As soon as Fnatic managed to get back home from Dota Summit 12, we caught with Djardel Jicko B. “DJ” Mampusti to talk his first tournament victory with his team, the plans they made for the now postponed Los Angeles Major, the recently deployed 7.25 patch, the next season’s Dota Pro Circuit system and a few real life aspects, including his plans on how to spend the lockdown time.
Hi DJ and congrats on your first tournament victory with Fnatic. Let’s start the interview with the trip to Los Angeles. What was your initial plan for the Dota Summit and how did it change after you found out that the Major got postponed?
The Summit was supposed to be part of our bootcamp for the Los Angeles Major and also for us to get used to the LA weather and get rid of the jetlag before the tournament began. When we found out that LA Major was gonna be postponed, I had mixed feelings about it. I felt unsatisfied because I wanted to play more official matches and I am confident that we would do well in the Majors. At the same time, I was a little happy because I can just hide at home and not worry about COVID-19.
Who took the Duck trophy home to put it on a shelf?
Eric, our team director, took it home and he says he will put it in the team house.
We saw Iceiceice playing a few interesting heroes in the offlane, like Snapfire and Ogre Magi. Were those experiments ahead of the Major or were they heroes you guys actually practiced before arriving in LA?
If I remember correctly, we have previously used those heroes in official matches, so it is not really a new thing for us. Besides, Ice plays a lot of different and weird heroes.
The Snapfire offlane is even a more interesting option now that she got a Scepter upgrade. How do you find the new ability, is it any good, is it worth to actually spend the gold for the Gobble Up?
It looks awesome and funny but I’m not sure if it is worth buying.
I’ve seen this video after the patch and I instantly thought about how well the Snapfire – Enigma combo would fit you and Iceiceice. How do you like the Malefice damage change? Everyone used to go for CD reduction level 15 talent, but with so much Malifice damage added now, is that a better option?
Cool combo. Well, I’m not sure what talent is better, I guess it depends on the game. I have to play more to test it out.
Your Enigma performance from the Manila Major made it clear to everyone that you are the absolute best player on that hero. You proved it so many times after that and I’m curious, do you feel any kind of extra pressure when you are playing this hero in high stakes matches, or you are just happy to play the heroes that you feel extremely comfortable with?
I wouldn’t say I’m the best player on that hero. But, yeah, I do feel pressured sometimes when playing a high stake match and I think it’s normal to feel that way. Also, it’s every players’ job to get rid of the pressure in order to play properly.
Looking at the 7.25 notes it makes me say that this is an anti-support gameplay update. Am I right, how much does this patch hurt the support heroes with the increased TP cost, less gold earned overall and the few item nerfs?
Well, everyone has to buy TP scrolls so I guess it’s not just about the supports. They are buffing a lot of heroes this patch, but I think they will just slowly nerf it when they see a broken hero.
Do you think that it was necessary to change the Boots of Travel, what’s your take on how they work now?
Not really a fan of this Boots of Travel change. I liked how we used to have 2 TPs with BoT. You could use it to defend the base and then come back to the fights.
What’s your favorite hero and item change of this patch?
Earth Spirit and Enigma. I think they received good buffs. I also like the Clarity potion buff because the previous 50 seconds were too long.
How do you think the ban order 4/1/1 instead of 3/2/1 will impact the drafting?
I don’t really know why they are changing this or what they want to see with this change, but I guess if your hero pool is limited, you might wanna train more because the opponent might just ban everything in the first phase.
Considering how many players have made role changes lately, was there any point when you thought about going back to mid or offlane?
No, I trust my team and the roles they are playing. And I also like playing position 4.
For those who might not be familiar with your starting days, we should mention that your first competitive matches were as mid, then you started to play a bit of offlane, and after that you’ve become an absolute beast support 4. Why did you transition to position 4 back then?
In early Fnatic days with Mushi, we were trying a lot of stuff and different roles. Then we just ended up with me playing position 4 because we all felt comfortable after all the experiments and role swaps we did.
Let’s talk a bit about the recently announced DPC system for next year. Regional Leagues, what’s your take on that system?
Hectic schedule, less prize pool, only 3 Majors. Feels bad. But I think it’s good for the lower tier teams.
Lower prize pools for the Majors, only top eight teams get a share of the DPC points and the money. Do you think Valve should think about this more and come with an update?
They should bring back the 3 Majors with $3M prize pool, like in 2016. It would be more hype.
We have a pretty long downtime because of the global situation with COVID-19. What are you planning to do for the next few months? (take a vacation, bootcamp, prepare for a possible last major, spend time with your family, etc)
Just play it safe. Stay and play at home and hope it gets better. My baby girl will be born soon and I’m gonna be here in the Philippines with my wife when that happens. Epicenter Major cancellation is a blessing in disguise.
If Dota would have never existed and no high school friend would have introduced you to video games, what would Djardel Mampusti be doing in the present days?
Probably learn how to cook and become a chef.
Who from the Dota 2 scene would you say is your best friend, what are the memories, the experiences with that person that you treasure the most?
I don’t really have a best friend in the Dota scene, but it’s more like close friends. But if we are talking about people that I have been together with for a long time and one of my close friend, it’s Eric, our former manager and current team director
DJ and Eric at Dota Summit 12
Thanks for your time, I hope we all get to see each other at TI10, and if there is anything you might want to add or any shoutout you want to make (sponsors, family, friends, etc), please go ahead.
Shoutouts to my wife, my family and my friends, shout-outs to Fnatic and our sponsors. Thank you.