Ukraine is disputing this weekend its winner for WESG 2019. The qualifiers are taking place in Kiev, in a LAN setup with four teams fighting for the one spot available for Ukraine to the $890,000 World Finals which will be held in China, in March next year.
Rostislav “fn” Lozovoi, Team Empire former member, teamed up with some of the best players from his country under the Team Ukraine Blue tag and he is fighting for the one ticket to China.
Taras Bortnik is present at the LAN event this weekend and he talked to fn about his exit from Team Empire, about what he learned from Virtus.pro during the time he stood in for them at The Kuala Lumpur Major qualifiers and his plans for 2019.
You are one of those people who really doesn’t like all the media stuff. You are widely known for the fact that you almost never give an interview. What changed now?
Most likely, this is because of the long downtime for me. It’s been six months already since I decided for myself that I don’t want to play in Team Empire. All this time I tried to play in different mixes. Fortunately, or unfortunately – I do not know, time will tell – and then I came to WESG and meet with so many familiar guys … So, after all, I said why not?
For the past half year, you were rather an observer of CIS scene than a pro player. What do you think about the current state of the region? What teams stand out in your opinion?
In order to fully answer this question, I would have to touch on too many corners. But speaking in general, there is noticeable progress in Gambit and Natus Vincere. I wouldn’t say that these teams impressed me very much but, on the CIS scene, they are showing something. There is nothing more to add here.
At the beginning of the season, you were close to become a Team Spirit player, but then you stood in for 9pasha in Virtus.pro during the qualifiers for The Kuala Lumpur Major. Why did you decide to stop your trial with Team Spirit?
At that time, I did not know anything about Virtus.pro and the fact that they will need a stand-in, I was just playing trial games with Team Spirit. I basically liked everything, except for one thing that I will not talk about. I am quite a pragmatic person and very much trust my principles which guide me in making decisions. It was not a difficult decision to abandon Team Spirit’s offer. So, I decided that I would wait for a better moment. And then Ramzes666 wrote me and said that maybe there is a chance to stand-in for them. I was like “Well, it would be great if it will work out.” And it happened: Pasha could not play and they called me.
So these are two independent events?
Yes, they are absolutely separate.
There is this public opinion that in the CIS scene there are Virtus.pro and all the other teams. What did you learn from them when you stood in for VP? Did that change your vision of what a tier-1 team is actually about?
Yes. The contrast was very serious. I can say that after playing with VP I cannot call myself a tier 1 player. At the moment, I am tier 2 player with the potential to be a tier 1. And accordingly, when I got to the people who won the Majors, who play on the same level with the best teams in the world, I completely revised many aspects of the game for myself. The way people give their all to the game, I also revised it…So, I gained a lot of experience from the in-game interactions, and for me, this is a very precious experience that you cannot buy for any money.
You speak of yourself as a tier 2 player. Do you think that at some point in your career you were at tier 1, maybe at TI7?
Yes, I think that I showed tier 1 performance before. The International 2017 playoffs matches were some of my best games.
In this case, what has changed since then? Has something gotten worse?
I cannot say that something gotten worse. Simply, there is such a term as a general average level of teams, also it happens that teams are over-motivated, and there are teams that do not feel any pressure. At Empire, we were the team where nothing and nobody pushed. Absolutely. We sat in the booths and played Dota, with no problems and expectations. We just played in Dota completely relaxed. Yes, emotions took over when we defeated the opponent in the games, but this is different. During tournaments, we didn’t have any kind of pressure.
A few words about WESG. What is your motivation to play in this tournament? Represent the honor of the country, or just take the money?
I take it more as a chance to promote myself.
So this is part of your come back to tier 1?
It’s not that easy to make a comeback. How does it usually happen? When you leave a team that was not at the peak of its shape for a few months and played poorly, you become a tier 2-3 player. And you need to re-advertise yourself to a certain circle of teams. And when you show that you can, then other people become interested in you and then you might have the opportunity to receive a chance to play for one of these teams. You can’t achieve a tier 1 status starting from the mud, it just doesn’t work that way.
Ukraine was given only one slot at WESG World Finals this time. During the qualifiers here, you will have to play against Team Ukraine Yellow (No[o] ne, Iceberg, GeneRaL, ALOHADANCE, CemaTheSlayer). What can you say about this team?
They have just one true tier 1 player, in the mid lane. I learned a lot from him and I am pretty excited to face him in this match and see which of us is weaker.
Could you summarize how was 2018 for you?
I’d like to say that the findings and conclusions from this year helped me to become stronger than I was before.
Should we expect your full return in the new year?
Of course, I didn’t give up. For me, probably, a very important factor in deciding if I should stay or not with a team is that everyone wants to work. Therefore, when I get a proposal, I’m carefully looking into the pluses and the minuses of that team before making my decision.
What is your resolution for 2019? What are your plans?
The priority is to find those people with whom I would like to play together. And together, to overcome difficulties, become a team. A one unit working together for a common goal.
WESG 2018 – 2019 Team Ukraine Blue roster:
Roman “Resolut1on” Fominok
Rostislav “fn” Lozovoi
Andrey “Ghostik” Kadyk
Ivan “Artstyle” Antonov
Andrey “ALWAYSWANNAFLY” Bondarenko