Win one of my team shirts!

Went through my drawers after I got home from TI and found a couple of old team shirts among some other things I’ve gotten at past TI’s. I even found some autograph cards from TI4! Since I don’t use a lot of these things I might as well give it away to people who wants it so I thought you guys can battle it out in Bubble Pop Heroes (the mobile game I’ve made with some friends) to see who deserves it the most! :D

I’m going on vacation for almost two weeks tomorrow (going to Hong Kong) so I will let you guys practice and get highscores until then. The UI with the scores is a bit bugged sometimes if you wonder why it’s empty once in a while ^^.

You can download the game here or search for “Bubble Pop Heroes” on Android or iPhone.

The one that gets the best total score from both the Android and the iPhone leaderboard will win something 100% but I will also randomize some things out to people who just have tried it. I’ll get back to you with this after I’m home from the vacation!

Good luck and take care!
Akke

Q & A

I want to start with thanking all of you who are writing cheerful comments, try to help us with how to improve our team and being involved and follow what we do. It’s a pleasure having you guys with me on this eSports-journey and I really wish the best for all of you!

I’ve read all of your comments here on the blog, Facebook and Twitter and tried to summarize them as good as possible. The questions that I can’t or don’t know how to answer is left out but hopefully most of it is here.

What do you think went wrong in the tournament?
It’s most likely a combination of a lot of things. First of all I think we were quite bad at finding and knowing our game plan, how we should’ve played to win the game. In some games we found ourselves just farming on all lanes waiting for something to happen instead of seeing that we should buy a mekansm on Bristle for example and then force fights. Instead what maybe happened was that we kept on farming and they started to pick people off which made us lose our timing in the game. I haven’t taken the time to look through the last replays against Fnatic yet but my thoughts after just playing the game was that their Bounty pick was quite smart against us since all we wanted to do in the first game (we picked Drow, Tidehunter, Dazzle, Mirana and ET) was to force fights and get towers but they constantly splitpushed us since they scouted us with Bounty all the time.

Will you try some new tactics?
We always try new things when we practice but we just need to find out what’s good and bad for us to play as a team.

What do you think about the comeback gold?
I think it’s a bit too much. There were a lot of games where you see a team securing a bigger and bigger lead throughout a period or 20-30 minutes that later on is taken away in a single fight.

Do you all go out together after the games?
We usually go out and eat together but it’s different from times to times.

What do you think about the new hero that will be released?
It’s fun that they add more new heroes, I just hope that it’s somewhat balanced. Hard to say when I haven’t been able to try it yet.

Are you going to stream now after TI?
The plan is to start to stream frequently later this autumn. I’m moving in early October so I will most likely start after that.

What is the plan for winning next years TI?
My plan is to keep practicing and try to improve as much as possible.

What are your thoughts about the first EG game in the group stage?
After watching the replay I felt we were ahead a lot in the early- and mid game but they kept on splitpushing that made us being unable to force a teamfight and push their base. Even though Loda didn’t have free farm in the beginning he still got a fairly early Radiance on Lone Druid and Bulldog was super farmed on Brood (because they couldn’t stay in their own jungle, it was also the reason why they focused so much on Loda’s lane because they couldn’t be anywhere else). We made some mistakes when we bought back and died again when we pushed their base which gave them an opening to just go mid and take our throne. Luckily for us we managed to force them back though! :)

Why doesn’t s4 play Invoker and Loda heroes like AM, Morphling or Lycan?
In s4’s case it’s mostly because we have felt that it doesn’t really suit our play style when he plays Invoker. I’ve read multiple times that “s4 can’t play Invoker” and things like that but I am confident that if we would want to frequently pick it he would be as good as anyone else. In Loda’s case we have picked heroes like AM and Lycan before but we had most success with other heroes when we practiced recently. We didn’t pick Drow in the tournament just because everyone else did it or something like that – we picked it because we had practiced a lot with it and felt confident playing it.

How are your thoughts about playing in more or less tournaments?
It’s very hard to say what is the best but I think we will try to at least participate in more online tournaments just to get more serious games to play and practice on. Traveling is a bit different though (like going to USA) because you miss out on a lot of days because of flights and jetlag.

What do you think about the “exit interviews” like the one you did with Maelk?
I didn’t mind doing it and I think it’s quite interesting for the viewers to get some insight from a team that just lost as well.

How is your game going (Bubble Pop Heroes) and can you make a living out of it?
It’s been ok :D. I don’t make any money out of it but it’s just fun to have made a game. I will do a competition in it with one of my team shirts as a prize (among some other things) but I will announce that here on the blog later!

