Forev Interview from TI 7: “I think LFY will win this“

Posted by Andreea "divushka" Esanu at 07 August 2017 17:49

For three years straight he’s been a constant at the only Korean Dota 2 team. After a top 6 finish at TI 6 with MVP Phoenix, Forev moved to Digital Chaos to have a taste of NA Dota.

I must admit that since day one of MVP Phoenix disbandment I wondered myself why did that happen. My question was finally answered at The International 2017 Media day where I got the chance to talk to Lee 'Forev' Sang-don. Now offlaner at Digital Chaos, a team he joined only this April, I was extremely surprised to discover in Forev a very open person, willing to talk about both good and bad,  and not afraid to talk about his own mistakes, fears, and hopes. Here is how our chat went:


This is already your third International, and you’ve been improving every year you came to Seattle. Do you think you can beat the top 6 performance from last year?

Right now, realistically speaking, I don’t think so

What are your thoughts on the group stage?

Most of the times we could, we should have won the games, maybe except the games vs Virtus Pro, but what can I say? We just threw. Maybe 70% is my fault for that.

What happened in that game against Newbee where you guys were doing really well?

Oh, that game. At that point we already knew that we are in the lower bracket and that there was no way of changing that. So, we said, ok guys, let’s just practice and enjoy the game.

Alright, fair enough. Now, after you saw everyone playing in the group stage, who do you think are the best contenders for The Aegis?

To be honest I don’t know what to say about the teams from Group A other than that Team Liquid are very strong. From our group, I think LFY is by far the best team and I guess they are going win this TI. They are super strong, insane almost. They are good even when they use some super weak heroes. I mean, we won one game vs LFY but they played mid Omniknight. Their lineup was really weird. They had offlane Pugna and it didn’t work. We owned them, I think the kill score was 7-25 in our favor but we still thought that these dudes are scary even if we had that advantage.

So LFY will win this TI, now that we figured that out, let’s go back in time a little, and speak about you. You are from South Korea and the main games played there are Starcraft and LoL, so how did you get into Dota?

I used to play Warcraft when I was in high school. Jang 'Moon' Jae-ho was a legend back then, and he was my idol and my source of inspiration. I was just playing ladder games back then and at some point I was looking for something to play just for fun, this is when I discovered DotA. I remember it was really intriguing to me, so I stuck to it to the present.

You are here from the starting days of Dota, what would you say about the current gaming scene in Korea, how popular is Dota today compared with LoL or SC?  

You still can’t compare them. In the entire South Korea maybe only two or three thousand people know something about Dota or heard about the game.

Really? That few people?

Yes, that low Dota 2 is known there, while Starcraft, LoL are played by a million people, so yeah it’s really impossible to compare Dota with these other two games over there.

The next question seems even harder to answer: How and when do you think MVP Phoenix will rise from its own ashes? Is this something really possible, will you guys reunite in South Korea?

Uff… difficult to answer indeed. I don’t know really. Let’s say it all depends on everyone’s results at this TI. Dubu’s and mine with DC, MP’s with Secret, QO and Febby are already out so… yeah, let’s better wait and see where things go from here.

Ok then let’s go back to last year. MVP Phoenix did really well at TI6, top 6, you guys won a few of other premiere tournaments, so what was the main reason of the disbandment?

Our contracts were over and we were really curious about the other teams, we wanted to use this ending contract time to go out and learn as much as possible. You know, before this, none of us played outside South Korea and we realized that in many aspects MVP was worse than other teams, in terms of competitive play. We still want to play together, in an ideal scenario we want to play together just not in Korea. Because for example when we were playing online qualifiers and so from South Korea we were playing with 120ms or more latency. On the Chinese servers the latency is fine but we cannot practice all the time at mid-night time, so scrims and practice against Chinese teams were not really happening.

Were the Korean fans upset when you disbanded MVP Phoenix?

Half were upset, half were happy that we get to play overseas, that we are with good teams, but they all hope one day we will reunite.

So, it’s been sort of a bumpy road for you to get to TI 7. In the last couple of months you changed three teams, you started at Secret, then moved to Team B)ears now you are with Digital Chaos, is this team a place to call home for you now?

To be honest, I don’t know, I arrived here only in April and I was the last one to join them. At the beginning of the year I thought B)ears will be my home but unfortunately, the team disbanded. We thought we can qualify to Major, or TI even, all the players were good at B)ears. We had Feero as young blood, he is now at compLexity, the YapzOr God…it was really an honor for me to play with him and FATA-. We really hopped we can go big, but with me from South Korea, Adam (343) from Malaysia, the two Jordanian guys, and FATA from Europe we had to spend our own money to get to play together in a  bootcamp. But in the end going without a sponsor was too much of a risk, and we had to take this decision.

And yeah, as I was saying, I arrived in Arizona at the Digital Chaos house only in April, they were a team even before DC. They formed Onyx together, so you see, I am the one who joined them.

Ok, tell me what do you think of NA pubs as compared to the SEA pubs?

Oh my god! So, I was 9K MMR when I was playing from Europe, then I played in the NA pubs only after I moved to DC and unfortunately for me it was right after the patch, the 7.06 one. And suddenly the game changes, there’s no more shrines before 5 minutes, the offlane role get a lot more harder, holy mother of gods… I lost 700 MMR in like 3 or 4 days. After that, I didn’t want to play NA pubs ever in my life.

I don’t know, generally, every region, NA, SEA etc, have these few really high MMR and highly skilled pub players but if you are let’s say 9K MMR you will always have these one two guys that are 5K, or 5.5-6K let’s say, and then, one of them is Peruvian, you can’t communicate with him, he doesn’t speak English and so you start losing and losing. I think my best winning streak is in the 7.5 K average but you are rarely matched in that range.  

You already said that the offlane is harder now, with no shrines in the first five minutes, but what are your overall thoughts on the current meta, and what would you say is your favorite hero nowadays?

Hmm.. my most played heroes are Nature’s Prophet and Mirana. The game is really, really balanced right now. We thought Enigma is a hero that’s really broken now, but oh man, somehow LFY pick Ursa, DK, Beast Master, they take the first Roshan and they push high ground with these heroes. When they pushed high ground first time against us, we simply couldn’t defend.  They were on high ground so, so fast.

Yeah, maybe Enigma needs some more time to come online..

Yeah, maybe, I must say I really panicked because I didn’t know what to do

Ok, so your first match in the main event is a best-of-one against iG Vitality. Any thoughts about this match, what do you think about them as a team?

They lost to Infamous. We practiced against Infamous a lot so we have some hope going up against iG V. But then again, they had mixed results in the group stage, for example, they won against LGD so, yeah it’s not going to be easy.

Alright, best of luck Forev, don’t panic and I hope we get to see more of Korean Dota on the TI stage sometime. Any shoutouts?

Shoutout to our one thousand, maybe two thousand Korean fans who have always been on our side and my friends Mufasa and Tariq.

Click here for results, VODs and all the other information


Are you one of those who hope for MVP Phoenix guys to reunite?

Thank you for voting!
Thank you for voting!