EE: "My Understanding of Drow Ranger was Based on Some Ideas From RTZ and AUI."
Hi EternaLEnVy! Thank you for agreeing to do this interview. Recently your team has had some mixed results. Although overall I'd say you're on pretty good form, it does seem like a new rivalry has begun to build itself up between C9 and EG. Thus, it was no doubt disappointing to lose against them in the grand finals of the Monster Energy Invitational. While I obviously wouldn't expect you to speak negatively of anyone, do you think the tournament might have gone differently if you hadn't needed to use a sub? In what ways did having DeMoN around instead of bOne7 change the dynamic on your team, if any?
EternaLEnVy: Demon performed great during the event, I could tell he really really wanted to win. However, unlike RTZ, Demon hasn't played with us for an extended period of time and isn't practiced on Bone's role. Our picks/lanes were severely limited due to this.
Speaking of EG, this is an organization that has been in professional Dota for many years, and yet has never fielded a team which truly challenged for a top position in the world for more than a month or two at a time. Do you think that EG might finally have a team that can be a serious threat to the top teams in the world?
EternaLEnVy: I believe that EG has invented a more refined style of playing that punishes teams heavily for their mistakes. I'm not sure what will happen once other teams develop an understanding of their playstyle but regardless I expect the team to be one of the best if not the best team in the scene for at least a few months. However, I no longer trust my understanding of teams because of Liquid :D...
A few months ago when I interviewed bOne7, he mentioned that when Arteezy played with you guys, it meant there was much less space for anyone else to get farm. Since then, I've heard similar sentiments from various members of your team in other interviews. If Arteezy is so hellbent on getting a lot of farm every game, why do you think he's never played in the 1 position? Do you think this would be a good idea?
EternaLEnVy: I don't really like the numbers and roles too much anymore. The point of DotA is to win the game, and if farming the mid hero works then its fine to do that. There are many advantages to putting a carry mid over the safe lane and vice versa.
Speaking of wanting gold, it seems like North America has re-introduced Midas Gaming to the competitive scene, at least for core heroes. What's this all about? Was it an over-reaction when Midas gaming initially faded away [in terms of popularity]? Or has something changed now to make this playstyle more viable again?
EternaLEnVy: I prefer to not answer these questions.
For the first 3 weeks of 6.79, Luna was by far the most popularly drafted carry hero, and then it started to decline. For the first 3 weeks of 6.80, the same thing happened and then, again, the hero's popularity declined. My feeling is that this is because Luna is a 'safe pick' while people are still getting their bearings with a patch due to its versatility as a hero. However, during both those periods, many people said Luna needs a nerf. Would you agree with this? How would you explain this phenomenon?
EternaLEnVy: It's easy to draft a lineup based on Luna. That's why it is a safe first pick. A strong laner, team fighter, pusher, and late game carry. But when other heroes such as AA/SP/Bat/Ember or w/e start getting first picked, Luna isn't that juicy a pick anymore since other carries can fit those heroes better than Luna sometimes.
Interestingly, Lifestealer seems to do the exact opposite of Luna, showing a fall in popularity near the beginning of patches but normally ending the patch as the most popular carry hero. Again, what do you think might be behind this?
EternaLEnVy: No idea, I just hope it doesn't slowly become popular on my team.
Before 6.79, it felt like carry players could mostly just focus on the main carry heroes of any given patch. Nowadays, aside from the crazy Luna/Lifestealer periods, it seems as if carry players have had to diversify their hero pools – playing different types of 'carrying' roles depending on the draft. Do you enjoy this variety or do you try to counteract it? Do you think it's better or worse for you as a player if you play many different heroes fairly regularly rather than just focusing on a few main heroes?
EternaLEnVy: I don't enjoy playing a variety of heroes, I like playing a few heroes non stop. Though its probably good for me if my role has a large pool of heroes to play since I play a lot and I try to understand all my heroes well.
As a 1 position player, how do you decide which games you should be quite active in in the early game? Do you decide before the game starts – perhaps based on the hero you have – or does it depend on how the early game is unfolding?
EternaLEnVy: It usually depends on how the game is going, except for Clinkz where I usually have a game plan before the game starts.
As with the above, how does your team decide how to allocate farm priority between the 5 of you? Do you explicitly discuss it each game? Your team is unique in how one of your support players, Aui_2000, often has more farm than many of your cores. That said, there are even games where Pieliedie gets more farm than some cores [e.g. on Sandking]. Is the farm priority in your team based on which heroes you are? Does it change during the course of a game?
EternaLEnVy: It completely depends on how the game is going. Though some heroes like Visage can die while farming and it can be quite ok. Where as if you lose some core hero, the gank might easily transition into a tower. People usually don't gank supports that often, so they can suicidially farm.
