K1 on pursuing Dota 2: “I started playing because I saw Evil Geniuses win TI in 2015.”

1Play DOTA2 News
Oct 11

A 16-year-old Héctor “K1” Rodríguez rode down the Dota 2 pro path in 2017 with team Gorillaz-Pride and rose into prominence in 2019 on the roster of Infamous. The same lineup now plays under beastcoast until today, making them the longest-lasting 5-man roster in the pro circuit.

Now 21 years old, K1, with the rest of beastcoast have strengthened the presence of SA in the Dota 2 pro scene for years. They have consistently been on top, toe-to-toe with the world’s best, placing top 6 in the last two Dota 2 Majors – PGL Arlington Major and ESL One Stockholm Major. With an amazing run throughout the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) this year, they secured a slot at their 3rd consecutive TI.

Esports.gg talked to K1, who is currently bootcamping in the Southeast Asia (SEA) region, to talk about the colors of beastcoast, the anticipation for TI11, and the wonders of South American Dota 2.

Hi K1, thank you so much for being here. How are you and the team? How is SEA for you guys so far?

K1: It’s good right now, we are scrimming a lot, we are winning scrims and everyone’s feeling good. But it’s hot. Very, very hot. Much hotter than SA.

You started playing competitively in 2017, how does the K1 then compare to the K1 now?

K1: I feel like I have matured a lot in the past few years. I learned to control myself and mainly not to explode and worsen matches because sometimes I feel like I can be very negative and it affected the team’s environment. So I got better throughout these times.

In April 2021, K1 reached 10,000 MMR.

Did you take inspiration from anyone, inside or outside the Dota 2 space, from when you wanted to pursue Dota 2?

K1: Yes, I started playing Dota 2 because I saw Evil Geniuses win TI in 2015. It gave me inspiration and I was very motivated when I was young.

Anyone in particular that grabbed your attention in TI5 EG?

K1: I didn’t have one specifically but I really like the whole team itself. I like that Fear (Clinton “Fear” Loomis) was like their grandpa and SumaiL (Syed “SumaiL” Hassan) was the young kid and Universe (Saahil “Universe” Arora) did his own things. The whole group made me feel like I want to be one of them.

K1: I didn’t have one specifically but I really like the whole team itself. I like that Fear (Clinton “Fear” Loomis) was like their grandpa and SumaiL (Syed “SumaiL” Hassan) was the young kid and Universe (Saahil “Universe” Arora) did his own things. The whole group made me feel like I want to be one of them.

What are the personalities of beastcoast members including you?

K1: They would probably describe me as the hyperactive one. My team likes to poke me around too. Scofield (Elvis Joel De la Cruz Peña) is the clowniest, he likes to make loud jokes. The chill guy is Wisper (Adrián Céspedes Dobles), he’s not very talkative. The one that party harder is C. smile (Jean Pierre Gonzales Salazar), and Stinger (Steven Vargas Mamani).. I think he’s normal?

Being together for so long in the competitive scene, how is the team’s relationship?

K1: We are all good friends, in fact, it feels like we are cousins and a part of a family. But there was also a year when basically nothing happened because of COVID in 2020. The whole year everyone was in their houses, we didn’t have tournaments. We don’t know what could happen in that specific year if we have been to tournaments – we might not be here now. The record says we’ve been together for a long time but if you remove the COVID year it’s just 2 years plus.

In our past interview with Enzo “Timado” O’Connor (of TSM), he mentioned that South America’s play is freestyle. Do you agree?

K1: Yes, we are very freestyle oriented. It’s like following our instincts just like a ranked match. So if you are high-ranked, you know what to do. The midlaner has to outwit the other midlaner, when the carry gets an item he makes a call like ‘Go,go,go kill this shit.” The same thing applies to other roles.

The first tournament that I played (with Majestic Esports) in 2019, we didn’t even scrim or practice. We had no experience so we just played like a ranked match. We ended up getting top 4 in the OGA Dota Pit Minor.

Do you think SA’s playstyle is evolving or it remains very freestyle heavy?

K1: I think in the past all teams have a freestyle play, but right now, they are trying to change. But every player in SA has a unique playstyle I feel, everyone has their own approach to the game.

With this freestyle type of play, do you feel there is a struggle when it comes to discipline?

K1: Not really, we always try to plan ahead but there are always throws here and there right? Dota is a game that you can’t really plan for everything and know what’s going to happen. For example, Team Liquid, we believe they are a team that plays textbook Dota and they plan everything but sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. So it depends on the team.

What is your confidence or your mindset coming into this TI11?

K1: I don’t really like to think about what’s going to happen. I just want to give my best and hope things work out – and just play TI you know? 

You have a lot of experience playing against the teams at TI. Which team do you enjoy playing against the most?

K1: The Chinese teams, not any specific team but I think every Chinese team is very hard to play against. Their playstyle is just really good.

Fun fact: K1 is the all-time leader in wins with Wraith King with 26 wins out of 43 professional matches.

What do you think about the format with a week break between the Playoffs and the Finals?

K1: I think it can be good because you have more time to take a break from games and think about what to do. But it can also be bad because usually during TI, people are just excited to play. So having this break might lose the warm-up feel or the momentum that the Playoffs give.

The TI11 prizepool might be significantly lower than before (at the time of writing, the prizepool stands at $13 million USD). Does this in any way affect your motivation?

K1: I don’t think so, I don’t really care about the money. It’s easy to get money in South America through streaming or whatever else. It doesn’t really affect me, I’m still very motivated.

Where do you want Valve to host the next big event whether a Major or a TI?

K1: Wherever except South America. Because the best part about playing Dota 2 is I get to travel and leave my region. I get to travel to other places and see other people from other regions. 

K1 and beastcoast will bring their A-game at TI11 in Singapore this October 15th.

Check out our latest interview with the captain of Gaimin Gladiators, Melchior “Seleri” Hillenkamp here. Stay tuned to Esports.gg for more Dota 2 interviews!

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