Samuel “Sammyboy” Anderson is an upcoming Dota 2 player and has played for teams such as Leviathan and Team Team. In this interview Sammyboy speaks on his departure from Team Team, recent controversy regarding EternalEnvy and much more.
Hey Samuel. Kindly introduce yourself to our readers.
Sup, I’m Sammyboy a 1/2 player in the North American scene and although I’ve been around for a long while in the scene I guess I’m still considered new blood or whatever you want to call it.
Let’s go a bit back. What have you done in terms of studies, job, etc before getting into esports?
I pretty much just played Dota 2 while in high school and am now in a gap year kind of just playing Dota.
I luckily had a job helping out OpenAI one summer and have got enough prize money to fund myself being able to live on my own for this year.
So in that sense I’m blessed to be able to just play Dota full time.
Speaking of which, how did you get involved into playing online games? What was the first game you ever played?
I originally started playing Halo 3 back when I was really young and playing online but my first game was my Dad letting me play Half Life 2 on his PC when I was like 7 or 8 I imagine.
You’re one of the up and coming player in competitive Dota 2. How hard is it to make the cut in this industry especially when residing in North America? Tell us about the challenges you’ve faced — socially, professionally and personally when you decided to commit full time to gaming?
North America in my opinion is especially difficult due to the fact that we have high living costs, almost no sponsors, and almost no tourneys besides NADCL to actually help make any money.
Compare that to Europe or China and they have team houses everywhere, tons of sponsors, and a thriving tier 2 scene especially in China.
That said, I’ve again been really lucky in that my adversity has mostly just been financial and I have tons of great friends that have helped me out along the way to let me be able to try to play full time professionally.
You’re mostly known for your time at Team Leviathan and later on at TEAM TEAM although the latter was rather short lived. What have you learned over the past few years as a player and as a person?
I’ve learned a ton about Dota over the past I would say year or so, I thought my time on Team Leviathan I was extremely new and just a pub player but over the past year or so I’ve grown a lot as a player who thinks about the game in what I believe are good ways.
As a person however I think I’ve come to realize that Dota can’t be the only thing I gain fulfillment from and I’ve been trying to not just get better at the game but grow as a person as well outside of it.
How did you take to the news that you were going to be replaced at TEAM TEAM?
I honestly wasn’t too upset, I originally was going to be replaced by Ryoya and he’s one of the people I have an insane amount of respect and admiration for. He’s taught me so much about the game and helped me improve myself as a player and person so if they wanted him over me I felt I didn’t really have a case to argue.
I obviously thought the way I got kicked was shitty, but I think that happens in every Dota team since the teams are ran by the player and not organizations like in real sports. Makes everything more personal.
I have had some in real life stuff too and it’s allowed me to take the time to help out the people that needed me in real life as well, so at the end of the day it might be a blessing.
I’ve been really happy honestly since getting out of that environment and focusing on my friends in real life for a bit although I obviously want to get back on a team eventually
Speaking of being replaced, what do you have to say about the recent drama surrounding Gunnar and Newsham being kicked out of TT?
I just think it’s scummy to kick players after they qualify for the major, the way I look at it is once you qualify it’s your shared right to attend the event and until that events over you should be able to attend if you wish.
You’ve been quite vocal about EE on Twitter where you imply that he’s responsible for the kick even though it isn’t known who was actually responsible for the kicks. Kindly shed some light on this.
The responsibility is on all three of the players as they all made the choice, but EE was the catalyst to kicking them before the major, rather not say more than that.
Personally speaking, I felt quite sad for Gunnar and Newsham on being robbed of their first Major a few weeks before the event begins. Do you think their performance at ESL One Mumbai has something to do with it?
They were told a week before ESL One Mumbai that they would likely be kicked if they didn’t perform well, but it was widely known around the scene they would likely be kicked no matter how they performed and it had been in planning for 2-3 weeks to my knowledge.
Do you reckon that Valve should put some restrictions in place wherein a roster cannot be changed once you qualify for a DPC event?
Yeah, a lot of the issues in the pro scene would be solved if Valve just made a rule set for the DPC events.
You even tweeted that you’re disappointed in Mike and Brax after “all that talk”. May I know what you’re referring to?
When we were at the minor Gambit did something similar where they kicked two players before the event and I remember specifically us all saying how scummy that was and how it was bullshit and so to see them do the same thing for a major leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
WESG and Bucharest Minor are two of the big LAN events you’ve participated in so far. Which one was more memorable?
Bucharest minor was definitely more memorable it was my first real LAN, but I’ll always remember game 3 vs BOOMID where I got to play terrorblade and pretty much 1v5 the game at a certain point and get a rampage and all that, that was the most fun I think I’ve ever had in a game.
As of now you’re without a team. Where will we see you going next?
I kinda have been taking a short break not playing as much, I had a ton of fun standing in for Black Sheep in NADCL and just playing qualifier stacks. The NA scene is really volatile so I’m sure I will be playing on stacks and hopefully something sticks which is kind of just how NA works compared to every other scene.
You’ve cast quite a few games in NADCL season 1. Do you think you can make a career out it? Would you jump at the opportunity to cast a event if invited?
I think casting would be something I could maybe make a career out of with a lot of practice and work, but I’ve personally felt that casting would only be something I could do after I have accepted I am not good enough to go pro or that I don’t want to go pro anymore.
Maybe that’s harsh but I think casting is what the pros do when they aren’t currently good enough to play on a team or after they are content retiring and not playing. You can’t do both.
Where do you see yourself in the next year or two? Have you set certain goals for yourself during this time period?
I honestly don’t know, my goal for this gap year was to make a valve sponsored event and I achieved that so I think I want to take a break and probably re-evaluate come next minor/major as due to the timing of when I got kicked off TEAM TEAM it was hard for me to find another team I felt confident with in time for the current Major/Minor cycle.
How do you see the latest patch from the perspective of a pro? Which heroes, items, etc you like and dislike the most?
Obviously the patch didn’t change too many things, I think Naga Siren will definitely be seeing more play as people experiment with her and she feels like a really strong hero at the moment.
I really like the fact that they didn’t nerf too many heroes and they are keeping all the heroes strength so the meta will shift more slowly and naturally. That said, the Pangolier nerf felt good, that hero was way too crazy in way too many roles.
Actually, the fact that they made the Dire pull way easier was a really big deal, Radiant’s had a massive advantage for a while and I’m glad they are addressing it.
Alright then, it’s a wrap. Anything you’d like to say?
Shout-out to Ryoya and Jubei for helping me grow so much as a player.
If you would like to know more about my work, you can follow me at KarY.
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Headline image courtesy: WESG