After a rough zero-win exit from the tournament, Team Empire's Andrey "Ghostik" Kadyk sat down with Cybersport.com and Cybersport.ru to discuss the team's result, his opinion on who the future champion will be and why did Team Secret get eliminated despite coming in as favorites.
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The big patches that change the game, breaking your strategies: how do they affect your team personally?
I think that global patches like the recent 7.14 should not be coming out before big events like this one, they should be coming out much less frequently in general. The smaller patches are fine. An example of their effect: a team is preparing a strategy with a particular hero, Dark Willow for example, and she gets nerfed. So you sit there at the event, thinking if you should still pick her, but having no time to scrim with the hero. Then some time passes, and you realize that she was not really changed much and can still be picked. Same goes for other heroes — after some time, teams will be using some of them even after they are nerfed.
This tournament you tried everything, from Arc Warden to Spectre. Was it improvisation or something prepared beforehand?
It was not really prepared beforehand because of the patch [prior to the event]. We discussed heroes that we would play the day before the match. It was like that with Arc Warden as well. We planned a pick, tried it out in scrims...
and went with it.
Did you have a minimum goal before the tournament? Did you expect to lose every match?
No, we didn’t. I didn’t. Our minimum goal was making out of groups. Everyone was confident that we would advance.
Replacing our carry was a necessity, there was no other option.
Were there any positive moments for you at this tournament?
Positive moments… Yes, of course. For example, it was Naive-’s first experience playing at a good tournament. Every player can learn something new and feel the atmosphere. That’s why EPICENTER was very important, I think.
Did you watch Natus Vincere’s matches? They first defeated Team Secret and Virtus.pro and then lost to outsiders. Why did that happen?
I think that the match versus Virtus.pro was the most significant one for obvious reasons. They approached it as responsibly as they could. It was the same for Virtus.pro, but they still placed first. They knew that they would advance no matter what.
Speaking of Secret… I think that they were in a bad shape coming into the tournament. Their picks were bad. Whether it was because of the patch — I don’t know.
I don’t think NaVi underestimated the outsiders. The teams just surprised them. [But] NaVi didn’t perform in some areas and weren’t as motivated as in their matches versus Secret and VP.
You have changed three carries this season: Silent, then Nix and now Naive. How difficult is it for you as a support to adjust your strategies when you switch a core player? Some carries like the support to babysit them more, some are more flexible, etc.
Changing a carry really is a Major change for the roster: it is one of the most important roles in the game, if not the most important one. I do not think that carries control supports much. At least in the games we have played they do not go like, "Play with me, come here, do this, do that." Supports must understand where and when to support their carry. The bigger difficulty is the communication between support duos, their movement, where to sacrifice yourselves, and so on.
It is your second LAN without a coach. You said that you had stopped working with JotM because of his differences with Nix. Did you consider approaching JotM again now that Nix is no longer with you?
The issue with JotM was not only about Nix. He didn’t want to go to tournaments, he would rather stay at home and help us from there. It was the same with bootcamps, and we don’t think it works nowadays. A coach should go to LANs and stand behind the team.
And there is also one more important moment. JotM indeed helped us only with picks. It was only occasionally that he advised us on rotations and pointed out our mistakes. So we decided to work with someone else.
Did you already consider somebody?
We did. But I’m not going to give the names.
Our minimum goal was getting out of groups.
The CIS open qualifiers are turning out to be even more insane than before. Did you think about having a potentially more difficult road through the qualifiers when you switched Nix with Naive?
Yes, we did think about it, there was no way around it. Replacing our carry was a necessity, there was no other option. There was no point in clinging to a closed qualifier spot, fully aware that the chances of that roster were slim. The confidence in our roster is more important than a qualifier spot.
There are hardly any teams left in the CIS closed qualifier for The International 2018. Does it mean that Valve’s system does not work? Perhaps, they should still invite you, Spirit and others to the closed qualifier?
You see, the rule is the same every year. It’s just that there are a lot of tournaments this year, so issues arise and become obvious quicker. A team loses, there’s somebody at fault and they change him. I believe that the rule is fair. But Valve needs to work on allocating more spots to closed qualifiers via the open ones. If it stays the same, there just won’t be enough teams [for the closed qualifier].
There has been a lot of critique towards the DPC points distribution. A popular opinion is that more teams should be getting the points, some even say that they should be distributed evenly in qualifiers for more even seeding. What is your opinion on the matter?
You definitely should not give out qualifier points. But maybe you should not be giving them out just to the top 4 indeed; maybe top 6, I am not sure. This is all on Valve to figure out. My opinion on this is if you play well, then you will earn your points regardless.
Who do you consider to be the favorites of the tournament?
Definitely Team Liquid, also Virtus.pro. I also thought that Team Secret would put it together after the groups and figure everything out. But they are totally off the mark with their picks. Who will become the champions? Team Liquid, I think.
More EPICENTER XL interviews
— KuroKy: "I'm trying, but you can't go 100 percent all year."
— n0tail: "Having to change a player in this season has come with a big headache."
— Lil: "We have just as many chances to beat absolutely everyone as to lose to everyone."
— Kpii: "I don't like [the addition of Techies]. It just changes the way Dota is played too much."
— Miposhka: "With time, [Naive] can become the new Miracle-"
— Iceberg: [We have] probably 60-70 chance [to make playoffs]"
— Kingrd: "Don't stop, because if you stop you'll never achieve the dream to win the tournament."