Do you think about quitting Dota? Why or why not?
Not really. Of course I think about pros and cons with playing but I will continue to do it as long as it’s possible to make a living out from it and as long as I enjoy it. There will be a time when I want to prioritize something else and that is probably when I will stop playing.

Do you think having a partner is distracting or bad in any ways when you want to play at your fullest potential?
For me it’s quite the opposite. I feel it helps me in a lot of ways to be able to talk and share things with my girlfriend and it works out very good since she is interested and invested in gaming/esports as well.

What do you think about the recent patch?
It’s very good, almost perfect. You can play a lot of different play styles and there aren’t many heroes that you feel is too good. Obviously there are some things that could be changed, for example making Iron Talon a bit worse, Mirana aghs is a bit too strong and things like that but overall it has been very good!

The first game vs EG in the group stage when you all died in the bottom lane and they rushed mid to finish the game – what was your thoughts and atmosphere in the team? What did you say?
All of us pretty much thought we lost.. :D But we always try to find ways to win the game so the first thing we talked about was if Loda could splitpush and get their throne faster (you can see that he tp’s top after the lost fight) but we saw quite fast that it wasn’t possible. So we just tried to defend the base as good as possible, taking out Drow first which was their main DPS and in the end it made us win the game. The atmosphere was good, like I said we just tried to find ways to win. After we won I jumped up onto Bulldog and hugging him :D.

Do you feel it is hard to leave the “roots” from TI3 where you used a lot of split push and adapt into other strategies?
Not really. We have always played a lot of different strategies but I guess the main reson why we haven’t had as much success recently is that we haven’t been able to understand how to play each game properly and find ways to win them together.

If Alliance would just disappear – what would you do?
I would probably keep on playing and tried to get another team. If that wouldn’t work out I would probably try to stream a bit more to see if I like it and if not that I would go back and work as a full time programmer. I would most likely play other games and compete in them if only just for fun like Street Fighter V or Battlerite (the new Bloodline Champions) when that is out. I love to compete so I will always do that in one way or another – casually for fun or competitively.

Do you think it would be better to just stick to your own play style and meta instead of trying to “copy” others? You tried to play Phoenix/Void like OG without success for example.
If you want to stay on top you always have to adapt what others are playing and keep on improving/changing things. That is what is so good and fun with Dota, that there isn’t only one strategy that is superior to the best but instead different lineups and play styles that are good against each other. Regarding the Phoenix we actually won a lot of scrims before we headed into the Manila Major (I think it was that tournament) with it together with heroes like DK and Lone Druid but after we lost 6 official games straight with Phoenix we kind of lot confidence with it. One of the biggest problems with that was that we faced OG the first 2 games when we picked Phoenix and they really know how to counter it. Cr1t played ES the first game and just stunned or silenced me when I was using Sun ray and the second game they picked Nyx to counter Phoenix Sun ray with the carapace. We would most likely have been more successful with it against other teams but we choose to play it against them which was a mistake.

What do you think of SEA region in Dota2?
I like it! The Manila Major was one of the best events ever and the players from SEA are so nice as well. We hang out with some of the Fnatic players when we were there (Mushi, Ohaiyo and 343) and they are all really fun and cool persons. It’s fun to get to know other players a bit more but sometimes I’m a bit too shy to talk to everyone that I want to talk to :D.

When you guys lost I just stared into the screen feeling very lost and sad. How did you guys feel when you were eliminated?
At first I was very sad and disappointed. You know that your run is over and the dream you had of winning is gone and there is nothing you can do about it. The feeling stayed for a couple of hours but after that I tried to be happy for what I’ve achieved instead of sad what I couldn’t achieve. In the end of the day I am happy to be able to say I am playing in one of the best teams in the world and to be able to participate and experience all the events, the Majors and TI’s that I have been to and am going to attend in the future.

Is there any chance we will see your Chen or Akkecopter in the future?
Chen – for sure! Gyrocopter not so likely unless they buff his first spell again. When you play him as a support you need to be able to rely on spell damage but after it was nerfed he is not as half as good as support anymore.

What do you think about Chen/Ench overall?
They are viable but it really depends on the lineup and what you face. Both heroes can fall of extremely fast and if they don’t achieve much in the first 10-15 minutes you most likely have lost the game :D.

As I wrote in one of the answers, I will soon announce a competition where you can win one of my old team shirts (wrong size so can’t wear it). You can win it by playing a mobile game I have done with a couple of friends so if you want to start practicing you can download it on App Store and Google Play here! :) The scores that are loaded into the UI is a bit bugged sometimes so don’t be surprised if you don’t see any once in a while ^^. Anyways, will write more about this tomorrow!

