The International 7 is done and dusted. 18 teams battled it out across the space of two weeks for the chance to write Dota 2 history, have their name engraved upon the coveted Aegis of Champions and take home no less than $10,000,000. After a simply epic week at Key Arena, Team Liquid emerged victorious after an unstoppable run through the lower bracket.
There’s still no two-time TI winner, the cycle of East and West winning on alternate years continues but the live and online crowd were treated to some of the best gameplay in the game’s history.
Enzo “Timado” Gianoli is just 16 years of age. The young Peruvian player has watched every iteration of The International and even emerged onto the main stage with his lucky Natus Vincere shirt from tournaments gone by. After getting through the group stage, Infamous were handed four time major champion OG in a best of one. They never really got going and left the tournament in 12th-16th position.
The new Dota major/minor system should provide ample opportunity for the South American scene to grow and players to gain more tournament experience. ESI caught up with Timado just before the main event got underway in Seattle to find out what he thinks lies ahead for the SA scene.
ESI: Your play at the group stage impressed a lot of people. Many would have had you down as being knocked out. How did you feel after it?
Timado: If I’m honest, we aimed at getting a top five. Not quite the winners bracket but a bit closer than we went. We ideally wanted to be able to choose our opponent rather than ending up being first choice for the other group. We had some really rough games though. One day we went zero and six and just lost everything. We lost to LGD and TNC, even though the match was really close. When we got beaten in that specific match it was super demoralising. We picked ourselves up after the iG.Vitality game and just went back to our old play style. We showed the world that when we play our style we can take games off some of the best teams.
ESI: It was really fun to watch, as too was the whole of the TI group stages. Did you find it almost confusing that every team seems to have its own style and there’s nothing that stands out as completely broken? Is that what makes this tournament so compelling?
Timado: I definitely think that Dota is in a really nice place right now. Every strategy out there is doable, it’s viable. If you’re a good team and you’ve practiced your own strategy well, you can beat anyone. In my opinion that’s why Chinese teams have impressed so much in Seattle.
“At the end of the day, in Dota 2, players want to play with and against the best players.”
They have been known for practicing the same thing over and over and over again until they perfect it. When we played against LGD you can just tell that they play their strategy so well. They beat us really really hard. By the tenth minute we were losing by about 10,000 gold and it was awful. It was actually insane, and it’s all because we let them do their stuff. I think that’s pretty much what Dota is at the moment.
ESI: Looking past The International and the news of Valve’s Majors and Minor system is going to provide so much opportunity for the South American scene. Take ESL One Hamburg, the first Major for example. Eight slots and one is an SA slot. Will it improve the scene?
Timado: I think it should definitely improve the scene. Most people in the SA region just look at Dota 2 as a form of entertainment. They still play for many, many hours and they are actually really good players. They have talent but they don’t really acknowledge the competitive aspect of Dota. They just see Dota as playing any other game, but I don’t speak in terms of myself.
They don’t realise that if you go to tournaments, it’s a whole different experience and it’s way more cool than playing pub games. That’s the main thing that needs to change. A lot of the guys that I play with thought they couldn’t learn anything and already knew it all and were pretty good at the game. Yes, they were fine on their own but their eyes have opened here at TI. They are all like “oh my god, these players are just so so good”. It has changed their perspective a lot.
ESI: What was your preparation like ahead of undoubtedly the biggest tournament of your life?
Timado: We improved a lot before the Major, and we had our own boot camp in the Infamous gaming house. We live there everytime we need to compete in something important, like a tournament or a qualifier. We are all there, we have our beds and then we train the entire week.
ESI: We saw the SEA region start to disperse, and players move to compete in North America and Europe. Do you think we will see that with South American players?
Timado: I think it’s always possible that things like that could happen. The main issue at the moment is definitely the language though. If I look at my team, none of them speak English besides Accel and he only speaks a tiny bit. If they could learn Englsh then I am sure they could if they wanted to. They could go and play for any team. At the end of the day, in Dota 2, players want to play with and against the best players.