BetBoom's midlaner Larl: "I don't see the point in sitting and doing something I don't want just to get paid" Exclusive
BetBoom's midlaner Denis "Larl" Sigitov is a fresh blood on the EEU Dota 2 scene. His team unexpectedly qualified for the Stockholm Major 2022 after beating Team Spirit, NAVI, and Mind Games. Before the Major Polina Mashina talked to Denis and learned about the beginning of his career and his mood ahead of the event.
— Your VK group says that you started your career in 2015. You were 13 years old then. Is this a joke, or have you really been playing in teams for that long?
— I've been playing in teams for a long time. Maybe I played when I was 13, but I don't really remember. 2015 is more like the year I started playing Dota seriously.
At that time, it was the only thing I was interested in. I went to school. It was boring, I didn't like going out either, so I played different games. I devoted a lot of my time to Team Fortress and Garry's Mode. I liked the competitive process: grinding ranks and playing against other dudes. At some point, I had a choice between CS:GO and Dota 2 because I played them a lot. And I got bored of CS. There was a lot of cheaters in the game. Every match had cheaters, so I gave up CS and started grinding Dota.
— Have you been grinding nonstop for seven years, or there were some suspensions and comebacks, as it often happens?
— I took breaks from time to time, but I never really wanted to quit. When I went to college, I thought I'd study. I went to college for a couple of months, took a break from Dota, and then got back into the game and realized that studying was useless. It was not interesting to me. There were boring people and subjects. Most days were a waste of time, especially if you were not motivated to study. Forcing yourself is useless in a situation like this because sooner or later, you're going to drop something you don't like anyway. That's why I quickly returned to Dota.
— You studied to be a tour manager, didn't you?
— Yes. It seems to me that it's a useless profession, which I chose just by name. Of course, if you learn the languages, you can travel around the world and work as an interpreter... It was an option, but I didn't want to do that. At one point I just stopped going to college, even though I had only a year left.
— The community first heard about you after signing to VP.Prodigy. Were you proud of the invitation?
— I don't think I felt any pride about it. Obviously, it was nice. For me, VP was the experience and this certainty that I will have at least some money, so I can stop thinking about it. I always gave half of what I earned or more to my parents. I don't need the money. I just play Dota. I didn't even buy anything expensive, just a mouse or keyboard sometimes. It was important for me to get money to show my parents that I was playing for a reason so that they wouldn't get in my way.
— Why do you think you didn't do well back then?
— I think there was too much expectations of the tag from the community and the organization. VP.P is a very strong tag in terms of achievements. Before us, the lineup had players with good competitive experience who were competing against a solid teams. Nightfall, Save-, and fn are good players with serious achievements. So when you get signed to that tag, there are expectations on you. Any organization wants a winning lineup. But when you had a winning roster in the past, and now you've signed rookies who aren't playing well yet, it's hard to meet expectations.
— What could have been changed: you needed more time, less pressure?
— I think the right thing to do would have been not to rush the announcement of our roster. Just give us a chance to play under the Team Generation tag and see what happens. Maybe, to announce it after we've played in DPC Division 2. That would be better for us as players but, perhaps, not for the organization since no one knew they sponsored us. But there would be less pressure on us.
— You had two lineups: the first one with youngsters and the second with the more experienced Misha. Which lineup was more comfortable for you?
— Both lineups gave me experience. I can't say one of them was better. When we've put the second lineup together, I understood what I wanted from myself and Dota. Either way, every loss and failure fill you with a hunger to win. You want to get better, especially with more experienced players.
— What did Misha teach you as captain?
— He's an excellent captain with a lot of experience. He showed me the different perspectives on Dota. It just wasn't the right players and not the right time for his ideas to unfold. But now I watch him play with other people, and I realize he's an outstanding player. He has unconventional ideas, and he needs to play with equally unconventional people to execute them. For Misha, OG is a perfect team, and he has always wanted to play there. He's recruited a winning lineup, and his dream has come true. I'm happy for him.
— Did you get anything from playing on position 3 in Paseka?
— I clearly understood that I shouldn't play on the offlane. It's not that I'm super bad, but I didn't feel like the role suited me. I was bored, and the meta was weird. So I couldn't come up with anything of my own. If you're bored playing, there's no point to go on in this role. You have to play in a way that makes you enjoy the game. I've always had fun on the mid, but I decided to try something new at that point. Before midlane, I had been playing carry, but I decided to play another core role. It was just for fun, but in the end, I realized that I felt good playing midlane.
— Nix said that the roles on the team weren't distributed correctly, so there was no hope of making it to DPC from the start. You didn't have high expectations for this team as well?
— I just wanted to play with these people, so I didn't think about it. I probably would have stayed if we had played well, but we failed at the open qualifiers. It was obvious that we couldn't play together. Xanni didn't really want to play mid, I didn't feel good about the offlane, so there was no chance at all from the start.
I was then offered to continue playing on the offlane and listed other midlaners, but I said I didn't want to play with any of them. I decided I wanted to develop myself, so I left on my own.
— Did you realize you were better than those players?
— I thought I could potentially play better than the ones that were suggested. I didn't want a guy worse in terms of skill and understanding of Dota to play on the midlane in my team. So I made the decision to immerse myself.
— That is, a young player without a team simply refuses to get paid in the club and play on the team of a famous person in favour of a very vague prospect. Why?
