The Swede in Singapore - A Loda tale

Dota 2 “Raistlin”
242a7d1770e7b292a83bb20ac9cd78887335bbc97ec675f664897b15e9.jpgYou told me you just watched DK vs. iG. (Watch the game here) What did you think of the game? Are the Chinese teams excelling in Dota 2 as you had predicted?

Hm, well its the first one of a bo3, so it's hard to say yet, ig was a big outpick, and DK outsmarted in most ways. It was clear that DK would win if they didn't make any big mistakes.

Well I wouldn't say they are excelling, but they really are quite strong. I don't like giving a lot of credit to any teams, and therefor I won't comment too much about it. The playstyle in China is still a bit different from the Euro way, and its hard to say who would win if the top teams in Europe and China were to face eachother. DK seems pretty strong, same with ehome, but ig hasnt impressed me that much yet. We are playing Tongfu or something in a day or two so it will be very interesting to see if they are better or worse than the BIG names.

Your new team Zenith is labeled as one of the more aggressive and fun-to-watch teams, especially comparing you to the other Asian teams. Do you think this is the reason you guys are doing so well - going 8-1 in the ProDota2 League for example? How would you, being on the Zenith side for a while, explain your team's winning streaks?

Haha well of course you gain a lot from playing your own style and excel in doing it. But I would say that we have no defined way of playing, we just pick what we feel confident with (and what hopefully counters the opponents) and then play our own game. I would say the reason why Zenith is on a winning streak, even before I joined, is due to the fact that they have so many skilled and versataile players on the team. This makes it harder to predict lanes and so on.

How have you guys discussed the roles in the team? Hyhy has mostly been playing as the "Super hero", with all the others supporting him. In your first set of games we've seen you in the solo lane a lot.

Well the team has always played their own way, even if it may look like everyone is supporting HyHy I think it gets switched around a bit. Iceiceice does a lot on his own aswell, and you can even see him play heroes like void etc. My role on the team is mostly offlane/safelane solo, that is the role I'm prepared to play, but it's all about what my great leader tells me to do.

How would you compare your style of play in Zenith and in the last weeks with CLG? When you gave over the leadership to Pajkatt due to your lack of metagame knowledge you took another role.

In CLG I switched between a lot of roles, but if I have to choose any, it would probably be solo mid, but sometimes I got other roles aswell. I would say it's a bit too easy to fix players to one role, but I play and have played anything but support. Also in Zenith I can have a lot of impact on the hero i will play. As I said HyHy will tell me what he is thinking of picking, but if I feel that I can't play that hero, he wont pick it. Though in CLG I would probably have as much impact on the game that we played if I wanted to, but I tried to handle the situation by taking on a passive role on the team not affecting the strategies etc. Sadly it didn't work out so well. But i had a lot of stuff going on outside the game in general, so there are many reasons as to why I didnt perform as well in CLG.

9fa0c441bd021a082b930bba982c3dadb7a04ebc46e8f3a14813ac1815.jpgYour last big offline tournament was the SLTV Star Series grand final, where you and CLG ended up on third place. How was that experience for you guys and had you expected you'd do better?

Well it's always a great experience to get som LAN action, especially if Na'Vi is in the tournament. But yeah I did expect we would reach 2nd place, but m5 was able to keep us down and they did give Na'Vi a fight for the gold.

223afd9264abe3a61e88193d759a9fe5e0145d2e1e505f583c1d2e998c.jpgLet's turn the clock back a while and talk about CLG, or, XP-Gaming if you may. What were the initial goals when you first summoned the players around you to start XP-Gaming? Were you always on the look-out for getting picked up by a bigger organization?

Haha, well we had different ideas depending on the offer and support we could gain from a bigger organisation. We were ready to do it on our own, but after getting a good salary deal etc, we felt it was easier to go with a "real" sponsorship. I wanted to keep the site updated with blogs, videos and so on, but this wasn't a priority for everyone else on the team so it just faded away. But xP isnt gone just yet :) I may revive the site for another team or change the focus onto something else.

