Peter "ppd" Dager, the captain of OpTic Gaming, sat down with Cybersport.com to talk about transitioning from his success in Evil Geniuses to Optic, explain how the new patch cycle is levelling the playing field, discuss storylines and drama in the competition as well as Saahil "UNiVeRsE" Arora's addition to Fnatic.
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- You’ve achieved a lot with Evil Geniuses, then stepped back and now you’re in OpTic Gaming. So far how do you feel about this team and how has it been going?
Making the decision to stop playing, then come back to playing is just something that I wanted to do. Obviously I would’ve loved to have that continued success right out of the gate, but I took a year off. Everybody is so good at this game and it’s really hard to do that, coming back in with a brand new team, new players, a bunch of young guys. I think it’s unrealistic for me to have expectations of the same grandeur that I achieved before and I understand that you don’t build a great team overnight. I’m just putting in the work, and hoping that the process gives me the results that I’m looking for. That being said, I love competing and I’m enjoying what I’m doing.
- Coming back, do you think you lost a bit of strength, or has everybody else stepped up so much that you’re playing catch-up?
It’s a little bit of both. People are constantly improving. Every time you sit down to play a Dota game you can be learning and realistically I really didn’t play that much Dota when I took the year off. It was kinda nice to just take a break. I followed the game, I casted a couple of tournaments, but I wasn’t playing every day and that takes a toll. Luckily, this game is kinda cool because you can almost step back into it if you have that pro player experience, you just need to get adjusted to the patch and meta. It’s always changing so it gives you an opportunity to catch up with everybody.
I feel like there has never been a time where supports have had a larger impact on the game than they do now
- Do you prefer the new patch cycle over the old one?
It’s all about finding the meta and learning how it works. I actually do enjoy it, it keeps the playing field really levelled and it allows for people to continue to innovate. There’s been some patches that have stuck around for months, but players and teams continued to discover and develop new strategies, new heroes, new item builds, because every meta is a response to it’s previous one. I think this new patch being thrown every two weeks makes the game more dynamic and more interesting.
- How did the most recent patch (7.09) affect the support play?
I’ve been playing Dota for a long time, and I feel like there has never been a time where supports have had a larger impact on the game than they do now. I just need to continued to improve my play, so I can have the same level of impact that these other amazing support players are having.
I’ve been shutting myself in a room these past couple of months and just playing as much Dota as I possibly can
- To the audience it feels like you have a mentorship role with all these new players. You just mentioned you need to improve too. What can you improve?
It’s nice having the new guys, I get to learn from them. It’s always nice having fresh young incredibly motivated players who think about Dota 24/7 a day. I’m almost 27 now, you start developing other interests, start thinking maybe there’s more to life than just playing Dota all the time. It complicates things, it clouds things. You get these young guys who are 18-19, and I remember being that young, and it’s just all Dota all day. It’s inspiring and it’s motivating and it keeps me in check.
I’ve been shutting myself in a room these past couple of months and just playing as much Dota as I possibly can. It’s good and it’s bad. It depends on your perspective and what’s important to you. Right now for me, I just want to be the best I can, so I’m shutting the door and I’m locking everybody out.
- How was playing with MISERY before he left to captain EG and why things didn’t work out?
This team has not been as successful as previous iterations of teams that I’ve been on before. It hasn’t been as easy or simple. We were in these gruelling qualifiers after qualifiers, and we were traveling and bootcamping and he was away from home, away from his girlfriend. He never really gave me a sure answer, but I just know that if you’re going to commit your entire life to something and it doesn’t go exactly how you wanted it to go you start questioning whether or not it’s really worth your time. He made the decision that it just wasn’t for him. He left on really good terms. I would’ve loved for him to stick it out and continue practicing hard, but had other opportunities and he left like he just wanted to go in a different direction.
- After Universe was kicked for Misery, you tweeted that EG should’ve kicked Arteezy or SumaiL instead. And of course, Sumail reciprocated the salt. You were very successful as teammates not too long ago. What specifically led to this falling out between you guys?
I think when you go to a tournament and you have these storylines and drama, these matches mean so much more
I’ve been really impressed with EG since their change. I don’t really know if Misery was the perfect puzzle piece for them, it’s tough to say, but I think SumaiL transitioning into this new role where he gets to be that lane dominator works really well for them. I have huge respect for Universe, he’s been a friend of mine for years. We’ve won countless tournaments. This tweet was a little bit of banter and a little bit of paying homage to Universe. Just kinda messing around. Me and SumaiL aren’t on the best terms, but it’s fine. We had breakfast the other day, so it’s all good.
- Do you think the community blows it out of proportion?
I blow it up out of proportion. I think it’s fun, interesting. You create these storylines and you give people things to talk about. Everybody is so PC in Dota ['PC' meaning 'politically correct' - Ed.] because you just play the game all the time, that’s all you do. You don’t have time for distractions. I think when you go to a tournament and you have these storylines and drama, these matches mean so much more. So many more people tune in and care. So many more people will go on social media and talk about it, bring attention to it. I think it’s all good things.
- Are you okay with it if it doesn’t exactly go in your favour?
Yeah, it’s fine. I can be the loser. Somebody’s gotta play the villain, right? I’m just a competitor. I play for OpTic, I get paid to do what I do for a living and I’m grateful for it. Some days I’ll be on the bottom and the other days hopefully I’ll be on top.
- Universe is now on Fnatic. Do you think it’s a good fit or are you skeptical?
I was definitely skeptical at the start. I know Universe spent some time playing with EternaLEnVy when he was on Team Secret and I don’t think he was the biggest fan of that experience. I think he was quite surprised by being removed from the team. It seems like he’s found a pretty good home. I think Abed, DJ, EternaLEnVy, and pieliedie are really great players and I think Universe is meshing really well. Obviously we saw them beat Team Secret this tournament, [and] get top 4 of the Major. Things are going well for him. I’m happy for him.
- Anything else to add?
Thanks for everybody reading this and taking some interest in what I have to say. Hope you watch our upcoming matches.
More Katowice Major interviews
— LeBron: "I feel disappointed with our results, but we have more time to improve"
— Kyle: "We got drunk and bashed our heads against the keyboards"
— zai: "NA used to be very strong because of cocky players"
— 9pasha: "We didn't learn how to properly use RodjER yet"
— Solo: "We've known that RodjER is a very good player for a long time, even before TI."
— EternaLEnVy: "We definitely outdrafted Team Liquid pretty hard."
— Puppey: "Fata thought about switching his role for a while."
— Resolut1on: "I haven’t seen my girlfriend for a month and a half now."
— YapzOr: "It’s cocky to feel bad about a loss you didn’t even practice for."
— Arteezy: "We probably would've won TI5 if I was a better team-mate, honestly."
— Fly: "Not doing so well [...] is what motivates me the most."
— Matumbaman: "I would like us to be the most dominant team in Dota 2 history."
— PPD: "I can be the loser. Somebody’s gotta play the villain, right? I’m just a competitor."
— Kyle: "I want to build a team that succeeds as part of compLexity."
— Nahaz: "The pro Dota 2 scene is eunambiguously in a better place than it was a year ago."
— MISERY: "Nobody really cares if Secret or Liquid are winning, but if EG does anything, everybody's all over them."
— UNiVeRsE: "I never thought I'd see myself moving from America to another country just to play Dota."
— Patos: "We need to step back a little and not try to play everything."