Monday, November 25, 2013

MLG: Speculating and Reflecting with bOne7

[Continues directly from part one. Everything in the first section of this post comes from the interview on Friday while the second section of this post comes from an interview done today.Initially the interview ended after part one but I managed to catch up with bOne7 this afternoon and follow up a bit after the conclusion of MLG. As a result, a few of the less interesting questions from the original interview were removed.]

GIH: Sure, exactly because things are still so murky, any kinds of insights at all are very useful at this point! And of course I don't expect you to share any team secrets which jeopardize your own success! With that in mind, however, I want to ask you about MLG. 

Big LAN events are often responsible for shifts in the metagame or at least for solidifying particular heroes as ahead of the rest. Which heroes do you think will be most sought after at MLG? Will there be any surprises? Again, I don't expect you to reveal any secrets here but perhaps there you have some predictions you can share?

bOne7: I believe Clinkz and Doom should have some more success I guess. Those heroes seem to be too strong and too easy to play right now...BB is also a really sick hero but I'm not sure if we're going to see him since what I've noticed is that even tho that hero is really strong in the right situation, being awful at that hero will mean that you're gonna have a bad game. The first 2 heroes tho were more frequently practised, so I think those 2 should shine. Other then that I guess we should only see some trademark heroes for every team...NS/MAG for Alliance, BH for NaVi, Wisp for Fnatic, Furion for Liquid...POTM for Speed ^^. If there was Empire there we woulda probably seen BB wreck some faces...

GIH: I hope we do see a lot of Clinks because Clinks seems very good at disrupting at least one playstyle that many viewers have gotten tired of seeing - split-push! Could you explain briefly what you mean when you refer to BB? Is it something specific? Like, what things do people get wrong that makes it go from a great pick to an awful one?

bOne7: I didn't play that hero specifically...But it seems that hero needs a few minutes of space at the beginning so he can farm up his treads vang, and then he go on owning almost everyone on the map. The damage and the tanking ability of that hero is pretty much ridiculous...

GIH: Yeah, the hero can get very scary. I have some friends who joke that '1 goo = tp' because in a lot of situations many heroes are basically doomed to die once BB catches them with his first goo!

To finish off I just have a few short questions. For these questions you can answer in one sentence or less if you like.

GIH: Name one professional player who you think has great innovations in terms of new item builds for heroes. Maybe someone you might look to for ideas or just someone you respect for their creativity.

bOne7: Innovators...Hmm...Bulba is an innovator...I don't look up specific players, I usually try to research as much as possible from everyone and try to combine and understand their ideas. It's hard to just copy players...Unless they will tell you in detail their mindset, choices are usually not properly understood...

GIH: Sure. Dota is complex like that. Game is hard, right!

Is there any item that you think really needs a nerf or a buff?

bOne7: Hmm, I'd like to see some sort of buff to Skadi..that item seems just expensive and doesn't give you that much...

GIH: So you don't think the recent buff is enough? I thought perhaps giving it the extra attack speed slow might be significant. But then this is an item that has been buffed many times and is still hardly ever bought.

bOne7: No actives...No benefit to your team...Expensive as hell....Loses TI games...What can you do to it really I don't know...

GIH: Hahaha well hopefully Icefrog will read this interview!

Final question, just for fun. If you could start a game of Dota with 2 extra levels or 500 extra gold, which would it be?

bOne7I don't understand the question :D

GIH: I'm curious as to what you value more right at the beginning of a game: levels or gold.

bOne7: for sure xp is better here

GIH: Okay, thanks so much for doing this interview! Do you have any shoutouts you would like to make?

bOne7: Well, shoutout to my team, dota fans, and all my friends :D. Btw stream watchers please stop using ad blockers :D (I don't even stream and don't plan to do it soon but uhm, would be nice if people can make more from this weird thing that we're doing :D, plus you shouldn't miss important things while commercials run come on guys XD) I know...what a sellout... :D

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Post-MLG reflections

GIH: First of all, congratulations to you and your team for winning MLG! Despite not having attended yourself, how does it feel to have such a huge title under your team's belt? How different does it feel because you weren't there?

bOne7: I think everyone is shocked really, when I was watching it I was really really nervous...can't imagine how my team felt :). I'm a bit sad that I wasn't there so I don't feel as good as I could've but still it's a really really comforting feeling to know my team won even tho I wasn't there.

