Escape Gaming - KheZu interview: “Dota is definitely more than a hobby for me”

Posted by Viktor "vviki" Ahilov at 07 July 2016 17:45

With TI6 rapidly approaching, the Dota 2 community starts to look more and more at the hefty amount of players that will make their first appearance at the most important tournament of the year.

Maurice 'KheZu' Gutmann, offlane player at Escape Gaming (ex no Diggity) is not only for the first time going to Seattle to compete for an International but he is also one of the extremely new faces in the Dota 2 competitive scene.

Valeriya 'Capricel' Pankina from dota2.ru had the chance of conducting an interview with Khezu last week and courtesy of the Russian website we are happy to share with you the English translation. The interview follows KheZu’s path from HoN to Dota 2 and it gives us a good look at who Maurice Gutmann is as a person, in game and outside of it. For the Russian version head over here.

So, Dota 2 fans have named you one of the most talented young players in the pro scene. It would be nice if you could introduce yourself. What’s your name, how old are you and how did you end up as a professional player?

Hi, everyone, I am Maurice 'KheZu'  Gutmann. I was born in Germany and currently live in Aichach and am 21 years old. I’ve played video games since I was a little kid, Super Mario, Super Smash Brothers, as I grew older I continued with Counterstrike, until one of my best friends got me into Dota1. Then he lead me to Hon (Heroes of Newerth) and now I’m with Dota2!

You haven’t played Dota 2 for that long, what made you change from HoN? I know you were really successful in HON.

I stopped with HoN because I simply needed something new. HoN was getting smaller and smaller and I felt that everything is getting the same and the game was going nowhere. Same by streaming, I could stream for 24h a day every day and I had always the same number of viewers and the same people, who knew me. I simply needed a new challenge.

Now you are streaming often, has the number of viewers grown? Do you enjoy streaming for your fans and why? Do you prefer communicating or focus on showing good plays and being an exemplary offlaner?

A lot more than when I started, it used to be 50-150 daily maximum. Now it’s a big difference, sometimes 300-700 and sometimes even more than 1000. And yeah, I enjoy streaming a lot, discussing Dota with the viewers, mostly because I have so much more to learn, but it’s not all serious, sometimes it’s just sharing life’s stories, something funny that happened, the usual stuff. And of course I try my best to help people and to be a good example with my offlaning!

Do you have anything else you enjoy in your free time?

Of course, I like watching TV Series like Game of Thrones and Suits. I also love my family and girlfriend and all my pets. We have three dogs and three cats in our house. I often take them for walks or at least when I have time and I am at home.

How do your family and friends feel about your career choice, do they support it?

My family supports me as much as they can. I’m really thankful for this, cause you often hear people having family problems or just problems in general. The majority of my friends support my career and know how and what I do.

That naturally helps a lot in hard times. You are right, unfortunately, not everyone is ready to support a pro-gaming career for their children. Do you take eSports seriously or is Dota 2 just a hobby?

No, you know 100% that I take it seriously and that eSports is only gonna get bigger and more professional and thus it will be taken even more seriously. It’s insane how much eSports have grown in the past five years. And Dota is definitely more than a hobby for me, when you strive to be the best and to earn your living with it, you should take it as serious as a regular job, maybe even more.

When you started your career, could you imagine, that the scene would develop so fast and successfully? I mean, earlier there weren’t millions of dollars in prize money to fight for.

No, in the beginning it was just a hobby, as an example I was really happy when I won €100 in HoN, but step by step it got more, I was getting better and had the opportunity to play for more and better teams.

Do you think eSports are becoming more and more like traditional Sports? For example coaches, commentators, panels? Do you like this trend?

Absolutely, eSports is coming closer and closer to traditional Sports. It won’t be long before every team has a Coach and Analyst and I’m strongly for it. Those people can really help increase your chances of winning.

Even though you haven’t played Dota for long you do have a lot of experience with it. You played with players like 7Mad and Kebap and you even tried out as a stand-in (at ESL One Frankfurt for example). How was it?

The experience of playing with professional players is of course amazing, especially when you are new to the scene and you can learn so much from them. Also in ESL, simply playing for another team, to see how they do things differently and how they handle situations is really helpful.

