The StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor didn’t go exactly as planned for Business Associates. The goal was obviously to return home with a ticket to the Los Angeles Major, instead, the NA team got knocked out in the group stage matches.
Our special reporter at the event, Taras Bortnik had the chance to sit down with Clinton “Fear” Loomis on the media day at the Minor and talked to him about the North American scene in general, the competitive scene there and about how everything might change next season with the arrival of Regional Leagues.
Hi Fear and welcome back to Ukraine, it’s been a while since you’ve been here.
Oh thank you, yeah I think it’s been over five years, it’s been a very long time since the last StarLadder event I’ve played in this arena.
You are here as free agents, or Business Associates as the team tag says. What happened to J.Storm?
It’s just that the organization ceased to exist, so we were left without a sponsor. We needed a new name coming to this Minor and we decided on Business Associates.
How did you come up with this name?
At first, when I talked with Moo, it was mainly a joke. He asked like “we’re friends, right guys?” and I just made a joke saying “nah, we’re just business associates,” but that happened while we were still J.Storm, like six months ago. But when we had to come up with a team name, we threw in some ideas, we didn’t want to go with a meme name and I kind of remembered about that joke and I said why not just be the Business Associates. We stuck with that and then when we arrived here and we were about to have the media day I didn’t want us to look trashy with just some random t-shirts so I said, why just not wear a suit.
Of course, you are here looking to grab that last spot to the Los Angeles Major. That’s the first Major tournament held in NA in about three years, is Dota still alive in your region?
It certainly doesn’t feel like it is some times. But hopefully, with this LA Major opening its doors for the fans and with the next season’s regional leagues, it will pick back up and will have more and more tournaments in NA. You know TI left NA too and that was a big thing. Hopefully, with all the new changes coming in the season, the NA Dota will be better.
Did you feel in some way abandoned by Valve after they took away the TI from NA?
Yeah, I do feel like that for the most part. It’s pretty obvious that Valve has been focusing heavily on Asia and Europe and not so much on NA. It kind of shows through the number of teams we have now in NA and the amount of tournaments we have in NA. I’d very much like to see a comeback for NA Dota, more tournaments, more players, that would be so good.
Perhaps next year’s Regional Leagues system will help?
Honestly, I’m a big fan of the league structure. I think it will be very good for scenes like NA. Being able to play more, being able to have regular matches, getting paid for playing even if you don’t do super well, everything about the league structure, I’m for.
Does NA have 16 teams to fill the league slots, Upper and Lower divisions, or do you think Valve should look in each region and perhaps adjust the league slots according to how competitive a region is?
Right now NA has like four or five competitive teams at most. In the current system, we have a combination between EG, Chaos, the PandaS, us and sometimes a random other team flying in the region, like we had NiP in the previous DPC qualifiers, we will take all the slots for the Major and Minor. Besides these teams, people always form stacks.
Every qualifier you play against newly formed stacks that are playing for fun, that don’t expect to win and it’s everything pretty random. But now that you will actually get paid for a top-five, you will get paid for placing, there’s probably going to be more competitive teams sticking together and growing.
Do you think that some tier two teams from a strong region might consider moving to NA for the next season and that might ruin the whole regional development, growing aspect?
They might, but I don’t think that any team can just move to NA and just crush the top five. The top five of NA are actually really good, at least online. On LAN, sometimes we might not have the best showing, but online we have a few very good teams and they are very competitive, so even if some teams want to come to NA and try to take these top 5 slots, I don’t think it will be that easy for them.
To be honest, I’d like to see them try, I want to have a more competitive scene, I want to play against top teams more and more so, if people want to come to NA, I’m more than happy to have more competition, better scrims, better pubs and everything else.
Back in 2018, you talked, or better said you wrote about the predetermined misconception set by the community that players should retire when they are around 30 years old. Do you feel like the mentality has changed in the meantime?
For a lot of people, yeah. When I made that post a lot of people were thinking that you should retire when you are around 27 years old. Back then I was getting these comments even in pubs, like” you’re 30, go get a life, stop playing.” I haven’t got any negative comments in a while, to be honest.
Perhaps the belief back then was like that because we actually didn’t have too many players in their 30, but now, as a lot of the pros are reaching this age, they are living proof that the pro career doesn’t end at this age.
Yeah, of course, we are like the pioneers of esports, there wasn’t anyone really before us. If you look at sports, some of the best players in the world are in their 30s, there’s plenty of data that shows that you can still be professional, competitive if you take care of your body. You know, someone who’s been training and playing competitively for their whole life, even if they get a bit older they’re still really good at it.
How often are you approached by younger players or newcomers who look at you as an idol?
Oh, I have a lot of players that give me praises for my TI, like “you’re the best Gyrocopter,” because I won TI with it, or “you’re a legend,” things like that. But as much as I obviously enjoy all these praises, what I’m trying to do is to transition and make a name for myself as a support player, as a captain, as a leader.
I just saw an interview with Rapha of Team Liquid after he won the Quake Pro League and he was saying that once he got older he had to prioritize quality over quantity in his training. Is it something that resonates with you as well? I mean, simply put, how much Dota you play per day now?
On average, I play around 5 games per day, I mean I just played 7 games this morning, but this is a long day. Generally speaking, when I’m training I do 6 to 8 games a day. When I’m home I’m dropping down to 3 to 5 per day.
How do you find the pubs on the European servers, I only imagine you have played quite a few since you arrived in Ukraine.
They’re really good. I’m trying to get my MMR up here. I’m ranked 25 in NA which equates to probably rank 100 and something in EU. It’s really hard to high MMR in NA because the quality of players is worse and worse even in the high MMR brackets, while here I’m pretty low MMR, so I’m raising it pretty quickly.
You have a player from Peru on your team, MoOz, does he bring to the team any of his region ideas about how this game should be played?
MoOz is a support player, but he wants to be a flashy kind of solo hunting down, kill heroes, very aggressive type of support, living life on the edge. In a way, he is the perfect example if you want, for the wild Peruvian players. That’s kind of what he adds to our team, the aggressiveness.
He is also pretty young, how do you find a common language with him, is the age difference felt between you two?
I’m very familiar with being in this situation. I played with SumaiL who was 11 years younger than me, MoOz is 10 years younger. Of course, there are things that I won’t talk to him about. I don’t talk to him about my mortgage on my house, for example, but we talk about Dota just fine.
It’s time for us to wrap up this interview, thanks a lot for your time and I hope to talk to you again soon.
Thanks for having me.