xMusica: 'Miggel's my favorite player in Dota 2.'

General Dexter “kurtcos” F
The full Absolute Legends roster.

With a long history of competitive DotA, Justin "xMusica" Yuen is no stranger to Dota 2. Currently playing the best games of his career in Absolute Legends, Prodota.ru's Morf-designer presents his latest piece covering all you need to know about the Australian-based Singaporean.

Up Close and Personal...

Are you currently living in Australia? Do you live with parents?
-"Hey, yes, I'm currently living in Sydney, Australia with my parents. I've just finished my national service in Singapore and am going to reside in Australia from here on. *grins*"

How long was national service and is it mandatory in your country? How did you manage to cope with DotA and your trainings?

It was only towards the end of my national service that some of the N9 guys approached me in discussion of forming a new team.

-"Yeah, it's a mandatory system in Singapore and it goes for a minimal of two years. It was really hard to find time to play any games at all when I was serving national service as we mostly only get to come out on the weekends, so during then it was really just playing for fun and just maintaining my skills without really being able to practice fully with a stable team.

It was only towards the end of my national service that some of the N9 guys approached me in discussion of forming a new team."

So you will never come back to Singapore?
-"I'll still go back to Singapore for holiday visits from time to time, but Australia will be my home from now on."

How did you get to Australia from Singapore? Is it a better place for living? Do you miss your motherland?
-"I actually came over to Australia at the age of 16 and studied high school here. It's definitely a better place for me in my opinion; it's a lot more relaxing and the weather is a lot better as compared to Singapore.

I'm really glad my family decided to take the leap and migrate here. Of course I still miss my friends and relatives back in Singapore, and will definitely make time to go back and visit them, and of course the food there as well! *sticks tongue*"

Do you have a job besides DotA or are you still studying full on at university? Are you planning to make money only from Dota in future?

The incentives and prizes for Dota 2 is much higher then it was for DotA.

-"I do not have a job as of yet, but I'm about to start my University - it's going be in Business and Commerce - within the next month. I definitely do want to get a job outside of Dota 2 after my university, but as of now, the incentives and prizes for Dota 2 is much higher then it was for DotA.

And it's definitely worth it to put in more time and effort to achieve top results for the tournaments in the next few years for the prize pool that Dota 2 is currently offering."

What about girls? Do you have a girlfriend? And which girls are better: Australian or Asian?
-"*laughs* I won't comment on that. It's a very touchy subject, and both sides have their good and unique points. Also, it's more of each individual's personal taste! Heh, and no I do not have a girlfriend as of yet. But I believe all will come in good time. *grins*"

Nice answer. Have you tried sports? I heard that surfing is quite popular in Australia - have you tried it?
-"I've actually thought about trying it as it wasn't something that was popular in Singapore and it seems really fun. I haven't found the time to though, but I definitely will in the near future! As for sports, I'm a regular swimmer and a big fan of soccer; though I'm not really good at it myself. *laughs*"

What do you think would be your main hobby if there was no Dota 2?
-"I always liked playing musical instruments, with piano being my favorite. It's always soothing listening to the piano play, especially if you can play it yourself.

It kinda gives me a sense of achievement. *laughs* But it could still be gaming, as I started gaming when I was 13, with CS 1.5 as my first game, and continuing to Warcraft 3 Ladder which eventually led me to DotA."

I heard that you nickname “xMusica” came from some anime. Is that true? And do you still remember its title?

I had alot of encounters with spanish people talking to me thinking I was from Spain due to my nick.

-"Yes tha'ts true to all those that didn't know. My nick xMusiCa did come from a really cool character in the Anime called "Rave Plue". It was my favorite anime back then when I was 14 and I decided to take the nick xMusiCa ever since.

I also had alot of encounters with spanish people talking to me thinking I was from Spain due to my nick. *laughs* If I'm not wrong, I think MusiCa means music in spanish."

So are you a fan of anime? Perhaps you can suggest some titles for our readers?
-"Yeah, I'm a fairly big follower of animes ever since I was little - back then in Singapore they had a channel specially made just for animes, which got me kinda into it. *laughs* Some good animes to watch in my opinion would be Fate/Zero, Fairy Tail and Naruto!"

My old team "MCiTY" used to call me "Hot Asian Guy" which basically means the hag.

