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Interview with velheor

15 May 2018 6406
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Fedor "velhior" Rusikhin - the newcomer of Natus Vincere!

We've talked to the new player of ua NAVI.GG.BET team in discipline Dota 2 - ru Fedor "velheor" Rusikhin. Esportman told about the early stages of his career, the first attempts to play in the ranks of "yellow-black", and also shared his opinion on the status of the professional scene of the CIS region.

— For fans of ua Natus Vincere, you are an unknown person. Tell us something about yourself.

— My name is Fedor, I'm 20 years old. I'm from the wonderful city of St. Petersburg. I began playing DotA when I was seven, but to this day, perhaps, mostly took part in local tournaments. Last six months played in ru slozhiy memas.

— How did you get into DotA?

— I first played the game in a computer club. My elder brother brought me there, I was about seven or eight, I do not remember exactly. Then he said that there is a very cool game - WarCraft, which also offers custom games. He offered to try, defeated very quickly ... For me, it was a serious challenge. I started playing every day.

— Was there any desire to try some other games? Perhaps Counter-Strike?

— At that time, Counter-Strike somehow did not catch my attention. I played only in the company of friends more for their pleasure, not for my own. I was just in the game, I tried to do something, but I can not say whether it worked or not. WOW - I played once, that's all.

— Tell me, how did it come to playing at a semi-professional level, and then on a professional level?

— Probably, such an idea popped up with the appearance of ua NAVI before the first The International. I began to closely monitor what was happening. It seemed very interesting to me. You play, you travel around the world, it attracted me, even it seemed in some way funny, because you are doing what you like, and you can make a living from it.

When I was in the ninth grade, I discovered local tournaments. There were regular St. Petersburg mixes. We would come for the entire night, take the computers, playing against a new team every round. Who at the end of the night most points of life, he won. It turned out that out of 80% of the tournaments I was the winner. Then it brought me a good income, I so received my own pocket money, no one asked for anything. Parents even sometimes thought that I was stealing from someone.

— The attitude of parents towards esports is quite a big question. Not everyone understands this industry and sometimes parents do not approve of the desire of children to become a professional esportsman. How did they feel about your desire to follow this path?

—I had, let's say, a black mark in the biography: when I was in grade six, I secretly skipped school, hanging out in a computer club. I've been doing that for two or three months. When this all was revealed, of course, the teachers and parents were in shock. For a very long time I managed to hide it, everyone really believed me. For some I was sick, for others I found another justification. Then I lost my computer for a year or a year and a half, my parents started to control me hard; it was hard enough, but over time everything settled. I continued to play, and my parents realized that I am not giving up, that I really wanted this. I had quite a lot problems at school, with studying, but my parents still decided that they would not get in my way. I was given one condition - graduate the school, and then - do anything.

Now they support me in every possible way. In 2016, I went to the Russia Cup and took the second place there. Probably, from that moment on, my parents completely revised their views and believed that I can be a professional player, that I will succeed. Now they are my main fans.


velheor (second from the right side) with the team at the regional stage of Russia Cup

— You have a small but rather interesting competitive experience. Can you tell us about your first teams?

— Perhaps the very first is the local Cascade team. This team attended the Russia Cup, where we managed to miraculously reach the finals. After that, it all ended in different mixes, stacks, and so on. Had lots of tryouts, tried for ru Team Empire, ru Double Dimension, ru M19 ... Alas, I could not gain a foothold anywhere.

— What did you learn as a player of semi-professional teams?

— Probably, I was gaining experience there. When I tried for different teams, I was very nervous, I wanted the players who played there to like me, but it turned out that because of stress I could not deal with everything. Everyone understood what was going on, but they could not take risks and accept me, hoping that I would start playing more stable. Over time, I got used to excitement, became calmer, learned to believe in myself. In addition, I earned in-game experience, improved in the micro-game.

— Earlier you already tried yourself at ua Natus Vincere. Why did the team decide to refuse you back then?

— I think this is the question for the team. In my opinion, I was not sufficiently prepared. Probably, the decisive factor was the fact that shortly before that rs LeBron was subbing for ua NAVI as they passed the qualification. I guess success in the qualifiers became an additional argument in his favor.

— A lot of time has passed since that moment. What changed? Can you say that you grew professionally?

— You know, when you compete in closed qualifications on par with the rest, you begin to understand that you are just a player, like any other participant. It's just that you have to work hard and it will give you results. I do not know how much stronger I became, but I realized that my competitors are the same people, the same players, nothing more.

