The WePlay! Bukovel Minor opened with an impressive victory from Geek Fam over Ninjas in Pyjamas. Both teams are at their second Minor this season and both went through a small roster change after securing the slot in the tournament.
We had the opportunity to sit and talk with Carlo “Kuku” Palad right after the match was over, and we were curious to find out what changed in the Geek Fam dynamics after replacing Eric “Ryoya” Dong, and how the latest patch impacted their strategies.
Congrats on the opening series victory over NiP. We are minutes after the series finished and I can see how happy and excited you guys are for this result. So, to give you a few moments to breathe and relax, tell us about how do you find the Bukovel scenery, did you get used to the cold and all the snow here?
When we arrived here, we actually went through our luggage and put as many layers on us as possible. T-shirt, sweater, jacket, coat, many clothes to be able to go out, and we were still feeling cold. But we adapted in the meantime, now we are perfectly fine during the day, but we still can’t go out at night, that’s way too cold. A very good thing about this trip is that nobody got jetlagged and we were able to resume our practice right away.
I guess not getting jetlagged played a big role in your victory today. Did you take the time to ski or to go a bit out?
No, not yet.
We had a patch with a couple nerfs to some key heroes for the current meta dropping just a day before the tournament. Has 7.23f affected your game plan in any way?
Yeah, it felt bad to see the patch released. For example, I practiced Doom a lot and he got nerfed again. He still is a good hero, but even the five damage less on Scorched Earth is a big deal in the big picture. I guess I’m sad about the Doom nerfs, I don’t care that much about the other heroes.
You guys actually picked Outworld Devourer against NiP, and this is another hero hit by the patch.
We actually didn’t know that his ultimate got nerfed. We saw it after we picked it, but in that particular match, he was really good against NiP had. OD is not only about his ultimate in the end.
Were you anxious about this opening series, do you look at NiP as one of the tougher opponents here at the Bukovel Minor?
We weren’t that pressured because we knew that they have a new player, just like we do, and we knew that they might be struggling.
Were you struggling during the practice for this event after changing Ryoya?
Yes. Even just one player is such a big difference.
What were the main reasons for replacing Ryoya?
It’s nothing personal, it’s not about Ryoya as a person. He is great, but we felt like his playstyle is not a good fit for us. We needed a cocky player, someone who would be the playmaker, while Ryoya was following us, instead of being the one to set the tempo, if you want.
So you got Karl from Amplify, a tier two SEA team that actually did pretty well in the first round of DPC qualifiers. Did you notice him there, or is he someone you guys know for a while, had it on your radar?
I personally, know him since DotA 1 days. We played together back then, but that’s a long time ago. We tried to reach out to some mid players before we got Karl, but most of them were already on a team, so we decided on Karl, who was top 3 on our list.
Compared to your previous Minor run, do you feel like Geek Fam has better chances here?
Yes, we feel different now, we are more confident and we feel like we sorted out a lot of the problems we had at the BTS Minor. For instance, our drafts at the Summit were so weird, but now we know what to do.
The Bukovel Minor is all about the Christmas spirit, I’d like to ask you if Santa Claus visited and how did you celebrate the holidays.
This year we celebrated as a family. Fortunately, this time around there was no tournament, so I could be with my wife and with my kid. Christmas in the Philippines is a really big cultural thing, everyone gathers around the table and spends time with their loved ones. I was happy to be able to do that with my family this year. I also got to that point in life where I am the Santa, I was the one to bring the gifts, which is a very nice feeling.
Alright, it’s time to wrap up our interview. Again, thanks for talking to us and good luck further in the tournament.
Thank you for the interview and for your wishes, and I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all my fans who followed me to Geek Fam, and a shout-out to my baby and my wife.