It’s been an eventful past few months for the Fnatic Dota 2 team. After placing fourth at this year’s Dota 2 The International (TI6), three players – DJ, 343, and MidOne – took their leave from the team. In an interesting twist, Fnatic recruited three players from the TNC, the Dota 2 team from the Philippines: Demon, eyyou, and Raven.
Apart from having a new roster, Fnatic also recently announced a partnership with Astro’s 24/7 gaming channel, eGG Network (Channel 808). At its media announcement, we sat down with three of the five players in the team, which are Ohaiyo, eyyou, and Raven for a quick chat and update.
The following is a transcript of the interview, which has been edited for clarity and grammar.
LYN: To Ohaiyo, looking back at TI6, how did you guys feel about your performance overall? Were you disappointed you didn’t go all the way?
Ohaiyo: It’s not disappointing. All the way, our performance was really good for me, because we didn’t expect that we can get into the top four when we were playing in the group stage. In the first two days of the group stages, our performance was quite poor and we couldn’t win a single match. After placing fourth, I felt really excited because I didn’t expect that result.
LYN: What do you think was the major factor that led to the fourth placed finish?
Ohaiyo: When we were playing in the top four match against Team Digital Chaos (DC), we made the mistake of putting ourselves under pressure. When we played against DC, we couldn’t play like we normally do. We were rather slow and too scared to fight against them, and that’s one of the biggest reasons why we lost to DC.
LYN: I think I can ask for most of the fans, why did Fnatic choose to recruit three players from TNC?
Ohaiyo: Well, after the TI re-shuffle, Fnatic only had me and Mushi in the team. We tried to pick players from other teams, but the hardest thing was to only have one support player from the SEA scene. We felt that a combo of having two support players was better. We approached Demon first, and he told us that eyyou and Raven were also interested in joining Fnatic, that’s why we got three players from TNC.
LYN: For Eyyou and Raven, you guys went a long way in TI6, how did it feel to defeat tournament favourites Team OG? Did you expect to go all the way to the top eight?
Eyyou: We didn’t expect to end with a top eight finish. Of course after we won the match OG, we were very happy and shocked that we beat them 2-0. But our captain (Demon) said before the match that he was very confident that we can beat OG 2-0; that we just needed to play our game, and it happened.
LYN: With the new lineup with the addition of Demon, eyyou and Raven, are there currently any communication barriers among all of you, be it during practice or tournaments?
Ohaiyo: Right now, we’ve only played together for a week (we took four days rest). Of course there is a communication problem because I’m used to talking a little bit faster, and these two will keep telling me “Ohaiyo, try to speak a little slower. Why are you talking so fast? We can’t understand you.” Yeah, I feel our communication is really bad, but this is only a matter of time. It’s not something hard to fix.
LYN: So most of the time, you’ll be speaking in English?
Ohaiyo: Yeah, in our team, I have a personal rule where if I’m only speaking to Mushi or Eric, then I will use Mandarin. Otherwise, I’ll use English.
LYN: So has the team come to a final decision on who plays what role in Fnatic?
Ohaiyo: Before this we already know what our positions are. I’m already used to playing as an offlaner, Mushi as solo mid, eyyou and Demon will be supports and Raven will be the carry. So, for now, we don’t need to fix any problems with our roles.
LYN: In what ways do you see this combination of a Malaysian and Filipino team benefiting both countries?
Ohaiyo: I don’t see it as a country but more of a team coming together. We have our own play styles so it’s really good that we combine our knowledge. We can share both and past and new knowledge, mash them together and try to improve for our future play styles. That itself is a good thing and is a new challenge for all of us.
LYN: Talking about the Dota scene, what do you think of the Dota scene in South East Asia now? Is it getting any better or bigger?
Ohaiyo: It’s definitely getting a lot better compared to previous years. Today there a lot of sponsors coming up with tournaments in SEA. There may be a lot of tournaments in South East Asia three to four years ago, but the prize pool weren’t that big. However, recent tournaments like Major All Stars, and the upcoming ESL One Genting in Malaysia will help improve the Dota 2 scene in SEA.
LYN: What are your thoughts on the recent tournament prize pool distribution. Like for Major All Stars and AGES, there are news that teams have not received their prize money yet.
Ohaiyo: Of course this isn’t a good thing. Major All Stars was one of the biggest tournaments held in Malaysia. I remember five or six years ago, there was this tournament called SMN Dota 1. There were technical issues with the computers at the event and because it was a major tournament in Malaysia, foreign teams dislike coming to Malaysia for tournaments.
I don’t understand why tournament organisers aren’t paying the prize money yet. I’m just worried that people will think “It’s Malaysia again. Why does this always happen in Malaysia.” I’m scared that this will cause a damage on the image of Malaysian eSports.
LYN: So DJ has left Fnatic to play for Execration in the Philippines. Why do you think he made the decision to play back home?
Raven: I think he misses his family, that’s why he wants to get a local team so he can stay in the Philippines. He’s played internationally for two years, that’s why I think he’s going to a local team.
LYN: Do you think now that he’s back in the Philippines, he would help the Dota 2 scene in the country more?
Raven: I think so, because he’s got more experience now. I think he would help the Filipino Dota 2 scene a lot.
LYN: For the new lineup of Fnatic, is there anything you would like to say to your fans?
Ohaiyo: I hope Filipino and Malaysian fans will continue supporting us. Recently we lost one tournament, but that doesn’t affect us a lot. It’s only the start of our journey, so in the upcoming tournaments, we’ll see what we can prove to you and we’ll never give up.
LYN: Thank you guys so much for your time!
It is just the beginning for Fnatic’s new Dota 2 team with Mushi, Ohaiyo, Demon, Eyyou, and Raven. While they have not got off to the best of starts, the team gets along with each other very well, which will ease communication issues over time.
As part of the eGG partnerhip, Dota 2 fans in Malaysia will see more matches and Fnatic-specific content aired on the channel. We wish Fnatic the best of luck in their upcoming tournaments.