Tal ‘Fly’ Aizak is every interviewer’s dream. He is the easiest guy to talk with and is very friendly even when targeted with the questions that pierce the soft spot. In Vancouver, when I got the chance to speak with Fly, we talked about Evil Genuises’ fine form at TI 8, how the meta is shaping and his sudden departure from OG.
Hello Fly! Sixth TI for you and sixth in a row. How does it feel to come to Vancouver after visiting Seattle for so many years?
If feels good to be in Vancouver, I’m not going to lie. I have some good memories from the previous TIs, but I never did very well. It’s nice to have a change of scenery, so I’m happy to be in Vancouver.
Talk to me about the group stages. A lot of people, including me, did not think Evil Geniuses would do so well. But you proved all of us wrong.
We just had a really good idea coming into the group stages of what we were going to do. We were very relaxed. The team just treated it as if we were scrimming and there was no added pressure on us. We were allowing ourselves to play a bit more aggressive than what people might have expected from us. Basically, all of us had a really good mentality going into the group stages which helped a lot.
“All of us had a really good mentality going into the group stages”
Did winning The Summit 9 help a lot with the confidence?
Definitely. We went into The Summit without any practice. I think most of the teams that came there hadn’t practiced a lot either. Just going in and showing everybody that we had good synergy helped our confidence for sure.
Next up at the main event – Team Secret. What do you feel about facing them?
Secret is a unique team. They have a completely different play style than other teams. It is hard for me to predict what they will do and how they will do it. I am confident that as long as we do what we have been in the group stages a bit better, we can win playing our own game. We just have to make sure we don’t get dragged into the Secret kind of game where they excel.
What are your thoughts on the meta? The Summit was not too long ago, but the heroes picked at TI are quite different from those picked there. Was that something you expected?
After The Summit there was a small but big patch which changed a few heroes. Teams discover things when they practice and play pubs. Because we have been scrimming a lot, I am not too surprised with the meta. It is interesting to see different teams value things differently and in the end, it is a bit of a battle about who was right! It is interesting to see how the meta evolves and it will me more interesting to see how it changes on the main stage, because there is going to be another layer where the meta develops.
What about Pudge? Evil Geniuses picked Pudge a lot at The Summit and now the hero is hardly seen. Is it only because of the nerf to Meat Hook?
I think it was a pretty big nerf considering you start with Hook at level 1. Since this patch is all about laning, having Hook on cooldown for such a long time makes it a lot trickier to get the hero into the game. Once Pudge is in the game, he is high leveled, he is a beast, one of the best heroes you can have! So it’s a question of laning and whether or not a certain game is a good Pudge game.
“Once Pudge is in the game, he is high leveled, he is a beast”
Do you like the fact that the meta is so focused on the laning stage?
Initially, I didn’t like it a lot. But as time has passed and I have learnt the correct way of playing it, I am enjoying it. Every little thing matters in the lane. Very small things, like a single deny or a single misuse of a spell can change everything in the lane! So it is very skill based right now, which I think is cool.
“Very small things, like a single deny or a single misuse of a spell can change everything in the lane”
These never matter to me, because well, I am not clever enough to understand them! Now we will be getting into a few questions that could be a bit heart piercing because they are about OG. OG dominated the last two seasons, but this season, it just did not work out. What happened?
We added Resolution to the roster at the start of the season. I think he is a very skilled player, but the whole team, not just Resolution, started to not fit together too well. I thought other teams just performed a lot better than us. Speaking for myself, I started losing motivation when we lost a lot and I couldn’t see a good way to fix the team. There was a situation with Resolution that ended with getting 7Mad (Ceb) into the team. The switch wasn’t really something everyone agreed upon and when all the players are not on the same page, the team is not going to play well. In the end, I decided to do what was best for myself, where I saw an opportunity to join a team I believe in and can see myself winning TI with.
Was it difficult though? Considering you are such good friends with Johan (N0tail). How did he take it?
It was a very difficult decision. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made in my life. Things have not really been resolved between us and I did not part in the best way possible. I have some regrets about how things were handled, but everything was rushed as TI qualifiers were basically in two weeks. I hope these things will be resolved somewhere down the line..but yeah, it was hard.
Coming to 7Mad..he said some not-so-nice-things on the way you guys parted. Did you have a conversation with him, or is that also still in the air?
It’s still a bit in the air. I saw what he said and I understand why he would have such feelings. I also have some things that I have not shared from my side because there’s always two sides to every story. I will get to it one day, but right now my focus is completely on TI.
“Right now my focus is completely on TI”
Personally speaking, I hope you guys can resolve the conflict. I have been a big supporter of OG since the start and now I’m confused who to support! Fly, Cr1t- and S4 are in EG, N0tail and Ana are in OG..
Support both teams, if you can!
I guess that’s what I’ll have to do! Will we ever see you in an OG shirt again?
I have no idea what the future holds.
On a lighter note, how did you get into gaming? Is Israel a nation big on gaming?
Israel is not really that big on gaming. I was gaming since in early age. I used to play a lot of random games, went into World of Warcraft like most people. Then there was a guy who told me to play Heroes of Newarth (HoN) and it just went on from there. Gaming was an escape from reality at times when things were hard. But then it turned into something great!
Isn’t that the dream! EG play on day two of the main event. Is the extra rest day something you prefer or would you rather play as early as possible?
Honestly, I would prefer to play on the first day. The one day break between group stages and the main event is already too much. You get into this habit and groove of playing all the time. I just want to keep the momentum going. It is a bit annoying, but I’ll enjoy watching some good games on my day off, so at least there ‘s that.
Very important question. How do I get fit like you? Israeli Krav Maga?
*Laughs* It’s hard to find time, but every day you wake up, workout, eat healthy. It’s a way of life.
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Interviews from The International 2018:
– Iceberg – Winstrike: ”If you are afraid to play someone here, then you just shouldn’t be playing at TI”
– XinQ – Team Serenity: “I was wild and out of control”
– No[o]ne – Virtus.pro: “I hate the mid lane right now”
– KuKu – TNC – “If you are playing good Dota, there are no individual plays”
– PSG.LGD – Chalice: “Virtus.pro drafts are not that good”
– TNC – Raven: “We messed up the drafts”
– Team Liquid – MinD_ContRoL: “We picked Optic because we don’t have a good history against Team Secret”
– paiN Gaming – Tavo: “Every defeat is a lesson…I’d just rather not lose here, you know?”
– OptTic Gaming – Pajkatt “OpTic is better than any of the teams I’ve played in before”
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