Last season, New season, TI7…

It’s been quite a while since I wrote something about DotA… If you’ve been reading me before, you are probably not going to believe it. Nevertheless, it is nothing but the truth. As much as I enjoy coaching OG, there are things that I’ve had to give up along the way. Not allowing myself to share publicly my thoughts and impressions about DotA is a part of that sacrifice. As much as I miss casting, writing articles or just casually joining some shows/interviews, I must make sure I keep what I know about the game for myself and my team. To be fully transparent, it goes heavily against my nature as a person, but I’ve come to learn that competition gets rough, and since my direct competitors act this way, not respecting it would just put me and who ever I work with at a heavy disadvantage.

Now that the reason for my non-writing has been clearly detailed, let’s jump to the ‘writing-again’ part, which is a lot happier. I just felt like sharing my reflections about my last year with OG, as well as what’s next for me this season.

Picture from

Picture from

Plans & Coaching :

I will start off with my plans, on the short-term. I will keep coaching OG. I did consider different things moving forward this year, i.e. my different tweets in early September. There’s a simple reason for that: I am constantly looking for new challenges. As a coach last year, I’ve proven to myself that my ideas about DotA were valid and good enough to impact the most contested tournaments. Last season was amazing. The post TI6 shuffle left me quite skeptical. Although I respected everyone’s decision after the huge TI disappointment, it looked like we’d have to build everything again from scratch, since we would be bringing in three new players.

Coaching, especially when I started, was a quite ungrateful position. I was very lucky to work with players that truly made up for that with the respect and the general relationship they built with me, but still, from a very personal perspective, coaching remains an ungrateful role for now. As many other coaches, I am before anything else, a true competitor. That is to say: a player. When you coach, you must accept to let go a lot of the control you thought you had as a player (whether you truly had it or not does not matter). You won’t be playing the game, and you can work as hard as you want to increase your control on the games that are going to be played… it still ends up being what it is: you’ll never have any direct control over things.

«Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on».  Eckhart Tolle

Letting go is not an easy thing when you’re so passionate about DotA. I’ve learned to accept it, and it has help me grow a lot as a person. Back to the last season with OG, I’ve decided to stay because I believe in justice and fairness in life. It felt like Fly and N0tail really did not deserve ending up with a 2-man roster after TI6. It’s funny how TI always puts everything in question. It’s just a god damn tournament, and it shouldn’t mean that much to anyone if you try to look at it clearly. Winning or losing means the world to players, and that feels wrong. I say that and at the same time it also means everything to me, just trying to be the devil’s advocate here. Either way, I’ve decided to stay and help them rebuild something stable and successful, and successful it has been. The new additions, ana s4 and jerAx, ended up fitting amazingly well with what we already had going.

Last season was truly amazing to experience, and for that I am very grateful to everyone in my team. For this season, I am again looking for new challenges, and that’s why I gave myself the right to, for the first time in my career, look at other opportunities for myself. I considered playing, for instance. Although the ‘know your coach place’ kind of lines don’t get to me at all, it still messes with my competitive obsession. I end up thinking, why wouldn’t I try to prove myself I could make it with playing instead of coaching. After reflecting a lot on all that, there’s still a lot for me to learn as a coach and keep improving. Setting standards when it comes to that role is quite exciting. I do believe you get rewarded in life for making the right choices, and I welcome this new coach-drafting thing as a reward for my decision this season haha. It is a true blessing to now be able to participate in drafts. It is, with no doubts, the part of the game that interests me the most.


I have had so many talks with people about the eventuality of coaches being involved in drafting phases, or even allowed in-game. Even though it has always been of my wildest dreams, I’ve never actually allowed myself to say I was in favor of that. I am a bit of a purist when it comes to DotA, I love the game as it is and I am sure that like many of you, I have a hard time welcoming big changes. Even though, as far as I can remember, I have always ended up liking all the changes that has been brought to the game. Now that this one happened, I just accept it and embrace it. It will help increase the level of the drafts, strategies and even overall gameplay.

Competitive system :

Before I get to the first purpose of my article, I would still like to add slightly to the competitive system for this season. I was very happy to hear about the minor/major system, as I think it is a great step forward. Nevertheless, I am quite worried about the qualifier/invite system that goes with it. Haters will probably seize this opportunity and call me subjective, as my team failed to qualify for the first major. Had we been invited to these tournaments, and we will most likely end up being invited to some of them, my opinion remains the same. The competition should be as fair as possible, and only results should get rewarded. With the current state of things, it is a lot more about contacts, reputation, fan-base and other differents. I do not deny their importance, I am just saying that their weight compared to the result-based system is too big for my taste. I don’t have a way to fix it, or make it better, it is not my job and I would be awful at it. But facts remain facts, I do think that the system is flawed. It has been brought up by other persons to this day, I’ll just add my name to that long list. The qualifying system also make taking a break after TI and a full year of traveling/competing not viable anymore. A bit of insider OG info there, you can tell that several weeks of break are having a huge impact on the beginning of the season… as you end up having to play very important games early in September… there’s no time to rest after TI anymore.