— When you played for ru slozhniy memas, did the victory over ua NAVI bring you some satisfaction?

— I think the haters of ua NAVI enjoyed it, mostly, because no one could understand how this happened. For me, it was an ordinary victory. Previously, we already beat ru Team Empire, ru Team Spirit. At that moment, I thought that we were better at some points, they were better in something else. I did not consider this victory as special, because in the end, we did not qualify for a single tournament, so victory remains a victory.

— Tell us about your invitation to the team. Was it a surprise for you? How did your friends and parents react?

—I think I will now reveal something almost unknown. I know ua Crystallize rather well, at the age of 15-16 we already played together, both were just starting the way. Since then we have communicated quite close. I will not say that we are best friends, but we maintain a warm relationship.

Even after the winter selection, he said that someone from the team liked someone - not as much, but the opinions can change. The team ru slozhniy memas collapsed, and I decided to take three weeks off. Suddenly ua Igor "caff" Sidorenko wrote me and asked if I would like to try again. Given that I did not play for three weeks, I was shocked. I thought I wouldn't be in a good shape, but I agreed. You can't refuse such a chance.

— With who, in the first place, did you share the news that you made it into ua NAVI?

— I told my mom. She could not understand for a long time what I was trying to tell her, why I was running around happy like a kid, what was happening overall. Then I told my younger brother, and he just started doing exactly what the elder brother was doing. A complete chaos reigned. Then I was able to clearly convey the information. Of course, she was happy for me.

— Were you so happy?

— Of course. It means a lot to me. A child's dream became reality in a week. I am now in such a state that I do not fully understand what to do, what is happening around me, but I'm participating in it, and it's great.

— You mentioned the friendship with ua Crystallize. Were you familiar with any of our players until now? Maybe played under the same banners with someone or carried them in a pub?

— I probably met everyone in pub games, but I did not play on the same team. We started in different periods, were at different levels.

— What can you say about the current state of ua Natus Vincere?

— Now it's hard to say once and for all, but it seems to me that we generally have a positive attitude. We understand that there is a lot of work to be done, perhaps this is a little scary. Now a difficult period will begin: we need to prepare for the major, the qualifiers for The International 2018 ...


Vladislav "Crystallize' Krystanek

— Have you spoken to your new teammates already?

— Yes, I have. ua Lil is probably the one I spoke the most to. He's given me a lot of tips and explained what's right and what's wrong. He gives very constructive criticism. I like it a lot because I have massive respect for him as a 4 position player and a player in general. I'm trying to listen more to what he has to say, adopt some of that, discuss different aspects with him, etc.

— As far as I know, you see the atmosphere within a team as a very important factor. Do you consider ua NAVI close to what you would like to see?

— I haven't spent much time with the team to say that the atmosphere is perfect. So far, it's hard to give a confident answer. The time will tell. I think it's impossible to find the 'perfect' atmosphere, as we always want more than we have. Even if we have everything, we keep adding things to a wishlist. But in ua NAVI, I think all prerequisites are there to play in a comfortable environment.

— What are the goals you set for yourself and the team?

Before all else, we've got to prepare for Supermajor. We'll be trying to put in our best performance there. The next goal would be to make it through the open and closed qualifiers for the International 2018 and do our best there, as well. As for my personal goals, I'd like to focus on growing as a player. I want to progress as a team player, but also deliver my best individually in every tournament we attend. Now, I'm fully focused on the major at hand. I'll have to prove what I'm capable of and what I've learned from practicing.

— What are the main things you work on? Will you be looking to extend your hero pool or focus on communication?

— I think we'll have to work on all these things. We'll have to pay a little more attention to some specific aspects and a little less to others. There's much work ahead. Something will work, something won't. We'll try our hardest!

ua Lil moves to the 5 position, and you are to fill the 4 position. Did you have a say in that decision?

— No, Ilya said he wanted to play the 5 position.

— Position 4 is a difficult one; its players often encounter criticism. Is it fine with you being compared to well-known pros who play it?

— It's hard to say. When you want to learn something, you watch someone else's replays, study what they do, etc. It's always like that. I have this trait of "copying". Perhaps, that’s the right way to call it. Even as a kid, I would see something and instantly reproduce it in a close to perfect manner. That's why I think I'll be constantly compared to other players. I don't see it as something good or bad, that's just the way I am.

— Speaking of this trait of yours, whose plays are you trying to reproduce when playing this position?

