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Photo: ESL One

By Anand ‘Warhog’ Tapadia
Special to VPEsports

Natus Vincere is one of the most loved, if not the most loved, Dota 2 teams out there and it is not different in India. The Ukranian travelled to India to compete in ESL One Mumbai, which was when VPEsports had the time to catch up with their carry, Vladislav ‘Crystallize’ Krystanek regarding the current meta, the team’s form this season and how the CIS region has been doing.


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Hello, Crystallize! First of all, congratulations on making it to the winner’s bracket final. How are you feeling?

The last game against Keen Gaming was really tough. The fact that we could overturn the 11k deficit and make a comeback to win it was very emotional. We are really happy that we could make it!

This must be your first time in Mumbai I assume. What does the city feel like?

Yes, it is the first time we have come to Mumbai. We haven’t really been around a lot since getting here. But we really like it as the people are friendly and it has been a pleasurable stay till now.

Let’s move on to some Dota 2. What are your thoughts on the current meta?

The meta right now is really flexible. Every team has their own different styles of play…

What heroes do you think are the best in the safelane for this flexible meta?

The best is, without a doubt, Drow Ranger. But she doesn’t work too well in the competitive scene.

The best carry right now is, without a doubt, Drow Ranger

Let’s talk about Mars. The hero will soon arrive in Captain’s Mode. What are your thoughts on that hero?

He is a bit imbalanced right now, especially the first skill. But if that is fixed, he should probably be a good addition to Captain’s Mode.

Coming to the DPC system this year. Do you like the way it is this year – Five Majors and Minors?

This year, the overall schedule is a bit easier for the teams. But the period between a Minor and Major and also between a Major and the next Major qualifiers is not a lot, so that is a bit pressing on the players.

Na’Vi seems to be struggling a bit right now. You haven’t qualified for neither the MDL Disneyland Major nor the OGA DotaPit Minor. There is one more Major remaining after this. How are things, the way you see it?

The only plan we have in place is to do our best at this tournament, ESL One Mumbai. We will get a break after that and hopefully, we can get better and make it to the last Major, the Epicenter Major. Hopefully we can get enough points to get a direct invite to The International 2019 (Na’Vi are 16th right now). If not, we’ll put in all our effort to get to Shanghai through the qualifiers.

Misha is the new entity in the team, having replaced Sonnieko who is out for health issues. How are you finding it playing with him?

Without Sonnieko, we’ve had to take more responsibilities on ourselves, all of us. Misha’s playstyle is a bit different, so there comes the factor of adjustment. But so far, we like it how it’s going.

It definitely seems like it is going well! Coming to the CIS Dota 2 scene, besides Virtus.pro, there is a lot of fluctuation or instability. No telling which team will get the second Major spot just as there’s no telling who will qualify for the Minor. What are your thoughts on the scene?

Virtus.pro have been playing together for a long time, which gives them the stability factor. Other teams are struggling with consistency. For one tournament, a particular team might find good form, play some amazing Dota only to disappoint at the next event. Overall, there is definitely instability in the region, although it is hard to pinpoint to one particular reason.

There is definitely instability in the region, although it is hard to pinpoint to one particular reason

India is still lagging behind in terms of pro Dota 2, but the Indian team Signify is making small strides. Any advice you’d like to give them?

From what I saw, they usually have a good laning stage but their game just crumbles after the laning stage. I’d advise them to work on the stage of the game after laning.

Hopefully this advice gets to them! What does Crystallize like to do when he isn’t playing Dota 2?

I like to watch anime!

Any shoutouts?

Thank you for everyone who’s supporting us. We try to do our best to win ESL One Mumbai.

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