The International :

As I don’t want this to be too long to read, I’ll attempt to be brief for that last point of discussion. I just wanted to share some thoughts about TI and being able to come up with a rational explanation for the set-back. I am becoming a specialist in TI failures. As you can notice, I also call it a failure, although, realistically, it is not. And don’t get me wrong there, if you’re OG fan, do not think we are giving ourselves an easy time. It is quite the opposite, and we need to lighten the mood in order to be able to move forward, because that is what matters now. It’s just that the International just weights too heavily in player’s minds. I do think that the level of DotA played at TI is amongst the lowest throughout the year. I say that and I might get a lot of flames because of it, but that is nothing but my opinion. You have absolutely every right to disagree with it. The pressure and the stakes are too high. The lack of balance in the season makes TI a win-or-die tournament, it has always been the case. When it comes strictly to DotA, it makes the overall TI level quite low, except for the very late stages of the tournament. You basically have 15 teams choking, and 3 teams playing good DotA. I am obviously pushing it a bit, but the bigger picture still looks the same.

At the same time, it is the beauty of it. As a spectator, it is what makes me enjoy TI the most. That tension is like nothing else. I am not saying this should change, I am just stating facts.

new season

Another year, another season. I am looking forward to how the game will develop, what teams will bring to the table and to all the wonderful people I might meet this year, through the game that we all love and play.

Couple resolutions for this year that I’ll be applying, if you think they might also help you…. Keep working hard and giving your everything to achieve your dreams. One thing though, don’t lose yourself along the way: remember the reasons and your original motivation, whatever it is that you were seeking. Do not go away from certain values, you’ll need them to succeed anyway : Respect, humility, self-discipline etc…

Don’t mind me :

This also makes me think of something I do want to write, even if I know what answers or comments I will get. This is for the people that spend a lot of time flaming or criticizing players through social medias or reddit (the latter not being social/media xP). I hope you realize that, unlike other traditional sports, in DotA, players are very close to their fans. Your opinions matter a lot to them, and even though a hate message might not mean anything, hundreds of them end up having an impact. Whether it is directly, or because it has an impact on people around them, people they truly care about, people they listen and trust. What will naturally happen is that a distance will be put between players and fans, as it is in traditional sports, so that they can truly focus on the game. They’ll miss the support, that matters a lot and has even more impact, but they’ll avoid the social media bullets. I personally think it’s a shame it has to be that way. I am just sharing thoughts, this won’t change anything, but still. We all have goals we pursue in life, and we all hate being talked down or discouraged when we’re in the process of trying to be successful. So, what’s the point? This is a blow in the waters, like they say. Still feels good to put it out there.


Either way, hope the read wasn’t too long. Remember this is strictly my opinion, you’re more than welcome to disagree and share your thoughts about it.

Take care everyone.



NB: If you want to react to this, you can drop comments here but the best is still Twitter & Instagram, I am the most active there.

Twitter : / Insta :


Filed under Team & projects

9 responses to “Last season, New season, TI7…

  1. Well said.
    For you as a coach, all this new changes probably mean a lot more than to a players. Players will need to face with this new earning points through out the season system, which is still uncertain how it will develop.
    Will there be abusing, might as well.
    For me, a guy that follow and play Dota2 for about 5 years, this new qualifiers seem a bit odd. So many new teams, so many tournaments, so many new casters, and different time zones, some teams are playing in many quals, while others I havent even seen or missed their games.
    Twitch is simply not enough anymore to cover everything thats happening.
    And while this gives chance for tournament organizers, I feel like it made a huge void between people that play dota and people that watch dota.
    Who knows, maybe when new patch hit, and players start earning their first qual points, it all will be good.

