Black^: I think CDEC and MVP.Phoenix are going to win the Wild Card
How are you doing today Black?
It has been a pretty easy going event so far and nothing much is happening. It is good I guess.
Do you think that you arrived too early?
I think the teams needed to be here early because of the media days. So, I don't think it is too early and it is just something they have to deal with. If you don't come early, it will be inconvenient for Valve.
I talked to Heen earlier today and he told me that MVP initially wanted you to join them but you went with Mouz instead. Can you tell me why?
After Vici Gaming removed me on mid-February, I only had one week to decide on where I am going basically. At that time, I wasn't expecting anything to happen. I was pretty lost and I didn't know what to do. So I went with the idea of going to the team with the most individual talent. That's why I went with Mouz. Whether it was a mistake or not, I don't know.
What exactly happened before and during the qualifiers. I assume you scrimmed against Complexity and then NAR. How were the results of these scrims? Was the loss in the qualifier unexpected?
We didn't scrim American teams because we don't want to play our opponents. So, we mostly scrimmed European teams and we did pretty well and we expected to do well in the qualifier. The biggest issue we had was that we had a team house but there were only four people living in the team house for like 95% of the time. It was very hard for us because we couldn't do much without our fifth and I think that is what hurt us the most. In regards to the qualifier, as soon as we convincingly won the first game in the loser bracket final, everybody started to get really nervous because it was a high stakes game and everybody played differently from the first game. That surprised me and ultimately, that's the reason why we lost.
Well, regardless you still came to The International 5 as the coach of MVP. Did the decision to be their coach come naturally?
I was actually intending to come to the event as a spectator. A friend of mine brought up the idea that I should probably try out coaching if I have nothing to do because there are no tournaments leading up to TI. So, I spoke to Heen and since they are all my friends and I would have come anyway, so I became their coach and that way, I have something to do. I could also help out my friends. There is nothing to lose.
When did you move to Korea exactly?
It was the end of June. We were together for a month.
How did you like it in Korea?
I didn't really get to go sight seeing because I am usually in front of the computer. But from what I have seen, people here are very kind but they tend to scream a lot. It's just the culture I think to be really loud. As for the food, I didn't like it too much. That's because I can't eat spicy food. As soon as I eat spicy food, I get stomach cramps and in Korea, almost everything is spicy.
So you didn't have kimchi?
No. I've never even tried it. Like I literally get stomach cramps immediately if I eat anything spicy. Like aghhhh....
How was the training for the MVP squads in Korea? How did you contribute to the team?
We would play two or three best of threes everyday and I would tell them what went wrong and how to improve on it. The biggest part I think was that I made an indepth analysis of all the team and have pretty good information on all the teams going into this tournament. That took up the most time.
Do you help out both the MVP teams or just one?
First, I only helped out Hot6 but obviously Phoenix is our brother team. So if I see something that I could tell them, I would tell them too. I observe both teams (when they scrim against one another) and I'm just doing it out of friendly manner. I mean I don't try to enforce it like in Hot6 but if they wanna listen to it, they can listen to it. If they don't just forget it.
Who do you guys normally scrim against in Korea? Heen told me you guys scrimmed against a lot of SEA teams?
Yeah, some Chinese teams as well. The issue with playing the Chinese teams is the ping. We get better ping on the SEA server. At times, we get packet loss when we play on the Chinese servers which will cause huge spikes. Therefore, we mostly scrim against SEA teams.
Have you guys scrimmed against any western teams since you got here?
We only scrimmed European teams when we got here with the exception of one Chinese team. I can't give out more information unfortunately.
You have never really been involved in the SEA scene. How are the teams there?
From what I have seen, they are honestly a lot weaker than I expected because both Phoenix and Hot6 pretty much trampled over anyone in the scene. No one has a chance. It was really surprising to me because I thought the SEA scene has a lot of talent especially TnC. I watched a lot of TnC and I've always thought they were really good but maybe they lost their motivation or they are on a break or something. I don't know. But I'm definitely surprised by how weak they were in comparison to what I thought they would be.
As we are speaking, MVP.Phoenix is playing in the wildcard qualifier. What do you think of their chances?
I think CDEC and Phoenix is going to advance but I think CDEC is the strongest out of the four teams there. But from what I see, Phoenix has been playing very well recently and I think they are on a roll, I can also see them taking it, together with CDEC. I can't tell who will finish first or second but I think these two are the teams that will be going through.
Moving onto HOT6, they are placed in group B and many people think that group B is the weaker group. Do you agree with that and how well do you think they will do in the group?
If you look at the wildcard qualifier now, the winner of the wildcard will go to group B. The system kinda implies that maybe Valve thinks that group B is weaker. Personally, I have to agree that group A is pretty unpredictable. Although everybody expects Secret to finish first, there are a lot of potential for upsets there. All the teams there had a month for practice and nobody really knows what they are up to. I could definitely see that somebody upsetting Secret.
I think we have a really good shot in our group because I think our style is really good against most of the teams in there and we could definitely get top 4 handily. We just have to be careful of our execution because if you don't play well, you don't win I guess.
What would you be doing after The International? Would you be playing competitively again?
I did this so I could help friends and have something to do in the months leading up to ensure that I am not out of shape. After TI, I am definitely looking to play competitively again but you can't really predict what kind of shuffle is going to happen. I will have to take it after TI, talk to some people and see what happens.
Would you prefer to stay in Europe or venture overseas again?
What I said a while ago is still true that I would go wherever that makes me improve as a person and a player. Obviously Europe will be the most convenient choice but if I have to go to inconvenient places like China again where there is a really good chance, I'm definitely not going to say no.
Are there any particular people you would like to team with? Like KuroKy with Puppey?
Ever since NTH (No Tidehunter), Bulldog and I spoke about making a team. We are really good friends and we have always been really good friends. He is one of the candidates I would like to team with the most. Sadly, it is not all that easy.
Tell me what you think about the organisation of TI this year.
I think the organisation of TI this year is really good. The training room being right next to the rooms is great. Some people say it is unhealthy because you go to play the second you wake up and you go to sleep immediately after you finish playing. It is true if you let it happen but just because the room is next to your room, that doesn't mean you can't take a walk outside. I think it is really convenient. There is a food banquet outside the room and they have pretty much everything on it. Everybody needs cookies. The training room itself is really nice but the only thing missing in there is a sixth computer for the manager or coach because you can't actually do active research unless you have a laptop, which I don't because I didn't know. Other than that, I think it is really good so far.
Who do you think will finish top 4 this year?
Secret, EG, VG, LGD in no particular order. I think those four are the most skilled teams from what I see in the past but every team has a month of preparation. You don't know what is going to happen here.
I think that is all I have to ask. Do you have any shoutouts you want to give?
Shoutout to all my fans for supporting me all the time even though the times are kinda dark right now. I hope we can work together for a better future. The year has been rough and let's hope we can make it work together.
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