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Photos of Evil Geniuses Dota 2 at the ESL ONE Hamburg Major
NEWS

Stronger

Jan 172018

I have learned a lot during my career as a Dota 2 player. I’ve made decisions that have changed my life significantly, and they’ve taken me around the world to compete against the best — to be the best. It didn’t happen suddenly; I had to put years of effort into improving myself. Playing with mostly Danish teams at the start, I lost a lot and through every loss I’d learn and improve. It was a learning experience that made me what I am today.

My first big step was after TI5 when I joined OG. I had just finished school and was able to put all my effort into Dota. I guess I was pretty lucky because we had a lot of success right away and it kind of snowballed for us. It wasn’t always smooth sailing though, we had our disagreements, our arguments about what went wrong and who was to blame. I learned a lot from those guys: how to work in a team, how to communicate properly, and how to make sure the team remains functional. There were a lot of very experienced players on that team that helped me develop as a player and the lessons I learned are still helping me today.

During the Frankfurt Major where we made our lower bracket run I had a really terrible experience during the group stage. I remember I had a disagreement with Miracle- where he was playing Shadow Fiend and I was sitting behind him. I wanted to stack for him and while I was gone doing that he died and there was a big argument about how we had lost because of this. Everyone was pretty mad. We had just lost the group stage and I had this moment of realization that I had to swallow my pride and say, “Yeah ok, maybe you were right, I shouldn’t have done that, let’s just look forward.” 

 

I felt that was a big turning point for me in that tournament. Basically, that was the first time I had to act like an adult. I had to treat this like my career. I couldn’t just sit down and sulk and be mad after the group stage. I didn’t want to lose like that at the Frankfurt Major so I went and apologized to Miracle, I told him I should have listened to him and we got over it and then we won that tournament as a team. I realized that in order to go far if you have a bad start, if the team isn’t communicating enough, you can’t be afraid to say something. You need to come together and talk about what’s going on and you need to take care of your problems before they take care of you. If you can change something and start to win, it feels incredible. You all play better because you believe in each other, you trust each other.

 

I experienced the same thing with Evil Geniuses during the Boston Major. It was one of my first big challenges when I was the captain. We had a bad group stage and everybody was feeling down. I knew if we didn’t talk about it everyone would just keep it inside and we’d continue to play poorly. In those situations, I believe you need to vent, to let it out. So we got together and talked about our communication problems and everyone gave their opinion. We talked about what we wanted to do better. In the main stage everybody was much more talkative and we did much better. We didn’t win that tournament but we gave it our best and I think our result was much better than what we had expected after the group stage.

 

Being in a team together with five players, you need to be able to work together. Every team handles losses differently, but no matter what, someone is going to be upset about something when you lose and if you don’t have the opportunity to talk about it, the next match will probably go the same way. Making sure each loss has a conclusion is very important — take DreamLeague Season 8 for example. Our first two series in that tournament weren’t very good so afterwards we talked about what was going wrong and we realized we weren’t on the same page. We didn’t fully understand what each person was trying to do and we tried to fix that. Instead of accusing each other of certain things, we gave everyone the benefit of the doubt and we stopped getting so angry at the little things that went wrong.

 

When I was the captain of EG it meant a lot of those responsibilities were mine. I had to be the one to start those discussions when things weren’t going well. I didn’t really know what to expect when I first joined because I had never played with any of them before, but I was up to the task of being whatever type of captain the team needed me to be. 

Playing on EG has definitely helped me grow as a player. I’ve had to swallow my pride to make it work through some of our rougher times but by playing with them it’s helped shape me as a person. Ever since I had joined OG in 2015 I had really wanted to play with Artour, and I also wanted to play with the rest of EG. So when the opportunity came after TI6, it was like a dream come true for me. I had to take more responsibility upon myself by becoming the captain but I thought I would never get a better chance to play with better players and knew I would regret it if I didn’t take the offer.

 

Because I took on the role as captain I’ve learned a lot about myself and the guys around me. I’ve had to think about what to do to get my colleagues to work in a better way, to work as a team, and make sure we aren’t stopping ourselves from improving. Honestly I may have thought I had to do less than I needed to for TI and that definitely came back to bite us.

 

After TI I don’t think my team had as much faith in me to lead anymore. Personally I can see why. It’s not unreasonable, we did have some problems there. I feel like I wasn’t the only one who didn’t do everything they could have done but I can see why most of the blame fell on me. I was the captain, I had to take responsibility for what had gone wrong. When it was decided that Fear was going to take over as the captain that was fine for me. Fear is an accomplished leader, and there is still so much I can learn from him about the role. I was also still able to play with the same group of players and I was able to go back to the 4 role where I feel I’m a better player. 

 

However, I have a lot of work to do regarding my role. Back when I played 4 before, I didn’t feel like there was anybody who was better than me. I felt like I could compete with any other 4 position player in the world. Now I know for a fact that I’m inferior to a couple of players and I can’t stand being in that position. I want to be on the same level as GH and JerAx; the fact that I don’t think I am right now just means there is something I can still work on to improve. It motivates me to keep going. 

 

I believe GH is the most mechanically skilled 4 position in the game right now. When you watch him play you can tell he’s on another level, so he is the one a lot of players, myself included, are looking up to and trying to emulate. I also look up to JerAx. I had been competing against him but when I switched to the 5 role he got ahead of me. I’ve been studying those two players a lot, I’ve been learning from watching their replays, and my goal is to surpass both of them.

 

It can be difficult not to hear yourself mentioned among your position’s best players, and some people ask me if the negative comments we get ever make it harder to try to improve. To be honest, it doesn’t — I’ve always been good at tuning those out. Instead, I focus on the positive things. Every person who comes to our signings and talks to me gives me words of encouragement, really wants to see us do well. Those people really stand out to me. The fact that we have so many fans who really appreciate us and want to see us succeed — they are a big reason for why I continue to fight.

 

When I think about it, the motivations that drive me today are the same things that spurred me to improve back when I started. I still want to win TI and I still want to become the best player in my role. I’ve persevered through the hard times and I’ve taken on bigger and bigger roles, and all the experiences I’ve gone through will help me towards my goals, along with my team. On the outside it almost feels like nothing has changed. However, the past few years — the challenges and successes alike — have formed in ways I had hoped and in ways unexpected. 

 

We may go through some changes but we will only get stronger. I will only get stronger.

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