On his day off at the ESL One Hamburg 2018, we got the chance to sit and talk to the Virtus.pro captain Alexei “Solo” Berezin, who told us who from his team deserves more the tournament MVP prize. We also talked a bit about why they changed their coach.
Hello Solo and thanks for taking the time to talk to us on your day off here at ESL One Hamburg 2018. This is VP’s first LAN in the new season, and you guys did super well in the group stage, except for the series against Team Aster. Historically speaking, the Chinese teams are known for starting the season slowly and then they get better or more serious as TI approaches. Did you expect Aster and Vici Gaming to be so prepared for this event?
To be perfectly honest with you, we didn’t expect them to play so well at this tournament, but still, losing only to Team Aster in the group stage I think it’s ok. Usually, at any event, in the group stage, you have the space to test some things, to read your opponent and then you start to change things for the playoffs.
So, the important part is the playoffs. We will see what happens when we will meet them there. We are going to play versus Vici Gaming tomorrow and I’m actually happy about it because between them and Aster, I think VG are stronger, they are more scary, more challenging, at least for us.
Speaking about how the group stage is the place for experiments, we saw some crazy stuff being played these past few days here. The Legion Commander and Brewmaster supports from Team Secret, the core Ogre Magi with Radiance and all from EVOS, paiN even played a support Ursa today. Do you think that the Chinese teams at this event are this flexible and are they thinking this much out of the box?
I think every team is open and flexible to play some weird heroes in this meta. And that’s because this meta is all about the laning stage. It doesn’t matter what hero in what position you play as long as you win the laning stage with it. You just need to make sure you go with strong double lanes. This is why we see the uncommon supports. Right now Axe, Brewmaster, Legion are very good in the fifth position. It doesn’t matter what items you have, you don’t play to secure these heroes farm, but to secure your core lane. So, yeah to answer the question, I think every team understands that now and are capable to surprise you, but we are prepared.
I guess you, as a team, really want that fourth Mercedes.
Yes, we want one more of those. We have two players who still need the car, Ramzess and Pasha, but honestly, Pasha needs it more. He just got married, he has a family now and it will make a very nice wedding present for him. Ramzzess is still very young, he doesn’t need it that much right now.
I have a short extra question about this topic. Unfortunately, yesterday the Virtus.pro brand got into a bit of a controversy with the “who’s gonna ride it this year” tweet, what was the closure of that drama, if there was one?
I actually didn’t even get to see that tweet because I’m trying to stay as far as possible from social media, especially during tournaments, but I saw the news about it and yeah, the guy or the social media crew responsible for that post already got replaced. Our CEO made an announcement about that.
To follow up to yesterday's incident I'd like to confirm we've ended all relationships with individuals who've been managing VP social media lately.We've also implemented additional internal protocols to ensure things like this never happen again. Once again, apologies for that.
— Roman Dvoryankin (@dvoryrom) October 26, 2018
I kind of have to ask you something that I don’t really want to, but you know, the clock is ticking, you are getting close to the age when most of the professional players are retiring. Are you thinking about that, do you have any plans in that direction?
No, don’t feel bad for asking, it’s a perfectly normal question to ask, I’m aware of the situation [he laughs]. Of course I’m thinking about that sometimes, but I signed a contract with VP until the end of 2019 and I intend to honor it. When 2019 will end, I’ll think again of what I want to do, I will evaluate my form at that moment and I will decide if it’s the time to end my career or not. I’m usually not making plans, I’ll just see how I feel at the end of the next year.
I’d like to talk to you a bit about ArtStyle and your new coach, Arsenij “ArsZeeqq” Usov. How is this change meant to impact the team, and why did you guys decide to make it?
That was a very hard decision for us because before anything else Artstyle is our friend, not only our coach. It was more about him not feeling that he is good at this meta, he had no fresh ideas and he realized this by himself. ArsZeeqq is younger than ArtStyle, he plays more Dota than him, he is watching a lot of tournaments, a lot of teams, he has his own opinion about Dota and he has a lot of new ideas. He is already helping us with the drafts and I feel that he joining us it’s like a new page for Virtus.pro
Speaking about this meta, which is the same since TI8, are you anxiously waiting for a new big patch, or do you actually hope it will come after the Kuala Lumpur Major?
I’m good with this meta, I actually like it. I’d like to think about me that I’m adapting fast to new metas, I’m always playing a lot of matchmaking games, I’m watching a lot of games myself, I’m always thinking on what has to be done, how the game changes at every patch. I’m getting a grip on new changes pretty fast, but to be honest I like the current meta.
Alright then, I wish you the best of luck here at ESL One Hamburg 2018 and in Malaysia next month!