Talking with Notail is like catching up with an old friend. The guy makes it easy to like him. When I got the chance to speak with Notail on the press day of TI 8, we discussed the rebuilding of OG, making it to The International 2018 and then the upper bracket, and the Dota 2 meta that has unfolded in the last few days.
Hello Notail! TI8 will be your sixth TI. How does it feel to have it in Vancouver, when most of the players are used to TI being in Seattle?
Vancouver is nice. Honestly, it is very similar to Seattle. There isn’t much difference. We came here in the begining of August and the weather has been good quite this year.
Let’s get straight into the Dota. The group stage was very good for OG. After everything that happened just before the Supermajor, did you even expect to make it to TI, let alone making the upper bracket?
The roster changes happened at a very inconvenient time. So the first challenge was to make it to The International 2018. If you ask me if I was surprised to get here – not really. Ever since TI 3, I’ve always managed to get to The International championships. That was my mindset during the qualifiers. That is not the hard part. Doing good at The International has been the hard part for me. I’m very happy with what we’ve achieved so far and I’m looking forward to the games, hoping to carry on what we have been doing.
After day 2 of the group stages, OG seemed to be suffering a bit. But on days 3 and 4, OG stepped it up. Was there anything the team did differently?
At the beginning of the tournament, we were still learning about ourselves as a team. Also, if I had to rank the teams in our group, we played the top ranks in the first two days. That surely played a part in us having a bad standing. Against Liquid, we had a great chance to win the first game, but we ended up losing a very close game. Personally, I was a bit concerned that that would get to people. But we bounced back and did well.
Now with Ceb playing, you have a new coach, ppasarel. Tell me something about him..
When I was playing in Cloud9, ppasarel was the coach of the team. I approached him and asked him if he would like to come with us and coach the team. He seemed happy to do it, even though he might not seem like that in the morning! If I get the wrong foot out of the bed, ppsarel helps me in getting back my stability. In the game. I mainly brought him on to help the team visualize a few things. He’s a great guy.
Deviating from the topic a bit, I’d like to know if it helps when there isn’t a burden of expectations of your shoulders? Last two season, OG were expected to perform very well but this year, there aren’t too many expectations…
Being the underdog is always the nicer position than being the favorites for many reasons. Underdogs is definitely what I prefer to be!
Next up for OG is VGJ.Storm in the main event. They picked you specifically after topping the other group. What are your thoughts on that team? They are sort of the breakout team at TI 8, you can say like LFY were last year…
VGJ.Storm have definitely found their rhythm here at TI 8. They have players in their team that are really hardworking people. I played with Resolution this year and he is one of the hardest working players I have ever met. From what I have heard, Yawar has played more Dota than anyone else in the last two seasons. I respect them tremendously and I’m excited to play them.
The meta right now is very lane focused. Do you like how it is?
The meta right now is pretty chaotic. I’ve had some talks with other players and they sort of agree with me. Everyday you tend to learn something new that may even fundamentally go against what you believed in yesterday. Every day you go in and get a perspective on something that might be extremely important, something that you might not have realized before. I have preferred other metas to this one because I’m not a fan of the fact that laning decides so much of the game. The deny mechanic takes some of the fun away from the game. But it’s still such a good game. It’s my favorite game!
Why would you say the deny mechanic takes the fun away?
That’s how I see it. There are certain heroes that players want to play but can’t because they just cannot lane well. Back in the day, laning was a part of it, but what mattered more was how your lineup works together, how your lineup counters the opposition lineup. Currently, there are so many factors that I don’t think teams have a grip on the meta yet.
Does Notail like going back to playing support after three seasons playing as a core?
I love playing support with this group of guys. Playing core was something I just had to do after Cloud9. After leaving that team, my biggest motivation in Dota was playing core. But as the past few seasons unfolded, it stopped mattering to me what role I played. Lately, I just care more about making things work, making things click in the team, finding my role and doing my best to fulfill that role.
Time for a few controversial questions. OG dominated the scene in the past two seasons. Everyone expected you guys to step it up a notch with the arrival of Resolution. But it just didn’t happen. Why do you think that was?
This season has definitely been the roughest out of the three after OG came into existence. With TI 7 ending on a bad note, there was a lot of pent up frustration within the team. Roman had nothing much to do with the bad performances. The rest of the four players had played together the season before, but we couldn’t get it to work. The meta kept changing. The team at the top is usually the one targeted with the nerfs. Being on top for a while, we felt that the game kept getting harder and harder. We also didn’t keep an open mind. I for one am definitely guilty of not keeping an open mind this season.
It happens to everyone at some point. I’m just glad it worked out and OG made it to TI 8. Was it a bit shocking for you when Fly left? Given that you two have been such good friends through the years?
Let’s skip that question please…
I understand. Not a problem. Let’s get things back to a lighter note. What does Notail like to do when he doesn’t play Dota 2?
I haven’t really had a lot of time in the last three years. For the first time this year, I had a nice summer in Copenhagen. I got to spend three to four weeks of summer back home. I spent the time doing things I used to do when I was younger and lived life to the fullest for four weeks. Going to the beach, staying outside a lot, hanging out with friends as much as I could. Just took a breather away from the computer…
That sounds nice! Did you watch the Football World Cup? I’m assuming you did, Denmark was one of the teams in the World Cup..
I did! I actually went to Sweden when Denmark got knocked out. We went to some viewing parties and I watched it in nice settings. That was a blast. I usually don’t watch soccer…
Let’s call it football, Johan. Neither of us are American… *both of us laugh*
I never really got into watching it. But as it was Denmark and it was the World Cup, I did watch it.
You have an extra day off tomorrow (Monday). Do you prefer that or would you rather play on the first day of the main event?
I’m impatient to play, so I would prefer to play on the first day. But it’s ok, one more day to prepare for the game. I appreciate every second we get for that.
A huge shoutout to Redbull. A lot of things wouldn’t have been possible without them. And shoutout to the fans for cheering us on!
Don’t miss out on any bit of information regarding the biggest Dota 2 event of the year with the VPesports TI8 tournament hub. Head over here to find the latest news, TI historical plays, the records and stats registered over the course of seven years of TI history and many other interesting features!