GIH: Yeah, I imagine there must be some element of shock involved here. Like EternalEnvy said afterwards: 'WE FUCKING WON!'. It feels like it's been quite an emotional rollercoaster. You guys have all worked very hard this year and hopefully will be able to get used to big victories in the near future :).

However, MLG wasn't a walk in the park. In fact, the tournament started really badly for your team. 
Did you speak to the team after day one where they ended 0-3? If so, what was the mood like? Was there still a real belief? Did you think they could do it at that time?

bOne7: I didn't really speak that much with them about first day, next day I told them just what they should look out for in terms of picking. We will talk more about everything when everyone's at home.

GIHOkay, that's understandable. The question I'm sure everyone wants answered given how your predictions for the event played out, especially in the finals: did you know that your team in particular planned on picking Clinks and Doombringer? Especially in such a big match? Would you like to add anything more about these heroes now?

bOne7: Yeah I knew, those heroes are really good and they fit really good into our style considering we had Arteezy there which takes a little more space.

GIH: That makes sense. I guess it's to the loss of other teams that they never identified how strong Doom, and especially Clinks were. You guys were really ahead of the curve on these. It's impressive. Speaking of which, another hero that you mentioned before that you guys love is Mirana.

In game one of the grand finals DK banned Mirana and ended up with a win. In game two they let it through, it was snatched up immediately, and the result wasn't as good for them. In game three they banned it again. I know that SingSing is now the primary Mirana player for your team but I'm also aware that you have piloted the hero for your team in the past. Could you give any insights into why you guys like this hero so much and what makes it such a potent pick?

bOne7: The hero is overall a really good hero. It has global presence, any time you gang her lane you almost always get a kill on anything regardless how tanky they are and she carries out pretty well in the late game. Mirana is pretty good but I'm not sure it would do as well if anyone else but Sing would play it really...I played that hero and we won some important games in the past but I think for now, SingSing is the best on that hero.

GIH: Yeah, it definitely seems like SingSing has some special connection to the hero at the moment. He seems to never have a bad game on it. According to datDota, he is 16-2 with this hero in competitive Dota, an insanely high win percentage for any player to have with one hero.

To wrap up, I have just a few questions about the team now.
 Do you have any comments on the whole contract scandal that seemed to unfold just before the finals began? Are the players in any trouble? What is the situation now?

bOne7: I have no clue, we'll sort everything in out the next week or so...

GIH: Ok, I hope everything works out for you guys. Then, lastly, from a Dota point of view, what's next for the team? In the next two months, what are your major aims?

bOne7: Well we want to do really well everywhere we play of course. For now we hope we can succeed in G-League and mb I would help my team win this time :D

GIH: Haha, lets hope so! Okay, thanks again for these interviews. Are there any further shoutouts you would like to add? [The previous ones will be in this post.]

bOne7: Well I guess the previous ones remain then ^^

Friday, November 22, 2013

bOne7 on MLG, Midas Gaming and more!

This instalment brings something slightly out of the ordinary - a dedicated interview with one of Dota 2's most talked about players: Pittner "bOne7" Armand. On the eve of MLG's commencement, bOne7, who unfortunately was unable to attend, discusses several ideas about current metagame and item choices.

GIH: Hi bOne7. It is a huge loss to your team that you were unable to go to MLG with them. Can you share any information on why your Visa was denied? Many members of the community have expressed concern on reddit that you might be denied again for even bigger events like, say, TI4. Do you think this is a one-time occurrence?
bOne7: I think this was a one-time occurrence...The way I prepared for my Visa interview and everything was just too poor. I basically had only vague information going into it and didn't request much help from someone who could actually help me get a Visa...Next time should be pretty easy considering I talked with a lot of people about it and I found some help from someone who helped Romanians get into the US for Esports events being in my situation :D

GIH: Great. Good to hear it's not likely to happen again! Now, onto some questions about Dota. 

