XBOCT interview: “I don’t know what to do next”

Dota 2 Andreea “divushka” Esanu

Right after he received the news from Team Empire, Alexander 'XBOCT' Dashkevich gave an interview  to Conclave in which he explained the entire situation and how things were handled.

The interview was conducted in Russian by Andrew 'xeozor' Yatsenko a day after XBOCT returned to Kiev, Ukraine from his vacation. The video was posted on March 11th on Conclave’s YouTube channel and the English translation for it was provided by Ingik from Gosugamers.


Hello, Sasha! I see you look fresh, happy and cheerful. Is it related to your vacation or it has something to do with the fact that you can sleep more now, since you don’t have to play Dota 2?

Well, I had a nice vacation and I also slept well, but not a lot, since I still play many games of Dota. I have a lot of things to take care about: I am getting my driver license, lessons take place every morning…so, it’s ok!

At first I thought you’d say you are learning how to support and hard lane . So, let’s start with the situation that most of the people care about – what the future holds for you? You are a big boy and it’s unclear what will you do next. What about your removal from Team Empire roster? How and why did it happen?

So, we agreed to have vacations during The Major, because there was no team to practice with and everyone wanted to watch the Major games, have some rest etc. I planned on a trip but it got cancelled, so at the last moment my friends asked me if I wanted to fly to Egypt. We agreed to go. On the third day in Egypt I started getting calls and messages, like “we urgently have to talk”. Gleb (Funn1k) told me before I went to the vacation that they wanted to “remove” me from the team. So I got a pretty good idea about what’s going to happen. He apologized a lot to me, said that he “didn’t know”…

Who gave you the news?

It was Korben. Stranger also tried to reach me – there were some phone and skype calls from him. I couldn’t answer, because of the bad internet. In the end I answered to Korben who explained me the situation.

As for the whole situation and how it happened: we had a conversation once where the guys told me that I had quite a small hero pool. I promised to increase it in time and we managed to qualify for three tournaments even with that hero pool. There were three hard lane heroes left: Lone Druid, Furion and Broodmother. But our team didn’t understand how to play with Lone Druid, so I advised not to pick it yet. Furion is not bad, it’s the hero you have to know how to play – so I tried to master it, but didn’t get it in any of our official games. Broodmother is the hero I hate to play, so we had problems with it as well. I guess that’s  the main reason for their decision. We played after that conversation, it was funny and stuff, and then suddenly this news happened.

"I don’t know what to do now. I am seriously considering the option of quitting at least for half a year to have some rest, to stream and do some other things or maybe to join some team as their coach."

When the Major was coming to an end, I looked for some options, tested the waters. People messaged me asking “What’s next?”, I answered with “No idea yet”. I was thinking about Vega Squadron or Team Spirit, but Vega decided not to make any changes and Team Spirit chose their own way (I found it out just today). So, I don’t know what to do now. I am seriously considering the option of quitting at least for half a year to have some rest, to stream and do some other things or maybe to join some team as their coach. I don’t see any potentially good rosters and I don’t want to gather four new players to play with. Let’s see how it goes, I might continue playing or not be back at all.

I remember you always told me that you wanted to keep on playing, so it’s strange to hear from you that you want to quit. It’s not your choice, but forced measure, partially because of those constant reshuffles, unclear situations with rosters and all that stuff. Am I right?

Yes, I’d like to play, but it doesn’t work out with the teams I want to join and I don’t want to lose a couple of months or even half a year for something obscure. I’d love to have some stability for maybe a year or a half, because I have never faced this situation before. The players are not constant with their wishes, they might wake up one day and suddenly decide that they want to play with some guy, next day they want another friend of them who just got out of his team. That’s how the decisions are made.
The funny thing is that, in the end, they don’t have the roster that they initially want.

Really? I know they wanted to play with yoky.

Did RAMZES decline?

Well, they  have Ghostik and yoky after all.

Ghostik said he is just stand-in.

Maybe we’ll see something after Dota-Pit. So, you always played in NaVi like you were in a marriage, didn’t cheat on it, but now you got some freedom: Empire, something else, ALOHA etc. There is something really outrageous that I’ve read in the comments - it turns out that they didn’t notify you about the removal.  Stranger said in his interview that ALOHA and someone else didn’t want to play with you and Funn1k from the beginning. But when you all met, nobody told you about that and everything seemed fine. Is it true?

"There was one time, when they told me they didn’t like how I play. I said ok, take one of your friends instead of me”.

