Open qualifiers have always been an opportunity for smaller teams to showcase their potential alongside the direct invitations that Valve extends for each of its Dota 2 tournaments. During the Manila Major qualifiers, two teams went through the open qualifiers and made it all the way to the playoffs in the North American region: Friendship, Dedication, Love and Dragneel.
FDL’s roster – supports Fronz and Stan King, mid laner CC&C, MJW on the offlane, and Beesa playing the carry – has stuck together despite failing to qualify for the upcoming Manila Major. For captain Stanley “Stan King” Yang, this is just the beginning of the players’ journey to become better together as he agreed to share his thoughts on the team’s recent performances.
Slingshot’s Cameron Regan had the chance to catch up with Stan King about the open qualifiers, new patch mechanics and the state of lower-tier pro teams:
Cameron Regan: When did you form the FDL roster to compete in the Manila open qualifiers?
Stanley “Stan King” Yang: FDL’s a group of friends that decided to become a team and improve at Dota. We registered with everyone else during the March roster lock, and we’re planning on sticking together until at least The International 2016.
CR: What were your expectations for FDL going into the open qualifiers?
SY: We were having good scrim results so we wanted to show everyone how good we were in the closed qualifiers. We were hoping to make it out of open qualifiers, but there were many other quality teams also playing. It all worked out in the end, though!
CR: Did you play many scrims or practice much as a team on the new patch?
SY: We tried to practice consistently, maybe more than the other invited teams.
CR: What are your impressions of the new patch so far? What do you think the prevailing strategies are at the moment?
SY: We’re not really meta followers, we just play our game. I don’t think the meta is super important at the level we’re playing at, where teams, including us, make basic mechanical and strategic mistakes. We’re still working on not making mistakes.
CR: Are there any specific changes in the new patch that you hated or loved?
SY: The new patch feels pretty similar to the older one. Nothing in particular I like or dislike.
CR: Do you think that playing so many games in both open qualifiers helped solidify your team’s strategy for future games?
SY: I don’t think playing games in open qualifiers really help. We probably played like 20-30 games in those two days, mostly against extremely inexperienced teams. It’s exhausting more than anything else.
CR: How did the team react to winning the second open qualifier spot? What about when you made it into the playoffs?
SY: Winning the qualifier slot was more a relief than anything, we thought we should have won the first one. Those games were pretty straightforward. Making the playoffs was also pretty straightforward. We knew we had the easier group and just ended up performing up to expectation. We were all excited to finally be on the main stage, though.
CR: What was the team atmosphere like after losing the first game you played against NME, where the net worth shifted from 40K in your favor to dead even? How did you mentally prepare yourself and your team for the next game, which you ended up winning?
SY: That was our first real official game with everyone watching. We had just finished our open qualifier matches. Of course no one wants to lose (when) up 40K, but the fact we were so far ahead was a good confidence boost. We cleaned up our act the second game and won pretty easily. At least we made history!
CR: Unfortunately FDL was eliminated by Dragneel in the playoffs, another team that made it through the open qualifiers. Still, you guys crushed everyone’s expectations of how your team would perform and beat teams that were invited directly by Valve. Do you think that in future qualifiers there should be more spots for teams to qualify instead of invitations?
SY: I think there’s always going to be groups of very talented players who can’t seem to band together and play on the same team for an extended period of time. In that sense, there will always be open qualifier teams who are really really good, just with extremely unstable rosters. Maybe there were 2-3 more open qualifier teams that could have done well in the closed qualifiers, but it’s only fair that they’re penalized for not sticking together. The current system seems fair. I think the next set of invites will be a lot better, as teams will have had more tournament games to really understand which teams are good or bad
CR: We also saw a record number of teams in the NA qualifiers do boot camps at team houses, but only Digital Chaos made it to the playoffs of those teams. Do you think that teams might be overvaluing the effect that a team house can have?
SY: Sometimes being part of a team house is nice, but I think all it does is help reduce people’s laziness. If everyone on the team is dedicated and have the desire to win, there’s no need for a team house to force that mentality on people. I don’t think we’ll ever do a boot camp – at least for me. I have a day job I need to keep.
CR: Your crazy run probably earned more than a few new fans. Will FDL continue to play together in the foreseeable future?
SY: Of course. We’re currently in Canada Cup, Nanyang qualifiers, and Summit qualifiers. We’re getting more attention after our Manila run so watch our games!
CR: Any shout outs? Where can fans find you and your teammates on twitter or other social media?
SY: Shout out to Aui_2000 for inspiring us to get better. Follow our team Twitter @fdlDota.
Cover photo: NIVIDIA (flickr)