Purge: Zephyr is the best team participating in NSL season 3
Fresh from Zephyr's victory against MVP.hot6 in the third season of the Nexon Sponsorship league, we catch up with Kevin 'Purge' Godec to talk about his opinion on the Korean scene, becoming a professional player as well as life in Korea as a foreigner.
First of all, thank you for accepting the interview, Kevin. How is life treating you in Korea?
Life in Korea has been really nice so far. I like the food, the area we live in is nice, and everyone has been really kind to us so far.
As we all know, you along with Bamboe, Corey and eosin have joined BlitZ in Korea to compete in the Nexon Sponsorship League season three. Tell us how was the team assembled in the first place? Who came up with the idea of Team Zephyr?
Blitz needed replacement team members, so I proposed myself and Eosin going to Korea, then we just needed two more players, and those we settled on who were able to go were Bamboe and Corey. So I proposed myself and Eosin going, but Blitz decided on Bamboe and Corey.
Your team has already reached the winner bracket finals of NSL S3. A win over EoT.Hammer guarantees you at least a second place finish. How confident are you going into this match-up?
We are very confident against EoT.Hammer. We are least confident against MVP and we were able to beat them 3-1 with some sloppy play on our part, so we think we can make it to the grand finals.
Speaking of which, second place prize money is $7,500 as compared to $56,500 for first place. What are your thoughts on this hefty gap between the winners and the runner-ups?
If the NSL was a typical tournament I would be upset with the prize distribution because it makes it top heavy, but you can't forget the fact that previous winners are barred from further seasons. This means that three teams will have enough salary to play Dota full time for ten months, which was a really smart idea. No team could win all three tournaments, so I think the distribution is fine. Make it semi worth the time for the teams who don't win, and the best teams can stay in the scene reliably and grow it.
There seems to be a growing number of western Dota players travelling to Korea who are attracted by the large prize pools in season one and two of the NSL. Can the same be applied to your team? If yes, then how can it be beneficial for your pro gaming career, considering the fact that the prize money in season three is relatively less than season two?
There is a pretty big misconception on how many foreigners are playing in Korea at the moment. As far as I'm aware, at least fifty percent of the players on the top four teams (in season three) are foreigners. We are not the only ones to attempt to win, so I guess our situations are similar in that way.
At first I was confused why the prize money was very different each season but I think it's spread out that way because it's the biggest and largely only big tournament in Korea, and once you win you can't play in later seasons, so if you win Season 1 and you can't play professional Dota for two months (other than small cups) then it makes sense that they are paid more, in my opinion.
The current tournament favourites, 5inQ, are presently in the lower bracket after they lost to EoT.Hammer. However, you cannot rule them out since they have shown strong performances barring out a few choke-ups. Where do you rate Zephyr amongst EoT.Hammer, 5inQ and MVP.Hot6?
Zephyr is the best team participating in NSL season three, but I would rate MVP.Hot6 as the second best, followed by either EoT.Hammer or 5inQ, though EoT.Hammer and 5inQ might match up better against MVP.Hot6 and beat them. We are not as worried about EoT Hammer or 5inQ. Our hardest match was likely the one versus MVP.Hot6.
NSL S3 is the final installment in the series, after which dormancy may occur in Korea regarding Dota 2 competitions/tournaments. Does your team plan on staying in the Korean environment and hone your skills or will we see you guys heading back to USA?
We are staying in Korea for at least six months. We have heard rumors that more Dota 2 tournaments will exist after NSL finishes. There are no confirmations yet, but we are happy with our lifestyle here and have no plans to return home.
After Nexon Sponsorship League ends, how dormant will the Korean Dota 2 scene be according to you? Do you see the growth of Dota 2 on a positive note or at least a few tournaments to keep the scene active, despite the tremendous effort Nexon is putting in to promote it?
It's hard for me to see growth in the Korean Dota 2 scene because I've only been here for three weeks. I know that the twitch viewership of the streams is much higher now that we have arrived, but I don't know if the same can be said of the Korean viewers. I would like to see the scene grow here but I haven't been here long enough to be able to tell.
How is the general atmosphere in Korea regarding the gaming scenario, lifestyle, food, people etc?
We haven't told very many Korean people why we are here, but the few that we did sounded fine with it. The food is usually good, though perhaps not as diverse as Los Angeles which was very ethnically diverse. Some of the imitation foods were mediocre here. The people in Korea are extremely nice and generally outgoing, whereas in America and the UK (in my short experience there) people keep to themselves a lot more.
You mentioned before on stream that you were not considering becoming a professional player, choosing instead to stick to casting. Does this statement still hold true?
At the time of stating that I didn't see myself seriously competing for prize money, but now that the opportunity has presented itself, I'll go with it for now while I can.
Since you are already an established figure in teaching Dota 2, will you ever consider becoming a coach for any of the Korean teams?
I don't really plan very long term, but I don't even speak Korean yet so becoming a Korean coach is unlikely.
While in Korea, you and your team mates play and train on the Korean servers. Do you feel the teams present enough competition to be able to train effectively?
We aren't that far ahead the rest of the teams here, so generally the other Korean teams give us ok practice. We probably practice more versus SEA and Australian teams. Those teams are generally a bit better than Koreans and sometimes better than us.
Bamboe is the only experienced player in your team. What does he bring to the team apart from the usual experience or know-how on the game? And how does it benefit you overall considering his risky playstyle?
Bamboe definitely has the most experience, but Eosin also brings some good experience from playing in a team, and Blitz had a few months of effort in a couple different teams as well. He's been pretty instrumental to getting Eosin and my support play cleaned up in the early game and helping us draft better. Also he doesn't take risks he's just creating space for corey (who coincidentally always owns so it's pretty obvious that Bamboe is doing a great job).
Do you have any special strategy planned for your match against EoT.Hammer in the winners bracket?
Nothing particularly planned. We just beat MVP less than twenty four hours ago, so we haven't had time to think things out yet, but I'm sure we'll think of something special.
I hate this boring question. Any last shouts? Maybe to friends, foes, critics or even sponsors (if any)?
I like this question! Thanks to family and friends who watch our journey. Thanks to the fans who support us and cheer us on, we really like reading your thoughts about the team(even the hater ones because we all read them together and laugh about it). Sorry to everyone that has to read reddit threads about us every few days, and make sure you guys follow us on twitter(ZephyrDota) because we're going to start streaming on twitch.tv heavily after NSL season three is over.
Picture: Zephyr Dota's Facebook page
This interview was conducted by Karan 'Mantis' Jain with Kevin 'Purge' Godec via skype.