In the moments after taking their second Major title of the season, we spoke to Virtus.pro support Alexei "Solo" Berezin on learning from their mistakes, why the Pugna pick and why perhaps they were a little bit lucky in the brackets.
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How do you feel after winning all those matches against the toughest teams?
Of course good. It's a pretty similar feeling to winning the Hamburg Major, but it's kind of different now. Here, we lost to Vici Gaming in the group stage and we were nervous about that. We had to realize some things about our draft and now I'm happy of course.
I was talking real quick with your analyst who told me you guys were pretty lucky with the bracket. Do you feel that's true?
Yeah, it's true because, as I said, we realized our problems after we lost to Vici in the group stage. If that would've happened in playoffs we could've lost. It was probably good for us that Team Liquid and Team Secret were in the other half of the bracket — they are very strong teams, so yeah, [we got lucky] a little bit.
Were Liquid and Secret the teams you were most afraid of?
It's not about being afraid or not, they are just strong teams, everyone knows that. When we play against them, we feel more pressure. You have to respect Liquid and Secret, and we were lucky we didn't face them in the group stage... but we played against Evil Geniuses and we hadn't beaten them in a long time, so we had to break this.
You said you learned some lessons during the group stage.
Yeah, it was draft problems. When we played against Vici, we didn't ban their strong heroes like Razor, and you can't pick Omniknight, for example, against Razor, because he's a good laner. We were not drafting well, but then we saw, thought and talked a lot about the drafts and we realized the problems. And that's just one example.
Speaking a little bit about the games you guys played, you picked Omniknight with Battlefury. What made you guys do that? Battlefury is a very popular item, but on Omniknight?
Yeah, it's a very strong item on melee heroes, which are not farming fast. There are heroes like Gyrocopter, Luna, Medusa which are farming very fast and we have to contest them. You need to raise your farm speed somehow, so Battlefury is a very good item now. We tried Omniknight as position 1 in practice, so it wasn't something new for us.
Talking about the last game you had with VG in the series you just won. I though it was very interesting the Chen/Tiny combo you did, with Chen taking a centaur and being thrown by Tiny. Have you guys already done that in the past or is that something new that worked?
It's just a small thing. Tiny is a very good offlaner, pressuring you. But if you lane alone, he's not that strong, you have to support him and Chen is one of the best aggressive supports now for the laning phase. So the Chen/Tiny combo is very popular, but many teams don't let you pick Tiny — they ban it in the first phase.
I saw you guys also really like Pugna. Is it true that you picked it specifically to counter Dragon Knight? If he wastes his stun...
Yes, it's one of the reasons, it's very good against DK. I don't remember this game at all... [laughs] But Pugna is good. We needed a hero to push towers.
You think Terroblade is also a good pusher for towers?
Yeah, of course, TB is one of the strongest core heroes now in this meta, but Pugna is good against him as well.
Take out all his illusions?
No, Decrepify is even bigger problem for TB because he can't deal physical damage and you just saved your hero.
Good point. That's why you're the pro and I'm just a fan!
RodjER obviously fit very well in-game, even willing to stack up deaths alongside you in some games. Have you had the time to bond with him during the WESG qualifiers? Did you become friends with RodjER, or are you still getting to know each other?
I would not say we became closer after WESG, but we've known that RodjER is a very good player for a long time, even before TI. But we had our position 4 in Lil and we liked him as well and we tried our best for a long time until we had to do that [roster swap]. RodjER is just in a better shape. It's not about becoming closer after WESG: we took him because he's really good at his position.
Is there anything you feel too strongly about in this patch? We talked with MATUMBAMAN and he said one thing he hates right now is lane swapping. Do you agree? Do you find this also very annoying?
It is, but this is one of the reasons why we love Dota: you have many options, you have to be aggressive in some situations and not aggressive in others, you have to realize when you should swap, do something else.
One thing that's annoying me is that you can pull creeps from a lane. This annoys many people now.
What would you like to see changed in the next patch?
I like this Patch. They should probably just nerf the strong heroes and buff weaker ones. Probably nerf some OP stuff like Naga Sleep and Meteor Hammer combo. Maybe make some position 5 supports stronger.
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"