Fly at TI7: "I wouldn’t call myself as ruling with an iron fist"
Photo by: ESL | Patrick Strack

Fly at TI7: "I wouldn’t call myself as ruling with an iron fist"

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The International coverage hub

More interviews from TI7: 

Bulba: "I want to find [what went wrong for us in the group stage]"
Mason: "I didn't know if I wanted to play Dota for a living"

7ckngMad: "I've never believed in the metagame, the word to me is bullshit"

There's no name more synonymous with OG's success than Tal "Fly" Aizik. From the signing of the team in 2015 to all their four Major champions, Fly has been there, captaining and leading his team-mates to unmatched success in Dota 2. 

Yet, for all their strong showings at Majors, OG has struggled delivering when it counts the most: The International. An upset loss to TNC in 2016 ended what many expected to be Aegis-conquering run for OG. This year along, Fly's team is once again vering on early elimination, starting their main event in the lower bracket.

On press day, we caught up with Fly himself to talk about staying motivated as a player, the way he rules OG and just how valuable is 7ckngMad to his team. 

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In the past, you’ve spoken about motivation. How hard it is to stay motivated after winning a major, and especially as you’ve won four times? Is this something you’ve been working on as a captain?
Definitely. Having a goal and staying motivated is the most important thing as a player. If you’re not striving for something, you’re going to die out as a player and won’t be able to do what you need to do to win. This is something I’ve been trying to work on lately, over the past year. It’s something I want to keep striving for as well, because you have new goals and mine obviously is The International.

How do you feel about your mentality this year compared to last year?
I definitely feel like this year has been better for me in how much I want to win, and the things that I will sacrifice to win.

How would you describe yourself as a captain, would you say you’re a strong captain?
To me, being a strong captain means being there for your team, being the voice, and being the one people rely on. If people aren’t sure of something ingame, and need any sort of guidance, they come to one guy, and to me that is being a strong captain. I wouldn’t call myself as ruling with an iron fist, I don’t think that’s my style. However, it is important to be a firm voice and as soon as I say something, it needs to happen. And we need to look towards doing that thing together, as a team. I want to bring everyone together.

How do you deal with a loss? Some people have different styles: go into the game immediately, take a 10 minute break. What do you think is more beneficial to your team?
I think it depends on the kind of loss. Like for example during the group stage, if a loss isn’t that bad emotionally we can talk about it immediately. If it’s a game we get really emotionally invested in winning, we need time for players to go out, maybe get some air and walk it off for a few minutes before getting back into it, and we’ll all talk about it with 7ckngmad. 

I definitely feel like this year has been better for me in how much I want to win, and the things that I will sacrifice to win.

What is it like working with Mad? He’s respected in the game for being really smart, but you seem more in tune with him than any other team with a coach, and you and other players will consistently say he’s a large part of your success. Why is he so special?
I respect Mad a lot, and have since I asked him to join as a coach. He goes well beyond what we ask of him to do. He will do every little thing, he will do something to help everybody individually, he tries to help everyone as a team, I think he does too much for his own well being actually. But he helps us immensely, and we all respect him a lot. And you have to respect your coach or you won’t listen to him, so that’s very important.

Also, he’s a higher MMR than all of us except for Ana and S4. He goes well beyond everything expected. Whether it’s theorycrafting about the game, or individual players, he’ll do it. He practiced midlane for a month so he could help Ana understand certain matchups better. Or he’ll look at all the drafts at a tournament, and look at the teams that are winning, and try to learn from them so we can improve, and how we can incorporate that into our own style. I think he’s 100% committed, and that’s what makes him good at his job.

He’s the kind of person where you walk into the practice room at 4 a.m. and he’s sitting there watching replays like he’s been at it all night.
He is definitely that guy, he will stay up late, and only sleep 4-6 hours, and do as much as he needs to do to get the job done. And he is a large part of why I think we will do well this tournament.

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