During their post-TI9 break, OG’s captain, Johan “N0tail” Sundstein sat down with their coach, Titouan "Socks" Merloz, and OG’s CEO, JMR Luna to discuss all things related to Dota in OG’s first podcast - Johan's Side Shop.
This podcast was recorded in December 2019 during CS_Summit 5 at Beyond the Summit Studios
Signing their CS:GO roster
At the beginning, Notail shared how he became a fan of CS:GO as it was a big thing in his home country in Denmark. In addition, they are already looking for OG’s CS:GO roster, it just so happened that Dota’s Pro Circuit and CS:GO’s league system ended at the same time. That is why they were able to sign their new roster.
On back-to-back The International wins
JMR asked how Notail kept their motivation playing after winning TI for the first time.
“(Winning) Two rings is one thing, but three rings are something else... I wanna go for all-time (most) TI’s; I want to have a record that lasts.” Notail said.
Notail also believed how people easily dismissed them even after winning Majors consecutively. However, with their historic TI run, Notail has admitted that OG already made a name for themselves.
“People like to dismiss teams quite quick in Dota and people also like to hype up teams quite quick for flavor of the month”
To add, Socks explained that OG isn’t regarded as one of the best teams in the world because they didn’t have a good DPC run prior to TI9. They’ve also compared this to G2’s League of Legends squad where they dominated the whole year but lost in the Worlds Finals
Notail explained that for them, long breaks are necessary because it is their natural response to the intensity of the competitive scene. Usually after TI, there are massive roster changes and they immediately go to tournaments, so taking these breaks helped players and OG recompose themselves.
After TI9, the biggest patch that came is 7.23 last November where they added Void Spirit and Snapfire along with Neutral Items, Outposts, reworked couriers, and an updated map.
Even though other teams are already playing in this new meta, Notail proudly said that their ability to learn is better than the other teams. Notail also praised IceFrog and Valve for taking risks when it comes to developing new patches. Because of these risks, it makes Dota a great game because of its depth and a constant fresh touch.
“It’s like a big puddle of water where you drop something in and all the vibration just goes. Its small and subtle, but it might change everything fundamentally still.” Notail shared his thoughts on the playing new patches.
Developing the meta
Even though fans usually see pros as the all-knowing Dota players, the three discussed how pros still need to adapt with every patch as they don’t know every single mechanic. He also elaborated how some game mechanics such as creep pulling and blocking are not discovered even though they are there for years.
“You have something like a hidden button right there, but nobody clicks it for months and then as soon as one guy fucking clicks it, holy shit, now you see it everywhere.” Notail explained how hero combos come to meta.
For Notail, playing the IO carry was the most broken thing he encountered in his professional career as IO’s item timings can turn the tides of the game when paired with the right heroes.
The Dota Pro Circuit from a player’s view
Dota is usually regarded as a dead game, but for Notail, the community itself is what keeps the game alive because of the content they bring.
When it comes to DPC, Notail suggested how Major winners should be incentivized more and the rules for qualifiers should be clarified so that regional invites will be more even.
For Notail, Valve should do more to promote sustainability and hype around the competitive scene so that new teams will not have a hard time getting LAN experience when competitive Dota 2 won’t be limited to the top teams.
In addition, Valve should keep TI as the most prestigious tournament, but they should be investing way more into keeping the entire scene healthy.
The Dota Pro Circuit from an organizer’s view
During their discussion, JMR welcomed caster and co-founder of Beyond the Summit studios, David "LD" Gorman. LD shared his insights to the current DPC system as a tournament organizer.
For him, Minors should give at least two invites to the next Major, but give more prize incentive so there would still be hype in its Grand Finals.
Furthermore, he explained that having direct invites for DPC tournaments would help TOs sell more tickets and sponsors since some fans will only attend tournaments when their favorite team is guaranteed to be there.
LD also elaborated that the DPC system is better compared to the previous years, but they should have a stable structure for invites. He also suggested that the DPC should have reduced Majors and Minors so they could make way for third-party events. To incentivize participating teams, they should at least be rewarded with some sort of DPC invite depending on the structure of the third-party tournament.
In regards to easily qualifying for TI, LD suggested that prize pools for Majors and Minors should be bigger so that teams will have more reasons to compete in it even though they already enough points to qualify for TI.
“They should distribute the prize pool more. It shouldn’t be all concentrated to TI.” LD said.
Improving the DPC
JMR suggested that DPC should adopt a system similar to League where teams in the same region will only face each other for most of the season. Then they would just battle against teams from other regions during twice. First in their Mid Season Invitational and then in their own TI – The Worlds.
Although it would promote growth for different teams, LD argued that for TOs, not all regions are financially equal, so it would only work well in Dota when Valve directly supports TOs
The four of them agreed that having a structured league system inspired from CS:GO and LOL would be beneficial for Dota because it will allow players to live normal lives and create more content for fans instead of spending most of their time travelling all over the world.s
However, Notail also pointed out that some players are not interested in doing content for their team because in the past, organizations have not treated their players well. Being on both sides of a player and a team owner, Notail believes that organizations should have more transparency with their roster so that both sides would have security in their future.
LD and Socks pointed out that organizations who don’t pay their players properly is also one of the causes why players have a hard time trusting an org. That is why there should be more player-run teams such as OG, Secret, and Nigma so that players and orgs will have a fair middle ground and players will have a more stable future after their playing career.
Even though the DPC and TI is postponed, the things they discussed in their first podcast is still relevant today. What do you think of their insights? Share your thoughts in the comments and stay tuned for more!