Do you think the recent 'Midas Gaming' craze is dying down? Was it just a trend that will pass or is it here to stay?

bOne7: Midas is pretty weird item for me at least. Usually heroes who don't have much space to farm and don't benefit from cheap items that much would use a Midas I guess. I usually just tell my team, well this hero is pretty much useless atm, just get a Midas on it whatever :D

GIH: Hahaha - agreed. At the moment it seems a bit counter-intuitive which heroes buy it. This reminds were behind a rise in popularity of Midas on Darkseer even before the 6.79 patch. Was this for reasons you discussed above?

bOne7: Yeah, I felt pretty useless with that hero until I hit higher levels so I'd just go Midas.

GIH: Okay. But, at that time, even though you started a trend of buying it on Darkseer, it didn't catch on with many other heroes and was mostly limited to carry heroes + Invoker + Darkseer. What prompted the rise in its popularity? Was it mostly to do with the 6.79 gameplay update or do you think this was a long time coming?

bOne7: Hmm...I don't even see Midas on heroes that you wouldn't usually build a Midas on beforehand. CMs have Midases but they weren't picked that often previously. Some teams in the East get Midases...I don't know, seems to be just a trend, seeing Burning build a Midas on Spectre didn't make me think "oh this is good here". Oh, I also saw a Fnatic ET get a terrible :D. Don't know what to say, I play a lot of games and still didn't figure out Midas properly...Guess it's just a poorly understood trend.

GIH: Well it's interesting to me if even you, who are one of the biggest innovators in the pro scene, don't have a proper grip on what it's all about. It suggests the entire scene still needs to work it out a bit maybe. Personally, I feel that people are buying it on any hero where they realize they can afford it and don't urgently need another item because of the mid and long-term payoff it gives in exp and gold. Do you think this is a generally fair assessment?

bOne7: Sure, if you have no idea what you want, might as well get a Midas and hope for the best :D

GIH: Alright, cool. Enough about Midas then. Lets talk about some other items that you like.

I've noticed you've recently started going for Orchid quite often on Clockwerk and even bought it once on Juggernaut.

According to datDota, you have won every competitive game in which you bought Orchid on Clockwerk [9/9] as well as the one Juggernaut game. Your overall win rate with Orchid is 76% [16/21]. The remaining games are mostly Nature's Prophet ones where you are 6-4 with Orchid - all of which happened before the 6.79 patch. In fact, your win rate with Orchid after the patch is 100% [5/5] - 4 with Clock and 1 with Juggernaut. 

Is this one of your default preferred items at the moment or is it a situational preference? 
If it's situational, which situations are you buying it for? Did the 6.79 patch make Orchid a better choice in any ways?

bOne7: I never thought about it, Orchid is an OK item. The only thing I do with Orchid which seems to be not that common is get it on Clockwerk since an Orchid + Blademail against someone who doesn't have a BKB just destroys. It's a fairly rare when I get Orchids as well, usually it happens when we have considerable leads and the opponents heroes are severely crippled by 1 extra silence. I think we should see some Orchid Vipers tho, that things legit.

GIH: Interesting. I hadn't thought about Orchid on Viper before. Instead of something like Mek or after it?

bOne7: probably after Mek, it's pretty questionable tho since Aghs is so good. Usually slows with Orchid destroy so...

GIH: Right, that makes good sense. Lets talk about something more general now.

How would you describe the current metagame in pro Dota2? It appears to not have stabilized yet? What sort of metagame do you think we can expect in the near future? After the 6.79 patch, people were arguing about whether we will now have a gank-orientated meta or a push-orientated meta. Do we truly have either of these yet? Is it a combination of both?

bOne7: I don't really undestand these macro things that well. I mean ganging was always popular for the right teams. I think opening the offlane to more heroes means that instead of a relaxed laning phase we have this volatile laning where everything can happen, and any hero can find some kind of farm and xp gain. I guess the transition in the midgame is affected by this and maybe we have a little more action between teams who are not afraid to make a mistake but uhm...I don't know really.

Also since laning is so weird, lane rotations or gangs are profitable so I guess we have a bit more chaos there. This patch I think will take several more months until more and more things get figured out. I personally think some heroes should have a better chance now that still didn't get picked that often. Usually these heroes have a tougher times doing things on their own so they are not picked, but with the right plan in mind for the game, they should really do some work. I'd rather not talk in detail about them because I want to thoroughly test them before we go to G-League...

* * *
Part two of this interview will be posted on Monday, after MLG ends. Amongst other things, it contains bOne7's predictions regarding hero picks at MLG which, for obvious reasons, could not be included here.