Kingrd: "The European players we talk to always mention that Epicenter is second only to TI."
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Kingrd: "The European players we talk to always mention that Epicenter is second only to TI."

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Currently sitting on top of the South American Dota 2 scene are paiN Gaming. During the PGL Major in Bucharest, we caught up with position 4 support and captain Danylo "KINGRD" Nascimento to talk about the rise of the team and how they could beat one of the strongest Chinese teams in the game right now.

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First I would like to congratulate you guys for coming all the way to Bucharest. Unfortunately, you didn’t manage to get into the playoffs, but reaching groups is already a great accomplishment for SA and Brazil, right?
We are very happy to be part of this event, but at the same time sad for losing so soon, specially because it was the first time we played this system in Dota 2, with everybody playing one game a day with one chance of winning. It was all very new to us, but we got a lot of good results during scrims and we know what we are doing wrong and in what areas we need to improve. Besides that, we are enjoying this opportunity. We are going to go to many other tournaments during the coming months, this was only the first of many to come.

At ESL they also use the same system, known as Swiss. Don't you use it in South America? 
No, in SA we have a group stage, the top 2 go through and the rest play best-of-1 brackets. We played like this in an international stage at Kiev when we were playing for SG e-sports.

I don’t know how to deal very well with being team captain, but I believe my mentality improved a lot over there [at Galaxy Battles II].

And now you guys are qualified for basically everything you could, did anything happen that gave the team a momentum boost?
Personally, there is a tournament that changed a lot for me, Galaxy Battles II. The tournament ended up losing its Major status, but it was the first time we played with with someone from a foreign country (w33) and I was team captain for the first time.

We didn’t have great results. I was still adapting to the new role, learning how to command our three core players and be able to keep everybody on the same level and united. We made a huge leap during the tournament, but with great difficulties at the beginning, especially for me. I don’t know how to deal very well with being team captain, but I believe my mentality improved a lot over there. The team started respecting and following my calls much more and just going there together made us come back to Brazil more united than ever.

It was almost an overnight improvement, we have a lot of potential, but we still need to improve our coordination in regards to grouping up during the game, trusting each other… Everybody has some negative points and my job is to be able to identify and change those things. It all happened very fast the month after Galaxy Battles.

And with that you were able to come back to SA and dominate the scene.
And we won with different stand-ins for the various tournaments. The most important part is that the four of us are playing well. We will announce our fifth player very soon, everything is set up for him.

You are qualified for WESG, DAC, DreamHack and Epicenter. Which of these tournaments are you personally most hyped for?
The two Majors for sure, Epicenter and DAC. The European players we talk to always mention that Epicenter is second only to TI, that TI is for sure the greatest event to be as a spectator or player, but after that is Epicenter. It’s also in Russia, so that’s a whole other level of competition. They also have so many Dota fans there and I’m very excited for it. Overall, I’m excited for all the tournaments, but these stand out.

Image by: Pain Gaming
Image by: Pain Gaming

Watching your games, I noticed a great level of aggression and early game control, it worked really well with Vici Gaming, but in general the other teams were able to recover from it. What’s the biggest strategic element you need to improve to get to the next level on the international stage?
We work a lot on our early game, we noticed we only win games when we have a really strong start. Winning the lanes is one of our main focuses, with a lot of movement to help the right people that may be struggling on the lanes. We had a good early game against Team Secret and Evil Geniuses, but our struggle is to adapt well to mid and late game. What we are missing right now is to keep our cool and get better at exchanging information. During the Natus Vincere match, that happened a lot, we made a lot of ultimate misplays because we didn’t communicate well enough. We also need to improve on an individual level and fix personal mistakes.

We have been talking to many other teams. I remember that MISERY from EG mentioned Vici Gaming as being a really strong team. They were also the team you managed to beat during the group stages. What happened at this game that you can use to win more at the future?
We like to really get prepared before matches. Well, it’s mostly me, I’m not going to lie [laughs]. I watch a lot of replays to learn how to play against the other teams and I noticed Vici Gaming have really set comfort picks. Secret, VP and EG don’t have it and it’s much harder to prepare against.

I really like this number of tournaments and this flux of games. If you don’t play a lot, you are not going to evolve.

I think the Chinese teams have a more set way of playing. We had scrims with Chinese teams and noticed this very clearly. I spent the whole night watching VG games, and also Secret and Na’Vi games. That’s how we managed to win and do well against Na’Vi, by studying their games a lot. Secret can adapt very well and it was much hard to play against them. They have much more experience and can win only with their drafts.

Would you say you are a step ahead of other SA teams?
I wouldn’t say we are a step ahead. I think we are more hungry for victory than the other teams. We have been playing with stand-ins for a long time and noticed the only way to make it work is to be very united between the four of us. By fixing this, we got much better.

There is also the drafting issue. It’s hard, it’s all new to me as a new captain, as I said, like, “What do I do now?”, “Are the players going to do as I say?”. It’s hard to get into this role. Sometimes it is hard to know if I’m serious or being playful, it’s complicated. The most important thing is that we got into all these tournaments, and that was our goal. Now, let’s see how this experience of being one and a half months on the road is going to pay off.

Speaking of tournaments, and that’s something we talked about with other teams, people have very divided views on the DPC system. Some players feel that the number of qualifiers, group stages and playoffs are too high and very exhausting. Do you agree with this view?
Not really. In SA, we've never had this many opportunities to go to these international tournaments, the first time we ever went to a Major was last year in Kiev. I really like this number of tournaments and this flux of games. If you don’t play a lot, you are not going to evolve. I’m sure there is a moment that you can’t stand it anymore, but for us… I’m 26 years old, I need to give my best. You never know when this is going down, when you can’t even click on the mouse anymore. I’m very excited about all of this and want to keep going forward, be the first team on SA to get qualification points. That’s my goal and ultimately — going to TI.

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