Last November 9, 2015 we were given the chance to discuss and interview one of our favorite professional Dota2 players from our country. DJ (aka: Crissy) had a bit of free time along with his manager Patrik. While it was short notice, we were able to edge out one of our correspondents to attend. The following is the transcript of what he asked both of our guests.
Below is the full transcript of the interview with Djardel ‘DJ’ Mamputsi of Fnatic and their Chief Gaming Officer Patrick ‘cArn’ Sattermon during its press conference for DafaeSports announcing their main sponsorship of Fnatic.
Reimaru Files: Hello, I’m Allen from Reimaru Files, I’m also a commentator from Rappler Gaming League. I found out that you were going to be here and decided to come over after a little research.
So anyway, congratulations with getting signed with fnatic. It’s actually pretty impressive that you’ll be working with Mushi and Black. So, how does it feel to be working with a completely different team. I believe this is the first timeworking with a team with no other Filipino players aside from you.
DJ: I have to adjust a lot because I have to speak English. I can’t use English as easily as I use Tagalog since I’m a lot more natural Tagalog. So I really have to adjust.
RF: So it feels a little awkward for you at times?
DJ: Uh… no. It’s not that bad.
RF: Not really? Okay. So culturally speaking, is there any difficulty with adjusting to others? I mean you’re all coming from at least 3 different countries.
DJ: No, not really.
RF: What are the bigger challenges for you, working with another team? It looks like you have to live in another country.
DJ: Yeah it’s true I’ll have to live in another country.
RF: Allen Will you be staying in Malaysia for the time being?
RF: For the foreseeable future?
Patrik: Actually we have a gaming house there. And that’s where they’ll be staying.
RF: What’s your training regimen, then?
Patrik: How many hours a day? 8?
DJ: About 810 hours.
RF: Are you well taken care of? Do you get sick in Malaysia because I have heard that travelling a lot does get you prone to getting sick.
DJ: I’m actually used to it, so I don’t really get sick all that much. They take good care of me.
Patrik: They actually play badminton a lot to stay fit, and Black^ always wins (laughs)
RF: How is it meeting Black and Mushi for the first time?
DJ: At first I was pretty nervous because they’re pretty big names. But later on I got a bit more comfortable and I can play like normal.
RF: So at first you were a little overwhelmed because you felt like you were living up to big names. But so far, from the games I’ve watched. It seems you’re capable of pulling off your role as mid regardless of draft. You’re usually the mid role right? Though sometimes that changes too.
DJ: Actually I’ve been the offlaner.
RF: Offlaner? Okay.
DJ: Just this month, we switched to having me as mid recently and placed Mushi on support.
RF: Wow, Mushi on support. Which lane do you prefer to play in though, as a team player?
DJ: Of course it’s offlane, because it’s my previous role (from RAVE). But after playing the new role for a while, I’ve been getting used to mid.
RF: So lately, it seems like your team has been struggling to make good results so far. Which is understandable considering the teams you’ve had to go up against. What do you think is the biggest obstacle to taking home those wins?
DJ: I think it’s really just a communication problem.
RF: Do you think this is a problem that you and your team can overcome in time? And hopefully draw out better results by Frankfurt (Dota 2 Fall Major Tournament)?
DJ: Well yeah I hope so.
RF: How long do you see being able to work with Fnatic?
DJ: Maybe a year.
RF: Then after that, you’ll see how things from there. Maybe you’ll still work with Fnatic maybe it’ll be different?
DJ: It depends.
RF: Well, nobody can really see the future. And with that, for now, those are all my questions for DJ.
RF: So Patrik, I believe you manage the team, is that correct?
Patrik: Yes that is correct, I work with our 6 team managers, sometimes with other coaches. And I help out with team orientations, sometimes strategies, depending on the game. Specially FPS games like CS:GO (CounterStrike: Global Offensive) since I know a little bit on that.
But in general my role is to make sure that we are as relevant and as successful as possible across the board. Also to be ready when a new eSports title comes onboard or is introduced to the world, then I need to evaluate if this is something we want to engage in. If we do, then I figure out how we do that. If it’s going to be a European team or American team, yeah that’s what I do.
RF: Wow, so you handle several teams with several coaches at the same time.
Patrik: Yeah we try to create a team structure wherein each team has a direct contact person. Like for example, DJ and his team here has Erik living with them in the gaming house. He is always connected to whatever’s going on (with them), manages how to deal with a various amount of things.
On top of that, in some games you have game coaches. Where they usually work on strategy, communication and whatnot. I think this is the natural progress for eSports. Today, your supporting staff is mainly a manager and a coach. But who’s to say? In a few years, you might even have a sports psychologist, more game analysts, maybe even massage people, dieticians, nutritionists, etc. Because I think it’s very similar to other sports, only that it’s a sport of your mind. But also, being physically fit will help you to be sharp ingame. You don’t just play for many hours.
DJ just mentioned he plays up to 10 hours a day, and he told me that he’d play 10 hours of official games. We fly through hundreds of miles to have people watching you. So it actually takes quite a toll on your mind. The stress level goes quite high.
RF: So about your Dota2 team, it’s a team of 3 nationalities. Does it develop a lot of unique needs just because of how varied the people are?
Patrik: Yeah, just looking at the history of eSports, you’ll see that the best winning teams, especially the ones that win TI (The International) has always been of one nationality. Naturally if you’re all from the same place you all speak the same language. So obviously we’ll have the obstacle of communication. Is it one that’s impossible to solve? No, I don’t think so. It just requires more work, more people, such as manager and a coach to help out.
