Seleri on TI: “Maybe it’s more pressure, probably, but I’m not really worried about it. I think it’ll be amazing fun when we’re there.”

1Play DOTA2 News
Oct 10

Melchior “Seleri” Hillenkamp and the rest of the Gaimin Gladiators made it to TI on the back of a phenomenal early part of the DPC season. After a flawless end to Tour 1, and a trip to the Major after Tour 2, the squad started to falter in Tour 3. But their vigor has been restored by the chance to once again meet up and play together. This time on the biggest stage in Dota 2.

We spoke to Seleri direct from the Gaimin Gladiator boot camp in Malaysia. Seleri spoke to us about the team’s feelings ahead of TI, what it’s like heading to the event for the first time. We also talked about heroes, who might make it out of Last Chance Qualifiers, and much more.

Last time we spoke it was just before the Regional Finals in February. You guys won that. And obviously now you’re at TI. How do you feel like the rest of the season has gone for you?

Seleri: “After the regional finals, there are two seasons that we played. The second season went very well. We for qualified for the Major. Did pretty good at the major. I guess our first two-thirds of the season went very well this year. And the last quarter, last third of the season… didn’t go as well. I’m not sure why. lack of practice, or synergy maybe. I’m not sure what the exact reason is.”

How has the boot camp gone so far, how’s Malaysia treating you?

Seleri: “It’s nice, it’s interesting being in Malaysia for the first time. It’s very hot. For most of the day, right now its 30 degrees Celsius. So it’s shorts and flip flop weather every day. Very humid. So it’s definitely different. It’s good to get used to. Can you imagine if you arrived one day before TI? You’d be sweating. So it’s good to be here.”

“And boot camp itself is going good. It’s nice to be together again. We hadn’t seen each other since we played the Major in Sweden. So for us it’s very nice to play together again. Playing at home is… less inspiring. You can’t just talk about everything whenever you want.”

One thing I’ve heard from some of the camps is that there’s a little game in the Dota 2 Arcade called Ability Arena that seems to be taking over and distracting some players. Is that the case in your camp or are you able to stay focused?

Seleri: “My coach (Daniel “ImmortalFaith” Moza) plays it now and then. But I really liked this game too. I played it, or something like it, after Sweden I think? Maybe that’s why we didn’t do good in the next season [Laughs]. I played it a bit, yeah. It’s a very fun game but I haven’t played it at all right now. Right now I want to stay focused on my normal Dota.”

We have the last chance qualifiers starting tomorrow (Note: This interview was conducted on October 7th). Who are your predictions? Who have you got locked in in your Dota client?

Seleri: “My predictions, I also shared on Twitter, were Extreme Gaming and Liquid. I’m not too sure about Liquid, but I thought it would be funny to pick them.

“Because last year iNSaNiA was done. And he doesn’t have a Talent job this year, so he has to win now, otherwise he has nothing. So I cannot not choose him and then make fun of him. But I think Liquid have at least a chance. I think it’ll be close.”

This is your first International. What does that feel like? Has it kind of sunk in for you?

Seleri: “Not really so much. Because it’s only my second big event that more like a thing. After the Stockholm Major. But it’s also TI. Yeah so I’m not sure. I mean there’s not so much time for it to sink in, I guess. We’re just preparing all the time. I mean maybe it’s more pressure, probably, but I’m not really worried about it. I think it’ll be amazing fun when we’re there.”

Do you think this being your first TI will help your performance, based on what we’ve seen in the past. A lot of first time TI attendees do very well, perhaps because like yourself it hasn’t hit them. Do you think you’ll be like that?

Seleri: “I mean most people don’t do well their first time. Only so many teams can do well! Sure we did have a few Cinderalla stories with Topson, and Ana, and they just win Twice in a row. And Team Spirit. But I think if you have the right mindset as a team and you’re too pressured from outside factors there’s no reason why shouldn’t do really good. Because if you’re pressured at TI you’re probably pressured at other tournaments. Maybe I’ll feel different once I’m out there on stage though.”

One thing that’s noticeable is that every team that finished ahead of gaming in the third DPC tour is still in contention for TI11 right now. Do you think Western Europe is very strong this year? Because there is a chance that we have six Western European teams at TI?

Seleri: “I don’t think Western Europe is that strong right now, apart from a few teams. I think that there’s a very good chance that there won’t be any more Western European teams at TI. Extreme Gaming are very strong. I don’t think Liquid or Secret are on the same level. I think they’re good. But I don’t think they’re so much better than the teams in NA and SA. I think it will be anyone’s game and depends on who’s practiced and improved the most these past few weeks. Extreme Gaming is the favorite. After that, it could be almost anyone.”

Who do you think the biggest threat in TI at the moment to Gaimin Gladiators? What team do you feel needs extra prep work?

Seleri: “I don’t think it’s anyone. I think it’s only ourself. Like if we play good, we’ll win against anyone.”

Okay, I like that confidence.

Seleri: “[Laughs] We’re not consistent yet. So sometimes we lose. But it doesn’t feel like we’re getting beaten.”

I thought we could talk a bit about support heroes, Marci and Undying both had nerfs in the last patch, and potentially shifted them away from being picked (Note: This interview was conducted before Marci had a 100% pick and ban rate in the first day of LCQ). It feels like a lot of the most picked support were nerfed as well. Do you think this is an attempt to kind of spice up the support hero pool ahead of TI?

Seleri: “Yeah, I mean it’s always nice when there’s more variety. I think there were some good nerfs. I think it makes sense. Same with some carry heroes. Like some patches, every game the same heroes.” 

“Firstly, it’s not that bad. It’s nice to nerf these heroes a bit. I think they’re still fine. The were just way too good before. I guess in the Last Chance Qualifier it will be fun to see how team’s rate them now. Because there’s been a lot of scrims happening but nothing to the outside world. So it’s hard to see how highly these heroes are rated now.”

I also noticed that there were some buffs to heroes like Tide Hunter, right after True Sight where Ravage is this big animated spectacle and they’re like “Oh, buff Tide, people want to play him now.” Do you think supports have less big playmaking ability like that heading into TI after the recent patch?

Seleri: “I don’t think so. I think the last TI Miposhka was owning a lot of games on Bane, for example. And that’s what’s showcased [in True Sight] as well. I mean he was just owning the whole map right?!”

“Okay, yeah, it’s not a five-man Ravage. But they need to have this relevant hero sometimes! And I think Ace (Marcus “Ace” Christensen, GG’s position three) is happy with the Tide buffs. He’s one of the few players to get a Rampage with Tide Hunter.”

Are there any heroes that you think are being kind of slept on? Or are you kind of keeping those things close to your chest?

Seleri: “If there are any secrets that we think are super good? Heroes like that will be secret for us. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a secret. But yeah…. Maybe Lion? No one likes this hero. But that’s probably because he dies to everything. Probably not. [Laughs]”

But his Hex just got buffed, so maybe we’ll see some Lion?

Seleri: “Well if you stun them forever, then you cannot die!”

Very true! That’s the trick to winning on Lion. Finally, then, is there anything you want to say to the Gamin Gladiator fans out there ahead of TI.

Seleri: “Okay, guys. Thanks, everyone, for supporting us recently. We’ve not been at LANs so it was hard to follow us. We have a lot of time to make up for then, so we hope you’ll be excited to see us again. We’re very ready. We’re going to have a really good showing at TI.”

Thanks very much Seleri for talking to me, and good luck to the whole team at TI!

Seleri and the rest of Gaimin Gladiators will be in action at TI from October 15th.

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