Esports Heaven caught up with Johan "pieliedie
" Åström from Mineski for a quick interview before the team begins their journey at DreamLeague Major starting in a couple of days.
Pieliedie speaks on his decision to join Mineski, his role and approach as a captain, his brief stint as an analyst at The Kuala Lumpur Major, upcoming DreamLeague Major and much more.
Hi Johan. First of all, congratulations on qualifying for The DreamLeague Major. How does it feel to qualify for the Major with your new team?
Feels great, honestly. Seeing your team put in the work and to have the results follow is really rewarding, especially in a region as competitive as SEA.
Speaking of which, why did you decide to join Mineski? Who approached you? Also, what made you continue in SEA post your TI8 break after departing from Fnatic?
I have been in SEA for a while now, so it was natural for me to continue in SEA. Mineski's roster has always had a lot of potential in my eyes, and I think I was a good fit for the roster after Mushi left.
How does it feel to qualify for your first Major in the new DPC season along with Mineski? Coincidentally, it is Mineski’s first Major appearance after the entire initial struggle in the new season.
Struggles only make a team stronger over time, I think falling short in the last two qualifiers has really solidified this team as teammates and strengthened our resilience.
You’ve taken over the captaincy role at Mineski since your arrival. How do you see Mineski shaping up over the course in the next few months? What do you bring to the team as a captain? Give us a little insight into the team dynamics.
Since we have had roster changes, the team has a lot of room to grow, and I don't see us slowing down any time soon. I think I am diplomatic as a captain - I think it’s important for all team members to have input and it’s my job as a captain to direct that input, and so far, it is working.
Does Mineski have a coach at present? What do you have to say on Clairvoyance’s departure?
Currently the team is being coached by our previous coach Kenchi. I think when it comes to coaches their efficacy really comes down to how whether they fit for the specific team as a coach, and Kenchi is a better fit for us especially as a SEA team.
Speaking of departures, recently JT- was loaned out to NewBee and was replaced by Ahjit. Give your thoughts on both these players and the situation that led to this change. How does Ahjit fit into the line-up?
Since Ahjit used to play with Nana a while back they have a lot of synergy and similar ideas as players, which I think is very important for cores - we talk a lot about how the cores and supports need good communication but i think the cores of your team being on the same page is just as important. I didn't play for long with JT- but I think he is a talented player and I wish him all the best in China.
Mineski displayed an admirable performance at the DreamLeague SEA qualifiers only losing out to Fnatic in the upper bracket. How do you rate Fnatic as a team? Is it better than the previous iteration that included EternalEnvy and yourself? Also, how tough is it to compete in SEA this time around?
I think this is one of the strongest iterations of Fnatic in recent times - It is hard to argue with the talent on that team and their results have shown they are one of the strongest in the region.
That being said I think SEA is a very strong region in general, and any of the top teams can take games or even series off each other on a good day - this makes it very volatile when there are only two major spots up for grabs as you saw from the recent qualifier.
What needs to be improved in order for Mineski to beat Fnatic, who arguably is the best SEA team in the region?
I think Fnatic have just had longer together as a team. I think we are already pretty closely matched - we had a close series in the major qualifier, and I think as we continue to grow as a team we will be just as strong if not stronger.
Anyway, moving on, you certainly are a treat to listen and watch to at events as an analyst. Did you enjoy being one at The Kuala Lumpur Major? How do you see the role of being an analyst from the perspective of a pro player?
It's definitely a different experience. Of course, I love talking about Dota, but for me the enjoyment is being able to sit outside of the ring and to see things from a third-party perspective. I think some of the best analysts are pro players, I'm just glad that the fans enjoy listening to what we have to say.
Assuming you were to retire tomorrow, will you be interested in pursuing the career as broadcast talent full time?
I haven't thought about it to be honest, for now all my focus is on my playing career.
Name two teams you think are the toughest opponents in Dota 2 right now.
VP and Secret are still the strongest teams in the world in my opinion. The way they play Dota is really well polished, so you really have to be on top of your game to beat them.
Anything you’d like to say before we wrap this interview up?
Thanks as always to our fans who support us.
If you would like to know more about my work, you can follow me at KarY.
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Headline image courtesy: Mineski