I don’t actually know. They constantly change their minds. There was one time, when they told me they didn’t like how I play. I said “ok, take one of your friends instead of me”. It was two weeks after I started to play the offlane role. I couldn’t promise immediate results, but I said “I’m learning, I am trying”. And I really practiced a lot and only on heroes I was supposed to play in the official games. I know it’s tiresome, I don’t understand how other people do it. Playing Puck or Queen of Pain on the midlane is much cooler, maybe even Zeus: you can have fun, get many kills. Playing offlane heroes is another story: most of the team will run a trilane against you and the better teams will make your life a living hell.

And when they know it’s Sasha ‘Xboct’ playing – ganking is the name of the game!

Yeah, and every game you sadly stay on your lane and don’t know what to buy. It was really hard for me. So I offered two options to the team: you either remove me or take your friend, because you have to play the qualifiers with the new roster, or we keep playing and see how it goes. But in the end we lost one game, I think it was Major qualifiers or was it earlier…

It was ESL: Manila, if I am not mistaken. Final game against Na’Vi.

No, we made it to that event. We won three and lost just one game. I was drafting for the game I’m talking about, it was one day before the match against Na’Vi. Oh, it was a game against Vega! I thought they didn’t rate Lone Druid, but they got him as third pick and used some push strategy. I wasn’t prepared for that. Also, my team was telling jokes, arguing with each other during the draft. I asked them what we were going to do - they just kept joking… I don’t know if it’s going to work for them. Maybe if they can find someone, who is a leader, nofear is not that kind of guy. He was the only player who left me a bad impression - volatile, silly to put it mildly. Other guys were good: ALOHA will grow up and become great, fn is a great guy to play with and talk to -he has his oddities, but who doesn’t?

So it turns out that experience and maturity matters. Even Goblak told in his interview, that they had an incident with RAMZES and Afterlife, because they were not mature enough and didn’t understand how it works not only in Dota, but in life as well.

That’s right.

It was the main reason of your removal, wasn’t it?

Of course it was.
I actually think I once was the same as these young players, but I was lucky enough to be in the right place when Na’Vi started. There were four easy-going great players and I was ready to learn. I understood that I was far behind in terms of experience and understanding, in spite of the equal skills, and eventually grew. But now every player thinks he is cool and unreal, but it turns out bad as a result.

It’s all Gabe Newell’s fault with all that money involved :) ? 

Yeah, probably :)

Okay, I’ve got another interesting question: there are teams of friends, where it’s all cool and stuff, and teams of professionals, like Team Liquid, Team Secret, where they are not necessarily very good friends but every player is mature enough, played Dota for all his life and he is able to adapt. What’s more comfortable for you personally?

I would prefer to play with professionals of course. I had this kind of choice when I was joining Na’Vi: I had a team back then with Mag and Defender, we played together for a long time and at some point we were told that Artstyle and Dendi will play together. Goblak and Axyra wanted to stay with the team we had and I made my choice and it paid out in the long run. Of course it was unpleasant for me and for them, at that time it was like betraying friends for something. Now 95% of the people would do the same and say: “here is your money, tournaments etc.”, but at that time it was a gamble. I followed professional scene and knew, that skill-wise I was on the same level, but I lacked understanding and teamplay. So my team and I personally got to another level immediately.

"That Na’Vi roster was the first time a conflict of interests happened. Kuroky was the only problematic person in that team – without him there it would have been no issue."


I know that when you were playing with Kuroky and Puppey, you had some issues on the personal level.

After Team Secret with Kuroky and Arteezy disbanded, Puppey messaged me in WhatsApp next morning that I was right about Kuro, he became even worse etc. There were many words, but looked like Puppey regretted his decision, but he didn’t say anything about Na’Vi  - seems like he is happy that he left Na’vi after all.

Some players are pleased to play with Kuroky. For example, Fata: I’ve talked to him and some other players, and they liked him as a player and a team leader. Maybe he wanted to be the leader in Na’Vi, but sorry, Puppey is always the boss. That Na’Vi roster was the first time a conflict of interests happened. Kuroky was the only problematic person in that team – without him there it would have been no issue. Skill-wise he was really great, so we managed to win something.

Most likely, I would choose something in the middle between skilled and friendly people. Because you can’t win anything in a negative environment. On the other hand, if you get on well, you can always fix the problems, explain everything to that guy if he reacts appropriately. It would be much better than if that player would be skilled, but wouldn’t communicate at all.

When you played for Team Empire, you sacrificed your carry role that you have been playing all the time. You even tried playing support: you had some kind of contest with ALOHA, when you gave him carry role, so he would stop arguing. Which role are you most comfortable with? Is it carry?

I really liked playing offlane, but I understood that I had to play really good on the top-3 heroes of the patch; Furion, Lone Druid and Broodmother. Unfortunately, I have no attraction to any of those heroes. We actually won with the current hero pool, but to be fair we didn’t face any strong team to check if that was enough to beat them. I had my own view on the draft, but my teammates didn’t believe in that way of things…so they made their decision.

