Category Archives: Team & projects

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 cybbet.com

Picture from cybbet.com

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.

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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.

seemsgood

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.

Seb.

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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 : https://twitter.com/7ckngMadDOTA / Insta : https://www.instagram.com/7ckngmaddota/

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What’s next for Quantic… A fresh start for something new!

  As specified, the team is yet ‘unsponsored’. Updates will be published probably in a couple of weeks on that topic, as all the players are still under their respective contracts

      Hello everyone! As you may have noticed, this year’s competitions started a few days ago. It will be intense as all the teams are now eager to win and prove the world their skill and dedication. Whereas in Asia the doubts are still very present concerning what truly happened in Seattle in August 2013, in Europe the mindset is definitely changed. Indeed, the myth about the Asian teams being one step ahead the western ones got completely demolished by Alliance’s performance in TI3. Every competitive European DotA player already played with/against or knows very well the Swedish crew: where they come from, their level of skill and game understanding, their DotA background and past results…. And even though they have been crowned kings because their skill was way above everyone else last year, people do know they are not untouchable. And this is one of the main motivations of the scene right now; the model of success brought by the Alliance allows all the other players to identify themselves in it. It is the usual: ‘If they were able to do it, why wouldn’t I?’ To be honest, the top-1 position isn’t comfortable at all. Indeed, by becoming the best of the best you also become the favorite target of every other team.

I usually stick to the in-game aspect, but for today’s blogging, I will be mainly writing about the team, or what remains of it, and the on-going projects that are related to it. First of all, allow me to do a little bit of background analysis with what actually happened during and a bit before TI2:

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The mTw episode:

          Sockshka, Funzii and myself have always aim for nothing else than the top level. mTw was built to achieve that goal, basically. Unfortunately, and that is what’s common between all the team I have been in, we started playing together pretty late: around march 2012. Back then, NaVi was dominating the scene with an indecent ease. No team had been able to win them whatsoever, whether it was online or offline. They crushed everybody at TI1, of course, ESWC, Starladder(s) etc… It was actually me and Socks who decided to form that team and to contact SyndereN & Kebap-. We did try many other players, but this line-up looked to work. We tried to find the right balance between in-game skill and good team atmosphere, which we definitely succeed in, at first! So we started to practice, hardcore mode. We knew perfectly we had the skill & game-understanding required to compete with top teams, and to qualify for the International II. In a matter of two month we became a force to reckon with in Europe, as we won many online tournaments, and amongst those the TI Western qualifier. But the goal still wasn’t achieved. Indeed, it has always been very frustrating for us to witness matches between the dominating teams and the other high level teams. There are always openings as even the best make mistakes, and plenty of those. They are beatable with the right strategies and proper execution. Obviously it is easier to say than to do, but still. That is a factor of motivation for us. We understand their weaknesses, and also often understand that their opponents do not, and that is the cause of our frustration. After our win in the qualifier, we knew dreamhack was coming, and started to prepare for it. That is actually the biggest achievement for mTw, in my opinion. We were the first to defeat NaVi in a lan situation, when we won DreamHack summer 2012, But what comes next is a bit sadder, as full of hopes we went into TI2 and got completely destroyed. Indeed, forming a team only a few months before such events is very dangerous, as when problems appear, you do not always get the time to solve them, assuming there is a way to solve them. That time around, it was because of a very bad team atmosphere (I’m not even sure we went into TI2 as a team to be honest).  Anyway, that year we learnt that team bonding was at least as important as in-game preparation and strategies.

