We caught with Owen “ODPixel” Davies during the group stage matches at the WePlay! Bukovel Minor and discussed a bit the big 7.23 patch and the importance of Outposts. We, of course, went through what’s going at the Minor, and we also went on a limb and asked him to predict the TI10 Champions
Hello Owen, how do you enjoy your time in Bukovel so far?
It’s very exciting to get to do a Minor in a location that just makes it instantly stand out from the rest of the events that I’ve been lucky enough to work for. It’s absolutely great, when you step outside you have all these ski slopes around you, there is a little winter market, it’s all very beautiful and allows us to have these great shots that we can show to the viewers at home in between the games to really getting them the feel of the winter tale that WePlay! is trying to do here.
For those who celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December and now are here to work, or play for a spot in the Major, everything that happens at this tournament, it feels like a second Christmas.
Yes, exactly, it really is like a second Christmas. I’ve spent the Christmas on the 25th at home with my family, but now, here, I’m actually spending it with all my friends, with casters, with all the great people at WePlay! as well, that I’ve been fortunate to work with at the Valentine Madness event last year. It’s just great to be able to spend such a magical time with all these lovely people, to be able to commentate great Dota 2 games while being surrounded by Christmas trees, presents, all this snow, it’s a whole lot of fun.
Let’s talk a bit about the tournament itself. As we get closer to the end of it, it becomes more clear that RNG are huge contenders at the title. Were you surprised to see them do so well?
I think with the Chinese teams, especially at the Minors, you expected them to perform because of how competitive their region is. In comparison with the other regions from around the world, for a Chinese team making into the Minor, you know that they are going to have that edge because it is just so hard for them to qualify.
But, with all that being said, I must admit I’m a bit surprised by RNG doing so well here, although I know they had sort of good results recently in China. But, overall, in the previous season when they made it to some events, they underperformed. They did not look amazing, but here, they’ve had very convincing games.
Every single game they looked amazing, there is no question of fluke or a lucky out-draft, it just seems that RNG have the whole package sorted out, and I really don’t know at the moment who will be able to challenge them.
I’d like to ask you about the big 7.23 patch, not the most recent update, but about the original big one and more specifically about the Outposts. We saw a lot of discussions around the neutral items, while I feel like the Outposts actually have a bigger impact on the game. What’s your take on them, are they or should they be regarded as new objectives?
Definitely they are pretty game-changing. You see the majority of the teams having the emphasis on fighting early, I think the Outposts are going to be a mechanic that will continue to be tweaked and changed in future patches, in regards to maybe the timing being changed again or the experience given. I know that Valve, when they add something like this, they do watch, they do listen, and they do experiment a little bit.
When the Outposts first came out, when they had a higher frequency, but now they toned it down, they changed it in a way that I think most people are happy with. I’m very curious about what they will do next with them because I don’t think that they will stay as they are right now. Maybe in future patches, we should expect to see them gone, maybe in years time they will be taken away, you never know, Valve always loves to change things.
We should remember that at some point we had three or four Shrines in the base which made the high ground push insanely hard.
Yes, exactly, and that was a problem, and then they got removed, and that’s the great thing about Dota 2, it’s been around for so long that it’s been through so many iterations and you can expect these big changes to come, but also go.
But the Outposts, at the moment I don’t mind them. I think hey inspire more fights and definitely earlier fights. It’s another objective to play around. Sure, some people argue that maybe it’s a little bit too forced, but I enjoy watching it. It makes the teams think about them, the addition of more objectives just gives you more to think about as a player, and forces you to consider a lot more points in the game that before were sort of nothing as timers.
Before the Outposts, the only timer you would play around was Roshan.
Exactly, you will just resume farming until next Roshan, or force a fight before the timer, things like that, while now you have something else that you got to get your mind around as a team if you want to win games consistently.
Valve just launched a call to arms for the workshop artists. Which hero would you like to see getting some new cosmetics?
I’m trying to think who do I got that is not dressed up perfectly. Who I’ve been playing a lot recently? I’ll be pretty biased with this one, I do enjoy playing Faceless Void and we do have some cool Chronosphere effects but I think we can do more. I want some item that changes his ultimate, I want a different sort of Chronosphere, something that will add a cool effect. Every time we have a call to arms, we get some brilliant submissions from the community so it’s always exciting to see what does manage to get in the game and every time they add a chest It has 10 or so sets, so I’m always buying those chests trying to get that very rare item. I’m a sucker for the loot boxes, so I can’t wait for this one to come out.
What’s your resolution for 2020?
I don’t think I made one. It’s just to continue to try to cast at the top of my game. I want to make sure that I never get complacent, I’m very fortunate to get to work so many events, but I do try my best to make sure that I’m always keeping it fresh, keeping it exciting. I want to make sure I keep entertaining people and that they continue to want to hear me when I’m commentating.
photo credits: WePlay! Esports
Make a bold prediction. Who do you think will win TI10?
Oh, wow, TI it’s so hard to call. Let’s see… I don’t think OG is going to do it three times in a row.
We said that the last time.
We did say that the last time, and I’d be very happy to be wrong because three times in a row is going to be like “what on Earth is going on.” Maybe right after TI9, I would have probably said PSG.LGD, but they haven’t looked great since then, so I can’t even go, I think, with one of the Chinese teams.
Do you think it can be Alliance’s year, write history in their home town, Stockholm?
It will be super cool to have that Swedish story happening. Alliance, they looked great with the new squad, but I don’t know if I see them being the winners of TI by the end of this season. Maybe in the future, if they do stick together.
I will go for one that people will probably not believe in and I will say Nigma. They will somehow pick it up and they are going to win TI10. I don’t know how they are going to do it, I don’t know if it’s going to be with this roster exactly, but there are still many Major and Minors and I will happily believe in the squad that Kuro has got behind him.
Thanks a lot for your time Owen, it’s time to wrap this interview so if you have any shout-outs to make, please do.
Thanks for the interview and shout-out to everyone that takes the time to tune in any Dota 2 event, anyone who continues to watch Dota 2 competitions and Dota 2 streams, anything that involves them into the community. Obviously, I love this game and I love seeing so many people getting to enjoy it alongside me.
Interviews from the WePlay! Bukovel Minor:
- Kyle: “The thing I love about esports is that for the vast majority, everyone cares”
- Dendi: “I was super happy there, although I was for the first time out of my comfort zone”
- Kuku: “I’m sad about the Doom nerfs, I don’t care that much about the other heroes”
- Sneyking: “No Chinese team should ever be underestimated”