You said that you didn’t understand how to play support, that is your weakest link. If there would be a team that could take you, but only as support and captain, would you join them?

No. I don’t understand, I cannot feel my impact on the game. For example, you play Dazzle and it is minute 30 into the game. You basically have Boots of Speed and Magic Stick, maybe Bracer, and all you do is running around and using Shallow Grave. You waste your time by just thinking and talking: I’m not saying that I can’t play like that but really, you can just stay afk at the fountain and gain gold instead of going around and feeding enemy heroes.

Interesting opinion.

It is a common opinion, some players are just lazy and run on the map “gathering information”, while the enemy hero comes, clears the creep wave and gets you as a bonus. I wouldn’t be able to play this kind of Dazzle, when you just cannot go anywhere. There are some cool support heroes, such as Rubick, Lion, Rhasta maybe, but not so much, Oracle that everyone likes to play. You have many nuke spells to cast, you can kill steal, you can get Godlike streaks etc. Diversity gives you a lot of good things, but also bad things at the same time. That’s why I don’t like to play support: there is always a point in the game, when you become useless, and all you can do is just staying afk at base for 50 seconds to gain gold for wards. Then you go out to put them: if you get killed - it’s ok, if you survive - that’s cool. No one will commend you for placing wards, but if you die…

But if you cast Shallow Grave on yourself, they will remember it forever! Even if it doesn’t change anything. Would you theoretically or practically think about joining an international team, like, for example, Resolution didf with DC or it's just CIS?

Well, I have two options: either I join an international team…

Black^? SingSing?

No, I won’t play with Black^ for sure. SingSing might be an option, but he is quite a funny guy too. DeMoN, SingSing, Black^…

How about Black^ on the carry role, you play the offlane and SingSing - midlane? Sounds like a great team!

Then I’ll play support, pick Medusa and disperse the enemy heroes with my arrows !

You can take NS with you.

He actually asked me to join some team.

He knew, he knew…

Yes, there are qualifiers for the Epicenter LAN going on at the moment. He told me “Let’s go!” He asked me to join the panel, I declined. “Okay, another option: let’s make a team and play there!”

And then the third option: “Let’s film some content! Do you know anything about markets? Great!”

So I don’t really know. I feel like really lost in the last couple of days…. what to do? Maybe some opportunity will come across and I will like it, but for now I don’t know. I don’t think I will really stop playing: I might participate in the open qualifiers or might be invited to the closed qualifiers…I really don’t want to play with strangers.

There is some time still, there are tournaments running. Everything will work out! Valve will close the transfer window soon.

When are they going to do it?

March, 27th I think. So, there is time until the end of month. Then you can play only in open qualifiers.

Yes, I am aware of it, just didn’t know it was March, 27th. Thought it was until 20th.

I am not really sure, but I think it was 27th.

I’ll blame it on you if something happens.

It’s all Gabe’s fault, we agreed on that one :)

He can come and do the same thing as to James, do you remember? “Andrew is an …” :)

By the way, did you watch The Major or you didn’t have the time to do it?

I tried to, but the internet didn’t allow me to do it fully. There was a hookah - café near the hotel with good connection. I don’t smoke any type of hookah, shisha but my friends do so, I watched The Major while they were doing their things.

Could you please name the biggest surprise and upset of the tournament? Be it a player or a team, we won’t touch organisations; let them fix it on their own.

The biggest surprise for me, and I think not only for me, was MVP. I was really pleased by them and Fnatic, maybe Fnatic not so much, but still. I liked that MVP were quite confident in their games. They proved once again, that if you gather five players that believe in each other, you can beat any team. Team Liquid had a great run. A lot of other teams played poorly: Alliance, who were regarded as favorites with EG by many people lost to Fnatic.

"When I went to Empire I thought that they were really skilled, and I counted on them. But then, when I was on vacation, they decided to play with friends…"


They were eliminated by Complexity.

Yes, anyone can beat anyone. It shows that you can easily win if you have the right people for your team. When I went to Empire I thought that they were really skilled, and I counted on them. But then, when I was on vacation, they decided to play with friends… Well, let’s see how far the team can go now I wish them success with their choice. Maybe it will work out, and then you can say the choice was right. If not – they will have to think over. As for me, I don’t know what to do next: if I can find at least three guys I can trust, then I’ll be more than happy to keep playing.

It turned out as some massive interview, thanks a lot! Any words to the people who watch your streams, who want to see you participate in the tournaments with honest, beautiful, smart and mature players?

They don’t necessarily have to be beautiful :) Thank you to everyone who supports me! I hope you won’t lose faith in me and follow me on my path, whatever that might be!

Andreea “divushka” Esanu
I can resist anything but temptations... Follow me @DivDota


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