You are playing in the offlane, same as in HoN, why did you choose this role? Can you also tell us a bit about the current meta? Do you pick different heroes for official games and for fun? We’ve seen you play Timbersaw on stream.

The reason for HoN was my team, I could play a lot of heroes safelane and offlane and so I filled whatever role was best for the situation. One day a new team needed an offlaner and I switched completely. After three years of HoN I simply transitioned into the same role in Dota 2, because it was my best.

There are lots of good offlane heroes, my favorites are Batrider, Magnus, Earthshaker, Timber, Void, Dark Seer and Sandking. The lineup for pubs and official games is different, when in pubs I try to practice and yeah I have been streaming a lot of Timbersaw recently simply because I’m having a lot of fun with it.

Do you have any of the professional offlaners, who you would call the best?

It’s really hard to say, I like Universe the most, but it’s hard to say if he’s currently the best.

Your team had the chance to advance to TI6 Wild Card. How hard was it and did you take a lot of time to prepare for it?

We had very intense preparation. We were all in a Bootcamp in Dortmund (North Germany), where we played together for more than a week.

Which teams did you consider to be the most dangerous? Which ones fulfilled your expectations? Were there any disappointments?

Every team was and is dangerous. I personally thought that Alliance, Secret and Vega were the strongest. My biggest disappointments were Empire and VP.

I would like to know a bit more about your new team. NoDiggity was created in March, can you tell us how that happened? Did you guys plan to play together only one Season or for longer?

NoDiggity were already a team in February, but Zai told them he didn’t have enough time for playing and couldn’t stay in the team because of school etc. Then he told them, that if they needed someone, who has the same playstyle like him, they should call me. For that a big shoutout to Zai! I definitely plan to stay longer with one team, to build up and learn.

How’s the team atmosphere? Everyone nice and friendly, are you happy with it?

Definitely, I enjoy every moment with my team and I'm very happy. We are going from just teammates to friends.

Do you take a lot of time to train personally?

Now more than ever, I was always the type to play a lot, because I want to be good at it.

With all this training do you have time for yourself? To maybe play some Dota 2 alone, to better your own skills or something else entirely?

Ye, I try to balance my time. I think I have enough time to train everything that needs training.

Who is the strong, leading personality on your team? Who calls the shots and holds the team together?

Synderen is our captain, so he has the last word on how things go. Still we communicate a lot and everyone contributes to the game.

Your team has fought in a lot of competitions, but  the biggest challenge is yet to come. What are your plans, are you going to bootcamp more or maybe get a coach for Seattle?

We have one more bootcamp planned before TI, and I agree that the hardest part is yet to come for us, TI wildcard and hopefully TI itself. We are looking for a Coach, we have a candidate, who we will most likely take with us and I’m sure it will help us a lot.

The International 2016 is the first big tournament for you, if I’m correct? You probably have some goals and expectations, could you share some of your thoughts about it?

The largest tournament for me so far was Epicenter, but TI is naturally the biggest one yet. It’s really hard to say about goals and expectations :D. My focus is currently on preparing for TI as best as I can, so I would feel good and at ease about the event. I personally have faith in my skills and for now the goal is to pass the Wildcards and then we will see how it goes further.

Who do you consider the TI favorites this year?

Hmm, favorites for TI.. that is hard to say, I would go for EG, OG, Liquid, Newbee and LGD.

Further I would like to ask you a few fast questions:

Favorite film?

Inception and Toy Story 2.

Favorite food?


Favorite band?

Blink 182

Give us the top heroes for carry, mid-lane, offlane and two supports.

Carry: Naga
Mid: Invoker
Offlane: Phoenix
Supports: Io, Visage

Try to give us five players to build an all star team?

Hard support : Fly
2nd support :Zai/Crit
Offlane: Universe
Mid: Miracle/Sumail
Carry: Miracle

Which city would you want to visit at least once in your life?


What was your dream job, when you were a kid?

 My dream job.. I never had one :D Football Player maybe.

Thank you for your answers! Any final words you would like to say to your fans?

Thank you, to everyone who support me and my team. We really appreciate it and it helps me every day, it shows me exactly why I do what I do. Also I would like to give a shout out to my brother, who drives me to the airport for every event and is always there to greet me, when I return :D – and to my mom and dad, who watch all my games and Nadja! <3

Thank you for the interview and good luck at The International 6.


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