— I don't see the point in sitting and doing something I don't want just to get paid. If you malnourish yourself but do what you want, it will pay off in the future. If you do something against your will and ambitions, at some point, you'll realize it's bullshit and give it up. You always have to put money and stuff on the back burner. I either do what I like or don't do it at all.
— What are your hobbies besides Dota?
— I did MMA last summer for about half a year, just to improve my health. It's a fun thing to do, but so far no one wanted to test my skills in practice. I don't really want to show them off either. Also went to the gym for a while. I'm ready to go with Daxak too when I have some free time.
I also read books. I can buy several books, start reading one and abandon the rest. Of the last books I read, I liked A Clockwork Orange and some books on psychology and human relationships, but I can't remember the titles. If I like the description, I buy the book and maybe one day even read it, but I never force myself. But I read books much less that manga and manhwa. Some of my favourites are "Bastard" manhwa, "Shamo" manga, it's pretty violent and realistic. "Berserk", "Cliffhanger" and "Vagabond" are also super-top.
— Before the start of the DPC, you and your team got together at the bootcamp. Was it different from the previous ones?
— I don't think it's much different from what we had during VP.Prodigy. That bootcamp was even better, it was in a more convenient place in the city, while the one with BetBoom was prepared in two days and was held outside the town, so there was no possibility of going out. It's great to breathe fresh air, but I want to chill in another way sometimes.
— Was this bootcamp good for you?
— Of course. We spent some time together. Nikita [Daxak] turned out to be a fun and open guy. He makes a lot of pranks and jokes. That's cool. Akbar is the same as he is online. Zhenya [Noticed] and Maxim [forcemajor] are the same clowns as they've always been.
— That is, you have two clowns. Who are SoNNeikO and Daxak then?
— Mr. Stone and Furion.
— Daxak said that you had accumulated problems, but you will solve them after the end of the DPC. The league is over. Have you solved anything yet?
— There were and will be some communication and in-game problems, which have yet to be solved. Some of them have already been solved during DPC. Not to say that much has been fixed, but we're trying.
— Do you think you got a boost from playing D2CL?
— Such tournaments always improve you, allow you to test something, and be confident. After victories, you pick more heroes and let yourself do things you wouldn't allow yourself to do after losses. From a mental point of view, it helps. It is a good practice before DPC. It is essential to play such tournaments to find mistakes because when you get closer to the league, you will fix at least one such mistake. As a result, you'll get a little better.
— You joined the team last. Many people say that SoNNeikO and Daxak aren't the easiest people to communicate with. Was it hard to fit in?
— Dodren had problems with the Internet, so initially, I was called up just to help. They told me right away that they didn't expect anything from me and gave me the freedom to play the way I wanted to play. It was easy to join in because no one set any limits from the start.
Finding a common language with Daxak and SoNNeikO is easy enough if you talk about the facts and offer something, not just criticize. If they disagree, they share their points of view, but they'll always listen to you anyway.
— At DPC, besides your brilliant Storm, we saw a not-so-standard Windranger. You can tell them to pick any hero you want?
— WR is a more spontaneous decision. She’s always been out of meta, I didn’t pick her, but I played a lot in pubs. It was a good game for her against Medusa, so I just said: "Pick me WR, I’ll contribute to the game".
I think any hero can be good if you're confident and play it well. If you've been playing SF your whole life and it's not his meta right now, you can still safely take him and win. But only if the team knows how to play with SF.
— I think you’re one of the most active midlane players in EEU right now, which is generally rare since everyone is playing mid to farm now. How would you describe your playstyle?
— I wouldn’t say I’m the most active of all midlaners, but I’ve always liked playing that way. I create tempo when I have a good hero and things work out. It’s much more enjoyable than just farming and waiting for the timings of the items.
I’ve always been impressed with Topson playstyle. I like his playstyle. It's fun to watch. It’s always interesting to create something on the map and do some fun stuff.
Yeah, there was a meta when Team Spirit won TI10 where the midlaner played for his farm. But I think that meta is changing. You can't always have your midlaner sitting somewhere and farming AFK. It all depends on the situation. It’s important to feel when you can do something and when you can’t. Sometimes some action can make your game worse, while also not helping your team either. And some actions are super impactful and help you win. I just try to make my teammates feel more comfortable while playing. If things go wrong in the offlane, I’ll help them, and if anything bad happens in the safelane, I’ll go there.
— You’ve already mentioned that you don’t get the jitters before a tournament. What do you feel then?
— I just have the confidence that it will be fun and exciting. I think about it and enjoy it. There are no thoughts of whether we’re going to shit the bed or not. I just want to feel the atmosphere of competing against the strongest teams.
— Do you feel like the top 1 team in Eastern Europe?
— Of course not. I wouldn’t say we’re the best in the region. We just played this qualification well, because other teams were not as well prepared due to circumstances. This DPC is not an indicator of our strength. It’s just a sign that we worked hard all along, and it paid off.
— Who is then the top 1 in Eastern Europe?
— I think Team Spirit are still the best. They’ve given up a little bit for obvious reasons. I’m sure they’ll beat most teams if they want to. Their drafts are weird right now. Maybe they’re having fun. Maybe the game just isn’t going their way.
— Who else do you consider to be strong opponents in the Stockholm Major?
— Gaimin Gladiators. I like the way they play: unusual, fast, aggressive. They always play to the end. They are a very interesting team. I also like OG.
I want to play against them all and gain experience. Of course, I wanted to see Chinese teams the most because I’ve never played against them, but battling with SEA and American teams will be interesting as well.