In the early years of Dota 2, mousesports was seen as one of the top second tier European teams. With their early squads, featuring names such as Troels “syndereN” Nielsen, WehSing “SingSing” Yuen and Dominik “Black^” Reitmeier, they would often qualify for many of the larger tournaments and walk away with victories in some of the less notable events. They were a force to be reckoned with but never really broke into that top tier of teams despite having some players with the potential to do so.
But after a somewhat disastrous 2015 for the Dota arm of the organization, things never got back on track. Mouz failed to qualify for The International 5, marking the first time since the original TI back in 2011 that a mousesports team was not present at the biggest event of the year. Since then there has been no mousesports Dota team, and for the first time in quite a while it looks like they won’t be picking one up in time for The International, either. But mousesports CEO Cengiz Tüylü told Slingshot at the ESL Pro League Finals (CS:GO) that we may once again see the Mouz name in the Dota world.
“I would love us to get back into Dota because I like the game a lot,” Tüylü said. “We also have a lot of history in Dota. I think it was TI2, TI3 and TI4 that we managed to qualify for through the EU qualifiers. We never got invited to it, so that is a massive achievement for our organization that we are very proud of.”
Although mousesports always managed to qualify for The International, it never managed to hit the upper echelon of the placings, always walking away with a few thousand dollars instead of the potential millions up for grabs. Of course, since Mouz last made it to The International, much has changed in professional Dota. Even a top-eight finish at TI can now grant more than enough money to sustain a team for a while, and the implementation of three other majors have provided even more chances to bring in the big money.
“Valve has elevated the Dota scene with, obviously, The International, and then last year bringing in the majors,” Tüylü said. “The new tournaments are really nice. They are high-profile events in stadiums. We would love to get back to Dota to be able to experience them, but at some point you have to ask the question of where is our focus, because right now it’s Counter-Strike, obviously.”
“It’s a question of if we are going to put resources back into Dota 2, because good Dota talent is expensive. A player who is able to win TI, he can go out with more than $1 million, so what kind of salary do you pay this player? At the end of the day it is a question of resources and economic allocation. At this point I don’t know if it would be an economically wise decision to pick up a team.”
Despite the focus of Mouz clearly being CS:GO for the moment, it certainly sounded like Tüylü wanted to venture into Dota once again. Any time he spoke of the past achievements he exuded pride, and up until this point he had been fairly positive about the scene in general. So what has stopped him from signing a team?
“In Dota right now, I don’t think there are many free agents that would be a good fit for us. There aren’t many teams that we could pick up,” Tüylü said. “At the same time, it’s not exactly a secret that, community wise, we aren’t people’s favourites, especially after last time when we kind of failed by not going to The International. The last adventure in Dota 2 had kind of bad connotations. Also, the feedback we got from the community was not very nice.”
It was interesting that Tüylü mentioned that there weren’t many unsponsored teams that would fit the organisation when SyndereN, who was the backbone of the Mouz squad for a long time, is currently playing with No Diggity and doing surprisingly well (He’s also coaching Alliance at this week’s Manila Major). Max “qojqva” Bröcker is also a part of the team, and he played for two Mouz teams, qualifying for TI3 and missing out on qualification for TI5. Upon hearing that, Tüylü’s eyes lit up.
“Oh really, SyndereN is playing again?” Tüylü said. “SyndereN is definitely one of the nicest players I met in the Dota scene. He’s very reasonable, very smart and he has very good behaviour. I really like him a lot. It could happen. I don’t know, I’d have to look into it more.”
No Diggity has always seemed like a team Mouz could potentially pick up. If this team was together a few years ago, or if it was perhaps playing in America then it would seem like a no brainer, as they would be a clear favorite to make it through the TI qualifier. But with the potentially stacked EU qualifier, it might miss out. Tüylü also pointed out that No Diggity, might not even be looking for an organization.
“In Dota, because of the prize money Valve gives out at TI and the majors, players are saying ‘I don’t need an organization because I am good enough to win the prize money,’” Tüylü said. “I understand the perspective of the players, but in general I think it’s a really good thing to have a professional environment, with managers who have years of experience taking care of everything, so players can solely focus on playing. At the end of the day, if you don’t have any organization, there are a lot of admin tasks that need to be taken care of.”
Cover photo by Kai Kienzle/ESL, eslgaming.com