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Photo by: StarLadder

StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor came to a close last night in the Cybersport Arena from Kyiv, Ukraine. NiP took their second Minor trophy in a row after an intense five-game series against Alliance.

At the end of the grand finals, Taras Bortnik got to talk with Kyle Freedman to draw a few conclusions on the whole action unfolded through the five days event. They also picked the MVP of the tournament with a little help from the NiP captain and back to back Minor champion, Peter “ppd” Dager.

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We are at the end of the tournament, the last Minor of the season. Five days of Dota 2 action with two slots to the final major on the line. How would you summarize your experience here in Kyiv and the tournament as a whole?

It was a lot of fun. Honestly, I really liked Kyiv, it’s one of my favourite cities to visit and I think that the vibe from everyone here, from production to the staff and mostly the talent I got to work with, was quite nice. Everyone was having a good time, positive, fun, on and off camera. I got the chance to do some nice dinners as well, it was just a really good time.


NiP and Alliance reached the grand finals, which was expected, but what were the surprises of this tournament for you?

Nothing especially, to be honest. I think it actually came out as I expected. I figured it will be two Chinese and two European teams in the playoff bracket. Obviously, Anvorgesa upsetting EHOME was a shocker, but other than that, once you saw the bracket you knew that Alliance and NiP will be in the top 3. I guess them two fighting in the grand finals kind off show how unbalanced Europe has been this year. Both have been probably hurt a lot, Alliance should be already in TI, but instead, they have to go play for their lives at EPICENTER.


Since both grand finalists were already qualified for the EPICENTER Major, a lot of people speculated that the final act here will be played more like a show match, for fun, if you want. Do you think it was a bit like that?

Well, the winner got to go home with $50,000 more. It’s a lot of money, for a lot of the esports titles that’s a grand prize. I think it was a cool series to watch because they still took it seriously. But because there was no pressure you would expect very good Dota and that’s exactly what we got on the grand final here.


Alliance had a very good run here, and although they didn’t win the tournament, they put up some really good games. Can we say that they are back in the tier one pool or at least tier 1.5?

No, not yet. The way I see it is: you’re tier 1 when you can win LANs, tier 2 is when you make it to the LANs and tier 3 – you’re staying at home. Alliance is still tier 2, maybe if they would have won this Minor, then sure. I want to see how they perform at the Major and I think that they can definitely place top 8 there and get themselves a TI9 spot. But I also think that they have a lot of work to do before they can truly be among the best of the best.


Would you say that the meta evolved through this tournament?

The only thing that changed, that improved through the tournament here, was the way you focus on certain things. Play a mistake-free Dota. You need vision, you need the ability to kill towers and structures and capitalize on the enemy mistakes. The best teams take one opening and they run with it to win the game. Some other teams need seven or eight fights to do the same thing. I think that’s what we really witnessed here.


NiP are at their second Minor victory in a row now, do you think that they are ready to win the Major?

I mean they can definitely compete, but I think they got ways to go. They need to be consistent. On their best days,  they can beat anybody, on their worst days, they can lose to anybody at the Major and I’d like them to show up some of their strategies. They have some of the best ideas in Dota, but it’s tough to hit every single time. But, it’s Dota, you can never know and the skill gap is so close between all these teams. It’s all about the strategies. This is just a really great time to be a fan.


What do you think of Anvorgesa, is their performance here a clear statement that the SA scene is starting to be stronger than other regions?

I think South America is still one of the weakest regions but at the same time, they have a lot of talent. They need more minds, they need more people that can grow the squad as a unit, not just the individuals. Anvorgesa is no less talented than many of the teams on this Minor, but they don’t have that over-arch strategy that turns them from a  pub stack into a professional team. part of that is the lack of infrastructure and support in the region. If that changes, I think if you give it a year or two we will see some of these SA teams not just making it to the playoffs, but even making a run.


Who is your MVP of the tournament?

It’s tough. I don’t know.. yo, Peter, who is the MVP of your team this tournament?

ppd: Other than me? Probably Ace.

Kyle: Yeah, I would say that  if you factor the drafts you have to lean on ppd, but if it’s just based on play, I feel like Ace won it with that game five Meepo.


Alright, thanks a lot for the interview and I hope to see you back in Kyiv soon.

My pleasure, was fun, see ya!

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More interviews from the StarLadder ImbaTV Minor:

Loda: “We got to the point where we no longer fear the names of other teams”

ppd: “Dota audience was missed in North America”

iNSaNiA:“Our biggest rivals, for the whole season, not only at this Minor, are NiP”

ASD:“To me personally, Alliance’s playstyle is somewhat incomprehensible”

K1:“In Peru, the organizations ask for big prize money cuts. Something around 70%.”

Y: “Looking back, I feel sad because I understand that we could have performed much better”

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