Taras Bortnik had the chance to talk with HellRaiser’s Vladimir “RodjER” Nikogosyan yesterday, right after his team lost the upper bracket semifinals at Parimatch League against Virtus.pro. The interview covers what went wrong in that series, but RodjER was also open to talk about HR’s problems, what got fixed and what didn’t, how has the current online format for all tournaments impact the players’ morale and motivation, and hwo has the new patch changed the meta.
We are a couple of hours after your defeat against Virtus.pro in the Parimatch League, does it still sting?
There was a bit of a mess with the drafts. Plus, it was generally difficult to get back to the old regime. We were on vacation. Some were playing Dota, others weren’t.
The draft problems are directly related to the new patch?
The patch has an impact, yes. The drafting phases are changed and it’s unclear for us what’s the best way to approach the draft.
How did you spend your vacation, did you play Dota or did you take the time to fully relax?
I was resting and playing, if I may say so. I played a lot, but all in all, I rested more than I played.
Let’s talk about your series against Virtus.pro. In the second game you made a comeback, everything was fine, but in the first game there were some strange moments. First of all, why did you leave Spectre for VP?
We expected that Shadow Demon and Slardar would cause her a lot of problems, but probably something went wrong there. And then, we couldn’t find a solution to shut down the Spectre.
You played Chen in this first game and bought Helm of Dominator. Is it a habit or is it a really good item-choice now?
I just decided to give it a try, actually.
And how do you feel about it, summons are supposed to be weaker since the item does not provide aura regen anymore?
The thing is that we lost our tempo in that game. We started dying one by one, and Spectre was already overfarmed. And I thought I needed Helm of Dominator to have an extra creep. I thought it would be useful. I was farming a lot, I had a big networth, I thought I’d have time to buy Mekansm.
Let’s move to the third game. At some point, you were doing fine, Funn1k on Void Spirit had an extremely good start. What went wrong?
We lost the draft. We forgot about Razor. There wasn’t much time to think about what carry to pick, what to do. Originally we wanted to pick Sniper in support position, but we had to make Kunkka support because otherwise, he would have lost the mid lane to Razor. In addition, Razor destroys Troll Warlord, no matter what networth it has or in what stage of the game you are. Overall, it was very difficult for us, even though we played the lane stage well. Everything was already pretty clear for us right after the draft ended.
You are playing with gpk standing in for xannii in this tournament. Did you have time to do any training in this formula?
We played scrims for a couple of days with KHAN and some other smaller teams. We just played to remember how it is, because we hadn’t played together for three or four weeks.
What can you say about the new patch, what are the main changes? What has changed in the gameplay or for your position?
Tranquil Boots are cheaper now, which is nice. Smoke of Deceit is a lot cheaper; you can buy it early now. Tome of Knowledge is cheaper. That’s nice too. There are a lot of “little treats” for supports. Also, I noticed that we gain too much for kills. Way too much.
Since the creep wave can’t be pulled before the 5 minute mark anymore, should we expect trilanes to return?
Yes. I believe that trilanes will appear much more often in this patch. Again, the kill formula has been changed. Now we have more experience from kills and it’s a good idea to run trilanes and secure laning stage early kills. So, everything should be more active now.
Almost all players are now guild members, but you’re not. Why?
I left a guild recently. It doesn’t make sense. In the beginning, there was some interest, but now. it’s all boring. It doesn’t make sense.
You said in a rather recent interview that it’s hard for HellRaisers to work on mistakes and improve. Have you managed to deal with this problem in the meantime? Have you found a mutual understanding prior to the vacation?
Probably not. It’s all been left how it was.
HellRaisers took a vacation when most of the teams played tournaments. Now it’s the other way around, you are back and a lot of teams took some time off. What’s the plan for you guys in the immediate future, are you ready to play some tournaments now or will you work on your problems?
For now, we will finish the Parimatch League. I can’t say more details. We don’t know how it’s going to be. We will probably take another break, but we already made some specific decisions with a “fresh mind” after our initial vacation. I do not know whether I will stay on the roster or not or where I am going to play next.
Did you think to take a longer break, not just two weeks, I’m asking because this season you had such a hard time.
A break… That’s how we went to Thailand with the guys for two or three weeks, yeah, you can do that if you are with friends and have a good time. Overall, I don’t think the break is going to be very long.
I can’t help asking you this. Aren’t the problems you talk about the result of your three months bootcamp?
Actually, it was different. Yes, there were problems, quarrels, screams, disagreements. But we had a psychologist working with us almost every day and helping us. We are stuck to another kind of a problem: some game moments are not solved and not corrected. It depends on people, on their personal qualities to push themselves to work harder and improve. As a team, we all helped each other, spoke out.
How do you take the Parimatch, is it a tournament that you have to play, or does it still have some value for you?
Of course, it has some value. There are good teams playing there, it is always interesting. Plus, it’s been a long time since we played competitive matches. I am tired of playing matchmaking. Official games are always nice to play, especially after such a long break.
I’m glad you feel that way. What gives you this desire to win?
Dota is what I’ve been doing for my whole life. And it’s just that the competitive interest prevails.
Have you ever lost the “taste of victory”?
I probably did during the time with Virtus.pro. I haven’t had that feeling lately.
The current Virtus.pro line-up is definitely not that “golden five” we are used to from them. They are not in good shape right now. You know these players firsthand, may I ask you what do you think is going on?
There are only Solo and Noone left from the old VP. I don’t know what kind of atmosphere they have on the team right now. Maybe it has to do with the loss of motivation because the tournaments are online. It’s not that big of a deal. Plus, they aren’t in a bootcamp right now. When I played at Virtus.pro, the bootcamp was a very important part. We talked about Dota, we came up with different things together, we bonded, we were doing “team-building” work in a way. Maybe they will play better when we have LAN tournaments and Majors again.
You said that online tournaments can hurt your motivation to play. Was it happening to you?
We all had it. Almost all of us had diminished motivation because we know that the LANs are gone.
The seasonal goal of any Dota 2 player is to reach The International and perform well there. How much does the lack of TI affect your desire to play all the time, to train, etc.?
I personally have no issues. Some people say that The International is gonna be in the winter. Generally, it’s unlikely to be cancelled. The prize pool has grown pretty solidly. For me, the Dota is always about enjoying the process.
During this period, the online tournaments brought Europe and the CIS together. Was there any sense for you personally and for your team to play against European teams, against Secret and all the other big European teams?
Of course. You feel the diversity. Europeans have a different meta in their heads, different priorities. You use your strategies in the CIS, and somewhere it works well. You use it against a European tier 1 team and they don’t care what you come up with. And you’re already reviewing your ideas a little bit, you draw conclusions. It’s definitely a good experience.
Moreover, putting regions in the same qualifiers would make a proper tournament just by itself. With strong performances and tough matches. I like the idea of it.
Your next matchup at Parimatch League is in the lower bracket against Team Unique. What are your thoughts going up against them with elimination on the line?
I haven’t been following them much, and we didn’t train with them. I will sit down, watch their replays, and study a little. I can’t say anything about them yet.
Fair enough. Thanks for your time and good luck in the tournament.