Which term do you prefer between 'carry' and '1 position'? Do you like either system on its own? Do you think either of them is not really useful?
EternaLEnVy: This system of 1-5 was developed by China where the carry was like some farmed up am/drow/medusa/pl at the time. I no longer think this really works. Although if I had to bet who had the most farm in a game I would still stick with 1-5 in that order, its not always true, and it shouldn't be true.
One hero that you've been piloting a lot lately is Drow Ranger. The build that you've designed for this hero is pretty unique and, personally, I find it quite difficult to understand - Midas, Mask of Madness and Blink Dagger seem to generally be your first 3 items, usually followed by Mjollnir. Historically, when Drow has been popular, her build has always revolved around keeping her alive, focusing on items like Shadowblade, Manta and BKB. Your build seems to do almost the exact opposite – you make yourself insanely powerful in terms of DPS'ing, but look really fragile, even when you are very farmed. Could you please explain the theory behind this?
EternaLEnVy: My understanding of Drow Ranger was based on some ideas from RTZ and AUI. The midas is really nice early because it gives you levels which greatly benefits your team. You don't really need life leech to farm as frost arrows is enough to kite creeps. I go MOM/BLINK afterwards to solo kill heroes/roshan or push towers to the limit before I need to blink away. Mjollnir/Buriza* are both super strong on Drow, I prefer Mjollnir because I can use it on a teammate or soemtimes I cancel a blink dagger and I can stay around for a bit longer. I think that in most situations if a hero initiaties on the drow, your fucked away. You can sometimes even say that MOM helps u survive cuz of MS instead of causing you to die.
*Buriza is the Dota 1 name for Daedalus
Another hero that has recently found popularity as a carry is Sniper. That said, you have not yet played the hero in a competitive match. Do you dislike the hero? Do you think those who have been picking it lately are making a mistake when they pick it or has it just not been incorporated into Cloud 9's picks yet?
EternaLEnVy: I can't give my opinion on this hero :D.
On the topic of recently popular carry picks, Morphling is one of those that has seen a revival since 6.80, probably explainable by the fact that it was given back its ability to cast spells and attack during Waveform. That said, the most breakout support hero of 6.80 has been Ancient Apparition. But I'm of the opinion that AA's ultimate is something of a counter to Morphling, since it disables the ability to morph stats. As a Morphling player, is AA a hero that you want to avoid letting the enemy team have or do you think this interaction is not really that important?
EternaLEnVy: I believe a bunch of heroes counter morphling, AA being one of them. AA doesn't have any disables like a Lion though, so it really doesn't counter morphling on its own. Morph is a really strong hero regardless of some counters.
Recently your team lost a match against Sigma. Later that night, 7ckingmad was doing a replay analysis of this match on his stream. He noticed that at various points in the game, players from your team were hiding out in trees to try soak up some extra exp. This strategy, which he named 'Tree Dota' was something that he described as seeming a bit cocky. While I'm not convinced it's necessarily cocky, this leads me to a question about efficiency. I know that your team, and you in particular, are quite obsessive about optimizing all of your plays during a game. Do you think that this 'Tree Dota' is optimal or greedy? In general, how do you draw the line between the two? When does the risk become too high for the reward?
EternaLEnVy: I don't really consider this anything too special, its just natural split push dota. You want to always be in the correct position to push out lanes so the enemy can't simply 5 man middle. Whether its too risky or not depends on the game.
After LGD.int disbanded, a discussion arose about whether or not Dota should be seen more as 'work' or as 'art' for professional players. What are your thoughts on this question? Do you think having a fairly rigid training schedule is a good thing for a team? Does Dota feel like work to you?
EternaLEnVy: It all really depends on your attitude. Sometimes I feel like its work (and thats generally when I suck), and sometimes its something I just really want to do. Having a rigid schedule is fine if everyone on the team is motivated. Otherwise it can even be detrimental to the team.
Another question which has been a hot topic for a while in the Dota world because of the difference between China and the rest of the world is that of coaches. How is it that Chinese teams seem to generally value the idea of coaches while Western teams don't? Do you ever think your team could benefit from having a coach?
EternaLEnVy: I think a coach is useful if they truly want a team to succeed. Otherwise they are pointless to have. I wouldn't want a coach who shows up once a week and then tells us what we should be doing when he hasn't even participated. I would love a coach who is basically a 6th player. Sits on our TS3 while we play and watches all our games while doing so. Then giving us ideas afterwards from another perspective. Perhaps they shouldn't listen to us talk because it might affect his opinion to ours, but a coach should definetely watch most of the scrims/matches.