— I copied eu Team Secret's jo Yazied "YapzOr" Jaradat for quite a while. But overall, I took something from any player whose performance I liked. jo YapzOr's Rubick and Earthshaker, lb GH's Sand King, ua Lil's Night Stalker at The Kiev Major (I picked him even after he dropped out of meta) and Doom, I tried this hero out after I saw Ilya on him. But now it's quite a big responsibility weighing on me: ua Lil can always come up to me and say that he doesn't like something I did or that I should have done something differently (laughs). For now, it's hard to say what's going to happen.

— You mentioned quite a few heroes already. How many heroes should a position 4 player have in his pool?

— I'd say that this role is the most important right now. It probably depends on a person, but at least 5-6 heroes. If you have fewer than that, the opponent can remove 2-3 heroes and prepare well for the last one. You can't be prepared for everything, but I think position 4 should play as many heroes as possible. But the same can be said for any other role.

— Playing for ua Natus Vincere means facing a great pressure. How will you handle that when playing LANs and qualis?

— To be frank, I still can't fully get my head around the fact that I will play for ua NAVI. It's all new to me. I realize that both fans and haters will now get into active mode: the former will show support, and the latter will hate just because I was signed by the team. Personally, I consider haters a good thing, just let them say what they think. I will read it because I find it interesting. I'll try to take note of some things. But at the same time, I'd like to get some constructive criticism. When someone wants to say that I'm a bad person or that I do something wrong, it's weird. Ok, you got your opinion heard, and what's next? What were you trying to achieve?

I will be able to handle the pressure, I've had an experience like that. At Russia Cup, for example, I missed the hook twice in a row. The audience was so loud, you couldn’t tell what was going on and hear the teammates.


Ilya "Lil" Ilyuk

— China Dota 2 Supermajor will be even more stressful. How confident are you that you won't be too nervous?

— You can never be 100% confident. I'll do my best and try to go into it with a cool head. I'll see it as a reward for all the efforts I've put in.

— The patches coming out every two weeks have been among the most discussed topics over the past four months. Do you like the system?

— The fact that they removed XP from bounty runes made me hate all the patches (laughs). The half of position 4 heroes now have to be played differently. And they killed roaming, so you mostly stay dual lane. I can't say I'm fond of it, as I always liked roaming around and killing enemy heroes, and now you can't do much of that. It's not perfect, but I like that patches are released every two weeks. It has revived the game: people always learn something new, practice, figure out the ways to get around the system, etc.

— So you think that Icefrog wants to cut roaming with these latest patches?

— Yes, at least 80% of it. There's no need to move around too much. You can switch lanes once or twice, but you always get back.

— How would you describe your playstyle? Is it aggressive or you like to think over everything you do before you go for it?

— Not everything, of course. I make some decisions automatically because I'm completely sure that it's the right thing to do.

— You were able to see ua Natus Vincere in action not only as a viewr, but also as an opponent. Do you think you'll be able to help the team fix all the problems it's been recently experiencing?

— Well, it's hardly possible to fix everything. But I'll try to do my best for us to solve the majority of those.

— How can you contribute to the team?

— I can make lots of different suggestions when playing. I speak a lot, and it seems to be the thing that the guys didn't have before. Everyone supports me in that. They like it. If someone says something and it's not heard, I repeat the info and do something.

— What do you think about the CIS scene?

— It's not stable enough. We have lots of strong lineups capable of surprising everyone and winning. Perhaps, the patches coming out every two weeks affect the results: we are quite slow to adapt. The teams from open qualifiers often make it to the next phase and show very decent results.

— Who is ua Natus Vincere's strongest opponent in The International 2018 qualifier?

— I haven't played against everyone, but I think there are quite a few. ru Team Empire, ru Team Spirit, ru Vega Squadron — we've got a lot of strong teams. ru FlyToMoon shouldn't be ruled out, too. They've been delivering great performances lately, and, perhaps, can be considered the strongest because of that.

— So, you think each team is strong in its own way?

— Yes, we have to prepare for everyone and everything.

— Before concluding this interview, what's the story behind your nickname?

— That's the name of a vampire featured in one of my brother's fantasy books. I'm not sure if he was good or evil. In some sense, I associate this nickname with my brother and us playing together. When he quit Dota, I thought it would be cool to use it. It's like a way to keep the memory of the two of us playing together.

— Do you have any shout-outs to ua NAVI supporters and your own fans?

— I don't think I have any personal fans (laughs). Thanks everyone who believes in me and shows support. Even the haters! They motivate me and encourage to strive for something bigger. Thanks for just being with us. Love you all. It'll be good, we just need time. We'll try to build synergy as a team as quickly as possible.

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