During media day at MDL Chengdu we’ve been able to sit and talk to Team Liquid’s offlaner, Samuel “Boxi” Svahn, who gave us a bit of insight on why the team underperformed before the Major and what changed from Dreamleague Rotterdam and ESL One Hamburg to the Major in China. We didn’t miss the chance to speak about the lower bracket matchup versus Alliance, of course, and about some of the OP heroes of the current meta.
The interview was conducted by Yuhui Zhu on November 21, 2019.
Hi Boxi, and thank you for taking the time to talk to us, although you have a big day ahead of you. Top eight secured at the first Major, congrats on that. Are you content with the results so far, or did you hope for something different coming to Chengdu?
We don’t have the super good teams at this Major, of course, Vici Gaming and TNC are looking good, very scary, but if we had all the other top team, I would have been ok with a top eight. But, without the other teams here, I actually hope to go at least top four. If we hadn’t lost to J.Storm, we would have been closer to that goal now, we would have top six secured. That was a disappointing loss for us because we feel like we did a lot of mistakes in that series. That’s always disappointing, no matter against who you play.
I guess it’s not easy to fill in the shoes of the former Team Liquid roster. Did you feel any sort of external pressure from the fans, from the community in general, when you started playing in the new jerseys and did that had an impact on your first LAN appearances?
No matter what, it will take time to get really good, we are still improving. The old Liquid roster was very popular, very successful as well, they were one of the best teams in the world, they have a lot of fans, while I started to play Dota competitively a little over three years ago. So, I understand if people are a little disappointed right now that we are not as good as the old Liquid, but we are not the same team. We are five completely different players and I don’t care that much of what they have done, I’m more focused on accomplishing something for ourselves, to be our own team. I think that we will do well, but it will take time.
You started super well at the Major by taking the first seed in Group D, how did you prepare for this event, what changed from DreamLeague Rotterdam and ESL One Hamburg?
Before DreamLeague and ESL we haven’t really gotten a lot of practice because we were still kind of in the post TI break. We’ve done some scrims, but not so much obviously, and at DreamLeague I got really sick as well, and it’s always hard to play Dota when you’re feeling ill. After those two events and the poor results we got, we understood that we need to practice really hard for the Major. So, we bootcamped and practiced as much as we could, and I think it shows that we are not so rusty anymore.
So, the two events were sort of a wake-up call.
Yes, a little bit, but at the same time, because they weren’t DPC tournaments, they weren’t so important either.
Given the fact that EG haven’t played on any of the pre Major tournaments, did you expect to take them down, here?
I think that EG are also not very practiced right now and they also changed some players. We always had some good games against them, so I’m ok going up against EG. I’m more scared of the other tier one teams.
In the group stage match-up, they took game one from you with Alchemist, after that you prioritized the first bans on it, on Chen and on the Morph-ES combo. Are these the most broken heroes of the patch?
Chen yeah, he is very, very broken. Morph-Earthshaker isn’t something that we practiced, but it’s also a very good combo. Regarding the Alchemist, I don’t think he is broken, but I think EG is probably one of the best teams at playing it. We played versus them many times before where they first picked Alchemist and we decided that this is something we don’t want to play against.
I’d say Puck looks super OP in your hands as well. We know you to be an offlaner that likes to play aggressive but who also likes the beefy heroes, Mars, Bristlleback, Brewmaster, to name a few. How did you decide in that game three vs EG that Puck is the answer to their push line-up? Was the pick your call or was it something that you guys practice from before?
No, that was not something that we have practiced, but I used to play mid Puck back then, and I just felt it for that game. I was like, yeah I want to play Puck offlane here. EG didn’t have instant stuns in that game, they had Kunkka, Dazzle, Lycan and none of these heroes can kill Puck. And with the Drow Ranger aura on your side, it basically means that you can split push and take towers without risking your life for it. A really good way to counter heavy pushing line-up is to split push, and that’s what we did. However, Puck as a hero overall is a little bit weak.
So, Team Liquid vs Alliance is going to happen in the lower bracket. What are your thoughts going into this elimination series and how do you think you match up against the Alliance line-up?
It will be very fun to play against them. Both teams really want to win, not only because it’s a Major and you want to stay alive in the tournament, but also because of all the history going on. I’m pretty confident that we will win. The last time we played them, we were very out of practice and the games were still pretty even. We obviously watched some of their games to prepare for this and I think that they are not as strong as other teams in this tournament. Don’t get me wrong, they are good, but they are not a team that I’m scared of.
We are going to have regional qualifiers pretty soon after this Major and everyone expects that Secret, the Kuro team and perhaps OG will be back for that. What do you think about the slots allocations, should Europe get back the extra slot starting with the Leipzig Major?
Yes, I think Europe should get three slots. To be honest, if all these three teams come back then Europe should have even four slots for the Major after the one in Leipzig. But, it all depends on how everyone’s form will be. If OG will not repeat their previous season start, where they didn’t have the best results in the beginning, but came and destroyed everyone at TI, if Secret will also come to crush the DPC events, I think Valve will look at how the region does overall at the next Major and will decide based on that.
Mid December you guys are heading to the One Esports Invitational in Singapore, have you been there before?
I was to Singapore once, when I was like 12 years old, it’s like 10 years ago, and I liked it. I remember it was a very clean city and I remember I thought it would be cheaper there, but it was in fact kind of expensive.
How about here, in Chengdu?
No, this is not so much cheaper either. But, Singapore I think it will be a bit different for us than here. In China, it can be a lit bit hard because a lot of people don’t really speak English and I don’t speak any bit of Chinese, but in Singapore, I think it is a little bit higher English speaking population, so maybe we can finally speak to people there.
Do you have anything specific place on your mind that you might want to visit while you will be there?
The problem with travelling to tournaments is that you don’t actually have time to do other things. For example, even now, when we have a day off at the Major, we will use it to practice. So, unless you get knocked out first, in which case you are probably too depressed to actually leave your room, you don’t have time for other stuff. I know that there are Universal studios in Singapore and I would like to visit those, but I don’t know if will actually have the time to do it.
Ok, we reached the end of our interview, I wish you good luck in your next series here at the Chengdu Major, and if you have any shootouts to do, now would be the time for it.
I’d like to thank everyone who tried to cheer us up. We’ve gotten some hate for leaving Alliance, so it was uplifting when we got people that were nice to us and left positive comments going through that transition. So, I would like to thank all the people who helped us stay motivated.