Today Virtus.pro’s offlaner Pavel “9pasha” Khvastunov is making a lifetime commitment by marrying to his longtime girlfriend, Linda. We, at VPesports want to congratulate the young couple on tying the knot and we invite you to read our interview with 9pasha done on the press day at TI8.
Pasha was in very good spirits after securing an upper bracket seed so we’ve been fortunate to talk to him, touching on several topics. From teams form at TI8, how TI is a life-changing experience and his wedding, to games he plays when he wants to relax and a bit of his view on the CIS Dota scene.
Hello Pasha and congrats on the upper bracket seed in the TI8 Main Event. How do you feel after the long four-day marathon of Round Robin group stage matches?
All we wanted was to secure the upper bracket, and now that we actually did it, I must say it feels pretty cool. We are happy that we achieved what we wanted, however now we see that we don’t have the perfect match-ups going into the playoffs, but we will try our best.
Do you have any team that you really want to play against here, at TI8?
We already have all these teams in our bracket wing. We have LGD, if we win we will play versus Liquid I suppose, after that there will be Evil Geniuses I think, so yeah, we got all the better teams already. But if you ask me personally, who I would like to play against on the main stage, it’s Team Liquid because I want to take revenge for what happened at TI7. [ed. note: VP were eliminated at TI7 by Liquid).
Anyways, this is by far the strongest TI ever in terms of how good all the teams here are and I feel like this is one of those times when really anything can happen. I simply can’t say how we will do in the main event or who will reach the grand finals and who will win the whole thing. Of course, I hope it will be us, but we will see. Again, judging on the group stage matches, we have the strongest teams here.
So, is it a bit of a rivalry between you and Mind_ControL and you need to settle once and for all who is a better offlaner?
We both are just a little bit rounded, a bit fat you know, that’s all we have in common I guess. We have pretty different hero pool, we play differently and I don’t think any of us is afraid to lane against the other. I just want this matchup, VP vs Liquid for TI7 revenge, that’s all.
Since we started this DPC season and until the group stage matches here, in Vancouver, Virtus.pro was extremely feared because of your super aggressive and at the same time extremely successful play style. However, once the groups started, we discovered that everyone is playing now fast tempo games and super aggressive strategies, everyone is looking to win the laning stage, do you feel threatened that you are not so unique anymore?
Yes, everyone is playing aggressive now, but we are still better at it than most of the teams here. We got to this point where everybody is playing this way because the laning stage is very important when you play 2-1-2. And when you have the heroes spread like this, the public match-making strategies are the ones that work the best.
What’s your take on Winstrike, do they have a chance to make a memorable lower bracket run here?
I hope so. We were all looking at their last game on the last day in the groups, the tiebreaker vs Invictus Gaming, we were sitting with their coach and we really wanted them to win that series.
But you all are good friends with the Winstrike boys, right? I mean at Epicenter Ramzes even gave them his lucky jacket and they made it top 3 there.
Yah, that’s true, they are one of the few teams that are kind to us and always been friendly, which is not a common thing among the CIS Dota teams. CIS teams tend to be rude all the time, to pose themselves as enemies to everyone, not competitors, you know there is a difference between these two. So many teams in CIS, they feel like they don’t need to have friends or develop any kind of friendship with anyone, they just want to be the best and if I’m allowed to say it, they just don’t give a flying f**k about how they will get there, about what they are saying, about what they are doing and so on.
Valve announced the Artifact release date for November this year. Will you give it a try?
I’m definitely interested in playing it, but I haven’t been playing any card game in a very long time. I’m sure I’m going to buy it for my wife, but for my competitive career I think I’m sticking to Dota 2. To be honest, sometimes I still need some games to play to disconnect. You know, when you play Dota2 for very long time, with no breaks, nothing to relax your mind a bit, you start to make bad moves, to take bad decisions. So, maybe, I don’t know, maybe Artifact will be just the perfect game to take a small break.
You don’t have a special place in your heart for StarCraft anymore?
No, no, no. StarCraft is one of the reasons, or perhaps the main reason I got kicked from Vega Squadron so, no, I haven’t played this game since then. I was playing StarCraft on one of the Majors and I played really bad for Vega in that tournament because of that. One day they just told me: “Pasha, you’re at a Dota 2 Major, can you play Dota?” I said no, I play StarCraft… [he starts to laugh]
You did a lengthy interview for the Russian community back in April where you said: “my future really depends on what will happen at TI8.” Can you elaborate a little bit about what did you meant back then? I know you plan to get married after this TI, right?
Yeah, I’m having the wedding three days after I will get home from here, so no matter if I win or lose here, that will happen. What I said back then was about my Dota 2 career, because, who knows, maybe if we win this TI, maybe it will be enough for me.
— Virtus.pro (@virtuspro) August 31, 2018
You know what they say, that TI is a life-changing event, but I hope your fans will see you playing in the next season. Speaking of the DPC season, which is not that far away anymore, can you give me your thoughts on the new rules, especially on the no roster lock one?
This is a hard question, really. I think the roster lock change will be good because I feel like in this past season it was really rude in terms of what happened to some of the teams. Yeah, it was really hard to make a shuffle during the season because of the DPC points, and in the most part, the teams did everything possible to stay together. At the same time, the no roster lock rule for the new season is strange. For example, if I have enough points I can just leave VP and make my own team with my dog and still get to TI because I have enough points. How is that fair?
I can actually picture you walking on the TI red carpet with your dog, but have you played against the OpenAI bots yet?
I still haven’t, but I hope they will give us the chance. I really hope I get to play against these bots, I really want to try to beat them.
We’ve been chatting for a while now and I know you have a super busy press day schedule so I won’t take too much of your time. Thanks for talking to us, good luck in the main event and good weather on your wedding day.
Thank you for having me.