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Finishing second, even though it is an accomplishment, is something really difficult to digest. Having gone so far and falling just short is probably one of the worst feelings in the world. PSG.LGD played some quality Dota 2 at The International 2018, but fell a step short as they lost 3-2 to OG in the grand finals. About a month after the end of TI8, I got the change to have a few words with xNova, PSG.LGD’s position 5. xNova was one of the best, if not the best, position 5s at the tournament and got a lot of acclaim for his positioning and warding. Here’s what he had to say about the loss at TI8 and the upcoming season.

Hello xNova. Congrats on qualifying to the Kuala Lumpur Major. How did it feel to get back start the new season after a small break?

Thank you! The break really was quite small, but luckily, PSG.LGD didn’t undergo any roster changes, so I think the synergy is still there. Not a lot of problems for us, we’re feeling confident.


Hardly felt like a break. And yes, the synergy is definitely there, PSG.LGD got the top rank in the qualifiers. Even though you didn’t change the roster, a lot of Chinese teams did. What do you think about the Chinese shuffle? Any new team you think is really strong?

The Chinese shuffle was a massive one. I see a lot of teams picked up young blood, which is good. I’m surprised that Chinese teams are even opening up to look for more SEA players to bring to China. I personally think that the Vici Gaming lineup is pretty strong. Everyone is very highly skilled and fits in quite well in their respective role.


What about SEA, any team that sticks out?

Not sure about SEA right now. At first glance, I think TNC and Fnatic are the strongest. Some new teams like SGD and Lotac surprised me a bit, making it that far in the KL qualifiers.


There sure were some surprise packages. With the nerfs in 7.19b and c, do you think the meta has changed at all or does it feel like the same it was at TI8?

About the patch, I don’t think it has changed that much. There were big nerfs to heroes like Spectre, but I think that hero is still super strong. Maybe Wraith King and Drow Ranger are really weak to be picked after the nerfs.


So going back a bit to TI8-and these questions might be a bit sensitive-what happened there in games 4 and 5? Did LGD lose a bit of concentration?

I think it’s just that we got tired because on the final day. We played two series, the bo3 against Evil Geniuses and the bo5 grand final against OG. The grand final went all the way to the 5th game, so yeah, we were fatigued and tired. Mistakes were made probably because of the team losing concentration. There was a bit of miscommunication amongst us in those last two games.


We were fatigued and tired


Yes, it was a long day with 7 games. I’m sorry I have to ask this, but what were the thoughts right after the game?

There weren’t many thoughts after the game. We were just very emotional, and depressed. Never thought we would let the Aegis slip away from us when we were so close to it. All of us were really down.


Never thought we would let the Aegis slip away from us when we were so close to it


I’m sorry to hear that. how was the Chinese community’s reception for LGD when you ended up 2nd?

Everyone was hoping we would win because it was an even year, you know. It was supposed to be China’s year to win it. But a lot of them messaged us personally to give us motivation and cheer us up. I think that was really sweet of the community and it was heartwarming to read their messages.


A lot of the fans messaged us personally to give us motivation and cheer us up


That’s nice to hear.

Yeah, it was. Especially because it was from the fans.


What did you do after TI? I saw you visited a lot of places in Canada.

I stayed in Canada with my family for a week, for a much needed vacation. After that, I went back to Malaysia to rest for another week, completed my visa work and headed to China. There wasn’t a lot of time to do too many things with such a short break.


Next year TI will be in Shanghai, China. You think that will give Chinese teams an advantage?

I don’t really think it’s really much of an advantage. But at least we won’t need to take long flights to The International anymore, haha!


Haha, that will be a big help, no doubt. No jet lag, for starters. What do you think of the new DPC system? Do you like the fact that not everyone can play in the Minor, but the Minor winner can get points from both, the Minor and the Major?

I think the system is better because teams who didn’t do well in the Major qualifiers are able to get a second chance to qualify for the Major. There is also more opportunity for new teams to make it to LANs as the Minor qualifiers won’t have the teams that have qualified for the Major.


I think the (DPC) system (this year) is better


But Liquid didn’t qualify for the Major and neither did Newbee (the two grand finalists of TI7). Teams like these will dominate the minor and prevent smaller teams to come to a Major.

If these top teams didn’t make it to out of the Major qualifier, they have a second chance to qualify for the Major, and I don’t think this is bad in any way because it will make the Minors more competitive and fun to watch. Also, it won’t be a case like last season where teams started giving up playing in Minors towards the end to play the Majors.


That’s an interesting point of view! Are you playing a lot of pubs? What’s your take on the new hero Grimstroke? What position would he be best suited to in professional games?

I play a decent number of pub games, but not too many. I think Grimstroke is a really strong laning and team fight hero. He doesn’t have much solo killing potential, so I think the hero is better suited to be a position 4 hero.


Right. So I’m hoping to see a lot of Grimstroke from fy when the hero is introduced to Captain’s Mode! The new patch, 7.20, will come somewhere in November. What would you like to see in that?

I don’t really have any particular hopes or expectations. Whatever the changes, PSG.LGD will be fine with it!


Any new Aghanim’s Scepters you would like or any old Scepters you’d like to see reworked?

I hope there’s an Aghanim’s Scepter for every hero soon. Currently, I think most of the heroes in this meta don’t even need Scepter.


Are you excited to play the first major on your home soil or does it not make a big difference?

Of course, I am very excited to play on my home ground with my team. It is the first time a Major is being held in Kuala Lumpur and for that matter, Malaysia. It’s a big step up for the community and the e-sports industry in Malaysia. I hope there would be more opportunities for tournaments like that to be held in the country after this.


I am very excited to play on my home ground with my team


Thanks for your time xNova. And all the best for the season ahead!

Thank you!

xNova and his team will first be seen on LAN at the PVP Esports Championship in Singapore in the first week of October, after which they will travel to xNova’s land, Malaysia, to play the Kuala Lumpur Major.


Disclaimer: VPEsports is a Washington State based esports news media company funded by VPGame.

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