Remember that you can subscribe with your email so you get a notification every time I write a blog post by pressing a button on the top of the right panel! :)

Cheers,
Akke

The International 6

A very long time since I last wrote something but I haven’t found the time or felt like it since we started to bootcamp around a month ago. My mind has pretty much just been on TI until now.

Posting this now so you guys have something to read while you are waiting for some great games to be played tomorrow! :)

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One of the pictures from the photo booth session (taken from @StarvingGamer1).

Before TI we bootcamped for around two weeks in Sweden. We rented a house that was big enough for us all to be able to stay there so it was nice and good to live together to discuss strategies or just hang out in the evenings. EGM told us about the Ursa + WD Roshan strategy that we later on used against Navi and we found out another trick as well that we actually didn’t get to use because there wasn’t any game that it suited so at least we have that left for the future ^^.

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Played a bit of Dragon’s Lair for the NES during the flight to Seattle. The game is so bad and good at the same time :D. 

Moving forward to TI it felt great to be able to go there again. Last year when we didn’t make it through the qualifier was rough, it’s hard to sit at home watching everyone else compete when you want to and have really tried to be there. We stayed at a hotel in Bellevue – I really like that area in Seattle. It’s the forth time I’m staying there (TI2, TI3, TI4 and TI6) so I know the place quite well where there are places to eat, shopping mall, Starbucks etc. You recognize a lot of the staff from Valve that are working with the event, it’s great to be able to see them again as well! As usual the whole event was very good, really nothing to complain about as a player and from what I’ve seen on the streams everything has been very good there as well. I really like the segments with Purge, he is just the perfect guy for that kind of thing!

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Signing some on the way back to the hotel after one of our games.

The group stage where we played in 2 groups instead of 4 (as it was during the Majors) was in my opinion a good decision. When there are 4 groups with 4 teams each there are more room for mistakes with seeding before the tournament and less games to prove that you deserve to be in the upper bracket. I was really happy when we managed to get into the top4 of our group since it’s the first big step in the tournament and can mean everything for a good placement. We spent the next 3 days to prepare for Ehome to see what we wanted to play against them, how they drafted, how they played and stuff like that. We managed to have a very good start against them in both games but failed to use it to our advantage when we went into the midgame. The second game against Fnatic where we had Naix, Puck, Enchantress, Prophet and Rubick felt very good in the early game as well but we probably gave away too much when we took a bad fight on the left side where I got grabbed by Batrider and some pickoffs after that. We had somewhat of a snowball lineup so we needed to be able to shut them down more then we did.

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The dining area at the hotel.

Finishing “only” in the 9th-12th place is both an accomplishment and a failure at the same time. It’s a failure in the way that I hoped and thought we would do better and you obviously enter the tournament with the mindset to win but at the same time it’s an accomplishment itself to just have qualified and played at The International and to be able to say that you are one of the best teams in the world. The thoughts and feelings are split but in the end I’m trying to be happy and satisfied with what we managed to accomplish after not even qualify last year.

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Me during the press-session. Everyone did a couple of interviews each.

If you guys have any questions you can ask them here and I’ll try to answer as many as possible! :)

Cheers,
Akke

Short vacation and Pokémon Go!

Went on a mini-vacation last weekend to Stockholm to see some friends and relax. I played a bit of Pokémon Go when we went around in the city where I managed to find a Dratini among others! I played the first Pokémon game when it first was released in Sweden many many years ago so a big part of the fun is to see and recognize all these Pokémon again!

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Found a Caterpie on the train to Stockholm :)

Me, Bummi and our friend Kristina went to visit The GD Studio where James, Skrff, Weppas and others hang out. Was a lot of fun to see their house and the projects they are working on. Luckily for us the weather was perfect the whole day compared to how it’s been in Gothenburg the past weeks.

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Some from The GD Studio gang!

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Meanwhile I’m here just chilling.. :D

Met up with Pajkatt and Bonnie the day after to eat brunch (and also to catch some Pokémon hehe). We walked around in the southern central part of Stockholm talking and playing until our train was about to leave a couple of hours later. Perfect weekend! :)

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Nice view in Stockholm!

Just won against Vega in the Global Grand Masters tournament. Playing the next round next week on Monday 17:00!

Cheers,
Akke

 

 

Post TI-qualifiers

I would like to start with thanking you all who have been cheering for us in the qualifier. It means a lot to us to see that we have such nice and dedicated fans and we always do our best to perform as good as possible to make you guys proud!

