Last Sunday BOOM Esports delivered a memorable grand final series against TNC Predator in the ESL One Thailand. Although they lost in the final fifth game of the grand finals, BOOM Esports can return to the practice games with a lot of positive ideas to take from their admirable tournament run.
Right after the event was over we’ve been able to talk to BOOM’s midlaner Rafli Fathur “Mikoto” Rahman and tried to learn more about him, his love for the game, his trajectory from a casual to a professional player, what were the main reasons for his team’s boost in performance at ESL One Thailand, what would he change in that fifth game to take down TNC and, of course, we were curious to know if he is down to push for the 11K MMR milestone during the short break before the next tournament.
Hello, and congrats for the amazing ESL One Thailand run. You guys seem to thrive in the online format, so let me start by asking if you are all together in a team house, bootcamp or is everyone at their home?
Thank you! We’ve been together at the bootcamp for a couple of weeks. For the past 3-4 months, since the coronavirus I think, we have been playing from our homes and this is the first tournament that we played from the bootcamp.
Oftentimes we saw pro players from various regions saying that they lost motivation during these trying pandemic times. How are you coping with the lack of LANs and no TI this year?
Well, actually it’s the same for everybody I think. I feel kind of bored just playing online tournaments and we are really waiting for TI. It’s pandemic times… there’s nothing you can do about it…but if you look at the whole situation from a different perspective, it’s good, because we can improve ourselves before the DPC time comes.
Besides the excitement and the emotions brought by LAN tournaments, what else did you miss the most during the lockdown period?
Probably to travel to other countries and try some good food in some nice places. Well, all I want is this pandemic to just end so we can play some LAN tournaments again.
Let’s get back to Dota. You were so close to actually winning the ESL One Thailand trophy, if you could remake that game 5, what would be the biggest change you would do to have a different outcome?
I think I want to change our last pick and the first two heroes that we banned. But yeah, it’s our fault in that game 5. Personally, I think we kind of played badly in the last game, so we need to prepare more for the next tournament…
You’ve played Venomancer in the mid lane this tournament and crushed with it, March played it from position 5, is this hero truly broken or are you guys too good with it?
For this patch, I think everybody finds this hero rather overpowered and annoying at the same time. You can’t really do anything about those Plague Wards.
What are your thoughts on the current meta, do you enjoy it?
Well I’m a Dota player and I have played this game for a long time, so for sure it’s always nice to spend time on it. Even if the patches are always changing the game, it’s still a lot of fun.
What would you like to see changed in the next patch?
Nothing much probably some nerfs for op heroes like Sven, Magnus, Io.
The drafting stage was changed in 7.27 How has the ban change from 4-1-1 to 2-3-2 affected the gameplay?
It makes the first ban phase really important and you need to think really well about what heroes you want to pick before the banning. Plus, every patch has 3-4 OP heroes and because of that, you will always end up struggling in the drafting stage.
Clairvoyance has joined you guys recently in the coaching position. How is it working with him, what input is he bringing to the team?
He is a really smart guy and we really trust him. He makes us understand what’s our power and what are the weaknesses we need to work on. He teaches me a lot of things and I think even my teammates listen to him pretty well.
Is he with you guys in Indonesia?
No, he is coaching online from Canada.
Recently Indonesia recognized Esports as an official sports branch, what are the direct and most immediate benefits for the pro players from this. Will you be able to apply for an athlete Visa, for example, when we will return to LAN tournaments?
I’m not really sure about that, but I hope so…I don’t really watch the news about that.
It’s been almost half a year since you hit 10K MMR, will you use the break after the ESL One Thailand to aim for the 11K milestone?
Well I’m kind of getting motivated after losing to TNC and I will probably take a few weeks or months even to see how my pub games are going.
You are fairly new to the competitive scene and if I’m not mistaken BOOM Esports is actually your first big organization. When did you start playing Dota 2 and how did you decide to make a professional career out of it?
I think my first time playing Dota 2 was around 2016/2017. It was just out of nowhere and I didn’t really set a target on becoming a pro player at that time. I remember my first teammate was just asking me if I wanted to play in some tournament and back then I was in high school, so I had plenty of time to play Dota. I found it really fun to play this game, so I kept playing.
Did you get the family support right from the beginning, are they watching your games now, are they following your progress?
Yeah, they support me pretty well and they always watch my games. Even when I lose a tournament, they try to cheer me up.
What do you like to do outside of Dota 2, what is your favorite activity to relax, to move your mind from the game when you have a break?
I like to play chess. I actually play chess quite often because it doesn’t take much time…I also enjoy playing badminton.
We’ve reached the end of our interview. Thanks a lot for your time and if you have something to add for the BOOM fans or any shout-outs to make, please go ahead!
I want to thank the BOOM fans for always supporting us. We got second place now at ESL One Thailand, but we will do better in the next tournament, we are aiming for the championship title.