"I can't tell people 'Get on my level' yet". MoonMeander on NA state, being 30, and adding heroes from HoN to Dota Exclusive
According to analyst Ben "Noxville" Steenhuisen, TSM.FTX has already qualified for The International 2022 after getting top-3 at The Stockholm Dota Major. Polina Mashina decided to talk with captain David "MoonMeander" Tan about the team's struggles to get where they are today and the current state of the NA region.
— Before the Major Bryle posted a tweet with Hasbullah with a postscript "coach". Does his cardboard figure stand at your bootcamp? Why?
— Yes, it's a full-size Hasbullah figure right there. Cause League team' players are the fans of Hasbullah. So TSM bought it for them. Since we have Hasbullah fans in our team, we like "Yo, can we use this as the League team is in here?" And we got it.
— As for the coach… What did MISERY bring to the team?
— He is the guy that I box around Dota ideas with all day long. He enables me to have someone who keeps my ideas in check. So it's not too crazy but yet stable. And I need someone to debate me. And I can't do this with my teammates all the time because I need them to focus on the jobs I'm giving them. He also does tasks for me which I relegate to him to fix throughout the team.
— Is he a constant addition, or just helping you for the Major?
— He is a constant addition. He will be here for us for TI as well.
— You have come a long way at the Major but what difficulties were behind the scenes?
— Mostly players' stress and young players' inability to deal with stress and the losing. That was the biggest thing these days. And I had to teach them how to deal with that properly, while struggling with keeping up my own gameplay. I wasn't happy about the level of my gameplay. Being a captain is not easy cause you to need to do everything for your team, stuff on top of keeping up the gameplay. So I needed to play a lot of Dota. I had to do all of that and also maintain relationships with my family and friends. So a lot of juggling.
— How did you cope with stress? Do you have a psychologist?
— Yes, we actually do group sessions. I read a lot of books and watch videos on YouTube about psychology, like from Dr. K. And I experiment with some of my teammates from there.
— I think that a lot of rosters didn’t take you seriously despite the fact that you're at least top-2 team in NA. Do you feel the same?
— I think in general in Dota a lot of pro players are actually cocky. It just takes time to teach them to be humble. Don't worry about what others said about you. Just go there and show what you made of. Let your Dota speak, not your words.
— You're the only team from NA who stayed at the tournament. Are you sad about the current state of the region and having only two slots at the Major?
— Yes, I'm pretty upset about that. I'm pretty vocal about having three slots for NA for some time now. Even if the people disagree with me I do think that we need that third slot. And the third slot, even if NA is suffering, should be at least a Wild Card slot. Like, I don't get why teams from some regions get two Wild Card slots, while we have zero... So I do believe we should have if not a whole slot, but a bare minimum one Wild Card slot.
— What team from NA should have been at the Major?
— On Twitter you mentioned, “Group B is filled with sweaty nerds including myself”. Whom did you mean?
— I meant everyone because it was almost a six-way tiebreaker. So everyone's sweating, a very close group. Before the Major I was like "Yeah, it looks like Group A is a group of death". Then I started playing with the teams and like "Yo, group B is stacked". In the end group B was stronger. We won 3 out of 4 first matches in the upper bracket. So yeah, group B is not a joke, man, so we're all sweaty nerds.
— What were your thoughts on the absence of the Chinese teams at the Major?
— We were absolutely devastated. I mean, I highly respect the Chinese region. LGD, Aster, RNG... All these players are just so good and so stable. And I'm sure that there's a reason why two Chinese teams are in the top six at TI constantly. Not having them at the Major here was detrimental because I really wanted some of my teammates to be able to play against Chinese teams for experience before TI.
— There’s an opinion, especially in Eastern Europe community, that the skill level of the teams at this Major is very low. What you would say to people who think so?
— I would say "Form your team, try to qualify for the Major, win it and say so". Eastern European teams are not looking great at all right now at this Major. Being cocky and saying stuff as low skill always bites you in the back. For example, Yatoro said something like "China is not going to come to the Major, maybe it will be boring." But now he is eliminated. So, not so boring, I guess.
— You and Ceb are the oldest players in this tournament. How do u feel about being surrounded by youngsters? Or there’s no difference for you.
— We laugh about it all the time seeing each other "Look at these two grandpas playing here". It's just funny and we keep coping with like "We're only the oldest this Major cause Puppey in Europe. If he is here that wouldn't be the case, so there wouldn't be so much spotlight on us". Yeah, I think Ceb is very healthy. He looks like he eats healthy and looks like he works out, and I do the same. So, now I'm 30, and I still feel young like I’m 25 or 26.
— HoN is closing in June, and this game was a big part of your early career. A lot of fans are asking Valve to add heroes from it to Dota. Do you miss any? Which heroes would you add?
— I miss the Chipper, Puppet Master, and Drunken Master. I'd add all of them, it would be fun.
— What’s the point of your career when you’re going to say ‘Get on my level, hoe’ again? Is it enough to win the Major to do it?
— Of course, after winning the TI. You know, we're here for fun. Not much for LAN, but for DPC points. Here we'll get scored the DPC points to go to TI. All that matter is TI. Now I can't tell people "Get on my level", cause it's just a Major.