On the last day of EPICENTER XL Major we found at the venue Mineski’s captain and support player Michael “ninjaboogie” Ross who was kind to sit down for a short chat with us before the grand finals of the event. We talked about the difficulties Mineski had to overcome this season, about DAC and their win there and of course about Techies!
First of all I’d like to congratulate you on the entire Dota Pro Circuit run. Mineski has been super dominant at the start of the season, then you guys looked a bit shaky, lost the focus perhaps, changed a couple of coaches, came back strong and won DAC, so could you tell me a little bit more of what happened with you guys mid-season?
Yeah, it’s been an interesting season definitely, we had a couple of difficulties to overcome but we sucked it up. The team was going into a bad shape and we knew that we could have disbanded if we kept performing bad. We managed to spin it around with 71 joining us. After the StarLadder in China Jabz and Mushi decided they don’t want to draft anymore, they didn’t want that kind of pressure anymore. So, we saw that the Chinese teams were already using their coaches for drafting and 71 said he will give it a go and it seems it’s working. It takes a lot of pressure from us, it let us focus on what we have to do in the game.
How do you work with 71 beside him being the drafter? I’m asking because he is the more unusual coach. He doesn’t have a Dota 2 career behind, yet he is one of the most respected coaches in China.
He might have never played Dota in his life but the way he understands this game is truly unique. Then, when it comes to actual training and on how to make his thoughts and ideas understood, he is actually using a lot of things he learnt from basketball and football coaches. He does put a lot of work in becoming who he is and it shows. He also worked with Iceiceice and Mushi in the past so he has a very good connection with them. Also, he is a very open person and if there is something that he feels he doesn’t understand in the game he asks us and then he makes an overall judgment and he decides what’s best for the team.
Ok, so DAC was you first big victory with 71, and I saw a couple of interviews from that event where you guys attributed the victory to him. I also saw a lot of people on reddit and some other places saying that you got lucky in China because of the Pangolier patch. What would you say, did the DAC patch played that much of an importance in your success there?
I think a lot of teams in that event were already feeling burned out. We had a very hard season in terms of schedule, travels etc and I think at DAC it showed the most how tired some of the teams are. As for us, we finally started to sort out our things and felt a bit more confident. We just understood the patch faster than anyone, we used all we learnt from Virtus.pro, Liquid in the previous events, and everything just clicked for us at DAC.
I would say we got a bit lucky in terms of who we had in the bracket as we didn’t have to play either VP or Liquid. We have a pretty bad record against them. We had LGD in the grand finals, who definitely showed up at the event and they are proving right now here that the DAC was not just a fluke. They are in the EPICENTER grand finals for a reason.
Techies are in the Captain’s Mode and I believe a lot of people were expecting you guys will give it a go at least in one of the group stage matches. Why didn’t you?
There is definitely a lot of potential with Techies for us, but we are still slowly getting back our confidence. I think once we will feel confident we will pull a Techies game.
Ok, I have a last question and it’s about the SEA scene.TNC had also been looking good at DAC, Fnatic had a good Dream League run last month. I’m guessing you guys scrim a lot with each other and have a better overall understanding at where is everyone standing so, my question is, do think the SEA scene as a whole is just getting better now, at the end of the season?
A lot of people think that we scrim with TNC and Fnatic, but actually we don’t. We don’t scrim them a lot because we had a lot of qualifiers to play in SEA and we always had at least two of us fighting for just one spot. So, it was all about not wanting to show our strategies.
Sometimes we don’t want to scrim with them, sometimes is the other way around. At the beginning of the season for example, we were the team to beat in the region so they wanted to hide their strategies and whatnot, then we got in a bad shape and we felt like we needed to hide what we prepare. It’s been a hectic season, really.
I see. Ok, the grand finals are just about to begin, who do you think will win EPICENTER this year?
I think the LGD guys are gonna break their curse here. They look very solid
Thanks for your time and good luck further in the season.