In an old interview, you mentioned that you were called “the hag”. Can you finally tell us the full story behind that?
-"*laughs* It was an old joke where my old team "MCiTY" used to call me "Hot Asian Guy" which basically means the hag. We then transitioned it to many other internal jokes, which I won't talk about further. *sticks tongue*"

Can you describe your plans for the next few years... or maybe you believe in that the world will end in 2012?
-"I definitely do not believe in that, if not I wouldn't have made plans for my upcoming years. *laughs* As for my plans, they are mostly connected with DotA.

For starters our main goal is The International 2012; It's the greatest DotA event that has happened and I believe a lot of other teams are looking towards that goal as well.

Right now we're trying to participate in as many online tournaments as possible.

Right now we're trying to participate in as many online tournaments as possible to help us achieve that goal. As we're still a learning team, we need as much experience as we can get, and tournaments is the place where we're able to truly see where we stand - our improvements, our team work and coordination and in which aspects we're still lacking."

On his DotA History...
Serving his national service in Singapore.

Can you briefly describe your past achievements to our readers because many of them know nothing about the old Dota scene? Tell us about some of the teams you have played in.
-"I started out with a local Singaporean team named "Shinigami" in 2006, where we were a group of friends trying to make it out on the DotA Scene. It was only after a few tournaments, where Team Zenith approached me to join them as one of their core five players. It came as a shock to me back then, but as I slowly started to play with them, I came to know more of the Singaporean DotA community and players. All of them played a big part to help me get where I am now.

With Zenith, we won various local tournaments, such as CPL Singapore, GXL League, WGT , WCG Singapore 2nd Place, and my biggest achievement with them was ESWC 2008, where we were able to compete with the rest of the world for the first time, where I'm proud to say we achieved gold for that.

MCiTY was the most difficult challenge as I did not know anyone from the Australian DotA scene to start with.

My next team would be XtC, where we lost to Malaysia in the semi finals, but still managed to take third place after a close 3rd/4th placing game with Korea.

And my last team prior to N9 would be MCiTY; this was the most difficult challenge as I did not know anyone from the Australian DotA scene to start with. But it was also the most fulfilling one as we managed to do quite well in the international scene as a team and as                                                          friends that started from scratch."

You achieved a lot with team Zenith. Why did you leave it?
-"As I was leaving Singapore for Australia back then, I couldn't commit as much with them as I used to. And back then there was a lot of local LAN tournaments in Singapore which I would not have been able to attend. Thus I made the decision to leave Team Zenith."

It seems that during 2008-09, you changed teams or rosters frequently. What was the reason behind that?
-"During that period, Team XtC asked me to play together with them for WCG Singapore, as during then I was still a Singaporean; I could not play for Australia. Thus, I was jumping between MCiTY and XtC during that period of time.

As for MCiTY roster changes, that team was initially a group of chinese players which I had invited from pubs and they were a group of talented players. We achieved decent results together, faring quite well in certain F4F series and local LAN tournaments.

But because they had no motivation to continue playing DotA competitively, I had to find other members to keep the team going. And thus Blackshatan "The Bag", Escobar "Bongman", Banks "the gayboy" and Toneehs "the prettyboy" were added onto the squad! *grins*"

So did you stop playing DotA completely in 2009? And why did your last roster disband?
-"I did not entirely stop; I continued to play a little bit with XtC in Singapore during my army days, before I ventured into HoN for a couple of months with a local team which was also under XtC, which we came in second in ACG Singapore.

As to why MCiTY disbanded during my time that I was away, I can't comment much about it as I wasn't in much contact with them back then."

Can you tell more about your HoN experiense? Is Dota 2 better? Maybe you should go for LoL?

Ever since Dota 2 came out, I've lost interest in HoN and focused on Dota 2.

-"I liked HoN better than DotA back then because the graphics were better and it looked cooler. It was really enjoyable for the first few months that I played it, where everything was fast paced and there were a lot about kills. But ever since Dota 2 came out, I've lost interest in HoN and focused on Dota 2 ever since.

As for LoL, I only play it from time to time with friends, but I never really thought about going competitive with it. Just not my cup of tea. *laughs*"

DotA or Dota 2...
Back with XtC.

Can you compare DotA and Dota 2? Do you still play the old DotA?
-"I have not touched DotA for about 6 months. I think that the main difference between DotA and Dota 2 is that Dota 2 has its own platform and is a standalone game now, which means the incentives to play the game is much higher as compared to DotA. I can't say the same for China, but I think that's what mainly draws gamers into playing Dota 2 competitively - for the end results!"

What are some improvements you would like to see in Dota 2?

So far, Valve and Icefrog have done a fantastic job with Dota 2.

