Editor’s note: The English has been cleaned up for readability in this interview.Hey Forev. It's been quite a while since we have seen you on a top team, the previous one being J.Storm. Take us through the journey between you leaving MVP Phoenix 2016 to joining J Storm where you struggled professionally.Using English was the biggest problem, as well as cultural differences because I lived in Korea exclusively my entire life. and didn't try to learn English at all before joining team secret.You teamed up with your old friend March when he came out of retirement at J Storm. However, that was not meant to be since you were booted after finding considerable success. Now I know you mentioned it on your Twitlonger that no one is to be blamed, but can you shed a little light on what exactly happened? I doubt March would have been behind the kick since he also got booted out a while laterBehind the scenes, the way we played Dota was different. The meta kept changing due to patch changes after each major, and we had differences in how we believed the game should be played. Ultimately, we had a change in roster, with me being booted first, followed by March. Even though March was team captain, this decision was voted upon by the team democratically.So you accepted the team decision with a grain of salt and chose to move on?Haha, how could I have rejected it? Of course I had to move on.That's fair I guess. You later teamed up with March, Febby, Gunnar and 23Savage for TI9 qualifiers. Surprisingly, you did well by reaching the grand finals through the winners bracket. How did it feel to make a new team and fall just one step short of making it to TI?Well.. making a stack [sic] before TI ( 2 weeks ago) was really hard first of all, because everyone already had a team which wanted to try winandrain, unlike last year [sic]. Last year, we had 1 month to practice, so we bootcamped and had enough time to set everything into place.This year, I made the same deal with some Korean investor that I did with windandrain. So we went on to bootcamp on the 18th of June. We practiced in Korea for 2 weeks until July 1st. After that, we moved to Singapore and played a qualifier at a netcafe. The process and the result has been much greater than I expected.We didn’t have much time to set a team strategy and stay on the same page. Falling just one step short of making it to TI is...still a nightmare. Whenever I wake up I keep reminding myself what I could have done better in terms of draft and play. I then use these moments as a lesson that will give me the opportunity to learn more. It was an amazing experience and I deserved to lose. I wanted to say, good luck at TI to all the Mineski players. Hopefully you guys do a great job at TI, much like OG did, because they beat us in the grandfinals, as well. laughs.May I know which Korean investor are you talking about? Also, do you think experience played a big role in Mineski's win against you?Experience is a justification, and plays a big impact whether it be a short few hours to several years; if we had one more week to practice, our pool of strategies would have been much different.No comments on the Korean investor, haha, because I failed to give the money back to them.Interesting. Where do you think you went wrong in the final series?They banned a lot of my heroes during the draft. We were tunnel visioned, even though we picked Viper. My play could have been better and I could have itemized better, too. I should have gone Crimson Guard instead of Pipe, etc.Game 4, I could have played Underlord, but we chose Ench again. I kind of fucked up during the laning phase and failed at snowballing. We lacked waveclear and had critical failures in certain map movements.I see. It's good that in retrospect you know what can be improved upon. Why choose 23savage? A lot of negative comments were floating around when news broke that he'd be a part of the team.I just stayed true to my word. A year ago, when 23savage was around rank 300, he asked me about being in the same team in the pro scene during a pub game. I just told him to become top 5 and I will consider it. Amazingly, he made #1 at 9.3k MMR in March-April this year.After I got kicked from Jstorm, I was thinking about playing with him in this qualifier, and he was first priority.That is admirable. What do you have to say on the condition of Korean players not taking up Dota 2 as a game of their choice? There are a select few players scattered across different teams and other than that we don't see much involvement from Korea as well. Any thoughts on this issue?Uhm...I did try other games with some high ranked players (like Heroes of the Storm and League of Legends) maybe 2.5 years ago. For example, I played with the rank 1, 2 and 3 teams on the leaderboard in HotS and Challengers in LoL. There were 9-10 people total. All of them said learning Dota would take a year or longer for them, and they were already thriving in their current scene, so I gave up on that.Dota is a really hard game for beginners, even though they are so talented. Worse yet, in Korea, we don’t even have a server (lost it 4 years ago). We’d need to play on the SEA server with 120ms delay (and not even stable at that). You can reduce it to 70ms or so with a VPN, but realistically it feels like a 90-100ms delay.We need to register to Chinese servers with a Chinese phone number to play there, and a Korean player also needs to learn Mandarin to adjust.It’s...a really awful environment - so we don’t have a large player pool and people are not even willing to try, save a small few. If I was a Korean organization CEO or something, I also wouldn’t invest in the Korean Dota scene to raise it up, like publishing a server, etc [sic].Wow. Things don't seem good that way. Hopefully, Valve does something about it. Anyway, let's move on to TI9. Which team will lift the trophy this time? Also, what do you expect to see from this TI in terms of meta/competition?The meta changed a bit after TI qualifiers - the biggest thing being Stout Shield. I guess summoner heroes will arise more like NP, Chen, Brood, Enigma. Cutting waves is also a bit hard because you lose a lot of HP from creeps. If Pos5[sic] chases there, it’s hard to handle it and there’s a high chance to die.I’m rooting for so many teams, since I have friends there on multiple teams. Seriously, predicting TI champions is a really stupid thing laughs. Nobody knows what will happen.Alright Forev. That's a wrap. Anything you'd like to say before we close this?Real quick, I just want to say that I love all my fans and that faith has been much stronger than before. After I failed at TI, I suffered depression and mental illness I guess (although I didn’t go to the hospital). After I wrote a tweet about possibly needing to stay away from Dota 2 (...it was really hard handling it), so many fans and friends cheered me up.At the end, I stopped up again and am now practising Dota super hard for next season. That’s it.If you would like to know more about my work, you can follow me at KarY.You can head over to our Dota 2 hub for more content.Headline image courtesy: PGL
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