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photo by: StarLadder

Old but Gold conquered the hearts of the Dota 2 fans present on the 9th of March in the  Cybersport Arena. A team formed just a month ago took down the TI8 Champions to secure a spot in the StarLadder ImbaTV Minor playoffs.

OBG is a mix of CIS veterans and youngsters all hungry for victory and willing to give their all in order to succeed. We had the chance to talk to Ilya “Illidan” Pivcaev right after Old But Gold’s victory over OG and here is what he had to say about his new team.

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Congrats on the win. I saw you literally shaking on the stage when OG called the GG, how do you feel now, we are about 15 minutes later?

I think I need a few hours to get rid of all the emotions I feel right now. I’m still trying to control myself because yeah, we played very well in this series, my teammates shined more than usual, everyone stepped up their game, except me I guess, but wow, we just won against the TI champions. Regardless of what people might think, OG is a very good team. I’m very proud of my teammates. I mean, today it was really our day. It felt like that.
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Old but Gold formed just a month and a bit ago. The first time we saw you was in the DreamLeague Season 11 qualifiers, then in a few other online games, tell me what would you say it’s the main thing that helped you improve so much as a team in such a short time?

Yeah, we formed just a week or so before the DreamLeague open qualifiers but I’m sure we play like three times better on LAN than in online games. I’m not even kidding, it’s f***ing three times better. It feels like in online tournaments some of us are just playing more poorly. I don’t know to say why, it’s just like that. We did a lot of work for those online games, we wanted to qualify, right? Half of us are already very experienced and we should be able to perform well on online games and all, but the LANs bring that extra motivational factor.

Is the LAN feeling something that you missed in the last few years?

For sure. That’s actually one of the reasons I joined VGJ.Storm as their coach at TI8.I think the LANs are the best part of the esports life.

The last time I spoke to you it was a long time ago, around the Nanyang event in Singapore back in 2015. You’ve changed several teams since then, even played in Europe for a while but you haven’t been present on LANs that much. Walk me a bit through all these years, what changed for you as a player? What are the experiences you treasure the most?

Yeah, I remember Singapore. I played three Majors since then, or three LANs better said. I was at the event which should have been a Major, Galaxy Battles, I was at ESL One Birmingham last year and at the Super Major right before TI8, that’s it. Before that, I played with Topson in an EU team, which was more of an experimental project for me.

I wanted to test myself in a European team and even though I wasn’t really succeeding, not even in the team with SyndereN, like compared with what we got right now, I learned so much from the EU players, I feel like I absorbed so much experience only by talking and playing with them every day. I learned how you can actually be so much more effective in terms of teamwork, team communication. I really lacked all this knowledge before playing in EU and this is why I rate my experience with the EU guys so much. I’m also extremely grateful for all the experienced I gathered with the VGJ. Storm guys.

Right now I want to play, but if I ever have to go back to coaching I will choose them again because I literally liked everyone on that team. I was so happy the time I worked with them and I learned a lot of things from them as well. I learned how to fix stuff in your team, which is so, so important. So yeah, I see the past few years like a big learning experience for me, and I hope I can now put in practice everything that I learned.

Hearing you say all these things, it makes me understand even better why you guys were so emotional at the end of the series with OG. You almost didn’t make it to Ukraine because of all the problems at the border. You spent more than 10 hours in airports a day before your first game here. How do you feel now, did the tiredness and all the frustration go away now?

I mean, we are still tired and we still feel the effect of what I think it was 13 hours spent on airplanes and airports back and forth. On the first day, we just played like some robots. Our first match on the stage was definitely fine, we were excited to finally be here, we were half asleep, have excited, but against EE’s team, Flying Penguins, we were just exhausted. But today, we already felt better, we just had a meaningful victory and we will feel better as the tournament progresses.


Did you come with a goal on your mind for this event, or did you guys just want to take this as a first big test for the team?

To be honest, after all the airport nonsense we were ready to go on stage and just GG out. We were like “ok, we made it to the actual LAN, we faced and defeated the end boss, the customs boss before the tournament actually started, now let’s go celebrate to a restaurant.” The way I’m always thinking about events is that you come and you do everything in your power to play your best Dota. You don’t give a s**t about goals. You just try your best and if you are good, then you deserve your spot in the finals or you deserve to be the tournament champion. We just follow one simple rule: one game at the time.

A lot of people call what you have shown here so far straight forward Dota, but played to perfection. Is it like that, do you rely a lot on some of your team veterans comfort picks and try to make them work in the current meta?

I’d say we definitely play what’s good in the current meta. There is no way we can bring back old strategies or things like that. The Guardian Greaves, all these aura buff strategies, we practiced them with regards to the current patch. At the same time, we definitely think that what we play right now it’s not enough to win versus tier one team, but it’s working for us now, for a team that was created a month ago.

Until we develop more as a team we will suffer against stronger teams, we know that. I am sure that we have no chance against Secret or Liquid right now, there is no way we can win against them if we would have to play them tomorrow. But no matter the result here at the Minor, we will continue to work hard. It doesn’t matter if we win or we lose this, we will push forward even harder.

Thanks a lot for taking the time to talk to us. Any shout-outs you might want to make at the end of our interview?

First of all, thanks to everyone who cheered for us today, here in the arena or anywhere in the world. I honestly didn’t expect the people in the arena to cheer for us today. Yeah, ok we are a CIS team on a CIS LAN, I get it. But still, the guys next to us were the freaking TI champions. It shouldn’t matter that we are from CIS, you have to pay tribute to their skill, right? I was so surprised by the fans today, pleasantly surprised. I don’t know why you cheered for us today, but thank you so much for that. Shout-out to my girlfriend who is back home, a shout-out to all my friends and to all the people watching from home.

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