My journey at TI7

Gonna start with congratulating Team Liquid who had an amazing run in the tournament from the lower bracket! Fun to see Kuroky finally get the aegis!

The text is quite long, starting with when I first got word about going to TI as talent.

Bruno reached out to me about a month before TI, some time after the regional qualifiers ended. He asked me if I wanted to be on the panel and my initial answer and feeling was no. I’ve been asked to paneling some times before at events like Dream League but never really felt that it was my thing. Didn’t take long for Bruno to convince me though, he said he knew I would do great and that I was gonna be on during the main event together with PPD, Merlini and Day9. Hearing that it was these guys that I was gonna work with made me a bit more comfortable since I had PPD with me to give the pro insight and I’ve always liked Merlini. Never had any experience with Day9 before but he seemed like a nice guy. I told Bruno I wanted the weekend to think about it but I found myself shopping a suit the day after so apparently I had already unconsciously accepted.. :D

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View from the panel, sometimes it was super crowded there with people watching us ^^

During the time between that and the event I tried to prepare as much as possible by watching events and think of how people played and picked. I would walk around at home talking about a game and make up scenarios to talk about.

Fast forward to TI. Met up with Bulldog and sinneddonut (Bulldog’s girlfriend) at the airport and hanged out with them while traveling. Had never met sinneddonut before but it was fun to talk to her and get to know her a bit. When we arrived in Seattle Bulldog didn’t make it through customs and I didn’t see them again after that :(.

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Me, Sinneddonut and Bulldog

When I got to the hotel I met up with some of the other talent and casters. I made sure to talk some to PPD to get to know him a bit better before we were gonna work together. Never really spoken to him and it’s good to know the people you are up there working with. Had a nice lunch and later on in the evening it was time for the player dinner. My initial thought was “shit, are we allowed to go there? Since I’m not a player now..” but as I thought about it I also remembered that all the talents and casters has been to them the past years so obviously I could go now as well ^^. It’s quite a fancy restaurant so I dressed up in my suit and went to the shuttle but I have never felt so over dressed in my life. I forgot most people just go to the player dinner in their team clothes or at most have a dress shirt on. I missed Loda who always would dress up for occasions like this with me but I guess I went a bit overboard with tie and pocket square and all. Oh well, the dinner was super good and I got to hang out with the guys from OG which was fun. I felt a bit lost during some part of the event because I’m so used to going to the tournaments together with a team and hang out with them. Now I was there “alone” even though I obviously was welcome to join the other talents and casters.

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Me, Pajkatt and Sebastien during player dinner.

Group stage starts but I don’t really have anything scheduled until the main event. I spent the days watching games, writing things up about the teams like if I noticed them do anything specific or something I knew about the teams. Stuff to remember to be able to talk about when the team is playing during the main event. Only thing I had scheduled during this time was to record a piece with Slacks and Pyrionflax but it never got aired. Apparently it was hard to cut into something good, well at least I got to go to Benaroya Hall again and see the place where we played the TI3 finals!

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Aww sweet memories. Benaroya Hall ^_^

Main event starts. We are scheduled to take the 7 am shuttle. I set the alarm at 6:10 am but I think I woke up even before that, it was hard to sleep. I didn’t feel so well, I’ve never been this nervous in my whole life. I get to the shuttle and go to the venue where we have a morning meeting together with the producer, Kaci, Slacks etc. Everyone that are here looks super confident, talking and laughing with each other. I guess what I noticed was that I’m quite different than most people that were working here. In situations like this I’m quite shy and silent, I’m just thinking about the broadcast and that I’m so nervous. To be fair I’m not really sure why I was so nervous to begin with. I think it has something to do with that since I was there as a talent, I had certain expectations on me compared if I would join the panel as a player sometime during the event. Then I would be there as a player and no one would judge me if I didn’t do a perfect job, if that makes any sense.

