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WinteR Talks About Coaching Mineski-Dota And His Esports Career

It's all about hardwork for WinteR

Julius Tabios

In-Banner Image Credit: ESL Helena Kristiansson

I became the coach of Mineski since I just seemed like a natural fit for them. I've played with Mushi and Mike. I haven't played with ice but I've known him since Dota 1.

Every coach has a different way of handling things. Some also double up as manager. Sometimes they make me manage Mineski over coaching. Like in our recent trip to China, Orrin (Xu) and Kenchi (Yap) only got to stay for a few days. So when they left I had to handle being the manager. The logistics take up so much of your time. It got harder to focus on coaching and observing the finer things in the game.

On top of coaching about Dota 2, there's also a bit of life coaching involved. I have to help them manage their actual lives as well. So relationships and the like. If you're in a toxic relationship, it’s going to take away from your focus in the game and will to play. If you're a professional player, you have to know to set your priorities and you're expected to be responsible.

Team dynamics is also a big part of what I do. It's not about proving who's right or who's wrong because if things come to that it becomes a blame game. The most important thing is coming to a consensus on how they can improve after an in-game issue.

Valve allowing coaches within the drafting phase is an interesting move. It allows me to do more but six people in the room can sometimes do more harm than good.

A coach does more legwork before and after games than during. So being in the booth is just icing on the cake for me. I'm just there in case the enemy decides to pull of a cheese or something. I can be there to provide the extra eye and opinion on the matter. But it's still mostly the team doing the heavy lifting. Everything important should already have been discussed before entering the booth anyway.

Everyone knows that Mushi is a difficult person to play with because of his temper. But it’s really because he is a perfectionist at his craft. He wants to win every single time. If he sees a teammate under-perform, he will let them know. But if you find a way for him to see your reasoning, he will come through in ways you can’t imagine. Any relationship is a two-way street so you if you make him see your reasoning, you also have to accept his.

If you guys are in a team, you have to trust each other completely.

As a person whose life revolves around Dota 2, I have a very strong opinion about the game. I’m in a boat with five other people who also have very strong and varying opinions about Dota 2. Finding the balance is the toughest part and you really have to find compromise. You can be right about something but if your team doesn't agree then it won't work out. In Dota 2, the team should always come first.

For Mineski specifically, it's Iceiceice, Mushi, and Jabz who have the strongest opinions. The mere fact that they play in different roles: the carry, the support, and the offlane already vastly changes up their perspective of a game at any given time.

All five perspectives matter in winning a single Dota 2 match. A support player may see something that a carry player doesn't see and vice versa.

The ultimate goal for us is TI but you know sometimes things don't go according to plan.

Every player in Mineski has a strong point and weak point.

Mushi is a good leader who sees the big picture but sometimes he can be really stubborn.

Iceiceice is similar to Mushi. He also sees the big picture but he has these really odd ideas about the game. It’s like a fine line between insanity and genius. But that's a key trait of any successful player: those who push the boundaries with their ideas in-game.

Jabz is a really versatile player and he's very accepting of criticism. If you tell him about something he did poorly, he will improve on it. But despite all of his talent, Jabz can sometimes be lazy. So you really have to push Jabz to get the best out of him.

Mike (ninjaboogie) is also very critical of himself. He's always looking to improve and he's the bridge of the team. He's very good at connecting the players and explaining everyone's side. Mike is a people person. His weakness is also laziness and he has a tendency to tilt.

Nana (Moon) is always willing to learn. I think he's the most hardworking player in the bunch. He watches the most replays. But in Mineski, he's the worst communicator and that's a no-no at the highest level. But I think it’s mostly because Nana isn't really good in English. Sometimes he can't really find the words to explain.

On Mineski's Recent Struggles

I've actually been helping Mineski since the PGL Minor. I wasn't officially the coach but I would give them a lot of input about the drafts and stuff during that time.

The patch really hurt us. When we first looked at the change log, we felt most of the changes were minor and we could still play our brand of Dota 2 you know? But we were wrong, dead wrong.

Those little changes actually added up. From the deny mechanics to the creep equilibrium. The experience change also made it a lot easier for people to reach level 2 which really upped the tempo of the game. We didn't realize how important those things were and we were punished for it.

Some people say Nana's limited hero pool is a big part of Mineski's problem. But that's not true at all. When he was still playing for WG.Unity, he would play a multitude of different heroes. But in Mineski, we really just tell him to pick these particular heroes. When he's on a particular hero, he complements the team dynamic better and it will be easier for everyone.

Winning the Galaxy Battle Qualifier was a huge sigh of relief for us. We lost three straight qualifiers because of the new patch. It’s a sign that we were making progress in solving our problems with the new patch. From the heartbreak of losing the DreamLeague Qualifiers, our final goal in 2017, to this. Dota 2 is a roller coaster of emotions, bro.

On his esports career

Image Credit: ESL Helena Kristiansson

I became a player because I would just keep playing in tournaments. Hard work always pays off, especially in esports. Eventually I got contacted and I found my start playing for Orange Esports, a Malaysia-based team. The rest is history.

Godz was the one who brought me into casting. He came to Malaysia and we were talking a lot about Dota. He noticed I provided good insight so he asked if I wanted to give it a shot. Now I'm a proud part of Beyond the Summit.

I don't care about the haters on Twitch chat or anything. I can't control what people think and I can only control what I do. So I make sure I do my best in every single thing that I do.

I love the memes. In the BTS house, we meme a lot. When there's anything meme-able we will find the meme. In ESL One Manila, I remember you (Swarley) were humming the Games of Thrones tune out loud. So I came to say hi. Winter is coming. That joke is so old now though.

I'm a competitive person at heart. I still love to play but in the end I have to put food on the table. So here I am coaching and casting. I prefer coaching to casting though since there's really nothing competitive about casting--it’s more cooperative.

Esports has been kind to me. I actually own a Mineski Infinity in Kuala Lumpur so that's my source of steady income. With the money from the casting and the coaching, I've been doing alright. I recently got married to a beautiful girl too so things are definitely looking up for me.

My best advice to people who want to get into esports is don't give up. Try not to care too much about what other people say and focus on improving yourself. Don't get psyched out too easily because in the world today everyone has an opinion.