OG’s coach from The International 2018, Cristian “ppasarel” Banaseanu has recently given an interview for the Romanian Dota 2 community, where he talked about TI8 from his perspective, about the challenges he faced through his entire career, starting with DotA1 days and ending with the most recent amazing achievement at The International 2018.
The interview was conducted in Romanian by PROeSports and posted on their website and on their Facebook page. We are grateful to the Romanian outlet for allowing us to translate this interview fully and share it with our readers.
We want to hear how was The International experience from your perspective
This being my second TI as a coach, I actually knew beforehand a couple of things we should expect. I mean I already knew how the “system” worked, what kind of perks we have once we get there, what kind of problems could appear, etc. The biggest difference now was that the coaches could join the team in the booth during the drafting phase.
But if you ask me about something that impressed me this year, then I must say I was shocked by the distant attitude between the players from different teams this year, compared to how it was at TI5. For example, in the past you could see at breakfast players from different teams sitting at the same table, it was something normal to go to someone from another team and have a small conversation, at least a “hey man, what’s up”, you could exchange some words, you know, do a minimum socialization. This year I saw so many players preferring to sit alone at a table if their team wasn’t there, although the room was full of other players, of people they knew. However, this attitude stopped once the TI was over because you know, the shuffle started right there [he laughs].
“…he was dreaming every night that he won TI. So, the first thing he was doing in the morning was to check the internet to see if it’s for real or if it was just a dream.”
How do you and the team feel now, after realizing you won the biggest esports tournament?
Well, to be honest, after we defeated Evil Geniuses in the upper bracket, none of us could sleep properly anymore. Although we were extremely, extremely tired, the adrenaline kicked in and it started to pump through our veins so hard. I actually have a funny story about N0tail. After TI was over he still couldn’t believe that they won it. For days after the event, he was dreaming every night that he won TI. So, the first thing he was doing in the morning was to check the internet to see if it’s for real or if it was just a dream.
I am extremely happy for the guys winning TI. As for me, at this event, it was more important to validate some of the things I believed in, some things that I always wanted to put in practice with other teams I coached in the past, but I simply didn’t have the people to work with. It’s like B0ne7 told me once, all I wished to do as a coach in the past was in vain because back then, people were simply not listening. The biggest problem with the teams I worked before was that they simply didn’t follow what I was telling to them, so basically, all my coaching work was for nothing.
“There is a price you have to pay for a pro career”
After such a success at TI do you consider to start playing competitively again?
No, not really. Maybe I’ll come occasionally at local, Romanian tournaments. You can’t really do anything else if you want a pro career as a player. Even when I was playing on a high level in DotA 1, I wasn’t actually fully committed. Sadly, I came to realize that back then even though I had a social life, I was going to the University and all, I was still more dedicated to the gaming part than I see some of the teams are today. Teams that you’d expect to be 100% dedicated… There is a price you have to pay for a pro career, it’s up to you if you want to sacrifice relationships and a lot of other things in your life for that. As a coach, you don’t have to spend as much time as a player should. In the end, the coaching work comes down to your capability to find the optimal structure for your team, to logic, mathematics, etc. It’s not about your actual practice in the game.
A lot of the Romanian Dota 2 fans asked how did a fellow countryman end up training the best Dota 2 teams in the world.
When I was playing DotA I noticed a young guy who, to be perfectly honest, was pretty bad at the game, but who showed a lot of potential. He had that something extra, you could tell he was ready to do all the sacrifices to become a pro. He was perseverant, he was willing to give up on everything else to embrace a pro career, that boy is Armand “B0ne7” Pittner. So, I took him under my wing and I taught him everything I knew about DotA. Years went by, I had to take “a real life” job, Dota grew, it exploded into the biggest esports game, B0ne7 became a Dota 2 professional player and one day he called me and asked if I could come as a coach at TI4. I couldn’t do it, so I had to turn him down. Before TI5 he called me again and I felt extremely bad to say no to him again, so I went to coach Cloud9, his team from back then. This is how I met N0tail. After I met him I realized he is the most serious player from Cloud9 and the most serious player I knew, a person with whom I’d like to play and work anytime. After TI5, he wanted to do something together, but I really wanted to continue with B0ne7 and B0ne7’s plans didn’t include N0tail. We kept in touch me and N0tail, but we didn’t speak that much.
Then yeah, I kind of went losing one or two years coaching teams that wouldn’t listen to anything you have to say, that don’t even spend time practicing and I started to wonder if I should drop this idea completely. I was surrounded by toxicity, I was getting anxious and I was ready to quit esports for good when somehow, one day I talked to N0tail who needed a coach. I was literally about to quit everything, but when I talked to him I said, well, let’s try this, it doesn’t matter if this turns badly after a few weeks, when I already lost 2 years of my life trying to do this coaching job. From there on, it’s the TI8 Cinderella story.
