Vikin.gg have recently surprised everyone with their performance at ESL One Los Angeles Online. They eliminated Team Secret and Alliance from that event to finish the tournament in third place. In the meantime, they also won two other smaller tournaments and they are currently playing in the second division of WePlay! Pushka League.
As their schedule cleared a bit recently, we’ve been able to catch Vikin.gg’s mid lane player Miroslav “BOOM” Bičan to talk about the team’s success, how did they develop as a group, what’s the workflow for his team and what did it take for him to make the transition from casual to professional play.
Hi BOOM and thanks for taking the time to talk to us, although I know you are in a bit of a break after an intense month. Let’s start from the very beginning, how did you get into Dota 2?
I got into Dota 2 like most of the other people, I guess. I was playing Heroes of Newearth (HoN) with my friends and at some point we just made the natural transition to Dota. I really enjoyed it from the first games and I started to get better at it faster than my friends, so I started to think that I could actually make a living out of it.
Around what year was it when you switched from HoN to Dota 2?
It was around 2014, I think.
Have you played HoN with any of the professional players that also made the swap to Dota 2?
No. I mean, I was kind of bad at HoN. I was 14 years old or younger when I was playing it and it was just something I was doing for fun, very casual.
Did you get the family support when you decided that you want to go pro?
Not really. At the beginning, they weren’t happy at all about my plans. I actually dropped out of high school because I wanted to spend more time training and they didn’t like it at all. I actually had to move out and I went to live with one of my friends, Hajadlo, he is a Czech Dota 2 player as well. I stayed at his place for a bit more than a month until my parents calmed down and told me that I can come back home. At some point, they realized that this is the only thing I want to do with my life right now and they are fully supporting me.
In the previous DPC season, right before TI9, we had a Czech team that was about to make a breakout, I’m talking about Hippomaniacs. Supream^ and SabeRLight from that roster are now with Ninjas in Pyjamas. Is Dota 2 a popular game in the Czech Republic?
I think Dota 2 is the least popular game in the Czech Republic. I think CS:GO, Fortnite, League of Legends are way more popular. It’s not possible to make a living out of Dota 2 here if you want to play on a national team/roster.
When did you have the first official match or the first Dota 2 experience on more of a professional level?
It was sometime in 2016 or 2017. I was playing with some of my Czech friends in some really small tournaments. Those that didn’t even have a prize pool, just maybe some Dota 2 cosmetics as prizes.
Did you play mid right from the beginning, or did you start with a different role?
In competitive I always played mid, but sometimes in pubs I’m switching to carry. I do that mainly when the meta is not fitting my heroes too well.
Are there any players who inspired you to make the transition to pro?
Yes of course. Dendi was my idol back in the day. Now it’s SumaiL.
Too bad he switched to carry, I guess. You don’t get to see him play mid too often these days.
Well, I’d say it’s good because I’m sure he would destroy me in the mid lane.
You are the newest member of Vikin.gg. You came to fill in the spot left empty by Tanner when he moved to NiP. How did you get on the team?
I am friends with Aramis and Seleri because we used to play party ranked when the 5 man ranked was a thing, and I actually played in the DreamLeague Leipzig Major qualifiers with SworDDarK (SDK) and we were on the same group with Vikin.gg. So I got to play against them as well, in an official game. SDK didn’t do well in those qualifiers, but I guess I stood out and when Tanner left Vikin.gg, they reached to me.
What changed for you since joining Vikin.gg, do you feel like you are improving, that you see the game from a different perspective now that you get to work with a coach and all?
Yeah, I definitely already feel I’m improving. This is my first experience playing with such a good team. I didn’t have any expectations when I joined and it’s surreal how far we got so fast. When I started to play on the team, in January, we used to have 3-4 scrims and then watch the replays for about 2 hours. Now we don’t even have to watch the replays all the time because we understand so much better what went well and what we did wrong right after the game is over. We also don’t make that many mistakes anymore.
I’ve seen one of your winner’s interviews at ESL One where you gave a shout out to your coach, ImmortalFaith. Tell us a bit more about his work with you guys, how much is he involved in the drafts?
He is usually preparing for every team we are going to play. He does all the research, and he does the openings for each game, he has the first two or three heroes already decided and when it comes to the cores, like position one or two, because we usually leave them for last picks, he asks for opinions. We mostly draft together.
Is he also staying and analyzing with you the replays?
Yeah, especially now, when everyone is playing from their home, he streams the replay in Discord for us and he is showing to us the important things we need to be aware of. What we did wrong and all that stuff.
You have a few different nationalities on the team, how is the communication going and who is making the calls?
The communication is perfectly fine; I’d say that I’m the worst at English. Regarding the calls, I wouldn’t say that we have an in-game leader or a captain. Perhaps Seleri is talking the most because he is five and he calls the smokes and the rotations, etc, but usually, we understand our roles in the game, the timings and what we have to achieve, and the player that is supposed to make the call, he just makes it.
Going into ESL One LA, did you guys set a goal for yourselves?
We didn’t set a goal, but we scrimed with most of the teams playing in the tournament and we played a lot of small tournaments as well, like for a month before ESL we had official matches, which served us very well. So we felt really prepared to play against the big names.
You really took everyone by surprise. Do you think that it was partly the underdog effect where everyone underestimated you?
It helped for sure to be the underdog, but we also were very prepared for that event.
Did you scrim against any of the big teams – Secret, Nigma, VP, OG – before the tournament?
Yes, we scrimed with Secret the most. So we knew that we could definitely beat them. We were looking to play them the most in that tournament.
How much of an effect did the patch have on your success, was the current meta more suited to your playstyle?
It’s weird when a patch drops in the middle of a tournament, but I don’t think it had an impact on our playstyle at that time. To be honest we didn’t notice any big difference.
But do you think you could have defeated OG in the lower bracket finals if that patch wouldn’t have happened?
No. We first phase banned 33’s Chen in all games because it was so hard to prepare against it, they were playing it in all potions, so we banned it, but they were definitely the better team.
What went wrong in the WePlay! Pushka League qualifiers finals against OG.Seed?
We were exhausted. We didn’t have a day off for a month straight or even a bit more. We played all those small tournaments, then we played the ESL One tournament and the WePlay! qualifiers. Also while we were playing ESL we were also playing in two other small events. Some of the days we have 2-3 series in a row and we got burned out and we just played super bad in that OG.Seed series.
Then it’s worth mentioning that in the meantime, since the WePlay! Pushka League qualifiers, you also won another two small tourneys SIGUL Pro League and SECTOR DOTA 2 Season 2. Congrats on those, and tell us how do you plan to spend your little vacation after all this madness?
I’m just going to sit at home and chill out a bit. Maybe I’ll play some pubs, but I honestly don’t know. We had such a packed month, I’ll probably just rest a bit.
Rest and think about the 7.26b patch? It was just released and I’d like to hear your initial thoughts about it.
It seems like they want to slow the pace of the game a bit, but I don’t understand why they would want to do that. I was looking at the talents nerf, and to be honest I don’t fully understand why they would make them 20% less effective, why they would make nerfs like that.
From the ESL One LA games it looks like you guys are enjoying playing some of the Mars combos. Mars-Snapfire for example. Do you think Mars should get some attention from icefrog, get nerfed or changed somehow?
I hope some of the combos will get somehow nerfed. For instance, you can’t team fight like ever into Mars-Phoenix.
What are the near future plans for Vikin.gg?
Right now we are playing in Division 2 of Pushka League, but we mostly have a week off. After that, I hope we will get to play more tournaments.
Thanks for your time, wish you best of luck and I hope we get to talk at a LAN tournament sooner rather than later.