So, back to the qualifier where we started off with a wonderful score of 0-2! :D When you are playing this kind of qualifier it’s definitely not a score you want to start out with since it puts pressure on you in multiple ways. It’s never good to have the feeling that you “need” to win the next game because it could result in you trying to do too much in the game to win it or just be scared to make a mistake. I’m very happy we managed to leave those feelings behind and turn it around by winning the next 3 games finishing the day with 3-2. We did lose a couple of games that definitely was winnable for us but we tried to not think too much about it and just focus on the next games and try to not make the same mistakes twice.

game1

Image taken from http://www.dotabuff.com

The first game in the grand finals vs. Escape gaming was the most crazy one. I made the decision to go for an Aghs on Venge which I’ve actually never done before but it turned out to be a very good choice. Since they had Void together with all their damage from Invoker and Timber I knew that I would have to sacrifice myself every fight to save someone from the Chrono, so by getting the aghs I made sure I could still stay in the fights even after I died. The game looked quite grim for us since they got more and more of our base so when we managed to kill Qojqva without a buyback we saw an opportunity to go for the push and end the game!

After the first game I decided to reboot my computer because my computer froze for a second during one of the team fights. It turned out to be a big mistake though because there was some updates queued so in the end it took like 30 minutes for the computer to fully restart. Since we didn’t know how long it was gonna take, we just waited for it to restart and the admins didn’t say much about it. We constantly gave updates of what happened but then out of the blue the admins wrote “Penalty level 3 given to Alliance”. We were quite surprised because they didn’t give us any heads up at all so when we saw that we got a penalty we instantly switched to an old computer we had at the bootcamp. I understand they can’t wait forever but I think it was very poorly handled by the admins. If they would have written “Alliance you will receive a level 1 penalty in 5 minutes” or something like that we would have switched straight away because you never want to get a draft penalty (a level 3 penalty means that you only have 20 seconds bonus time instead of 130 so it’s quite a big difference) and on top of that we got the level 3 penalty out of the blue after not even receiving a level 1 or 2 penalty. I guess it might be in the rules about how long break you could have but a heads up by the admins would have been nice as well ^^.

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Image taken from http://www.dotabuff.com

In the second game, Escape Gaming went for a crazy push strat that we weren’t able to fend off so they got a rax very early. Khezu went for a shadow blade to be able to pick off s4’s Ember so he couldn’t really split push and delay the game in that way either and fighting them head on with all their heals was impossible so the game was pretty hard. We lost the game quite fast.

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Image taken from http://www.dotabuff.com

Third game was a battle against the clock for us. Compared to the second game where Escape Gaming wanted to push us, it was now the other way around. The problem for us was that they had a Tinker to defend their base with and also a Medusa for the late game. I can really see their lineup work – if they manage to defend the base and get strong enough on the Medusa it would be really hard for us to finish the game but even though we didn’t get any rax until quite late we stayed somewhat equal in farm. EGM even managed to get a aghs + refresher up on Shadow Shaman which made it a bit easier for us to break the base. I think the game was very even though – if they would be able to kill one of us with the Tinker’s aghs (which they almost did a couple of fights) they would probably be able to chase us down with the Night Stalker and take control of the map but we managed to survive their burst and heal up with Jugger’s healing ward and the heals from Dazzle.

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Image taken from http://www.dotabuff.com

Last game was also quite even but for me the one I felt we had the most control over. The one thing I was concerned about was if the game would come to the point where Necrophos would have aghs and be able to kill someone without the ability to buy back. Since they had Lone Druid they could easily go and take our whole base if they would get a pick off like that but luckily for us the game never reached that point! :) We were able to shut down Khezu on Slardar in the early game because of Lich so even though Qojqva farmed a lot on Lone Druid we farmed a lot on all of our 3 cores as well. Loda played somewhat of a play maker this game on Void so Bulldog and S4 both had more farm than him but at the same time he got enough farm to be a threat in the fights.

After we won the series and qualified for TI I was both happy and relieved. It’s so stressful to play these qualifiers so I was happy that it was over and that we can continue and focus on TI instead! We are playing in an online tournament called “Global Grand Master” the upcoming two weeks. It’s a double elimination bracket and I think it’s nice for us to play some officials to stay in shape.

Cheers,
Akke

Invites to TI6

As you all probably have seen, the invites to this year’s TI were announced yesterday. I already wrote on Twitter that I was a bit disappointed and frustrated that we weren’t invited and I will elaborate on why here.