When it comes to the goal I had for xP as a team it was to become a top team in europe, to be an all swedish roster with our eyes on TI2, though the roster changed during the following couple of months. Maybe it was harder on me than the rest to see the team changing so much. If the one and only NOEZ would have stayed on the team Im not sure that you would have seen me in Zenith right now. But God works in mysterious ways, so to speak.

This part you have to elaborate on.

Haha, Noez is just one of those guys I started playing with in HoN, but he was an old school Dota player! Just never on any top teams. I think he is one of the most friendly and talented people in the swedish Dota scene, and he was part of xP in the beginning. He is currently playing with 4 friends or something, I really dunno their name, and I think he uses the nick aLx. He is one of those guys that EVERY team needs!

a0d4eff0c30bb04bad620b6e075dfc7e9ed0d945aedf2bcd9cff5b2a17.jpgZenith is invited to The International 2, and you might be locking horns with your old team in Seattle. How would you tackle that? How would that feel, to be on the other side, picking off Pajkatt, Miracle and the others?

It would feel a bit weird, but I've faced Pajkatt and Miracle before, there's nothing special with that. The thing that could affect me is the fact that Akke is on the team aswell. It will be hard to go all out on him. As I've said before, we fear no one and I will go all out in this game.
554b97b63d1459f36d1491653d46690a7fdffb72af2d86896ac442b0a3.jpgDid you know you were gonna get invited before you decided to join Zenith?

No I did not know if zenith would be invited, it wasn't confirmed by anyone. I knew there was a possible candidate from SEA, but we would have to perform well and prove ourselves with the new lineup.

How much of a “tactic tattle tale” are you, now that you moved from CLG to Zenith? Will your insight in their play give you and Zenith a head start in the mind games? OR do you fear it’s the other way around?

Haha, well I think CLG won't play the same way at TI2 as they did when I was still on the team. But sure, I may have some knowledge on how to bring them down.

But in the end all teams can analyze eachothers replay, and the best team will always win, whether it's due to outpicking or outplaying the opponents.

To be honest, I hope I wont face CLG at TI2. I still root for them in some way and it would be sad if any of us had to kick out the other from the chance of winning the big money.

What are your expectations for The International? Your ambitions?

My expectations are to reach top 3, with a big possibility to reach the gold. But anything can happen at a LAN haha. My ambitions are obviously winning it all, I mean who goes to a tournament without believing in yourself or your team? :D

This is your first time living in Asia, no? Except for your time playing in the Alienware DotA League. How would you compare the countries and your living situation now and then?

Haha, yes it is my first time living in Asia, and yes its a bit different from europe to be honest. But Singapore is very much like a western country.

China is very different from Singapore haha, I love Beijing and the people there, but it's kind of hard when almost no one speaks English ^^. The countries are interesting in different ways! In China I lived at a hotel for about 1 month, but you get tired of that aswell, haha. In Singapore I live with my gf and her family at the moment. It's a big house and they are very nice to me so it's working out fine! The culture is a bit different here, and it feels like everyone lives with their parents until they get married, haha.

fc068dc7ab2382f7e4e7f200a0029cc9a1d290bb27d40bdfd542b9078a.jpgWhere do you see yourself in three, five years? Do you still think you will be a professional gamer?

Hmm I've asked myself that question many times. Luckily I've had the means to chose to do what I find interesting in life. But I doubt I'll still be a pro player in 3 years time. Either I will start my own business of some kind (I have a couple of ideas and people that I could work with), or I'll just have to go back to Sweden and finish my studies. A lot of people would call me stupid because I dont focus on studies right now (I got into a really good education), but I've always promised myself to live my life the way I want to, to find happiness and not get stuck in a "normal" lifestyle. But Sweden is a nice country, and I can go back to studies whenever I want to.

How is life outside of playing with Zenith in Singapore? What do you do when you aren’t grinding games?

