Kitrak: “I think we only played two or three scrims before the tournament”
They shouldn’t have made it this far and yet here they are: OG Esports is one of the last eight teams remaining at ESL One Berlin DotA2 Major despite having to play with two stand-ins.
Less than two weeks ago the organisation announced that the visa application for both of their starters Dmitry "DM" Dorokhin and Evgenii "Chu" Makarov were denied.
The org reacted promptly, bringing in Nigma’s Ivan "MinD_ContRoL" Ivanov and the semi-retired Kartik "Kitrak" Rathi. We sat down with the latter to chat about his experience with this miraculous run.
The interview was edited for clarity and brevity.
How did you guys prepare for this event?
Honestly, it was kind of put together last minute. I think we only played like two or three scrims before the tournament, so it was a lot of just figuring things out as we go. It's come together pretty well.
I guess most of our prep has been happening throughout the tournament. We've been able to build a more solid idea as a team. So that's been good.
You’re playing with OG as a last-minute stand-in. Given that, are you satisfied with what you've achieved so far?
Yeah, definitely. I think so far at least the public's expectation is probably that we weren't going be doing much. I think for ourselves, we all expected that we could do pretty well if things came together and it's been so far, so good, so far.
What would practice ideally have looked like if you had more time?
Ideally, you have a boot camp for every major. You get to play for a couple of weeks together, at least. Most of these teams have been playing together the whole year, going to tournaments, traveling together, so they have a good idea of what they want to do.
But on the flip side, the new patch has probably helped us a little bit in that sense. It kind of evens out the playing field, so that's probably been an advantage.
Does this feel like you have less pressure because of this situation or is it that now that you are here, it’s comparable amounts?
No, there's not that much pressure, I think. I think that's probably partially to do with stand-ins. I think other teams have more, had more expectations coming in. For us, it was pretty loose.
How satisfied are you with your personal performance or the performance of the team overall?
At least for myself, I think it's turned out much better than I expected. I think that has a lot to do with the team itself. The OG guys have been extremely welcoming and they've made a lot of effort to try to accommodate different ideas.
Because obviously MinD_ContRoL and I are not part of the team. I've had different ideas and stuff, but it's come together pretty well.
Who do you hope wins this next match to face you in the next match?
Between EG and TALON? I have no preference. I think both of them are extremely strong teams. We've been watching them and they're both really good.
How important is the patch in terms of the outcome of a tournament?
I think it's very relevant, of course. This patch came out about a week ago or two weeks ago, and it's like everyone is just racing to figure out what works, what doesn't.
And I don't think anybody really has a definitive idea of what really is the correct way compared to like the last patch, which was round for like two, three years. It felt like there was a lot of parity between the teams toward the end. Everybody kind of played very similarly and now it's very different.
So yeah, the patch is a big deal for sure.
What do you think the ideal DotA competition should be? Put out a patch shortly before the competition or should it have been weeks or months before to give everyone a chance to figure out the meta and then whoever's the best at the end of that process deserves it the most?
I think there's a healthy balance to have where you can do both.
I don't like the idea of there being a patch like TI 10 and TI 11. We were basically playing on a very similar patch. I don't think that was very good, but I think you also want to give people enough time to figure out things out. Make it so that one team doesn't just have a major advantage. I think like two or three months or something like that for a patch to be around is ideal, then you have a major.
Obviously, there has to be a patch mid-season. So it's good that the patch came out even if it was one week before the major or whatever it was.