-"So far, Valve and Icefrog have done a fantastic job at making the game like it was, making it better with the additional graphic modifications and voice implementation. I think the only thing left is the minor bugs and errors of the game, and Dota 2 is good to go. *grins*"

In the past, you mentioned that you liked “assassin” heroes. What are you favorite heroes in Dota 2? And what heroes do you hate the most?
-"*laughs* The "assassin" heroes that I like are heroes that have a lot of killing potential and mobility. Some favorites are Queen of Pain, Storm Spirit and Leshrac. I dislike playing heroes that are too passive, such as Lich and Warlock.

But if the time comes when I have to use them in tournaments, I will definitely put in my 100% to play them well. *grins*"

Are you waiting for any hero to be added from DotA to Dota 2? And have you tried the new heroes in 6.73 such as Legion Commander?

Once heroes like Visage, Medusa, Lycanthrope and Pandaren Brewmaster are added to the pool, it'll change the current metagame.

-"Yeah, I'm definitely waiting for the rest of the heroes to be added to the pool, such as Visage, Medusa, Lycanthrope and Pandaren Brewmaster. I believe once these heroes are added, it'll change the current metagame into something different which is interesting to see, and definitely a lot more new strategies and playstyles will be adopted by teams to cope with the changes.

As for the new heroes, as I have not played DotA for a long time, my knowledge of new heroes would only be up to Phoenix and Tuskar - anything else I do not really know. *laughs*"

Can you comment on recently added items in Dota 2 (Ring of Aquila, Heaven's Halberd and so on)? Will they change the metagame?
-"They will definitely affect the game play quite a fair bit, but I do not believe it will greatly change the metagame as of yet."

Who is you favorite player in DotA and Dota 2?
-"LuX, he was my teacher in DotA and has always taught me a lot of things regarding the game. As for DotA 2.. my current player would be Miggel. He's a very insightful player who is knowledgable of what's going on and he controls the game well with his hero."

Wow, that’s interesting to know. I heard some Chinese players are using heavy drugs to play better. [sic] What do you think about using drugs in DotA? Should it be restricted?
-"I definitely have not heard of Chinese players using drugs, so I won't make any comments on that. As for using doping in general, if it's a way to enhance your abilities by illegal means, then yes, it should be restricted."

What is the current DotA scene in Australia like? Are there any LANs and leagues?
-"At the moment, the Australia DotA scene is very quiet, and there aren't any LAN's or local leagues going on, thus our only option is to train and compete internationally."

Which teams in your opinion will dominate the Dota 2 scene this year – European, American or Asian (Let us assume your team is a part of the Asian region)?

At the moment, I think its anyone's game now.

-"At the moment, I think its anyone's game now. All three regions are capable of beating each other and it's just a matter of who is more focused, aware of what's happening in the game and prepared for each team before the games that counts."

Playing with Absolute Legends...

Some people have the impression that you took your long break from DotA because you were tired of playing with high ping in DotA. Are they right? And do you plan to stay in the Dota 2 scene for a long period this time?
-"Back in DotA, we had to buy our own US server to be able to play in the international scene, which was an issue, but it never stopped us from playing. We did not really disappear; we just mainly trained against each other in the Australia/Asia scene for DotA.

I can say for sure that'll we be here for a long time.

After Dota 2 came along with their improved servers, it's a relief to say that it has helped us a lot in making it possible for us to achieve greater heights in Dota 2. And I can say for sure that'll we be here for a long time. *grins*"

Is it hard to play Dota 2 in Australia competitively? I mean with all the delays, small number of Australian high level teams, time difference with Europe, etc/
-"Yes, I have to admit it is quite hard. You have to be really dedicated and willing to make sacrifices to be able to play Dota 2 competitively. And also your parents have to be supportive of what you're doing."

How did you get the "Natural 9" tag? And what does it mean?
-"Natural 9 is a term used in the casinos for Baccarat. A lot of us like to gamble for fun and we figured it would be a nice team name to start of with. *laughs*"

Do you play poker for money? Are you good at it?
-"*laughs* Not really, we just play for fun and muck around mostly - can't do it for a career. Don't worry."

You mentioned in an old interview that teamwork, coordination and chemistry are the success factors for any team. Can you comment on this with regards to your current team? What about individual skill?

I feel that in every team, there must be trust within the players if not the coordination of the entire game will crumble.

-"Currently, I feel that my team has a good level of teamwork and chemistry, where everyone trusts each other, knows what to expect from each other, doesn't put blame on anyone and listens to the commands that the captain gives.