And as DJ mentioned, it’s a bit more tiring than usual. Since he has been playing the game for so many years in local languages, would prefer to use local nicknames and terms for heroes and things. It’s obviously a bit of lag when trying to communicate in real time in English with our current team. It’s also the same for Mushi, who is ChineseMalay. But obviously, it will work out in the long term.
Although we have not nabbed tons gold medals yet, we still qualified for the Fall Major. And we can take that as a compliment, no? We’ve been trying our very best to compete. Although we understand and respect our opponents, as there are a lot of strong teams out there.
RF: As a team manager, who do you think is the biggest rival for the current Dota2 team for Fnatic?
Patrik: Well if we think locally it’ll have to be Mineski, don’t you think?
Patrik: But if you go internationally, well, Evil Geniuses obviously won the TI5 tournament. So I would say that they would be a very fierce rival. But in general, sometimes it seems really, in Dota that it’s still a lot like a coin toss. Like you can play against a team like Team Secret who’s the favorite in New York (ESL New York) and you suddenly win the first match, maybe even two straight matches. Sometimes you do well even if you do badly in lobbies (scrims). It’s very much about having a very good day when you compete. And you plenty of these when going into the Fall Major. Definitely Mineski and Evil Geniuses would be the ones we are looking at.
RF: Considering your experience in the world of eSports, as well as knowing what the winning combination is. What makes Fnatic believe that a team that has Black, Mushi and DJ be capable of producing results for Fnatic?
Patrik: We don’t really sit on a clear winning formula for these things. I mean there’s a lot I can apply in a general basis for every game, but there are obviously a few characteristics that you’ll be looking for when forming a team.
Leadership is one thing especially leadership that everybody will respect. Providing the team with game analysis, will make their lives relatively easy.
In our current team we have a great mixture of young talent, such as DJ here. And old players that have lots of experience such as Mushi. Well, I say old but he’s like 2425 years old. And we can have people play until they’re like 40, or something. I mean I even see eSports teams that have people that are over 40 and still play, showing that age seems to have minimum impact.
But in general, we look for people who can be ambassadors that are outgoing, that are looking at eSports as any other sport, so they respect it and the team spirit of it. And that’s something we’ve been doing quite well for Fnatic.
We are very focused on teambased eSports titles. So that makes Dota2, League of Legends, CS:GO, etc. We may be not that prominent in a single game’s perspective but we’d like to think that on a business perspective, teambased games gives eSports more stability especially in the longterm. We also support games that we know is going to be around for a good long while. Dota2 is one of them, it’s been around now for what 8? 9? 10 years?
RF: More than 15 years. (Quick google shows that it started 2003, 12 years to date).
RF: Taking a glimpse at the local eSports scene:
Recently we’ve seen that Mineski has been making a strong showing. TNC also recently got a 30 against Trust (MiTH.Trust). And finally, the formation of something called PeSPA (Philiippine eSports Association)
First of all, what do you think of the players coming out from the Philippines? And two, how do you find PeSPA? Do you find it helpful to Fnatic?
Patrik: I don’t really have a lot of insight on that Association. If I were to make a ‘guesstimate’ it’s a good thing that we’re getting more united, putting some process in place, getting more support from the government, maybe involving some local businesses here interested in eSports.
But in general we do believe, actually we do know that eSports is global by nature. It’s crossgender, crossborder, crossreligion, cross culture. So now we probably have representation from 20 countries around the world, with about six divisions. And I think that’s going to keep on growing.
We understand that Malaysia is pretty much the stronghold of eSports here in SouthEast Asia. Hence, why we started out our gaming house there. Maybe a few months or a year ahead, we may have players representing from here in the Philippines. I mean we already have DJ on board, and he’s already staying in our gaming house.We don’t really have any limitations, and we’d love to help out as much as we can to shape eSports. I mean we’ve learned a lot from our kinda lessons and experiences in the last 10 years since the formation of Fnatic.
But yeah in terms naming a few countries there’s like Germany, South Korea, China, Sweden, USA are doing quite well. There’s also a lot of upandcoming talents and excitement from these regions. So many people who are techsavvy are very interested in what the Westerners are doing in terms of eSports. I think in a few years we may have Filipino players or teams here playing at the very highest level in many games.
RF: The last question for now would be what’s next for Fnatic?
Patrik: We are leading stressful lives. Because again, we are six divisions, usually we have schedules back to back all the time. Pretty much at any given day we are probably have a team playing a tournament. Like CounterStrike would have a game online. DJ will be heading out to Frankfurt tomorrow to play for the Fall Major. It starts Saturday or Sunday, so he maybe has a few days boot camp.
There’s just so many tournaments that we get overwhelmed with how busy we get with those. I’m hoping that DJ and his team will be able to enjoy their Christmas Holiday, because everybody needs going into the next ones.
RF: Yes, that’s true.
Patrik: We have a March event, we have Dreamhack Winter, Fall Major, other tournaments for our LoL (League of Legends) team. And a bunch of other fronts, I can’t name all of them. We really go on a daybyday basis normally.
RF: Yeah I think that’s how it is for everyone right now. I think that’s all the questions I have for Fnatic, but before I go there’s a few things I’d like to ask DJ. Like, what would he like to say to his fans, and to those who are aspiring to follow in his footsteps?
DJ: First I’d like to thank everyone for supporting us. And if you want to be a professional gamer, just work hard and be dedicated.
RF: Thank you again, that’s all of my questions at least for now. Good luck in Frankfurt, I hope you do well!
Article and interview by: Allen Silva