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Cool Faceless Void cosplay

 

I spoke a lot to my girlfriend throughout the whole event which helped me a lot. She gave me pep talks before and after the first couple of segments (actually between all segments she could watch ^^) and told me I did a great job which I really needed to hear :D. I tried to stay away from social media because I felt I would get really hurt if someone tweeted me something mean. Usually I don’t really care if someone tweets something bad or mean, I’ve learnt to deal with that in the past when someone is angry that we lost a game or didn’t like something I did during a game but when it comes to playing I’m very confident and good at separating good criticism from bad. But when it came to this, something that I was very insecure doing, I couldn’t deal with it at all. Luckily I have the best fans in the world who just wrote nice things to me and I really appreciate it, it made me being able to get more secure and better throughout the days. Love you guys.

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Backstage with Day9 and Sheever ^_^

I was very nervous the first two days but after that I started to feel more confident. There was even a time where when we were done with a segment I felt I just wanted to get up there again and talk about the game. The easiest part was talking about the draft and it was also quite fun. PPD and Merlini were very easy to talk to and fun to hang out with. The hardest segments was in the beginning of a day when we would recap the day before and things like that. The first day was especially hard since everything was very vague. The teams hadn’t played any games on the main stage yet and I feared getting a question like “Akke how does Newbee play”. Luckily Day9 asked me before we went live what I didn’t want to be asked so he knew I didn’t want a question like that but I was amazed of how PPD could just go on and talk about those things. PPD would be like “well they play more like the western teams, they like to focus around this player and tend to have a lot of team fight” and so on.

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Me and Pajkatt

Day9 was super fun to work with. I’m not sure how he do it but the energy he had the whole days were just amazing. Constantly happy, joking around at the same time as he was very serious about what was going on. In the end, even though I was super nervous in the beginning and all that I’m very happy I got the chance to do this. I feel like I’ve grown as a person, gotten a really cool life experience to be at the panel during an event with hundreds of thousands of viewers. It was also a lot of fun to get to see how the broadcast team work and everything behind the scene.

I would like to sincerely thank Valve for giving me the opportunity to do this. It’s been two great weeks and it was fun to get to meet you all again. Thank you!

Time for WESG!

Just woke up here and it’s around 5 am. Even though it’s early, it is a decent first attempt to change the sleep schedule! It’s so weird to feel wide awake at this time – imagine to be able to wake up this early every day and not be sleepy. That would be something! :)

Alliance had a small bootcamp before the tournament in Gothenburg so they all took their flight from there. From my team it’s only me and Gorgc (and Ludwig who is coming with us as our manager) who lives in Gothenburg so we met up with the rest in Frankfurt.

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Gorgc, Loda, me and Handsken!

The trip was quite long since the event is being held in Chang Zhou so after we touched ground in Shanghai we had to take a buss that took 3 hours. We also had to wait for the buss for like 1-2 hours so I’m safe to say we were all quite tired when we arrived! :D

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Whole Swedish squad ordering food at the airport in Shanghai. Kelly is making sure everything is going according to plan with the orders!

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Buffet at the hotel. Gorgc and Eskil are still hungry, trying to find something more they can (and want) to eat.

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Me and Pablo, two tired boys just waiting to get to go to sleep. :D

Today’s schedule is photo session and time to practice. Looking forward to get to play some pubs in China, always fun to get some variety and see if you gain or loose MMR :D. Tomorrow there are also gonna be photo session for some teams but also rehearsal for the opening ceremony. Event starts the day after the 12th according to the schedule we got here but we don’t know exact times yet for our games (EDIT: Here is the schedule) in the group stage. Looking forward to the tournament starting, gonna be interesting to see how strong the other teams are and how we perform! :)

Cheers,
Akke

2nd place at WESG

I’m actually very surprised we got 2nd place. When we first won our group 4-0 (and with that secured a slot for the next event in China) we were super happy because that was our main goal and I honestly though just achieving that would be hard. The reason why I thought it would be tough for us is that we only practiced together for around 6 hours before we went to Keiv (0-4 the first day we practiced but 2-0 the second one).

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Looks like me and Kefka are holding hands :D Dinner after the first or second day.

It was a lot of fun to go to WESG together with Pablo, Kefka, Solitude and Xcalibur. Only Xcalibur had been to an event as big as this one before so I’m happy to have been able to be a part of the other guys first big competition on LAN. Seeing them explode with happiness after a close game was awesome :). They are all very talented players and have their things that they excel at so one of the reasons of our success was that we were able to see these things and make sure everyone got what they needed to play at their best.

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The venue where we played when we didn’t play on the stage.