- There is a lot to do when you are not playing! Usually we just do the usual stuff, eat great food, go to the city, go to the movies, arcade halls and stuff like that. We do clubbing every now and then, and there are a LOT of great clubs here!

c39e216ecaf6a631060f899ecb7bdd1e290b6ec53b322b33cea2e9458e.jpgTell me more about Zenith and the organization behind it. Other than HyHy, Ice, you and the other guys, who are there?

Ehm there is not such a big organization to talk about, haha. We have Ant who is the newsmaker, game analyzer and he also does almost everything outside the game as well. Also there is Furryfish aka Tammy who is the team manager. Thats pretty much about it, haha.

We are just a team, no sponsor no nothing. We have been contacted by a couple of big sponsors, but we have decided to wait until after TI2 to sign anything. Though there is a big possibility we will work together with someone for gear and a training place :)

The reasoning for your move to Singapore is, as you said earlier, to live with your girlfriend Kelly. Tell us how you met.

Well we knew each other for a long long time, but only over the internet. After I met the PMS team at ESWC Paris some years ago we started talking on msn 'cause she was friends with them. Since then we kept talking to each other every now and then, first casually and then as really good friends. I knew her before all the "drama" surrounding her started and I found her interesting due to her strong personality haha.

When I went to DH winter last year we decided to meet up, but due to some sponsor issues I ended up without a place to stay. I begged her to let me stay with her in her room and she accepted. Even though it was the first time we met IRL we got along very well (may be due to the fact that she got me drunk on whiskey... hehe), we talked for hours about everything and nothing and I could never imagine we would click that well. After DH i went to NASL a week later, where we met again and once again she was happy to make space in her hotel for me :) From there on we've been a couple. She lived with me for about 3 months in sweden and I went to visit her in Singapore. Now I'm gonna stay here for a while once again! After that we will see where we decide to go.

45163434b07045b6f6d5185029767d4df373fc84c426e008dc54e2b763.jpgAside from sharing similar interests, what other benefits do you see both of you coming from the world of DotA?

Well since DotA is a big part of my life it's really cool that we can talk about the game, my team, tournaments etc without me having to explain everything to her. It's cool that we can sit down and play a couple of pub games together, but I have had to learn to not only play to win sometimes, haha. When you play games with your girlfriend you walk a thin thin line, and I can't flame her as much as I flame my IRL friends when I play with them :D For those of you that ever play games with your girlfriend you know what I'm talking about!

1d7d3279d8db72f3812eae229ef7e27892453fb6e34dae052706f40d81.jpgA moment, Kelly "kellyMILKIES" Ong, girlfriend...

What are Loda's strengths as a player?

- Confidence and ego to a point is important for every player. Long long time ago when I just met him, he had too much of that. Now that he's older... he seems to have a perfect balance. Why? When you see the decision a pro-player makes, that's confidence in himself and his team mates. Having ego is good because believing that you are the best or one of the best, really makes you play like one.

Also, I respected him more and more after I dated him, because of the way he treats other players and his team mates. I'm sure everyone knows that one thing Loda has is loyalty to his team mates. He absolutely hates it when people tell him that his team mates are bad or something. He will defend them hardcore and say things like "Don't say my team mates are bad" etc. After playing quite a lot of pub with him, he generally is the kind of guy that teaches and explains to his mates when they question why he does certain stuff, or is very patient and teaches them what they should do and why.

How is he like as a person?

As a person... he's very passionate about what he does. He's actually good at something else besides Dota 2 - Music. At a point in time when he was younger, he was actually picking between the 2 to focus on. He chose pro-gaming, otherwise we will probably hear him on the radio right now.

Funny story... well he likes to tell people I trick him with whisky but don't believe anything he says... the truth is he stalked me on MSN, then facebook, then IRL for 6 years!

He has quite a few real life funny stories but most of that involves something semi-illegal so maybe we save that for another time.