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"EU players are confident in their ideas, while we quickly lose confidence". 23savage on desire to play in EU, invite to OG, and his kick from T1 Exclusive

We've met with Talon Esports carry Nuengnara "23savage" Teeramahanon. He talked with us about the difference between SEA and EU, and expressed the desire to play in "the strongest region" one day. The carry also confirmed the rumors about his invite to OG and explained why he declined, and gave high praises to Talon's new coach Andrii "AWF" Bondarenko.

The interview was conducted after the first day of group stage.

— Well, you’ve just finished your first day on TI. How do you feel?

— The first day wasn't that great, because we only won one game and lost the other three. We thought before that we could make it at least 2-2. But it didn't happen. I'm still happy we won at least one game, it's a good sign for tomorrow.

— What mistakes did you notice and what are you going to work on?

— We played too scared and we weren't moving at all. When we were scrimming, we usually did some good moves, but at TI we're not performing as well as we did in scrims and other tournaments.

— Do you think it's just because it's the first day?

— Yes, I think it's because of the first day. But some of the players… It's their first TI. You know, people are excited and we're not able to perform that well in such circumstances.

— This is your second TI. Do you have special feelings about this event?

— I'm hyped, because TI is held in my region, near my homeland, my country is only 2 hours from here. So I'm really excited to be able to compete in front of my friends, especially in a country like Singapore.

— After TI10 there were a lot of rumors that you will definitely join OG or maybe another European team. Was there any possibility of it?

— Yeah, I received offers, but at that moment I thought that we were doing well at TI and we could improve a lot next season. I believed in the team. But it didn't happen. So… Bad choice, but yeah, no regrets.

— Would you like to try to play in another region someday?

— Yeah, that's what I want the most. I want to play in Europe one day. Ever since I started playing, I felt like they are smart and they have different views and different gameplay from South Asia. It's completely different. It's always fun to learn new things.

— Is there any player or captain you'd like to play with?

Puppey, Misha… Who else? I think they look like great captains and they can improve me. And if Ceb will be playing, yeah, I would prefer to play alongside him.

This TI there's a lot of good new teams from EU. such as Gaimin Gladiators and Entity. They all look good and they can be truly good, but I don't know them that much. From those I know, Puppey, Misha or even KuroKy. Not that much.

"You need to be a degenerate to win this game, I'm sorry". Puppey's sincere talk on what it takes to be good at Dota 2, and being the only player attending every TI
The Captain's Speech.

— You mentioned that you received a couple of offers. Would you like to name the teams that sent you offers besides OG?

— In Europe it was only OG. Other teams were from SEA. So, from the big teams it was only OG.

— You placed third in the first DPC season with T1, but didn't even play in the regional finals. What happened to the team?

— I don't really know. What I know so far is that it was Kuku’s decision. He's captain. So, everyone needs to respect that. For sure, he thought it's the best for the team, but it seems it wasn't. So, just bad choices, I guess.

— Were you disappointed?

— I was disappointed, because I just signed the contract with them. So I was in a really rough position. It's not easy to find a team in the middle of the season. So that's what disappointed me the most. I could have joined OG if I knew (laughing).

— What were your thoughts on ana replacing Gabbi after you got kicked?

— I think it's good, because ana is a two-time TI winner and at least the players can learn a lot from him and Topson. It's a really good move. If I were them, I would have done it because they're free agents also. But it's kind of sad for Karl and Gabbi.

Source: https://flickr.com/photos/dota2ti/

— Were you happy or disappointed when your previous team didn't qualify for TI?

— Kind of disappointed, because I would really like to play against my old friends. It would be a really big match. It could be a really fun game to play and I could prove myself again to them.

— Is ana still a top tier player?

— He still can play at the top level with the right people. He didn't have Ceb and N0tail for the past tournaments. I think he needs someone like them to be back in shape.

— Do you think that it was his last try to come back to the scene? Will he compete next season?

— He might compete with Topson. I think next year he might play in Europe, not SEA. This region doesn't suits him.

— Why do SEA players want to play in Europe? Do you really think that it's the strongest region in the world?

