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Alliance Boxi & Taiga

Aug 192019

We sit down with Alliance’s Boxi and Taiga to see how they’re feeling after a grueling Group Stage at TI9!

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE AT THE GROUP STAGE?

Boxi

The wisp carry is the biggest surprise – I don’t think anyone saw that coming, maybe not even OG themselves. Basically, Ana has been playing safelane and going helm of the dominator into Aghanims which makes it so the spirits never stop spawning. I think it’s very strong and very fun to watch.

Taiga:

I already felt that the Wisp Aghs has been broken, but I can’t play that way as a support. But now everyone knows it’s super good. I told my team this before, but since they don’t play the hero themselves, they didn’t really understand just how strong it is. I’ve played the hero a million times, so it wasn’t that big of a surprise to me — I kinda knew it was coming eventually.
The biggest surprise for me, though, was the Elder Titan being picked nearly every game this event. I didn’t think the hero was that great to be honest.

106 heroes were picked/banned in Day 1 of the tournament — does that make you feel happy because the hero pool is big or is it challenging because you don’t know all of the matchups as well?

Taiga

Well yeah, there’s a lot of tier-1 teams that have an advantage from a bigger hero pool because they have been playing the game for much longer than we have. So, they have more heroes to play around; for example Meepo, Alchemist, Mirana as a Pos 4, which I don’t really play. So, for us it’s very tough.

Boxi

I think it’s very fun though! There’s a lot of variety in the pick/ban. I feel like different teams have their own grip on Dota and which heroes they play and it’s always interesting at TI when all of the regions come together and value things very differently. That’s why I think we tend to see a lot of heroes picked in the first days of TI. Further on into the tournament, it narrows down when teams sort of agree on what’s good and what doesn’t seem to work out.

You guys had a pretty tough group. Which of your opponents gave you the most trouble?

Boxi

I think Secret is the opponent we match up worst against. We had a very close game 1 with them where I feel like if it was against any other team, we would have won. They managed to play very well and clutch it out in the end. We always have problems finishing the game against them. After that It would be LGD – they out-drafted us in one game and we won the other, but we respect them very much still. Other than that, I think we had a very good group stage run, but unfortunately it was barely not enough to make it to the upper bracket. It didn’t feel very demoralizing or sad that we are where we are now.

You wound up splitting a lot of series. Looking back, is there something you wish you would have done differently to change the outcome of your games?

Boxi

Yeah for sure. I think there’s more than one game we feel like we should have won and we messed up, made some mistakes and lost. Especially versus Newbee, if we had won one game against them when we had a very hefty lead, we would have been in the upper bracket. But, you make mistakes and you make amazing plays – in the end it kinda balances out.

Taiga

Yeah, it’s The International after all and you’re going to forget some stuff and you get too excited.

When games are getting stressful, how do you mentally reset?

Taiga

Well, once the game starts you don’t think about what tournament you’re playing in. You’re just too focused and are thinking, “What’s my next move?” or, “What are they going to do next?” But maybe when things go bad you start talking to yourself. This is why mentality in the game is one of the most important things you need to keep in mind when you play. As long as you can keep calm despite whatever situation you’re in, you will manage. We also had a mental coach who helped us a lot with that.

Boxi

Yeah, I don’t think we usually feel too much pressure but at the same time, it’s definitely noticeable that sometimes we get a little bit excited. Sometimes we don’t make every decision as calm and collected as we should. I think in terms of taking a step back and trying to relax, it kinda comes down to someone on the team noticing, “Alright guys we’re getting very excited” or, “We’re getting very stressed” and take a minute, take 10 seconds to think about what we want to do. Somebody just to step in and say, “We need to chill.”

Who on your team is typically the person to say that?

Boxi

Um, it’s a mix. I try to do it sometimes, but sometimes even I can get excited. And then someone like Insania, or even Micke will say “just listen to me, we have a lot of stuff going on.”

Taiga

Yeah, everyone takes turns.

Where do you want TI played next?

Boxi

I would love for it to be in Sweden, my home country! I think it would be cool to have it in Europe at least because it would basically mean that all of my friends and family would have it be more accessible and they would be able to watch and follow my journey more easily.

Taiga:

I would like to see it in Germany, specifically Cologne again. That was the first ever TI and I watched the “Free to Play” short film. So I kinda want to be there in the place that the first TI was held.

Tune into the Alliance's matches over on Twitch!

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