Interview with the SG Esports Dota 2 team: "We stepped up and made 444 our sixth player"
GosuGamers caught up with the SG Esports Dota 2 roster to talk about their qualification to TI10 and the SA Dota 2 scene.
SG Esports was one of the first Dota 2 organizations from South America to make a splash in the Dota 2 scene. After a few months in the dark when the organization didn’t make a lot of news, they managed to pull off a surprise qualification for TI10 through the South American qualifiers.
GosuGamers caught up with them to talk about their qualification journey, the loss of a close friend and a veteran of the SA Dota 2 scene, and the growth of the SA region in Dota 2, amongst other things.
The interview was done with the entire roster of SG Esports, which includes:
How’s it going guys, how are things in Brazil right now?
Hello! We’re feeling pretty good after how the past few days have gone. Things are not too bad in Brazil, but the pandemic has confined us to our gaming house. But, we look at it as an opportunity to practice for TI10.
Congratulations on making it to TI10. How are the emotions in all the team players, has the reality set in that you will be travelling to a $40 million tournament?
Thank you! We’re all extremely happy and it is like a dream come true! Every player desperately wanted to qualify for The International, and our gut tells us it will be an incredible event. It is really unbelievable that we’re going to a tournament that has a prize pool of $40 million.
SG Esports finished 3rd in the first DPC Season. You made a roster change and ended up finishing 6th. What went wrong in the DPC Seasons?
For us to improve as a team, a lot of changes were necessary. First of all, we were quite confident in the first DPC Season but ended up not performing to our potential in the league games. After the roster change, bringing in Tavo for Danylo “Kingrd” Nascimento, the main issue was requiring time to adopt to a new style of playing, which we didn’t get for the second season of the DPC Leagues. But by the time the TI10 qualifier came along, all the team members were on the same page and had the same mindset.
Heading into the TI10 qualifiers, what was the communication between the team? You clearly weren’t the favorites over NoPing Esports.
We came into the qualifiers as the underdogs. Teams like Infinity and Unknown played a lot better than what many would have expected. Even though it was known they were good teams, their performance surprised us. After Infinity defeated NoPing Esports [who were the favorites], our mindset totally changed and the main thought persisting in everyone’s mind was: “Just play the game. Winning will be a consequence.”
Did the team expect this, or did you guys surprise yourself a bit as well?!
We don’t want to sound pretentious, the expectations from yourselves are necessary to achieve it. The bigger surprise was the team that got to the grand finals – Team Unknown. On the whole, we were a little surprised by the way the qualifiers went.
What was the key factor that set your team apart in the qualifiers? Was it just experience?
The experience was surely one of the key factors, but our preparation was really good. We had a schedule where all players and staff were participating, and everyone had the same idea about our strategies and how we were supposed to play the game. A lot of small things had to be done right to get SG Esports across the finish line.
Let’s get to a slightly serious and sad topic. A veteran of SA Dota 2 and a player most of the SG Esports roster has played with in the past, Anderson “444” Santos passed away due to Covid. How did it affect the players? What did he mean to you guys?
That was a really sad moment for everyone in the esports scene in Brazil. For Thiolicor, ChiNa, and 4DR who worked with him, it was not easy to face the reality. But we stepped up and made 444 our 6th player. Furthermore, we plan to give him a nice tribute at TI10.
How insane is it that the last game would end at 44:44? It is as if he was looking down on you and blessing you. I’m sure wherever he is, he would be happy to see that for the first time, there are three SA teams at The International! Do you think this is the break the region needs to show how strong it is?
We were surprised about the time as well and we're really thankful he was blessing us in the TI10 qualifiers.
As far as the topic of three SA teams at TI10 goes, it just goes to show that the SA region is growing a lot. There are a lot of players in SA who fight day in and day out without any support, and having three teams will be a good way to display the potential of the region. The next hope is to see the region develop more in terms of tournament hosting and sponsorships.
You guys have been a part of SA Dota 2 for a long time. How do you think the region has developed over the past 3-4 years?
Dota 2 players from South America have improved a lot in the past few years. Recently, a lot of mixed teams have emerged [teams with players from multiple South American countries], which can only be good for the region’s future.
Do you or other teams in the region look to any of the dominant regions like China or EU for tips to get better, or is it more about crafting your own playstyle?
For sure, we watch a lot of EU and Chinese teams, especially PSG.LGD, because they are the strongest team at the moment. But as you said, that is used to adapt to our own playstyle, so watching the big teams is mostly to study and understand the meta in the other regions.
What improvements would you make in the DPC Leagues or DPC Majors, if any, for next year?
The prize pool of the DPC Leagues could be higher. It’s hard to think of a way to improve the system because everyone has a different opinion about it. It would also be nice to see the DPC Majors have the same format as before.
What is the plan for the team, heading into TI10? Are you guys on a break or has practice already begun?
Our practice has already begun. We took a few days off after the TI10 qualifiers to chill out a bit, but everyone was still playing and watching Dota 2 during that time. The plan now is to find a place to bootcamp in Europe, but there are concerns about the plan because of the pandemic. For now, we’ll keep scrimming against NA and SA teams and revisit the EU bootcamp plan later based on how things are.
Are you okay with the 7.29 patch, or would you like to see a new patch before TI10? Should Dawnbreaker be included in Captains Mode for the tournament?
Including a new hero right before The International will be a huge mistake. Valve will need to balance the hero and that takes time, so it probably won’t be the best move. But it would be nice to see some map changes along with nerfs and buffs to certain heroes.
What do the players like to do when they aren’t playing Dota 2?
We like watching TV shows, movies and play Escape from Tarkov. But, at the end of the day, it’s mostly about watching Dota 2 streams and tournaments.
Shoutout to all our fans around the world, to SG Esports, to our families and friends that supported us in all the difficult moments. We are going to do our best in TI10 and try to put Brazil on the global Dota 2 map!