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Quantic Gaming :

          After the big disappointment that has been the international II, we collectively decided to take a break from competitive DotA ( Funzii, Sockshka & myself that is ). This brings us to the mont of april 2013 basically, when, keeping nevertheless a close eye on the pro scene we came to the same conclusion we had in 2012 : the overall level of play has insanely increased, but the dominating teams and the metagame they instored hold many weaknesses… We then had to find the right players and avoid, this time around, the mistakes of the past year. This is why we decided to approach Silent & Goblak. We knew Empire was going through troubles, with the departure of Funn1k and the very bad shape of the team. Those two players were (and still are) skilled, smart and experienced. But one of the most important thing was that they both played in teams with very bad mindset & atmosphere during important events, Darer & Moscow5 at TI II. They basically had the same experience we had on mTw so we knew that we would all, as a team, make sure it doesn’t happen again. But again, the come back was made few weeks prior to the western qualifier, and about 2-3 month before the International III. The road to Ti 3 was exactly the same, we rapidly grew and started wining, we eventually qualifier to Seattle by placing 2nd. At this stage, the top team was Alliance, they had just come back from China where they dominated the G-1 tournament. We were able to defeat them in the groupstage of DreamHack 2013, but lost to them in the grand finals on a 1-2 score. That team building was very different, as we had almost no practice games before all those events, it was quite the opposite of mTw. We favored the drafting and team bonding over anything else, and it worked out to a certain extent. Unfortunately the tournament in Seattle showed us that it wasn’t enough, once again, and the approach had to be more serious. The drafting at TI was awful, and the youth of the team made it so we had no plan B.

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What’s next: 

          The frustration was really big after TI III. We proved ourselves many times we deserved a spot, not only in the top 16 teams in the world, but maybe even higher than that. Every year something different comes up and forces us to learn from our mistakes. I would say that some team are relatively new, and although they play a bit “shaky”, good conditions a bit of luck allow them to place decent in huge events. Whereas others have to go through all the possible mistakes in order to secure their spot. We lost because of low level of plays, we lost because of the lack of team spirit, because of the lack of practice, because of individual attitudes… I feel like there isn’t much more reasons to lose anymore… It might be time to start wining on a regular basis. So here it what’s up today :

          We built a team of 5 skilled, experienced and hard-working players. The open-mindness and the personal stability are the most important criteria for this long-term project. As you may have noticed, the practice starts now, unlike other years, no more 2-months-before-event-come-back. This will offer us the time to practice our teamplay like never before, to optimize the drafting and possibly change (once again!) the meta-game, and last but not least, to face any slump the team is going to go through before important events. That’s the aim, I obviously would never claim that I am 100% sure we will make it, that would be being arrogant & cocky, a behaviour I really dislike. But I am confident we can achieve that goal, else why would I even be involved?

Our line-up will be the following :

Brian “MaNia” Strandby

Mikkel “miGGel” Berg

Adrian “FATA-” Trinks

Titouan “Sockshka” Merloz

Sébastien “7ckngMad” Debs

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     I wanna seize this opportunity to give a very special shoutout to Funzii, our mate but more importantly our friend! He decided to retire from competitive DotA and DotA in general. I wish him the best of luck, and thank him for all he has done during the past two years, he is very unique as player.

    You will have to wait a bit more concerning the sponsorship, as it is still being negotiated at the moment. I’ll give updates as soon as we take a decision. Once again, I emphasize the serious of this year’s project. We will aim for nothing but top level plays and strategies, and I hope we can manage to offer the viewers some great DotA. Every team aims for that, but for once we’ll handle things differently, by starting off right now.

I want to thank Goblak & Silent for Quantic , we are still very good friends, and I can’t emphasize enough on how much I was impressed by their in-game sense. I really wish them the greatest success with their future DotA-related projects!

The next articles will of course be in-game related, that is what they are meant to be anyway. But I felt like I had to clarify the situation once and for all, as we already started playing official matches, in EMS cup one which we won, and with our second STLV day. We are not hungry for results yet, the more wins the better, but we have a very long-term vision on this team building, we will take it step by step. So arm yourselves with patience, and I can promise you that you won’t be disappointed. For all the Quantic-spirit fans, we are still Quantic. We will obviously keep thinking out of the box if it’s needed. Thank you all for the support, it really matters a lot.

PS : you can also follow me on twitter, @7ckngMadDOTA, and see you in the next matches =), Cheers!!

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