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1v1 with Loda from The Alliance

Jun 092016

One day after being eliminated from the Manila Major, we sat down with Loda from The Alliance to talk about the Major, upcoming events, and advice he’d give to some struggling top-tier teams.

Q & A

The Manila Major has had more unique heroes picked than TI5. What is your favorite aspect of this meta and what heroes do you think we’ll see that we haven’t yet been picked during this Major?

This current meta is actually really, really good. It’s very interesting when there’s a patch where you can play a lot of different styles rather than stay to one style that is obviously stronger than the rest (There was the TI4 meta with the Death Ball. Last year it was Troll and Sniper being the strongest heroes in the game. You pretty much had to get them or you would lose). I think there are some small things that have to be tweaked: maybe life stealer is a tiny bit strong, some stuff like that. Other than that, I don’t think Valve will make too many changes before this TI at least.

El Classico brought in HUGE viewership numbers for Dota 2 fans old and new. In your opinion, what makes your rivalry with Na’Vi so legendary?

I actually had this talk with Dendi the other day, just casually. I think the difference is that there is a healthy rivalry between us. I think that there’s not so much hate. Some teams just want to beat each other because they really dislike each other or there’s some beef going on in the past. But I think when it comes to us and Na’Vi, we’ve just faced off so many times. We really enjoy playing these games and it usually makes the game interesting, especially for us players.

In hindsight there anything you wish you would have done differently in the 3 drafts during the El Classico?

For sure. There’s a lot we would’ve done differently. The first two drafts were OK. I think in the second game we could’ve drafted a bit differently. I think we really lacked physical damage and I think that we should’ve possibly picked a more late game, heavy hero for Bulldog so he could have more of an impact. But at the same time, that game was hard to win, honestly, from the situation we put ourselves in. It was still still winnable. I think the draft for Game 3 was probably the worst draft. Not because our lineup was bad, but rather our lineup against Na’Vi’s lineup wasn’t the best. I kinda feel that made us put pressure on ourselves. So I think I probably would’ve enjoyed playing Faceless Void another game. Even if it was me or Bulldog, I think that the hero can control fights and the game in a different way. For me, personally, I would probably have gone for a Blink first instead of Vanguard but shit happens.

Now that The Alliance has been eliminated from The Manila Major, what will the team do to prepare for The International 6?

Well first off we’re going to ESL Frankfurt but other than that we just have to prepare and practice every single day. For us as a team I think that we are a very strong, especially in different parts of the game but I think what we are falling at right now is our decision making in some cases. We put ourselves in situations that are high risk and low reward and in some cases where we can take control of the game early on and play the laning phase flawlessly but fail to be aggressive afterwards and sometimes we don’t really make the right moves. I think success comes with confidence in certain heroes and balancing the team to the right situation and communication.

The Alliance has gone through its ups and downs. What advice would you give to other top tier teams currently going through this?

Overall I think that it’s very hard to lose games. For example I played a lot of the original DotA and had a lot of ups and downs in and through that I realized is it’s not the skill level of the player or players that changes, it’s really the respect for each other and when that fails the communication fails and you start doubting each other. The only way to solve it is to stick with the same lineup and be really really honest with each other. I believe that something more and more that teams really need is a mental coach that can go in and tell these players what is okay and what isn’t while explaining how you are supposed to behave because it really effects you and your team in the game. I won’t name any names, but you can really see that a certain team might have a really good player and through that they have the potential to be a really, really strong team, but they hate losing and instead of trying to work together they focus on themselves and what they can do better. At the end of the day, it’s always a team game and no matter how good you are, if your team won’t make you better and play around you, or maybe help you get back into the game when you have a bad game (like giving a lane to farm) it can be really tough, but it’s mostly mental, I think. You cannot always win. In DotA right now there are so many teams and you can see the differences between the teams, and this comes back to ourselves as well, How hungry are you? Honestly, I think the hungriest team always wins. I feel like when we remained a team and won WCA and Starladder, we had a lot to prove to ourselves and we wanted to prove to our teammates that we were very, very hungry. And even if we had a tough start in the tournament we would still know that we are in it. I think sometimes that feeling and that hunger is what keeps a team burning. Maybe that’s why no one has won two TI’s yet. You cannot only be the best, you also need to want to win with your teammates more than anything.

We’ve heard from the analysts and casters that this may be one of the loudest crowds in eSports. Having played Mineski and Na’vi what do you think ?

This crowd might have been the loudest but Starladder was also really intense as well. By far these are the two most exciting crowds. The thing was very amazing was when the crowd cheered us on and cheered us out off of the stage even after we lost yesterday. It’s very nice because they are so passionate and just want to see good games.

The fans at the Manila Major LOVE The Alliance. What would you like to say to all of your fans here and all over the world?

I just want to say it’s been amazing and I think the fans are a big reason that we strive to stick together and to keep fighting even though we have up and down results. The fans really cheer us up after a lose like last night (vs Na’Vi) and no one really wants to go to a meet and greet, signing after you lose but these guys are so passionate and so supportive they kind of bring us up as a team at this point. They mean the world to us.