Even if we think it's wrong, we only discuss it after the game. I feel that this is the most important factor in every team - there must be trust within the players if not the coordination of the entire game will                                                         crumble.

As for individual skills, it's definitely still important; simple things like knowing when to back off, doing well in a lane, knowing where to position yourselves in fights play a big part in winning the game itself."

How long have you been playing together? How much are you training together as a team? And how much do you personally spend playing Dota 2?

We spend about twenty to thirty hours a week practicing as a team in Dota 2.

-"We've known each other since the MCiTY days, but we've only played together for about two to three months now, as a team. I'm happy to say that we've been training hard ever since and achieving decent results in recent online tournaments! We spend about twenty to thirty hours a week practicing as a team in Dota 2.

Outside of training I probably spend about twenty hours of my own just playing in inhouse leagues and watching replays to sharpen my knowledge of the game and to hone my own skills as a player."

Are you training with Chinese teams? Do you have delays and ping problems playing them?
-"So far we have not tried playing against any Chinese teams. They are still devoted to DotA and have not converted to Dota 2 yet, so as of now we can't really tell."

Have you had any communication problems in your team? Is your English good enough?
-"*laughs* We've never had any communication problems within the team, all of our English is fairly good, so I don't think that will ever be a problem."

Having in mind your frequent roster changes in the past, I want to ask if AL is your final roster. Will we see you change teams in the future?

We're all dedicated to one cause and we believe that we'll be able to achieve it together.

-"I can firmly say that this will be our final roster. We're all dedicated to one cause and we believe that we'll be able to achieve it together. I believe that constantly changing members isn't gonna help as a team as you'll lose the chemistry and trust that you've built up as a team together."

Then why do have a six player roster? Do you think it’s an advantage? What about competition for place in the main roster for a game – how you decide who plays?
-"Our sixth player Godz is mainly a manager for us that helps us manage talks with people, our tournament games and training. He has really been a great help to us throughout the entire time and we really appreciate him for what he has done to help us so far."

Guys from our forums want to know if you have a well trained “calm push” style or it depends on picks and you can play different styles.
-"It mostly depends on picks - our in game captain calls the shots in the game as to what to do and when. But we're capable of adapting to different styles when the time calls for it."

I think our biggest factor for success is the fact that we're calm and we do not blame each other.

Can you name the biggest success factor for your team?
-"I think the biggest factor that helps our teams the most is the fact that we're calm in most situations and we do not blame each other. That's what enables us to continuing trusting each other. Even if we do lose, we take it as a lesson learnt and move forward to the next game."

How would you respond to people saying that most of your victories are because of your opponents' high ping and delays on USA servers?
-"That is not true. We worked hard for where we are now, even if it meant playing on high ping conditions, even if it meant staying up till 6 A.M. in the morning just to get some good training games in. It just shows how much we want to do well in Dota 2. We do want to experience playing on no delay conditions one day, but sadly that is just not possible for us now."

Shall we see your team participating at the nearest LAN tournaments?
-"Definitely, we're preparing ourselves to go to as many LAN tournaments as possible for this year, so do expect to see us in a LAN event in the near future! *grins*"

His Opinions on The Scene...
Meet xMusica's bitch.

Why do you play for an Australian team? Have you considered joining teams from Asia/Europe/USA?
-"I felt the best at home when playing with MCiTY in the past - they're a bunch of really fun people to play with and I feel a lot more comfortable with them. Needless to say it's the same when playing with my current team right now. *grins*"

What teams do you consider are the best in the world at the current moment?

Team DD, Na'Vi, and Team Fire stand out the most.

-"There's alot of good teams at the moment. In my opinion though, the ones that stand out the most at the moment are team DD (previously known as SK-Gaming), Na'Vi, and Team Fire."

With your previous answer, I gather that you heard about SK disbanding? What do you think of this team (besides the fact that it’s strong) and why did it happen in your opinion?
-"I think that they have a really good playstyle that is hard to deal with. Mania is a good engager overall, Angel is a good farmer, Miggel controls the game well, Ryze is a good support and Link is a good farmer as well. Together they execute their game style really well, and I think they'll go really far as a team together.

With regards to their sponsors, I do not know what happened between them, but I hope that they get a good sponsor in the near future to help support them in every way!"

Describe briefly these European teams: fnatic, mTw, Mousesports, Dignitas. Or maybe you have something to say about other teams from Europe?
-"Fnatic has been inactive lately; I haven't seen them do much in recent events.

mTw and mousesports are good teams, but they haven't been playing well in recent tournaments as of late. I hope they won't get discouraged and continue to work hard!