The event was handled by Starladder and the only things that I can complain about is that it wasn’t possible to get any practice PC’s (which makes sense since there were 20 Dota teams, 20 CS:GO teams, 20 Hearthstone players and 20 SC2 players there) and that the food was a bit so-so. They tried their best to give space to the teams playing though and we went to Cyberarena one day (the internet café where we’ve been before at other events in Kiev) so at least we got to practice a bit!

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At CyberArena getting some practice when we had a long break before our next game. Was fun to see the place again! :)

Many of you have asked if we will continue to play as Team Horde but right now we have had to put in on ice since Kefka is gonna participate in the Boston Major qualifier with his team ProDota. We’ll see what happens after that, I’m not sure myself except that we will make sure to get more practice for the next even in China than we got for this one!

Lok’Tar Ogar! ^^

Cheers,
Akke

Back in Kiev for WESG

Feels good to be back in Kiev and this time it’s for the WESG European qualifier/playoff. We are here to represent Sweden since we won the Swedish qualifier, hopefully we will manage to make it to the final playoff in China later this year as well! There are 20 teams here from Europe who are fighting for 8 slots. There is a group stage here first at the tournament with 5 teams in each group where 3 teams proceed to the playoff. I’ve updated the “Upcoming games” tab if you are interested about when we are playing. There are a lot of games being played at the same time so I think the only main-stream and main-stage game we have is the one vs. F5 on Friday at 13:45 CEST.

WESG have other games as well like CS:GO, Hearthstone and Starcraft II so there will be a lot of European players, casters and personalities here. It’s always fun when the events have multiple games so you get to see people from the other games as well.

I’ll make sure to take some pictures tomorrow at the venue to post here. Until then I can only offer a picture of Midas when he was chilling in my lap while I was playing Dota just before I left for WESG! :D

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Cheers,
Akke

 

WESG qualifier

Played the Swedish qualifier in WESG (World Electronic Sports Games) last weekend. There are tournaments in both CS:GO, DOTA2, SC2 and Hearthstone and they have qualifiers in each country that participates to determine which teams and players that get to represent their country. I played the qualifier together with Limmp, Pablo, Solitude and s4 but we participated mostly for fun since for example s4 already is playing with OG (but can’t participate in this particular tournament with them because they all aren’t from the same country). We faced Loda’s and EGM’s team in the finals (they played together with m’ICKe, Jonassomfan and Handsken) and managed to win 2-1! They took the first game but we came back and won the last two.

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The names are a bit weird because there wasn’t any ingame ticket so we all had to change manually.

First game was quite one-sided for them after the first 15 minutes. We tried to engage and fight them too much early on and when you look at their heroes you can tell it’s exactly what they wanted to do as well. It wasn’t something we thought of during the game and the outcome showed that as well ^^.

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I think our draft was quite good this game. Their first three picks were Mirana, Sandking and Venge which all are spellcasters that don’t really want to get an early BKB. We decided to pick Silencer after that (s4’s idea) which made us win a lot of early engagements and take control of the game. Batrider could blink and lasso one target at the same time that we used global silence and then we could force towers 5vs4 or chase to get more kills if that was possible. We could also siege with SD’s disruption without being scared of getting into a bad position.

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Last game was quite crazy and very back and forth! We took an early side of barracks but after that they won a couple of fights and got aegis on storm which made it hard for us to keep on taking more sides. We got the first side right before the 20 minute mark but didn’t manage to get the second one until like minute 42. I think they picked and played quite smart by having Beast and Storm on the team. You never want to fight Huskar straight on, you want to find the healers and other weak heroes in the back and go on them first. So by having Beastmaster’s hawk they could easily scout me and then just jump me with Storm. I tried to hide the best as I could but as you can see on my deaths it was easier said than done.. :D

Went to both GG Bar and Kappa Bar here in Gothenburg last week. GG Bar holds a quiz every Monday and Wednesday which is a lot of fun depending on the theme of the questions, last time it was Nintendo 64 and Playstation 1 and I really loved Nintendo 64!

Started to pack down some things in the apartment yesterday. Me and Bummi bought a new one some months ago and we’re getting the keys October 3rd so it’s time to start preparing! :)

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

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.

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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