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South America may currently be regarded as the weakest of the six regions in Dota 2, but it is definitely one that has been making some good strides. VPEsports had the chance to talk with Romel ‘Mjz’ Quinteros, the captain of one of the prominent South American teams, Thunder Predator, about the ongoing online tournaments, the SA Dota 2 scene and the current meta amongst other things.

Hello Mjz! How’s it going? How are the conditions in Peru?

Hello! I’m doing okay. The current conditions in Peru are not so bad, although we are all quarantined.

Let’s jump to the Dota 2 happening all around. How has it been going for Thunder Predator in terms of practice? Is the team together or is everyone at their own place?

During BTS Pro Series, we were all together in our gaming house. But once that ended, we had a talk about going back home. In terms of practice, it’s been pretty usual, no hindrances there.

Thunder Predator has been doing extremely well recently, winning the WeSave! Charity League and Movistar Liga, then finishing third in the BTS Pro Series. What’s changed that have made you so dominant?

I believe everyone in Thunder Predator is extremely skilled and that is major factor in us doing well as a team. The areas where we need to put in more work is the team coordination and the drafting. Those two things are probably the most important in Dota 2.

Would you say you’re the top team in South America right now or would that still be beastcoast?

That is something really hard to know since they always have some standin playing for them, or they can’t play a certain tournament in the best conditions possible. Thunder Predator and beastcoast are surely the top two teams from South America, but only time will tell who is better!

South America is known to face a lot of internet issues. Does that matter when playing with NA teams? Was that an issue when you lost 2-1 against Evil Geniuses?

Yes, during the BTS Pro Series, we had some packet loss issues. Whenever we are playing against NA teams, the ping is high, but it is playable. I wouldn’t say that it was a biggest contributor in our loss against Evil Geniuses, but the conditions surely weren’t the best.

Let’s talk about the gaming scenario in Peru and is SA in general. Has it been getting stronger? What would it need to get better?

The gaming scene definitely has been growing and getting better these past few years. The sponsorship deals offered by certain brands are not as good as compared to other regions, so the organizations cannot afford to pay the players a salary which is on par with some of the players from the other regions. If parity can be brought there, it would go a long way in helping the SA Dota 2 scene.

Looking at the progress SA has made in the Dota 2 scene, do you think we will see a Major winner from the region anytime soon?

SA teams are getting stronger and there are teams that have been playing together for long time. Not too long ago, you would see a lot of roster changes in the SA teams after every tournament, which led to instability in the region. I believe there can be a Major winner from South America, but before that, we need to aim for and achieve at least a top 3 finish.

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 patch 7.26 (all small patches included)?

It feels a bit weird because you get a feeling that the meta keeps going back and forth. After a new patch is released, your idea on how to play the game or what to focus on changes quite drastically. Even though some people don’t like it, personally, I like that new patches provide a different outlook on the game. My favorite change of patch 7.26 was that the tower aura providing HP regen. Least favorite change was the talents getting 20% weaker.

Have you felt support life getting a lot harder in the last few months?

With the new patch, it depends on whether you are winning or losing. In a winning game, supporting seems easy while it’s pretty difficult in a losing game. The best time as a support was when you got GPM talents or added XP talents on them.  Now, you need to be careful and focus on where to spend your gold, as well as how to earn gold and XP.

Who is your favorite hero to play as a position 5 right now?

I like Keeper of the Light right now. I used to play him a lot back when he was more of a position 4 hero instead of a position 5 hero. Looking at how the game is currently being played with everyone taking early fights, KotL gives a lot of sustain and team fight control, which I really like!

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

It was funny the way I started playing Dota 2. I used to play DotA 1 and I remember in order to play Dota 2, you had to ask for a beta key, which I did and forgot about it. Then one fine day, I checked my email and I found out I had a beta key! This happened around September 2012, which is when I started playing Dota 2. In Dota 2, people tend to decide whether you are a good player or not based on your MMR, so once I got to 7k playing only support, I started to think that I could make it as a professional. Of course, there is a lot more to it than just MMR when it comes to professional Dota 2.

What do you like doing outside of Dota 2, when you’re not playing?

I used to do digital drawing. I also like watching movies and going out to eat with my family.

Any other games you like to play?

Recently, I have been playing a lot of Tetris, it seems like a lot of fun.  I would like to play some maps in Warcraft 3 and probably try Poker.

Thank you for your time, Mjz! Any shoutouts?

Thank you for this interview and thanks to the people who follow Thunder Predator! Shoutout to my teammates, they are the best teammates one could ask for. And finally, shoutout to my friends and my family for supporting my decision to be a professional Dota 2 player.

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