MVP.QO: 'I believe we can make it to TI5'

Dota 2 Pranjal “pranjal26” Drall

MVP.Phoenix, being one of the top teams in Sout East Asia seem to stumble at just the last hurdle, be it online qualifiers or LANs but sometimes they show flashes of true brilliance. With a roster featuring highly skilled players like QO, Febby and March, the Korean team has a high ceiling and they're trying to work their way into TI. ,

The interview was conducted on 7 April 2015 by Pranjal "pranjal26" Drall via Skype.

Hi QO, how are you doing today?

Hello, I’m doing fine.

Tell us how you got in the professional DotA scene?

I was a normal university student before getting called by the TEAM FXO, I decided to take a gap year and then I came to Korea to play.

I understand that you were playing in Australia before Korea, tell us about your time there?

I went to Australia when I was in 7th Grade and stayed there for about 8 years. I played DotA for fun before university there.

You said you were called by Team FXO after you finished your university, how did they scout you since you were in Australia and the team was based in Korea?

Well I went back to Korea for the winter holidays (November 2013) and met the guy called Sagun (former FXO) online and I was having fun with him, and he introduced me to March and I decided to go Korea after disbanding Team AkmA which was my team in Australia. We party queued with them everytime and I thought that we had high potential for competitive DotA, thats why I decided to go after taking a gap year.

Before we get into more serious stuff, Australia has a good scene for FPS and Console games, how did you get into DotA?

When I was young I used to go to Church and a guy at my church taught me how to play DotA on Sundays, at first I was disappointed because I was dying a lot and it seemed boring but after I beat that guy from the church it was quite entertaining. DotA was pretty big in Australia too, it was just not competitive enough. Everyone chose DotA over FPS games in gaming cafes as well.

Do you mean there aren't enough teams there or not enough tournaments?

I guess both, If there are more tournaments there will be many teams, if there is many teams there will be enough tournaments, but Australia team had one competitive team like Mcity featuring Shatan, Godot and r1sk. So the competitive condition was bad, but everyone loved to play DotA for fun.

The Korean Scene was young at that time too, weren’t you worried that there might not be enough tournaments there? I mean it was a big risk leaving everything in Australia.

I heard enough information before I fly there, I knew Nexon was preparing big tournaments, I guess all DotA related people in Korea at that time knew that there will be a lot of tournaments. Therefore I decided to fly there and also used the information to persuade my parents Haha.

Speaking about parents, What exactly did you tell them and how did they react?

I told them the prize pool of The International and my passion of DotA. Also about the Korean DotA League so they allowed me to take a two semester break and I flew to Korea.

So I assume after your successful run in Korea, they didn’t want you to come back?

Well they said to come back but they didn’t pressurize me and I told them that I’ll play TI first.

You mentioned these big tournaments like Nexon and KDL, how did they help grow the scene and newer players like yourself?

I think the prize pool was enough to sustain a good lifestyle and we didn’t need to work or get other part time jobs. So we could just play as many scrims (practice games) as possible everyday without any pressure from the money standpoint. Also KDL might not be the most skilled league such as Dreamhack or Starladder but prize pool wise it was better and that motivates us to do even better.

Korea didn't have many big teams back then, so did you scrim with teams from other regions(China or SEA)? What were results then in comparison to now?

We scrimmed mostly SEA teams since we didn’t know how to contact the Chinese teams. The results are definitely better now back then First Departure and Orange were undefeatable and Mith.Trust, Mineski were still on a different level compared to us. We lost a lot of SEA scrims but we improved gradually.

 

So how do you think your team and yourself have improved since then, both in and out of the game?

I learnt a lot about LANs, how it feels like to win and the mood of LANs. Doing interviews, seeing professional casters and even getting professional a makeup professional casters makes us play even better.

Considering your recent results, I can safely say you’re on par with a lot of top SEA teams, How much and what did you work on to reach this level?

I think having a team house has worked wonders for us, it helps understand each other’s point of view and helps communication. Once you reach the optimal skill level its all about communication and teamwork.

Tell us about your experience at the first big LAN that you attended, was it intimidating to face big teams like Vici and LGD?

Before the LAN we actually played other teams in different tournaments online mostly and when I face them, I tell myself that they’re not different to me and we might have something unexpected for them. If I play under pressure and keep on rephrasing that they’re better than me, I might not perform well and be upset once the game is over. I respect my opponents and at the same time I don’t respect my opponents.

 

Your first “big” LAN was Starladder IX, do you have any funny stories to share with us?

In Starladder 9, our goal was to win one or two games but we ended up losing all. One funny story; one game I was Slark and S4 was Magnus and I gave him a solokill, to reduce the pressure due to that I said “I underestimated S4” and there was awkward silence in the team and Heen started to tease me about it, which he still does. haha

 

Speaking of Heen, you moved Heen and Forev to the second team, was that the team’s decision or MVP’s?

A lot of people have misunderstandings about that decision, but we didn’t separate because we had bad feeling for each other or something like that, we separated because there were two different thoughts, myself and March had similar ideas about the game and Heen and Forev had their own ideas, so it was a mutual decision and the organization accepted it.

I hope this clears up all the rumours, moving on; Did this incoherent approach to the game caused the mediocre performance at DAC?

Yes the internal problems didn’t get fixed until DAC and we ended up with 1-14 record.

You added three new players to the roster; Kphoenix, Febby and Warnutz, tell us about the process of recruiting them? Also a lot of people think Febby is unstable and his performance varies from game to game, is that really the case, if yes then how is the team trying to fix it?

First of all, Kphoenix was my ex teammate so I contacted him, we picked up Warnutz from the second team, we saw them play and played a few times with them to check communication and we recruited them. Warnutz was a stand-in for Reisen but became the main member. Febby’s general skill and the way he farms is pretty good but sometimes he panics and becomes shortsighted and makes a few mistakes, I also consider him an unstable player but we’re in a process of fixing it and hopefully we’ll be able to do that in the near future.

Sounds good, You guys are definitely one of the top teams in SEA right now, but you seem to just fall short at the hurdle in online qualifiers to say MY or Rave, do you know what the team is lacking and where it needs to improve to win against these teams consistently? I mean is it a skill issue, communication or any other problem?

I feel communication and the baseline are our problems and we can work upon them. By baseline I mean the ability for play any hero and still play decent against any teams. Team MY for example has a high baseline, but our baseline is weak and we tend to lost games in which we don’t have our best heroes and I think our skill level is fine, we just need to improve our Baseline and Communication Skills.

Considering you did not qualify for recent major events, do you think you have a chance to receive an invite for TI5? Tell us the 10 teams that you think will be invited?

There is a small chance for invite I guess but we’re going to be into the qualifiers for sure. I think EG, Secret, VG, LGD, IG, C9, MY, Rave, Empire and Newbee will be invited.

Speaking of the qualifiers, Who do you think will be your biggest challenger there? Assuming you don’t get an invite.

I’d say Mineski, 5eva, Mith.Trust and MVP.Hot6ix.

Do you have any shout-outs for your fans or teammates?

We disappointed a lot of our fans by losing easy games but will continue practice and I believe we can make a dramatic entry to TI5.

I hope you do! Thank you for taking time out for the interview.

I really enjoyed it, thanks!


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Pranjal “pranjal26” Drall
NBA and Politics junkie who writes about Dota 2, likes Physics, non fiction books, TV crime dramas