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Gambit Esports will go head to head today with Alliance in a battle for the final spot to TI9 via DPC points. The two will play onto the EPICENTER stage, in front of Gambit’s home crowd. The day before the big battle we had the chance to talk to Nikita “Daxak” Kuzmin to find out how he and his team are preparing and how do they feel going into the series.  

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Hello Daxak, thanks for taking the time to talk to us, although this is an important practice day for you guys, right?

We take it as a day to rest, to be honest. We want to recharge our batteries for the main event. We are trying to relax a bit and be prepared for the next game.


Your next game is super important, it’s against Alliance. The winner will qualify for TI9 via DPC points, how do you feel going up against them?

I would say that we are on the same level with Alliance, it’s been like this for the whole year, so we both have a good chance at winning.


But I guess the crowd here will be with you. 

I think so, I hope so. I mean let’s be real, it’s not an LGD series and it’s no tier one team against us. Alliance are pretty much the same with us. It’s a pity it came down to us two battling for this TI9 spot because I like them, I know their players from HoN times, I’m friends with everyone on that team. I know them all before I switched to Dota, well, everyone except Qojqva. So, yeah it kind of feels bad that we have to fight against them.


Would not winning tomorrow affect the team in some way? Did you come to this last Major with no other objective than the TI tickets and anything below that would be unacceptable?

We obviously want that TI spot, we will be really sad if we lose tomorrow, but it won’t be the end of the world. It’s pretty bad to finish in the 9th-12th place, but if we had played better through the whole season, we wouldn’t be in this situation, right? If we will have a bad day tomorrow, we still have the CIS qualifiers to go.


Let’s talk a bit about your Lone Druid, you are one of the few players to build Mask of Madness on it. How and why did you decide to use that build?

Matumbaman. He is without a doubt the best Lone Druid player, so you steal everything from him and try to make it work with your play style and with your team’s strategy. But, I don’t think that this Lone Druid is a super strong or a super good pick for us. The hero has 40% win rate or something like that. It’s not that much, to be honest, but for some reason, people are still scared of it. 


iNSaNiA told us at the StarLadder Minor that he finds this hero truly OP right now. Don’t you agree with him?

I agree that he is a strong hero, but you need to pick him later in the draft because if the enemy team knows how to play against Lone Druid, they will counter you super hard.


When are you going to see your Visage again?

I don’t know. Valve, Icefrog, please help me!


So he’s still not good.

Yeah, I think so, he is still weak in the lane, he simply is too slow. 

But wouldn’t you agree that this 7.22 should have changed the pace of the game, should have brought longer games? Yet we still see a lot of 20 minutes stomps, why is that happening?

Yeah, I agree that it should have been like that. Theoretically, the games should go into a late stage more often, but the reality is different. They nerfed auras, they nerfed the heroes with strong pushing abilities, the towers got some extra armor, so all these things were meant for making the games last longer, but it seems like it didn’t work as intended. The game is still played super quick.


But why, what’s the reason behind the fast-paced games now?

I don’t know. It’s all about the people and about how they approach the game.


Is there anything on this patch that you find rather unbalanced, overpowered even?

I don’t think so. There are some heroes like Templar Assassin or Chen that even though they got nerfed recently, they are still pretty good and priority picks for some teams, but I don’t think they are broken or anything like that. 

What do you think about this consumable Aghanim’s Scepter drop from Roshan? I’ve heard several people saying that you should get a message in all chat of what item dropped, Refresher Shard or Aghs and who picked it, same as you get with the Aegis. What do you think, is it annoying that you don’t know who picked what?

The Aghanim’s drop is a 50% chance on the third, fourth Roshan kill, so you usually are around the 50-60 minute mark. No Aghanim’s Scepter should take you by surprise in that stage of the game. Even if Roshan would not drop an Aghs, any enemy support player could make it for himself, even a position 5 can make an Aghs in 60 minutes. 

This is the last Major tournament in the DPC season and most likely, it’s the last time we will see so many tier one teams playing on a LAN before TI9. Would you like to see Valve making small gameplay updates this month leading up to TI9? 

Yes! I really like when patches are coming more often and don’t have these super big changes.

Let’s talk a bit about the CIS qualifiers for The International 2019. Is it really a lot of competition in the region for that one ticket?

I think it is, yes. Everything is pretty random in CIS right now, to be honest. Like, Team Spirit can lose in the open qualifiers to any no-name team and then go and beat Evil Geniuses 2-0.

So, yeah I guess you really want to avoid all that randomness. It’s time for us to wrap up the interview, anything you would like to say to your fans?

Thank you for all your support guys, we will fight hard and do our best to secure that TI invite here, on the EPICENTER stage.

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