— I think it's the strongest region in the world, because there are so many new and young players, and they're so competitive there. When I was there last year, I was playing a lot of EU pubs and I learned so much. It's so much different from SEA pubs.

Even rank 500 players there have a really good playstyle. So you can learn a lot from them. They play level 30 Tinker, for example. So they have a unique style of thinking and playing.

We visited the hotel where TI teams are staying. Here is the photo tour
Checking where the TI11 players live.

— How can you describe their style of thinking in comparison to SEA players?

— They are more creative. In SEA we are kinda in the box. If we face a situation that we haven’t faced before, we don't know what to do. But in Europe, they think outside of the box, so it's easy to flex and adapt to the new situation.

— You once said that the weakest part of SEA teams is drafts. Do you still think so?

— Yeah, I think so. We don't have the really good brains of someone who's really confident in an idea. As you can see, all Europeans are confident in their ideas. But for SEA players, we always lose all confidence after one or two losses. And this is just our mindset.

— Maybe it's just mentality?

— Yeah, the mentality and the mindset. After we lose one game, SEA teams will be devastated. I think it's really bad. But most EU teams, I feel like they don't really care. I think they're mentally strong.

— Do you work with psychologists?

— We don’t.

— Do you want to try?

— If someone does it for me for free, I will (laughs).

Who likes anime the most? Who overslept and missed a match? Entity's Tobi and Stormstormer play Team Bingo

— Are weak drafts the reason why you invite AWF?

— Yes. I feel AWF has a feel of a European Dota. So he can bring some of it to our team. And we can learn something new from him and obviously from CIS teams. He's also a good captain. So we thought he's gonna bring in a lot of new draft ideas and gameplay style. Which he did, but unfortunately he will only arrive tomorrow.

— How did you find him? I've heard that Resolut1on suggested him to you.

— So, at first he was DMing me on social media. AWF asked me: “Hey, do you have a coach?” At the time he was a commentator or analyst, and maybe he watched our games and felt like we lacked directions. So he DMed. And then I was like “We have a coach”, we had FoREv back then.

But after some disappointing results, we had to find a new coach. So I wrote to AWF. So we just tried, and things ended up pretty good.

Source: NAVI's social media

— Did you consider other coaches?

— We had, like, two weeks before TI, so we only tried AWF. He was available and looked good from the profile.

— Well, what has AWF brought to the team? Is it only drafts or something more?

— He gave us good drafts and made us more confident. We improved our mentality. He gave us a lot of inspiration and motivation, always tried to make sure we're comfortable to play. So he's a really good leader.

AWF on coaching Talon: "I was taking a shower 3 times a day. Picks are done — I'm taking a shower. Game over — I'm in a shower again, it was so hard to not fall asleep"

— He hasn't arrived yet in Singapore. So does it affect your results or is he helping remotely right now?

— We talk after games. But as you know, we cannot talk during the draft. AWF is our real captain. We look up to him and with him we feel like we've got to play better, more confident. I think we will do better when he gets there.

— Many TI players, especially carries, complain a lot about SEA pubs. But you are definitely the king of SEA pubs. Do you have any advice for them on what to do and how to survive in this environment?

— You just need to not worry about this. All people in Europe are playing as a team. Here you are playing 1 vs 5. I'm always struggling, because it's really hard to manage pubs. You need to separate them from pro games, but sometimes you cannot. You're going to mix it. So maybe it's one of the reasons why SEA teams are not that good compared to other teams in other regions.

Arteezy on SEA pubs: "I have never seen a pos5 player in this region"

— Well, I think it's similar to us: in Russia we have the same players. With the same approach, 1 vs 5.

— When I played at Western European servers, I couldn't understand a thing because they always speak Russian!

— Will you be happy if you just surpass last year's result at TI, or are you here only to win?

— The fact that I'm here is pretty far from what I expected, because I got kicked and played in the Lower Division. I didn't think I would play at this TI. It was a shit year, so I just don't care at this point. I just play the best I can.

Cover: flickr.com
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