for the team with these changes in mind? Would you consider passing the group stage as an achievement, or are you confident to do better than that?
I'm confident for the team but will stay realistic. We trained together for only one month so our goal is to pass the group stage as well as to play well. But still, we played during our practice against all invited teams of DreamHack, so I know that we can beat all of them, even if it will be very hard.

"I know that we can beat all of the invited teams, even if it will be very hard."
Did the rather disappointing performance at ESWC lead to Mdj and Garter shifting priorities, or was their leaving long-term planned?
I don't know exactly about Garter, but there were some tensions between him and others. I think it was hard for him to be the only one who wasn't French. As for Maldejambes it is different. I really like this guy, we were mates for more than one year but the conflict of interest became too big. We wanted to attend OSPL for example since we were in good shape, but he couldn't come because of his studies. We also couldn't train at all ahead of ESWC because he didn't show up for 2 weeks. That's why we agreed to separate.

How is the search for sponsors going? Despite the fact that you underwent changes, your team is one of the few pro-level ones that is still on the market. Have you picked up any negotiations with possible partners since you are out of Virus?
It will depend on our result at DreamHack. But yes, we are in some negotiations.

"We are very well prepared for this DreamHack, trained a lot against strong teams"
You mentioned that you switched to Dota 2 for good, while some competition of yours like EG and Na`Vi still play the Asian tournaments in classic DotA. Do you admire them for having been a part of WDC and most certainly SMM, while you remained in Europe playing the Dota 2 tournaments?
Yes obviously I would love to be in their place. Na`Vi and EG deserve to have this chance for all they did during DotA. I'm really sad to not attend OSPL, which was supposed to be my last big DotA event. Now I hope that Dota 2 will take a huge place in the eSport, so we might have the chance to go to China as well as other countries!

For now DreamHack should mark a pretty good alternative and you have fans from your home country behind you. As a last request before we finish, please tell us why people should GosuBet on you this weekend.
We are very well prepared for this DreamHack. We trained a lot against strong teams so I think we have a chance. It will be really difficult against SK, Fnatic MSI, WHB and co, but we will do our best. AND WE HAVE T-SHIRTS! SHAKIRA POWER!

DreamHack Winter Quick links

Niklas 'Olich' Nilsson, Team BX3
Olich, would you please tell us a bit about how BX3 spent the weeks after ESWC up until now? Have you had sufficient time to work on your game?
We have done some small changes in the roster. We have not been able to train that much as a team, because somebody always ended up being away. But I think we´re good anyway. We have a good spirit in the team and know what we are going to play.

You were called Rangers before BX3 picked you up shortly before ESWC. The project seems to have just kickstarted. How did you get together and did something change in your gaming life since you signed?
Yea we´re really glad that BX3 made it possible for us to go to ESWC; even if we didn't achieve a great result. it was a fun trip where we learned a lot. We have tried to take the game a bit more seriously since then and are aware that we need to do so in order to succeed. But so far it hasn't been that good, as I mentioned earlier.

What valuable experiences did you take from your time in Paris? In what ways did the trip strengthen you as a team?
Both having been able to see other teams play and to just be there let us learn a lot. LAN is always something different and preparing well is essential to do good. Its been fun to see a team like Fnatic, they looked extremely prepared for ESWC and played a great tournament as well.

You will meet them as well as SK and TS again this weekend. The four invited teams for Corsair Vengeance seem very evenly matched. What do you think of the upcoming competition. Will teams from the BYOC qualifier have a chance of making the playoffs and how do you think, will the invited teams do?
Yea all are good teams. I played some training matches against both Fnatic MSI and Team Shakira and they seem to be strong and prepared and SK is a great team as we all know. Out of the BYOC participants I only know WHB and I'm pretty sure they will make it to the main tournament, since they are looking strong as well. Other than that, I barely know of the other BYOC teams but hopefully we will see some interesting teams qualifying.

"Its been fun to see a team like Fnatic, they looked extremely prepared for ESWC and played a great tournament as well."
It can be argued that Swedish DotA has seen prouder times in the past. I would recall the times of SK and the months of late 2009 until mid 2010 where a Sweden DotA online League (SDL) was hosted, which teams such as DIPS, [4G], DRz, youBoat attended. Do you feel that DotA in your country shrank as an eSport as well?
DotA has been a bit off throughout the latest year perhaps. The main reason for that is probably that there aren't many new players coming to the scene; rather the current community has been leaving for games like HoN and LoL. I think HoN is the biggest MOBA game in Sweden player-wise at the moment. I'm pretty sure though that this will change around with Dota 2.

Should some of the Swedish playerbase from 09/10 attend the BYOC tournament, we might see some fierce competition this weekend. How good is your relationship to the Swedish teams such as EMC, FEARZ or also former DIPS players? Can you perhaps tell who else besides WHB may appear in the BYOC qualifier?
Our relationship to the Swedish scene is okay, I think, we are well-connected with former FEARZ, now called youBoat, (BIG shoutout to walleater and Fishbone!). WHB is the same team like DIPS back in the days, only change is that synderen now play with them. No, I don't know if some of the other teams will attend, only that FUBAR will not attend at least.

Where do you think BX3 stands within these teams. You have been selected as invite over the other Swedish squads. Do you feel, you are ahead in Sweden at the moment?
I don't really know, as its hard to say before we have played against them in some important games in Dota 2. Yeh,a we´re glad that we got selected, but we don't feel we´re ahead in Sweden at the moment. We have a long way until we reach the top and changes have to be made in both gameplay and attitude.

"Having been able to see other teams play and to just be there (ESWC) let us learn a lot."
Would you have preferred this tournament to be held in DotA, or have you adapted to Dota 2 just fine by now?
I think we have a better chance in Dota 2 than DotA since we only play DotA 2 and we all think the game is more fun a swell. You adapt to the game pretty fast; the biggest difference is the small heropool. You can adapt easily to the cosmetic changes, by playing a few regular matchmaking games.

Then I wish you good luck at Dreamhack. The last word is on you if there is anything you would like to add.
Thanks. We will do our best! Some shoutouts to my team, BX3 and our sponsors