“People have to understand that becoming a successful player is not a lottery”
What would you say today to someone who wants to become a professional player? What would be the words from coach Ppasarel to a young guy who dreams to make it to the biggest stages?
I’d tell him to make sure he understands the difficulty level of a path like this. I’d make sure he understands exactly what kind of sacrifices he needs to do, then I’d ask him to think if it’s worth for him. People have to understand that becoming a successful player is not a lottery. All the good, successful players got to this status after five, seven years of training. We see them now playing on The International stage or in other big event and we are tempted to say that they “came from nowhere”. That’s so wrong, they didn’t become this good over night, they have years of grinding behind them. It’s true that some develop faster, some slower, but each and every one of these big players trained for YEARS, not weeks, not months.
There are so many aspects in a professional career, aspects which people still consider stupid and they are not willing to pay attention to for some reason. There are people who still train during evenings for a year, they make it to TI and then they complain that they had games scheduled at 10 a.m and played badly because of it. It’s really sad to see that so many don’t take into consideration and don’t think about these basic things, that they are not willing to have a proper schedule in their day by day life, that that they simply refuse to understand that a professional career at a high level is hard to achieve and even harder to maintain.
So, my advice to anyone who wants to become a pro is to look at these phenomenal athletes, the Romanian guys, for example, can research and learn something from what Simona Halep, Nadia Comaneci, Hagi did from young years to become who they are today. Try to learn something from them and try to understand what aspects and principles can be applied to a professional Dota 2 career.
What do you wish for OG this year?
To win a TI looks like the hardest thing to do in Dota 2. Then people come and tell you that actually winning two Internationals is the hardest thing, because nobody did it so far, and they are right. But for me, the hardest thing in Dota 2 is to have a team you wish to play with until this game dies, to have a team where you feel good with all the people around you while doing good on the competitive scene. And this is what I wish for OG.
Right now, Romania doesn’t have an esports scene. Why do you think is that?
It depends on what we understand by “esports scene”. We have super good internet so everybody has the possibility to become a good player. Obviously, you need a decent computer, electricity, food, water, etc. We are not talking about exceptions because so many young dudes have the possibility now in Romania to become really good, but they do nothing with it. All they do is to complain about salaries like if they would have good salaries they would also play good. That’s ridiculous. Back in the day when I was still playing with TeG, we were paying money to attend events. And back then tournaments had no money to offer, and we were among the best teams in Europe. Who is serious about this, he will firstly show he is worth, that he is good, he makes himself noticed with the work he puts in this and then he will get contracts, the money he wishes and so on. I know cases where Romanian players were paid decently to play and they would still not even wake up for practice, and sadly these were the ELITES in Romania.
We have a mentality problem. Besides the fact that that Romanian players are not serious about their own careers. Dota 2 is a team game and it matters a lot to be able to empathize with your teammates, to be able to understand or to at least listen to other’s point of view, to be capable of being patient with someone who is angry, to be able to explain your thoughts, your ideas, you have to show up at those practice games. Romania is a total disaster at the teamwork chapter.
PGL organized so many cool things for the Romanian community, they did it at high standards production wise, but they had only 200 viewers on stream because the rest wants English commentary, because they say they don’t like the Romanian commentary and whatnot. Well, if you “don’t like the Romanian language”, then stop complaining that you can’t work with Romanians and that you don’t get paid by Romanians so you can be this unreliable Dota 2 player.
So, in short, my answer is: we are not educated, we lack common sense, if we would have these two basic things, the results would start to show because we have the “talents.”
How do you see the future of Romanian esports, I’m not talking strictly about Dota 2, but in general?
I’m a dreamer and I always have hope for the Romanian scene. But if we are to analyze this from a realistic perspective, leaving behind all the sentimentalism and what we wish for the Romanian esports, we will get to the conclusion that most probably we won’t see any results and any improvements too soon. We have a few examples of super ok persons in this industry and great players across multiple disciplines, like for example, Nightend in StarCraft and Ovi in Fifa, so there is hope that things can happen, but we have to put in the work for that.
When and where we can see OG again?
“We don’t have to be ALL TI winners to enjoy Dota 2”
Do you have a message for the Romanian Dota 2 players at the end of our interview?
We don’t have to be ALL TI winners to enjoy Dota 2. Dota is a super nice game but it gets you out of your comfort zone pretty fast if you want to become a pro. So, seriously guys, it’s ok to just have fun and relax playing it. If one million people train for the next TI then in one year, one million people minus five (or six now, with the coach) will be very sad.