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1v1 with ppd of Evil Geniuses

Jun 132016

 We caught up with ppd, the captain of Evil Geniuses, during day 5 of the Manila Major to talk about their upcoming roster changes, his thoughts on the current meta and what he values in a teammate.

1v1 with ppd of Evil Geniuses

The DotA2 community has been buzzing about Universe returning to Evil Geniuses and Bulba moving to Secret. Could you give us some insight as to what prompted these moves and can we expect more changes?

Initially we were pretty shook as a team when Universe and Arteezy left. We didn’t exactly know what we were doing or what kind of success we would find. Thankfully we were fortunate enough to find Aui_2000 and Bulba on Digital Chaos who were willing to come play with us. They each saw rejoining Evil Geniuses as a great opportunity to play with a bunch of established players. Aui is back with the team he won TI5 with and Bulba knows the team better than anyone because he used to be our coach. To us Bulba is a close counterpart to Universe because they play a lot of the same heroes, which is really nice. Unfortunately results speak louder than anything else and winning solves any problems we may have as a team. When you don’t win there are issues and DotA is a very results driven game. It’s very cutthroat. The winner gets the majority of the fame, money and everything that comes with that. People like Fear, SumaiL and I are used to winning. We’ve placed in the top 3 in almost every tournament we’ve entered in the past two years so it’s really hard to come into Epicenter and not do well. Placing last at the Majors is downright embarrassing for all of us and the people that support us. Do we expect more changes? Yeah. We are replacing Aui with Zai. We’re bringing him back to Evil Geniuses and that’s very exciting for us. With this new roster I think we have a shot a placing or possibly winning TI6.

How do you feel about going through Open Qualifiers or do you think Valve might amend the rules or make an exception for the defending TI champions?

I don’t think Valve will bend the rules for us. They are a company that does their own thing and sticks to their own rules. I doubt they’ll go back on the rules they set just to give us an invite, even if our roster is 4 of the 5 that we won TI5 with. As a team we acknowledge the fact that we’re going against the roster locks and we made this decision fully committed to participating in open qualifiers for TI6. Our logic being, if we can't win the open qualifiers what shot do we really have at winning TI? I would rather lose in the qualifiers than show up at TI and not place well.

EG seems to be the most prominent team affected by Valve’s roster lock. What’s your opinion on its current state and would you do anything to change it?

Valve is a company that likes to experiment. They’ll often put a raw product out there and continue to polish it until they feel like it’s where it should be. I don’t think the roster lock is necessarily perfect yet. Not having a roster lock right after this tournament is maybe a little suspect because so many teams come into this Major to gauge how well they’ll do at TI because it’s the big tournament that everyone strives for all year. The Majors are important because of their 2 and 3 million dollar prize pools but with TI you’re talking 15 maybe 20 million dollars and everybody wants to do well. If so many teams are willing to change their roster in order to give themselves a better chance of winning by going into the open qualifiers, it may speak to a problem in the current system.

You’ve definitely experienced a lot with different team makeups, what’s the most important trait you now look for in your fellow teammates?

I think the most important trait you can find in a teammate is being trustworthy. Initially when Arteezy and Universe left it really broke the trust we had when we built the roster. We had all committed to playing alongside one another and to solve any problems that may arise. The team really wanted to have that back to back performance and win a second TI. That was the dream. After DotaPit and Arteezy/Universe left, I felt that they took the easy way out and gave up on that hard working mentality that we were supposed to have. That’s really disappointing because it’s like they gave up on me and the team we were all committed to. 

Moving back to the actual game, what are your thoughts on the current meta? Is it actually developed or will we see changes throughout the remainder of this Major and TI?

In big tournaments like the Majors there are always changes between the group stages and the main event. Usually it happens through a team that is trying something new and finding out what’s working for them, while other teams just blaze their own path and do whatever they need to do to win games. Teams might emulate the success of either one of those routes if they think they can pull off copying it. We might take the strats and drafting and put our own twist on it. I think the meta is in a really good place right now, we’re seeing a lot of different heroes picked. There are a couple of heroes who are first pick but there are teams who really have freedom to go in any direction they want, which has been more prominent in this patch compared to other patches. I think there will be one patch between now and the next tournament to address some things going into TI, but overall I think we’ll be seeing a lot of the same.

With so many viable heroes in the current meta, what's your strategy when it comes to banning heroes? 

The way banning is going right now it is very team specific. If a team plays a lot of Wisp or a lot of Batrider just go ahead and get rid of it. If you are worried about any cheese strategies, which was our thing going into the best of ones, we were banning Alchemist no matter what side we were on. We weren’t willing to outright ban the hero but we also didn’t want to have to play against it because if you mess up at any point in the game that hero gets out of control and you just don’t have a shot at winning. I think that certain heroes like Alchemist and Beastmaster who are easier to win with give lesser teams a chance at beating better teams. If we wanted to pick a Beastmaster we would ban out the NightStalker. I’m not too focused on what the other team is going to do I’m more concerned with banning the heroes that are going to stop us from doing what we want to do.

EG has a lot of passionate fans all over the world, us included. What would you say to those who’ve bleed blue through thick and thin?

It’s been a rollercoaster of a year, I’m just really glad people are sticking around. I see a lot of support on my YouTube videos and my Twitter feed which is great. There are a couple people who aren’t the nicest, but for the most part everyone has been very positive and really supportive. We are just constantly looking forward to the future and hopefully we can give them some good games to cheer for. Thank you.

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