Last week at ESL One Hamburg 2018, we sat down and discussed with the captain and drafter of Forward Gaming, Avery “SVG” Silverman, who’s been very open to talk about why he thinks his team didn’t perform at its best. We went over a lot about drafting, Dota 2 legends who made a career change and what’s the main difference between Europe, America, and CIS when it comes to who is taking the responsibility for drafting.
Hello Avery, thanks for taking the time to talk to us today, and because it’s the finals day and everyone wants to actually watch the games, I’ll go straight to the subject and ask you how do you find the synergy with the new team, as you are basically four guys from VGj. Storm joined now by some old teammates of yours.
One of the factors you have to take into consideration when you have to bring new players in is how will they gel with the rest of the team, how’s the general team atmosphere, the environment going to be and it was very easy to see Universe and Aui_2000, our coach getting along with everyone’s in the team. People played with them before so there is a track record.
You used to draft for most of your previous teams, did that change now with Aui’s arrival at Forward Gaming?
I still draft, which is fine for me. I personally don’t mind if the coach is drafting, but part of why I wanted to bring Aui in, is because I think he balances out what I bring to the team. I think that even from when I was coaching for EG, my strength is drafting and to the present days this is something I still spend a lot of time on and work on.
So, I wanted a coach that could come on the team and help me with the other things, like the details of the game, the movements, positioning, team fights, the general picture in some way, but more with the details, the mechanics, which are Aui’s strengths. I’m perfectly comfortable with him not drafting, for me it doesn’t really matter that I am the one doing it.
I think Dota 2 is moving in the direction where coaches are the ones drafting because it takes the stress off the players, but right now it’s more common in China and CIS than NA and Europe.
Why do you think it is like that?
I think there’s not a lot of coaches in America and Europe that teams trust to draft at high level. Maybe, over time, some of the respected captains we have now still playing will take onto the coach positions. Most of the coaches drafting now in China are these retired remarkable players. BurNing is drafting for Aster, rOtK is drafting for VG, probably xiao8 will draft for EHOME, as he is their coach, while in the West we don’t have a lot of the big names doing it yet because they are still playing. PPD is still playing, Puppey, KuroKy, Misery, they’re all still playing.
Fair enough, perhaps one day they will make the transition. We already saw Loda behind his Alliance boys at this event. Talking about drafting, would you say that what happened in your second game against paiN in the playoffs was a bit of an out-draft? Did they trick you with that first pick Ogre which these days you don’t know if it’s a core or a support?
We pretty much knew what they wanted to do, but maybe you can call it cockiness or overconfidence. We thought we could play through it to a degree, we thought our draft is strong enough to beat the counters that we were playing against, but that’s pretty much something you have to do sometimes in Dota. Maybe our strategy wasn’t strong enough, or not as strong as we thought it was for various reasons, but I wouldn’t say they were out-drafting us as much as we out-drafted ourselves.
Our drafting here was not that strong as it was in other tournaments, just because of how the patch went and playing with a stand-in changes how you draft as well.
Also, the way we strategized this tournament was not great. So, coming in we were a little weak off the back. We tried to adapt, but in the end, our drafting wasn’t amazing and whenever when you are not drafting to the best of your strengths it’s hard to make your strategies look good. It is very easy to say “oh you got out drafted, these counters were very obvious.” But, to us, if we understand how to play around them, the game will look completely different.
I guess you wanted to take this event as a good opportunity to practice for the Manila Major, but unfortunately you had to play with a stand-in in the mid lane. Did that prevent you, as a captain, as a drafter, to draw the important conclusions on the team’s performance and what should you do in order to improve at the upcoming Major?
I don’t think so. I mean, playing with a stand-in always changes how you draft and how you play, but I don’t think it’s ever the reason why you can’t perform. I think the reasons why we don’t do well in this tournament has almost nothing to do with the fact that we played with a stand-in. And I think Excalibur played very well here. Honestly, we should have been able to utilize him even more. So, for me it’s more about learning why our team did not perform well in the draft, in the strategy, in the mentality, understand what were the factors for this and when we go to the Major make sure we fixed them and be better. That should be the only the goal of any team: The next tournament you play at, fix the problems from before and be better, regardless of the circumstances.
Then I wish you to be better in Kuala Lumpur, I hope no more visa problems will occur and I maybe we will get to talk more later in the season.