I was able to talk with Otávio “Tavo” Gabriel, the Offlaner for paiN Gaming. paiN Gaming were eliminated at TI8 in group B with a final score of 5-11. I ask TAVO about how the SA region has grown since Valve have created a qualifier spot, the formation of the team, w33, MISERY, mentality, where he thinks the team can improve, and his TI8 experience.
This was the first season where Valve specifically put in the South America Qualifier spot for the tournaments. How as that changed the Dota 2 scene in South America? Now they have a goal to reach for. By winning the spot, a team can theoretically get to play on the biggest stages in the world. Has that improved the scene?
Yeah, I think so. Like everything changed after that. With the change we actually have a shot of competing with the best. That’s the only way to improve. If you just keep playing the same teams that are the same level as you, you probably won’t improve. If you want to be the best, you have to play the best, basically.
So I’m going to ask you a question about your time before joining Pain Gaming. You and the core of the team beat Secret in a very famouus best of three at the Major. It was one of your biggest results in Dota 2. How did you go into that game? Did you come up with a specific plan of how to deal with secret or was it more like we’re going to play our game, we’re going to matchup and then we’re going to beat them first and we’re prepared for them.
Like we had a plan to do but it didn’t work. So game we just said ‘fuck it’, let’s play our dota let’s just pick our comfortable heroes and it worked. And I don’t know how it did.
How did you guys come up with the conclusion of these are the five guys you want to play with? Every change is always very complicated especially from the outside from as somebody who doesn’t know as much about the SA region. How did you guys come up with the roster you played at the start of the year.
So hFn left the team and after some months he came back. They ask me if they want to make a team with me. At that point I wasn’t too sure. I went in, but we still needed a mid player and a 5. So at that time, Mandy was doing pretty well in pubs and he was a really good player, really talented player. So we took him in. And Duster was the same same. He was a really good pub player. And for some months, Mandy didn’t work out for us. At that point we didn’t have a lot of choice or mid. A lot of the good mids already had a team or couldn’t play. So we didn’t have much choice there. And that’s when we when we met w33ha. KingRD messaged him and asked if he could ring for us in Galaxy Battles. After that we kept talking and he eventually joined the team.
This has been one of the first first international player to come play in your region. So what did you think he brings to the team as a player or as an influence.
Oh he brings a lot of experience, a lot of calm too. Something we need. He’s really f*cking talented. He’s a guy that knows how to do deal with pressure and problems of the team and that’s really good. And he fits perfectly with hFn because he plays for hFn. Even though that’s not his best style, he sacrifices himself sometimes to make sure hFn has a good game. Not everybody can do that.
“He[w33] is really f*cking talented…Even though that’s not his best style, he sacrifices himself sometimes to make sure hFn has a good game. Not everybody can do that.”
How do you think your team is structured, how do you guys plays? So for instance, you look at VG.J they play more towards Resolution than the others. How do you view your own team in that way? Who do you play more towards, is it hFn?
Yea, we play around him. Sometimes we play around w33ha, mostly it’s hFn. This meta is really bad for us. The change hurt us a lot because we usually have a good safe lane every game. Right now it’s different. Usually the offlane is safer, not the safe lane. We don’t play very well when our carry is behind basically.
I wanted to ask you about your coach MISERY. He’s connected to w33ha, because they played together. After he left EG, he joined you guy as a coach. He’s a player who’s kind of flirted with the idea of being a leader. How has he changed things? Was it like w33ha where he brought a lot of experience and ideas to the team?
We were in the bootcamp for 10 days. Every single day we improved a little bit, in games, in decisions, a lot of stuff. He helped us a lot. We were in the bootcamp for 10 days. Every single day we improved a little bit, in games, in decisions, a lot of stuff. But since we got here…the first game was probably the best we’ve played. After that, everything went downhill. The last day were probably our worst games of this year for some reason. That day we just didn’t play Dota.
“That day we just didn’t play Dota.”
I guess we may as well like transition to TI8. So you played a bunch of games, and the first game was good. After that you guys went down for whatever reason. As this was your first TI, what do you think of playing in this style of tournament because it’s a different tournament from the rest of the year?
I like the format. I like the tournament. Everything is fair. We were the worst team in this groups, so I think we deserve to not be safe.
I wanted to ask you the idea mental of pressure. When you look at teams throughout esports, it’s very rare that you find players just perform on the biggest stages. Even in the case of Secret in 2015, even though they went into that tournament as the best team they crumbled other pressure. So this being you first TI, how do you think you and your team have dealt with it?
I just think about the game. What I need to do. To play really well and do my best. Losing happens. If you don’t play well. So I don’t think much about winning or losing, I just play Dota and do my best. At the start it was more special, but now that I’ve played a lot of tournaments I don’t think I feel it. Even if this is my first TI, it’s still a Dota tournament. In the end you just have to play well to win.
I’m a journalist who also follows CS:GO. So I can’t help but see like a bit of the parallels between you and the Brazilian team started it started from Kabum to LG to SK to MIBR. When you look at it that way, your road has just started. Do you think you’re going to follow like a similar road? They went from the bottom to the top. Do you think it’s possible to do that and if so what steps are needed to make that a reality?
I think its little bit different. They didn’t have an SA qualifier like we do today. They moved out to NA to play with decent ping and support. Right now I don’t think we have to leave SA. Of course we don’t have the much many good teams to scrim But at the same time we have the two Major spots. Pretty much what we want to to do is qualify for the tournaments, keep playing the best teams and keep improving.
So in Dota 2 there are different ways to improve your game strategy, which could be movement like how you split up the players. It could be the draft which is how you pick a player’s heroes. Could be your individual player work or your teamplay. What do you think you as as player, a team or a region, you think need to improve on to get to the next step.
I think we need to improve out minds. How can I say…a bit less emotive probably. We’re all very emotive players. Its good, but it can be very bad. Secondly, I think our stratgies. We needed to step up for this meta. We have the skill, the talent, but right now we’re not playing as a team. This tournament we didn’t play as a team and our strategies weren’t the best.
So let me ask you to elucidate a bit about the emotive part. I know for instance that when FalleN, fer, and the rest of them came to NA. They used to be a super hype team, every time they won, they screamed. But when they lost, everything went downwards. They came to the conclusion that they had to do a steady–
Yea—balanced. You need a balance. This[high emotional state] is good, but at the same time if you don’t control it, it’s going to go bad on you.
Do you think that might have been what happened at this TI? You guys went up and down, were you unable to control the emotions in the game?
I don’t think so. We felt a little bit of the pressure. That’s for sure. I think if you didn’t play, we’d have played a bit better. I think the matters of hype and that kind of stuff, we control it very well. We just didn’t perform.
Do you think that the lessons you can learn from this tournament like that I’ll take you forward? For instance like when you look when you look at, Wins. They went to their first major and completely bombed out. But because they failed there they learned like the things they needed and eventually won TI. Do you think there are any lessons here for your team to learn moving forward?
Yea of course. I think in every defeat you have a lesson. It’s just that I’d rather not lose here, you know? I rather not learn here. I’d rather learn at the other tournaments. it happens.
“I think in every defeat you have a lesson. It’s just that I’d rather not lose here, you know? I rather not learn here. I’d rather learn at the other tournaments.”