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JessieVash on Growth, Returning to Germany, and Missed Opportunities

He talks about their road to ESL One Hamburg and what's in store for him.

Julius Tabios

Banner Image Credit: MineskiTV

I was independent from a very young age. My dad passed away when I was just four years old while my mom was actually a drug addict. She recently went through rehab but back then things were really tough for me. I had to be the one responsible with money. My mom's clean now and I visit her like twice a month in Montalban and buy her groceries like a good son.

My sole older brother also left the family early. He didn't abandon us though -- he just really didn't want to be around my mom. He just moved over to the nearby town so he could be a working student. He would send us money whenever he could. Today, he works in Canada as a teacher.

Because of the money problem I really gravitated towards the free games. I played Dota 1 and CS 1.3. I also liked playing the PlayStation. I would go to those pay-by-the-hour joints. At first, I would pay like everyone else then they would be amused by this small and cute kid who was better than them. They would then let me play the newer games like Siphon Filter and Megaman for free! I was an adorable kid! But I don't have any pictures to show for it because it wasn't uso(popular) back then.

I really hated going to school and I didn’t have any friends.

My competitive start came from those pusta-pustahan(money war) games in small internet cafes in Montalban, Rizal. My first favorite game was really Counter-Strike. We put money on the line and fight against other teams from around the area. Sometimes even we would go to nearby towns and challenge the players there. I was around 12 of 13 at the time and I mostly played for free because I made friends with the shop owners. The money I made really helped my day-to-day living expenses.

I only finished a semester of university. I can always continue studying after all is said and done anyway but you don't wanna give up the peak of your playing career to study in college. I mean I did get addicted to gaming but it's way better than getting addicted to alcohol or womanizing right? Hotel and Restaurant Management was the course that I took because it was the most convenient one to take!

At first I wanted to juggle both Counter Strike and Dota 1 but I found out it was going to be difficult. Many times the money wars or the tournaments would overlap. In the end, I chose the more challenging and fun game for me which was Dota.

The first relevant team that I got into was Pag-ibig. Cast was the one who recruited me into the team. I actually fought him way back before in San Mateo, Rizal and took down him and his boys from Marikina. I was one of the standout players so he recruited me.

On the Road to ESL One Hamburg

The government helping out is a huge deal. If we get our visas then the government support is useful. If we get denied then it was all for show. Simple really!

We really felt great going up against Clutch Gamers. Compared to the other teams like Fnatic and Mineski, we had a feeling we could win a game against them but not a whole series. Mineski right now is just crazy hard to beat. But with CG we genuinely liked our chances since we scrim often.

The power failure during Game 3 was insane. If the power didn't come back within 20-30 minutes then CG would have gotten a free win. The power came back then fluctuated again so the extra nerves were really something. Yaj was going to get an easy kill on FLYSOLO's Silencer before it happened. Instead when we came back he was dead and he didn't have a buyback.

Coming back to Germany after the Frankfurt Major in 2015 is poignant. I have a different team from back then. I understand the game more so I like our chances. But the climate really gave us struggles the last time since we were getting sick. Benhur gets colds very easily too so we have to make sure to stock up on the Vitamin C and layers of clothing.

On his time as part of Mineski-Overwatch

It's a shame Overwatch never lived up to its potential in the Philippines. The paywall is making it hard for potential pros to have a shot. Look how huge it is in North America and Europe. Even in SEA its struggling. I really liked the game too.

I even reached 4300 SR on the game. I was Top 500 in SEA at one point. I wanted to stick to the game since it had potential. I already considered Dota boring back then and the rare time that I would play it again I found it really slow. I loved playing McCree and Soldier 76 since I used my experience from Counter Strike. I even got to play against Seagull, one of Overwatch's stars, before he moved to NA.

I actually have friends in Kongdoo. Since the manager of Rave-Dota before is now with Kongdoo. So I can always try Overwatch again if things don't work out. My SR is up to par with the players who are part of their team. There is a lot of money in the Overwatch League. Plus Korea might not be a bad place to live in!

Eyyou actually dragged me back to Dota. He wanted to reform HappyFeet and I was at a point where I didn't even play Dota once a day since I was really into Overwatch. I played it religiously for eight months! But after giving it some thought as much as I loved Overwatch I had to return to Dota. It took me hours of daily grinding to get myself back into competitive shape. I recently played a 1v1 Overwatch tournament at Highgrounds and won. I’ve still got it, I think.

Looking back on his career

People never really understood that Faceless Void Chronosphere. We were fighting TNC right and Teehee's Ember Spirit was very huge. The only way we were gonna win the match was if my Chronosphere caught him. The Zeus Wrath was there so it gave us intel. So I rolled the dice and went for it. You have to take risks like that and sometimes it just doesn't go your way.

Moving to support is a thing you have to do. It's not because I'm older -- it's because all of these new blood players or pub stars always play mid or carry. You rarely see a pub star who is a support. Being the more experienced one you have to adjust and take one for the team. But if I play pubs I still get to core since it feels great getting last hits. I offer myself for my team in tournaments so I let loose in MMR games. Even if we lose it’s fine.

I don't think I'm a great drafter. I guess because of my experience that's why they let me draft in HappyFeet. It's mostly democratic for us and I just ask the boys what they want to play. I prefer to just be second in command really but we don't have a natural leader in the team.

There were some teammates whom I really enjoyed playing with. Cast, RyoR, Bimbo, Mike (Ninjaboogie), Kuku, and this guy. Julz. The old guard I've known since the start of Dota. I like players who have patience with their team. Those who lose one tournament and want to change teams right away, I don't like them. You have to trust the process and improve on your mistakes as a team. Getting experience in the highest level is scarce so you have to take what you can get.

Some people forget that Dota is a team game. We don't have a lack of players who are great in the game. But it's never easy finding players you have synergy with. Jeyo was a great player but Rapy was more of a fit with us. Sometimes it boils down to attitude and personality really.

Roro was a great teammate. Ronald Robins was a really good captain. No, he was my best captain. But he focused on making the Mineski brand as big as it is today. If he was still playing the brand would be small but I'm sure we would have played in a lot of international LANs together. The Internationals even! It was a sacrifice he took wanting to give the local esports scene more sustainability instead of just thinking about himself.

On life after Dota

To be clear I don't plan on retiring anytime soon. I can play for a long time. I've still got a good career in front of me. But you'll know if you aren't good enough anymore and like every player I still want to play in TI someday. But even if I stop Dota I'm gonna try all of the games that gain popularity.

I'm definitely going to stay in esports even after I stop playing. At this point it's the only thing I know. MineskiTV as an analyst? Maybe not. I'd probably be better off as a manager or a coach since not a lot of people really have the experience to do things like that.

I used to be a dancer. The group I used to be part of with is actually well-traveled as they represent the Philippines in many international meets. So that could also be a fallback for me? Haha!