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The SEA region has been getting a lot more competetive in Dota 2 in the past couple of years and one of the teams that has risen to the fore is BOOM Esports. VPEsports had a chance to talk with their offlaner, Saiful ‘Fbz’ Ilham. Fbz has been with the organization since 2017 and we spoke about the rise of BOOM Esports, the SEA Dota 2 scene and the current Dota 2 meta amongst other things.

Hello Fbz! How’s it going? How are the conditions in Indonesia?

It has been a bit of a rough situation here in Indonesia. Many people are struggling financially due to this pandemic.

Tough times for everyone, no doubt. Let’s jump to the Dota 2 happening all around. How has it been going for BOOM Esports? Is everyone staying together for all the online tournaments happening or are all the team members at their homes?

I think we are doing well. We keep practicing and improving despite these hard times. Everyone is playing from home except for me! I am stuck at the bootcamp due to travel restrictions.

Talking about BOOM Esports, the team has had some mixed results in the past year or so, qualifying for a good chunk of tournaments, mostly Minors. Where do you think BOOM stands in the SEA teams?

I would say right now, we are in the top 5 SEA teams.

You have been in the team for three years now. What significant changes have you observed in the team in that period?

We used to play a more self-centered style of Dota 2 earlier, but I like how we have started playing more as a team as we have evolved. Most importantly, our mentality towards the game is much better than it was before.

Do you think the Southeast Asia has become more competitive over the past few years?

Yes, Southeast Asia has definitely gotten a lot more competitive over the past few years. Tier 2 teams are getting better every day. I know this because there were no ‘easy games’ as such for us in the last DPC qualifiers; every team put up a challenge.

Who do you think are the top three teams in SEA right now?

I would say Fnatic is at the top followed by TNC in the number two spot. The third keeps changing between BOOM esports, Team Adroit and Geek Fam.

What’s the next step SEA needs to take become as dominant as Europe or China in the Dota 2 scene?

We need a more competitive environment; something like in-house leagues to improve the quality of games.

How huge is Dota 2 in the Indonesia? Is it the most popular esport?

The player pool is really small in Indonesia right now. There are many people who don’t actually play the game anymore, but they are still willing to watch professional Dota 2 games.

How are the SEA pubs? Are they as cancerous as people claim them to be?!

I don’t think SEA pubs are too toxic; most players are friendly. I’d say around 10% players are probably toxic.

Let’s talk about the current meta. Do you like the state of the game right now? What are your favorite and least favorite changes from pact 7.26 (all small patches included)?

I like the game when it is fast paced, so I don’t really like the fact that they are trying to slow the game by reducing gold bounties and buffing the towers. For me, the favorite change is the nerf to starting items like Headdress of Rejuvenation and Ring of Bacilius. It makes the laning stage much more enjoyable. Least favorite changes would be the 50% reduction of kill streak gold.  It has reduced the comeback potential and the there isn’t enough punishment for a hero on a kill streak who dies.

What about the offlane? Do you like it right now?

Nothing much has changed in offlane, if you ask me. The only thing I hate is Pipe of Insight being 600 gold costlier as compared to patch 7.25c!

Which position 3 hero do you love to play in the current meta?

I am really enjoying Nature’s Prophet right now.

If you had to make one change to the game as it is now, what would it be?

I would increase the gold bounties for hero kills and have slightly longer respawn times. I believe it will force people to take more fights and make games more enjoyable rather than have players just farming most of the time.

When did you start playing Dota 2 and when did you realize you could make it as a professional?

I started playing Dota 2 in early 2014 after my friend showed me a video of the TI3 grand finals. Before that, I played Dota 1 for a couple of months. After I hit 5000 MMR was when it dawned upon me that I could actually be a professional player.

Any other games you like to play besides Dota 2 to destress?

Me and the BOOM Esports team usually play Rocket League or online board games. But to destress, I usually just listen to music.

Thank you for your time! Any shoutouts?

Shoutout to all the Indonesian Dota 2 fans and to the BOOM Esports Management for continuing to support us. I’m really grateful to them.

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