Knowing if you are gonna get invited or not is impossible unless you have performed really well right before an invitation is out for a Major or TI. You don’t know if there is gonna be 6, 8 or even 12 invites so unless you are top 6 (or even top 4 to be absolutely sure) you don’t really know. There are no indications or rules of how Valve think when they are deciding which teams they are going to invite so you can just make assumptions on your own of how they think. Personally I thought that the reason for having the Majors was to get more stability in the scene and that Valve would base their TI invites partly on the performances on the Majors. TI is bigger than all Majors combined so during the whole year you are playing to get invited to TI and I would probably rather play at TI and miss all the Majors than the other way around.

I though we were gonna get invited to TI assuming they would invite 10 teams. First of all, we have participated in all the Majors. We weren’t invited to the first one so we qualified there through the qualifier and showed that we deserved a spot there. After that we won two big tournaments, WCA and Starladder. Our performance hasn’t been the best the past months, I don’t deny that, but we have still shown that we are able to take a game of almost every team we face. Almost all losses have been 1-2. At the Manila Major we ended up at 9-12th place with a 6-6 score in games which were far more wins than other teams that ended up at the same placement.

Now I understand that I had a totally different view on which and how many teams that deserved to be invited to TI, that Valve only want to invite the current top teams and let the rest of the top tier teams fight for the remaining spots regardless of their performance throughout the year. I.e. if you have one really bad day and fail in the qualifiers you will miss the one tournament you have been fighting to enter for a whole year. In contrast, I thought they would look at the bigger picture of how the Majors went and how teams performed during a longer period of time.

Right now, going to a tournament and perform bad can have a negative effect on your invite if it’s close to when the invites are announced, but I don’t think going to a tournament should be able to hurt you in any way like ESL probably hurt Fnatic. As it is now, the system might encouraged teams to skip events because it can give Valve a reason to not invite you. You can say that Fnatic didn’t deserve an invite because they finished last at ESL but if they didn’t show up to this tournament you could say that they do deserve an invite because they finished top 6 in the last 2 Majors and no one could argue against that. The fact that Liquid probably got knocked down to the lower bracket because they played without Fata the first day and then later on eliminated Fnatic playing with Fata the day after disturbs me as well but that’s another story (I don’t blame Liquid though since they obviously rather played with their original lineup but rather how the bracket unintentionally could have been “manipulated” when players are swapped in the middle of a tournament).

Hopefully Valve can be more clear in the future on how the invites works. For now, let’s enjoy the upcoming bloodbath a.k.a. the European qualifier! #PJSalt :D

/Akke

ESL One Frankfurt 2016

After a couple of days at home it was time for us to go to our next event, ESL One Frankfurt! We’ve been here competing twice before and I’m looking forward to our third time! I like how they have changed the structure of the event that there is a GSL group stage in the beginning that actually matters in the playoffs (only top 2 from the group stage advance to the playoffs). I think they had a playoff straight away that was single elimination at their first event here so you could get eliminated after just playing one bo3 but now everyone gets to play at least 2 series which is a bit better for the teams that travel far to get here. We are lucky though that there is a direct flight from Gothenburg to Frankfurt so it’s quite easy for us to get here! :)

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Selfie in the hotel room. Got a haircut today! :)

The tournament starts on Friday so tomorrow will be media day which means that we (as usual) will take some pictures and someone will probably do an interview as well. We have gotten quite used to how every tournament wants to take the pictures so it usually goes quite fast.

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Classic “taking a picture of someone taking a picture”.

Just got back to my room after dinner with the team and gym with s4. The dinner took ages because the hotel is quite new (the reception isn’t even finished) so the crew that worked at the restaurant wasn’t the fastest one so to speak. It was okay though because the staff were very polite and apologized for the delay and apart from that the hotel is good (Loda just said he only got cold water when he took a shower though so I will have to check that out.. ^^). The hotels at the latest events has been super good so I feel a bit spoiled. Sometimes I think back when we went to compete at Dreamhack in 2006 and we slept on the concrete floor at the event and when we won we got 800 dollars to split with the team. It was barely enough to cover for the expenses for the trip but I was still super happy but I guess that comes with being 18 years old and not having any responsibilities when it comes to earn enough money to make a living. If I would be able to go back and ask myself how I thought eSports would look like in 10 years from then I would never guess that there would be prize pools as big as there is today and that events would be played in arenas.

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Random picture of my cats because why not? :D

Time to watch some anime before I go to sleep. I started to watch “Guilty Crown” lately which is decent, not a master piece but enough interesting to want me to keep on watching. I don’t watch so much anime but there are some I really like, my all time favorite is by far Steins;Gate but I also really liked Code Geass, Death Note and newer ones like Attack on Titans etc. I like when there isn’t more than like 20-30 episodes or it’s often quite slow paced.

Good night! :)
Akke