The Flying Courier: You’re back in your famous captain role in OpTic Gaming. How much control did this opportunity give you over the lineup and strategy of OpTic?
Peter “PPD” Dager: It’s nice to be captain again! I feel like I really do need the ability to boss around a bunch of inferior Dota players on a regular basis. I like being listened to and I don’t really like when people talk back to me. So, it’s been good to be at the helm again.
The Flying Courier: You did take a break for a little bit to do CEO work and panel analysis. Between those and being with OpTic, what have you kind of learned about North American Dota and esports?
Dager: It’s been more self-exploration, I would say. I’ve really learned that I enjoy the competition of these events. I enjoy the prestige of being a Dota player. I like working incredibly hard with a group of people to achieve something that we couldn’t do on our own. It’s a kind of juggling act of personalities and talent, so it’s always challenging, which is fun.
The Flying Courier: You guys got into the upper bracket in a breathtaking last-day comeback. How has this affected the morale of everyone on the squad?
Dager: I would say that morale is relatively high. If I had to put it on a scale of 1 to 10, I would say we are about an eight or a nine. So, we’re feeling good. We had a couple of darker days during the group stage but, y’know, sometimes that’s just how it goes. Happy and grateful to end on such a positive note, and excited to be the very first match of The International versus Team Liquid, the returning champions. I couldn’t ask for more — a gigantic stage, an opportunity to really put ourselves on the map as a team to be reckoned with at this TI.
The Flying Courier: Speaking of big teams, North America has been doing really well so far. Do you think your own region is your biggest threat?
Dager: Yes and no. I personally feel like, maybe if we were up against EG in the first round or something, I could say that. But being up against Team Liquid — they’re our biggest threat. As the tournament progresses I feel like we have a much better opportunity to win against Eastern teams more so than the Western teams.
The TI main stage is such a different beast. We felt confident going into our first day of games, and we got smacked pretty hard and went 0-2. So, even Eastern teams, we could definitely drop games to.
The Flying Courier: So the group stage saw over 100 heroes, and your team tried 44, how do you feel about the meta of this event so far?
Dager: I don’t feel any certain way about the meta. I’m okay with whatever people want to play to win. I just think it’s an interesting challenge trying to figure out what’s going to give yourself the best opportunity to win in a tournament like this.
I think there is still enough ability to be creative and do different things, which is fun. It really just depends on who is on your team and how your team likes to play, because some teams can win with Drow and other teams can’t win with Drow. And it doesn’t mean that Drow is a good or bad hero, it just means that some teams are better at playing with it than others.
The Flying Courier: Any last words to the Green Wall, or anyone following your team at TI?
Dager: I hope that you have enjoyed the journey so far and hopefully it doesn’t end too quickly at the main event. A big thank you to everyone who is watching and supporting us back at home or here at the event. I imagine we’ll have a couple of OpTic fans in the crowd. So, that’ll be really exciting.
Dota doesn’t stop at The International. We start Major qualifiers on September 15th. So, we’ll be right back at it and looking forward to a new and exciting season, and we hope to have even more eyes on us after such an exciting International event.