WESG European and CIS regional qualifiers LAN finals took place last week in Barcelona, Spain and twelve teams qualified for the $1,500,000 Global Grand Finals from next spring. Among them, Team Romania featuring the former compLexity Gaming and MidorFeed midlaner Mihai “canceL^^” Antonio.
Cancel is extremely passionate and dedicated to his pro gaming career. His character and willingness to sacrifice everything for a professional Dota 2 career got him far. Last year he was signed by compLexity Gaming and got to play with them on the Boston Major big stage. At the same time, his way of being and his ability to recognize his own weak points had him returning to Romania to practice more and train until he felt ready to join a big team again. CanceL was kind enough to sit down with us in Spain and talk about his career, his plans, about the Romanian competitive scene and what it means for him to qualify for the WESG Global Grand Finals.
First of all congrats on qualifying for the WESG Global Grand finals. It will be your first trip to China right?
Thank you, yeah it’s going to be my first trip to China, and for most of my teammates as well. I‘ve heard so many things about China, good food but mixed experiences for everyone so I’m extremely curious to see how it actually is. I’m super happy to know that I’ll get to travel there, especially that the event is quite big. Thirty-two teams, 1.5 million dollars, this should be good. Honestly, although we still have matches here, in the playoffs, I can’t wait to get back home and start the training for China. I’m super excited and I hope we can deliver big time in the Global Grand Finals.
How does Team Romania plan to train for a tournament like this, since you don’t have established teams, but a mix of players of the same nationality put together for this event only?
For starters we will dedicate a few hours per day to train with Team Romania because as you said, we are not a real team, so we have to dedicate time outside of our real teams practice schedule. Once we get closer to the Global Grand Finals time, we will most probably bootcamp. We have a big advantage I guess, as we are all from the same city, Bucharest. So, worst case scenario, we can gather all up in an internet cafe to practice but the plan is to rent an apartment and move all there for minimum two weeks before going to China.
And in terms of training strategies, what do you prioritize in cases like this? Do you train accordingly to what you’ve seen other teams playing in the regional qualifiers, do you look at replays, try to counter certain players or teams, or do you train to your strengths, develop your own game?
We really haven’t thought or decided on this. Both options are good, and it depends a lot on what you know or you think you know you have in the team. You either practice your game because you feel strong and you don’t care what others play or do, or you look at key players and teams in the tournament and try to counter their heroes and their playstyle. Anyway, it’s a bit too early to say what we will do because there are a lot of qualifiers to be played and a lot of teams to join the final 32. For now, we only know that EHOME will be at the Global Grand Finals, from Chinese qualifiers, plus the 12 teams from here, so yeah a lot of unknown teams.
Fair enough, who is the captain of Team Romania?
W33. He does the drafts, but when it comes to in-game calls we all participate. The supports are the most vocal, Bufni and b0ne7.
Do you have a backup plan for Team Romania in case w33 or anyone of you will qualify for a Minor or Major that overlaps with the WESG Global Grand Finals?
No, we don’t have a backup plan and I think WESG should be the priority for any of us. In the end, it’s worth one Major and a half in money, so I don’t see why we wouldn’t prioritize the WESG Global Grand Finals.
Alright, let’s talk a bit about your priorities. You haven’t been in a tier one team since compLexity Gaming, of course, you are with MoF right now, but I’m talking about future plans, because when you left coL you had this video blog where you said you will focus on your personal training and you will think on joining another team only when you feel prepared and improved on all aspects, including your English, personal confidence and so on. So, what did you improve in the meantime?
I’m living the moment and I appreciate and enjoy what I have now, in the present
I think I improved my English a bit since I left coL. I didn’t take English lessons with a private tutor or anything like this, but I try to talk and read in English a lot more, self-training, so to speak. Of course, it was much easier for me to learn while I was at the coL house because I had the guys around to help me. They would always correct me and explain a little bit, plus I had no other option than speaking English. On the confidence part, I still have a lot more of work to do, I guess.
Future plans? I don’t know, I’m not a person who makes plans for the future, I’m living the moment if you want, and I appreciate and enjoy what I have now, in the present. The only thing I will focus on right now is the WESG Global Grand Finals.
I guess Timado is a bit in your situation from the coL gaming house. He moved from Peru to Romania to play with you and w33 in MoF. How is he doing, how do you get along with him?
I see him as the next Arteezy or even more than that
Timado is a wonderful kid and his English is perfect. He is also extremely talented and much more experienced than me. Me and him get along really well but as a team, we have a lot of things to work on with MoF. First of all, we don’t have a true leader, or this is how I feel. But we were talking about Timado. So, I’m sure he has a great career ahead of him, he is insanely talented and a try-hard in a good way. This kid plays and practices 25 hours out 24, he lives for Dota and I’m sure all his hard work will pay out. I see him as the next Arteezy or even more than that.
You said try-hard, so I’m curious how do you take it when someone tells you that you’re a try-hard. In the Dota community and not only actually, this is not exactly a compliment all the time. Would you be offended if someone called you that?
I personally never called someone try-hard, in a bad way. Maybe when I was playing just for fun and someone would brag about his last hits or GPM or MMR or whatever, things like that, I would say to him “yeah ok, nicely done, try-hard”. But for me, if you want to become a pro, this is a compliment. I would feel honored now if someone would tell me that I’m a try-hard.
Speaking about aspiring to a pro career and all the hard work you have to put in to achieve that. Are there any up and coming Romanian players? Talk to me a bit about the Romanian scene.
I actually noticed that in the last year the Romanian scene has started to grow. We do have a couple of players that are most likely going to shine in the near future. They’ve reached the International FPL ladder and they play will all the super-stars. I find this as a good opportunity to get their names out-there in fact, so here are the up and coming Romanian players: BliNcc, Butelie, Flash, kAANMVP, and of course Bufni and SynerGy who are playing with us in Team Romania.
Flash, Butelie and even BliNcc have been playing on the local scene for a long time now, right?
Yes they have, but I feel like now they are in a very good shape, they are ready to make a break out if you want. Just before the MMR was reset they were at 7.5K which is very good for someone who doesn’t play on an international level. I’m confident that these guys will make it sooner rather than later. They are talented and passionate and I’m sure we will hear about them.
Tell me what do you think about this Olympic format of WESG? Do you find it beneficial for the Dota 2 scene.
In many ways it is. Especially for these youngsters who look for a good opportunity to kickstart their career. I also like the idea of having a World Championship in Dota once per year. I mean why not? It’s fun to watch and to play country vs country once in awhile. Plus, what the WESG people did with organizing this event is super impressive. Let’s be real, we are at the European qualifiers and look how good everything is organized.From players treatment, accommodation, event conditions, everything was super nice and smooth here in Barcelona. I really can’t wait to see how things will be in China if regional qualifiers look like this.
CanceL it’s been really nice to talk to you, I said I’ll take five minutes from your time, but we are close to half an hour now and you start the playoffs matches in the afternoon so I won’t keep you any longer. I wish you and Team Romania best of luck in China, and I hope to see more of you this year. Any shout-outs you want to make at the end of our interview?
Thank you for the interview first of all, and shout-out to our coach Ppasarel and to my team!
WESG 2017-2018 – Team Romania roster :
Aliwi “w33” Omar
Mihai “canceL^^” Antonio
Razvan “SynerGy” Strat
Pittner “bOne7” Armand
Alexandru “Bufni” Palievici