As for Dignitas, they are a decent team, but it's just that the players tend to do their own stuff in a tournament game sometimes which really hurts a lot in the outcome of the game. This is something I feel that they'll need to overcome if they want to achieve even greater heights."

Describe the last two games you played versus Fire at Infused cup. What went wrong in the 2nd and 3rd games?

Fire are definitely a strong team that's going to be one of the top contenders in the Dota 2 scene.

-"For the 2nd and 3rd game, I guess we can say that fatigue was getting to us, as the games were played at 8 A.M. our time, so it affected our decision makings quite abit and caused us to make some stupid decisions.

But I won't deny the fact that Fire did a great job in countering our play style and adapting to the situation; they are definitely a strong team that's going to be one of the top contenders in the Dota 2 scene."

The 2nd game seemed very boring for spectators in terms of action. But Synderen (when commenting) suggested that both of your teams were just playing so perfectly that you fought only for key points on map and only when it was very necessary. So do you think we’ll see more "10 kills in 50 minutes" Dota 2 in the future?
-"I can't say for sure, but I think that it will slowly move towards that direction. In DotA, this was how the Chinese dominated; they only made fights where they needed, and not getting picked off and pushing when the time is right.

Making simple mistakes like getting picked off or dangerous plays which end up in you dying usually causes you to lose one to two towers/raxes at one go, thus this should be avoided at all costs."

What can you say about the level of other American organizations: EG and Gosu? Do you train with them?

Gosu are capable of competiting with any team in the world on equal footing.

-"For EG, I haven't really seen much of their games nor trained with them much so I don't really know where they stand now. As for Gosu, we've had quite a number of training sessions with them and I think that they're capable of competiting with any team in the world on equal footing at this point."

A word about the Russians...
Justin and unnamed chick.

Many professional players from CIS remember your nickname because of your achievements in the past. Which CIS players do you remember?
-"Hmm, the players that I remember clearly is Vigoss; he was an excellent ganker with such great control of the map. And M.Admiration, the way he played his Rogue Knight was just a level above any other players! They held really important roles in VP back then and helped them to achieve really great heights during the DotA era."

Do you know that Vigoss is playing in DTS now? Do you think his time passed or will he still be able to perform very well?
-"That came as a surprise to me. I did not know that Vigoss was playing in DTS. *laughs* Well, to me he is still a very good player. I believe he will be at his peak again soon and be a force to be reckoned with!"

Can you describe top CIS teams (Na'Vi, M5, DTS) in general? What do you know about their play styles?
-"I think these three teams are really strong in general, and they focus a lot more on aggressive ganking/initiating playstyles. It's definitely a scary style to face against. You have to be really careful of what's happening around and not to get picked off as well as getting the tp assists in if needed."

How did you manage to beat Na`Vi recently? Were you nervous when playing the two-time world champions of Dota 2?

We were really nervous playing Na`Vi - for us, that was the point to see where we stood in the Dota 2 world.

-"Yes we were really nervous - for us, that was the point to see where we stood in the Dota 2 world. Although we lost to them the first game, we did not get disheartened, and instead we discussed what went wrong and what we could have done.

As for the second game, we sorted out our play style that we were confident with and coordinated with each other well, which O believed help us gain that edge over NaVi and helped us with the win. We were really happy that we were able to match against the world's best."

Have you met Russian players in Dota 2 matchmaking? Did they ruin your game?
-"I have not actually played any pubs for a long time, so I cannot give an answer on that one. *laughs*"

What do you know about Russia? And do you like vodka?
-"I don't now much about Russia as I've never been there. But yes, Vodka is an awesome alcohol. *winks*"

Have you heard anything about prodota.ru? Can you say a few words in Russian for our readers?
-"I guess I should have been more specific - I know nothing about Russia. *laughs* I'm sorry."

Thank you for all your detailed answers. It was a pleasure having this interview with you. Any final shoutouts?
-"Shoutout to all my Singaporean friends; I miss you guys loads! My ex-teammates that are currently in AEON: I hope you guys do well!

To my parents for being so supportive of me gaming, to all the teams who trained with us in scrims, you've really helped us a lot with improving.

To all our fans, thanks for your support and do continue to support us, we'll do our very best to achieve!

And lastly to Team N9, let's have an awesome 2012 year ahead of us. *grins*"

Prodota.ru - Original Interview (Part 1)
Prodota.ru - Original Interview (Part 2)