Tell me a bit about Pieliedie. The rest of your team are all big personalities in the scene who are often in the limelight and very spoken about. Despite being your drafter, and arguably the foundation of the team [given that he's normally the one enabling everyone else to farm but getting none himself], we still hear less about him than the rest. What are some things the world needs to know about this guy?
EternaLEnVy: He's the player with generally the most focus on the team. Usually the least brain dead of all of us. Hes the player I trust the most when it comes to DotA though he panics sometimes which can ruin some games.
He can be extremely funny sometimes, and hes just a really weird guy. He likes manga/anime so hes legit.
You famously made a post about dropping out of university to pursue competitive Dota near the end of 2011. While I think this issue is a bit dried out as a talking point these days, in one of your replies in the thread, you wrote: “I don't love games because the game itself is fun, I love it for the competition." Meanwhile at TI3, you told Hotbid that you aren't very interested in any sports. I found this confusing because if the thing itself doesn't need to be fun but just has to be competitive, I'd expect you to enjoy at least some form of sport, many of which are extremely competitive. So, it's surely some part of your choice to play Dota that you enjoy playing this game over another? Or are you just interested in this particular competitive activity because you are good at it?
EternaLEnVy: I don't remember exactly what I said about sports. I don't find sports too interesting to watch. Though I'm pretty interested in their training/ what they eat etc. I love games because they are games, and thats why I love DotA as well but thats not what drives me to keep going. Every game gets boring at one point, but given a long enough break the game might become fun again. That's why I quit DotA 1 in many intervals in the past. But because theres competition that I know I won't quit anytime soon.
I think it's fair to say that in your capacity as a player, you've been lauded a lot more as a carry player than you ever were as a support player. Do you think you are better at this position than you were at your previous one? If not, why do you think some of your plays as a carry have pretty much had you deified by your fans while similar treatment was hardly given to you as a support?
EternaLEnVy: I believe that certain roles get flamed more than others. And some roles get more praise than others. I think the carry role is one which gets praised/flamed the hardest. Where as the support role usually gets praised but to less proportions. I believe I play carry differently from other players. And I'm not scared to change up my item builds/skill builds. Though this further polarizes my already polarized fanbase. Sometimes it can work really well like with the blink Clinkz and sometimes it can fail miserably.
After AA and Dazzle, Disruptor is the fastest growing support pick at the moment, impressing a lot in 6.80. However, according to datdota, your team has only used this hero once ever in a competitive match. Why is this?
EternaLEnVy: We have issues I think.
Regarding the above, these days I tend to feel that there are just so many excellent picks available that a team can easily avoid picking certain heroes purely coincidentally – it's quite easy to always pick good heroes and still manage to not pick all the good heroes. Would you agree with this? Are there any heroes right now that you think are totally unpickable?
EternaLEnVy: It's difficult to call any hero unpickable because people haven't tried hard enough to incorporate them into the game. Perhaps some heroes like even PA can be pickable given enough time put into understanding it, but its just not worth the time. In that sense, some heroes are unpickable. Otherwise I think all heroes are pickable.
I'm not sure if you've ever been asked this before but I couldn't find the answer in any other interviews – what's the story behind your nickname? What does it mean? I remember reading that you disliked the name 'Kaipi' at first because it meant absolutely nothing so my assumption is that your own nickname has some meaning to you?
EternaLEnVy: My name comes from FMA original. Where one of the characters called Envy lived for like 500 years. So EternaLEnVy. And some stuffz in real life and ya, and I thought it was a cool name. Now I kinda regret it :D
Lastly, it wouldn't be an EE interview without a question about Anime. I'm not a massive Anime enthusiast like you, but there are few that I've enjoyed a huge amount – namely: Deathnote, Code Geass and, most recently, Psycho Pass. Most Animes I've tried have felt very underwhelming to me and often I haven't even been able to get more than a few episodes in. I've looked around online and discovered that many people share my sentiments about the above Animes and struggle to find more that they would enjoy [for example: I was told to try Stein's Gate, Darker than Black and Sword Art Online – all of these I enjoyed very specific parts of]. Do you have any suggestions for me based on the one's I've liked?
EternaLEnVy: The way you describe Steins Gate disgusts me. If you watched the entire series and thats your take on it then I don't really have anything to suggest to you. Animes too good for you bro, try something else.
Hahaha! :(. Thanks very much for this interview! Do you have any last words or shoutouts that you would like to add?
Shout out to everyone who has supported me, special shoutout to taurencheiftain/nrootn/spirits and the rest of the mods on my stream, to thefuriousnoob/luminous, and of course my team and the sponsors crunchyroll, CR, CRUNCHYTROLl, hyperx, alienware, and logitech.
You can follow EternaLEnVy on Twitter: @EternaLEnVy1991