  2. kts7

    Where can I get a OG tie? Also miss your writing/blogging…

  3. Ali Hany (LFCTopLuca)

    Very nice read as usual.I agree with almost everything said with maybe the exception of the level of play at TI cause there have been very good matches at group stages but I get where are you coming from.However I really want to touch on flaming the players cause I have done it and I regret doing it. But sometimes you just expect people to do better based on either experience or just because you love them so you end up being disappointed because of them letting you down. Of course at the end of the day we are all human beings and anger gets to our heads sometimes as fans and of course the players have some other factors affecting them with stress also being a major factor. With that being said Please apologize on my behalf to Notail as I have said harsh words to him and he blocked me ( rightly so ) so I have no way of reaching him ( I feel bad about myself cause he’s such a nice guy and my favorite in the scene but love sometimes is a strong catalyst for disappointment). Sorry for the long comment and wish you all luck and success in the new season. #DreamGreen

    • Thank you for your very touching comment. Of course we’ve all done it, hate and love are very close feelings haha, it’s about passion at the end of the day. I’ll make sure he reads that, I’m sure he’ll be very happy to do so. Cheers mate

  4. Zadeth

    Great article as always, Seb.

    I’m glad to see an inside perspective on these things. I must say I am very happy to see you are sticking as the OG coach for this season, and I’m excited to see how the coach in the booth for drafting will go (hopefully we’ll get to see you in a booth in October!).

    I have been an OG fan since its inception and just wanted to say to all of you to keep up the good work and try not to let the past few qualifier failures get you down. If the team survived rough patches like the time around the Shanghai Major and after TI6, you can definitely get through this; and you can see as the days go on in the qualifiers the team are becoming more comfortable.

    Here’s to hoping that you guys find your way out of the rut you’ve found yourself in and get back to where you belong. All of you keep up the good work and #DreamGreen!

  5. Thayrone

    História Seb, I am a Brazillian OG fan and I have to confess i didnt Know You were their coach until TI7. That can only add to how ungratefull has been the coach position. I hope that with this new deafting change you guys start to bê more recognized by your hard work. Myself, i’m open even to Ingame coaching… Sure, the ingame coaching would have to be limited but i still think it would only add to general improvement of the game. Imagine this: the coach would be ir a different booth with a HTC vive headset (this would prevent getting vision from the crowd and gaining illegal knowledge) and would have 90secs to voice communicate with his team every 20 minutes. Meanwhile eh could check his team live stats and his previous notes inside the VR dota HUb (that would news to be adapted to this new situation)

    Anyway, Wish you good Luck ir this new season.

  6. Fat kids are harder to kidnap

    it was very well said…
    just like my name.

  7. Efstathios

    Hey Seb,

    The whole piece is an entertaining and insightful read, as always. Thank you. It’s good to see you writing again! ^_^

    I want to focus on what you’ve said about flaming players. I agree that it’s unfortunate that players get flamed or receive criticism. I also agree that some people probably won’t stop, and that it’s a huge shame they behave this way.

    Where I disagree is on your comments regarding traditional sports. I know many sportsmen and women read comments online, most notably choosing to communicate with fans directly via Twitter.

    Dota 2 players could take the initiative in their relationship as we (as fans) and they (the players) are both tech-savvy. How often to players pop up on reddit to a mass of upvotes? I can’t help but feel that players who protect their image and proactively engage with the community will receive a lot of goodwill.

    If a tennis player is performing badly he can’t walk into the stands and communicate with the crowd but a Dota 2 player could definitely hop into the reddit post-match thread and explain something. A good example of this is when Dendi was flamed for missing two spells on Lina, he then made a video (or streamed, can’t remember which) explaining a bug he was aware of and why he made the decision in-game. It was well received. He engaged the criticism and was better for it.

    Best of luck this season in whatever you choose to do.

  8. “I do think that the level of DotA played at TI is amongst the lowest throughout the year.”

    I wonder if you can expand on this.

    * How can teams prepare so as it not choke? Will the new system, with drastically more high-stakes matches (including qualifiers), help teams become emotionally conditioned for TI?

    * How do other factors (gameplay-related) affect the apparent variance of TI results? For example, OG might “perfect” several of their own strategies, but is there a chance that this preparation could be significantly devalued by an opponent randomly having practiced a suite of strategies that just counter OG? Is it even possible to ‘strategically recover/adapt’ over the matter of hours or days that is TI?

    * Is there room for improvement in the TI format? Players and panelists talked about the differences between Groups and Main Event, wherein the dynamic changes because you can focus on preparing for only one opponent. A team getting choked/cheese’d in upper bracket, but recovering on lower bracket, can have arguable top-3 contenders like VP, Secret getting eliminated very early on by the eventual winner. TI *seems* to do a good job of picking the best team, but there is a lot of variance in the other places.

    Thank you for the update! I am excited to see what main-stage OG can do with 7ckngmad in the draft.

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