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Image credits: Signify

If there’s one Dota 2 team in India making the headlines for all the right reasons, it’s Signify. After dominating the national scene, Signify will be trying their luck in two big upcoming tournaments – Cobx Masters and ESL One Mumbai for which they have already qualified. I caught up with Signify’s offlaner, Raunak ‘Crowley’ Sen to talk about the meta, his journey through professional Dota 2 and the changing scene in India.

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1) Congratulations on making it to the final stages of the Cobx Masters and ESL One Mumbai! How does it feel that you will playing against some of the best in first, SEA and then in the world?

Thank you! It feels great to qualify as both of them are premier level events happening in Mumbai. We’re very excited and looking forward to the competition and are putting good hours of practice for it.

2) I’m sure you are! Let’s talk about the meta right now. Are you liking it?

I have mixed views on the meta. There’s Pangolier and Bounty Hunter running people over in pubs. Apart from those two, I think I’m okay with the direction the game is heading, as in the pace of the game and stuff.

3) Is mid Pango strong or do you think is the hero better in an offlane role?

I think mid Pango is stronger because he can get his items early and the hero is very level dependent and usually can’t pressure carry before Javelin. My personal opinion of Pangolier in the offlane right now is kind of situational.

4) Right! It was a very different playstyle for offlaners during the TI 8 meta, with heroes like Ursa and Weaver being played to win the lanes. Do you prefer that or is it better the way it is right now?

It’s more or less the same, I think. Those heroes are pretty situational and are picked to counter the carry. I think it’s still the same.

5) I see…What are your thoughts on the Mars? Eventually when he is introduced to Captain’s Mode, what role do you think will suit him most?

I don’t think the hero is completely broken. He gets run over by spell damage. Mars isn’t so hard to play so it’s pub friendly I guess. Seems like an offlaner for now.

6) Not really a mid? Especially considering the truestrike crit..

Mars isn’t going mid in my pubs and I don’t really play the hero so I can’t comment much. I’ve also seen players play it as a postion 4 hero; it’s too early to say right now.

7) I guess we’ll get a better idea when he’s in CM mode. You’ve been involved in the Indian Dota 2 scene for a very long time. How do you think the scene has changed? Has it progressed on the whole since the days of Elunes and NeckBreak or do you think there is stagnancy?

It’s definitely improved over time. There are stable companies doing full time esports, streamers getting good opportunities. There are big events happening compared to the lackluster scene from Oblique/NeckBreak days. There are new players also showing up. So to your question, I think it’s going in the right direction!

8) Quite glad to hear you say that! Signify has been dominating the scene for quite a while now. What other teams have the potential to challenge Signify for the accolade of the best team in India?

Most of the teams are undergoing a lot of roster shuffles currently, so I honestly don’t have ideas. Even we, Signify, lose games here and there sometimes within India. So we’re also not really perfect, but as of now, there isn’t any all Indian lineup which can keep up with us.

9) Hopefully soon, to spice up the competition. Thinking of Shenal ‘AB’ Daniel takes me three years back when he played with Sara Kollo against you in the ‘Double Damage’ tournament. Now here he is, in the coach’s seat helping Signify reach new heights. What does he bring to the mix that is a bit unique?

Haha yes…Double Damage days were good times! I don’t really rmember our games against AB’s team though. He has a lot of cool ideas about the game which we implement from time to time. AB also does a neat job of reading opponents.

10) This question has been asked time and time again and you might be tired of hearing it. But here we go: How far are we from seeing an Indian team challenge the top dogs of SEA or world Dota? What exactly is Indian Dota 2 lacking? Signify is definitely making strides but there is still a gap…

I think everyone is up there skill-wise. I don’t have any doubts about that. We’re trying to figure out ways in which we can improve and play better as a unit, rather than going around trying to win the game on solo plays and such. But we’re learning, lets see how it goes in the coming tournaments.

11) Coming to you personally, how has the transition from mid laner to offlaner been for you? Do you miss playing mid, or not so much?

I don’t. I just play whatever is required to win. In the beginning it felt a bit off as I had played mid for a long time. But I started Dota playing random heroes; played support before moving onto mid because it was required in the team at the time and it’s more or less the same now. Interests are in potions 3 and 4 as of now. I don’t mind adjusting into any role except position 5. I’m a disaster as a hard support!

12) Hahah..I’d like to see position 5 Crowley some day. Any team or player you are looking to face in particular in the two big upcoming tournaments?

No, not really. I don’t really care about all that. Just hoping to play our best Dota, that’s all.

13) Any advice to you budding Dota 2 players?

Keep the grind up. That’s the most important thing. Many new players are trying to make it into upcoming teams and the grind is what differentiates each individual.

14) Any shoutouts?

Shoutout to Anand Tapadia and all the ex MaG Gaming boys and Cobx!


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