Interview with Fylkir Esports on signing 13-year-old Dota 2 player Ic3Fog

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Modified  12 Jan, 09:11
Reading time  ~16  mins

For a time, Iceland was the hotbed of esports. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic prohibiting many countries from hosting events, the island nation lent its resources to make them possible. To their credit, fans could watch the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational and League of Legends World Champions, VCT Masters: Reykjavik, and the Northern LoL Championship (NLC) (a regional league for Northern Europe) in vivid detail.

More eyeballs subsequently became focused on the country in terms of esports, coupled with their commitment to maintaining its presence; they're looking to continue stamping their mark in more games beyond those they helped stage.

The result of such high aspirations is that teams in Iceland sign young players to develop them to become potential stars. That set the stage for Fylkir Esports to sign 13-year-old Dota 2 player Atli Snær "Ic3Fog" Sig­urðsson this year.

Ic3Fog started playing the game at seven years old after initially observing his father out of curiosity. Such intrigue then turned into a genuine interest that by the time he turned 11, in recouping enough of his own money, he purchased his PC to play the game on his own. Not long after that, at age 13, he caught the attention of many people within the country and, most crucially, eventually became the centerpiece of Fylkir's new Dota squad.

BLIX spoke to Ic3Fog and the rest of Fylkir Esports about his career thus far, how the Dota team was formed, his individual development, how he's adjusting to being in a professional team, and more.

Ic3Fog's Origins

Pedro Romero, BLIX.GG: Since this interview revolves around you, I'd like to know what was your first encounter like with this game of Dota 2?

Atli Snær "Ic3Fog" Sigurdsson: When I first started, I was I think I was maybe seven and I didn't play it that much at a time. Then I started again at 11 and I've been playing it ever since and I enjoy it very much.

BLIX: What then enabled Ic3Fog to want to pursue a career in this game?

Ic3Fog's Father: He basically saw me playing the game, and he decided to try it himself when he was seven. When he was 11, he saved enough cash to buy his first desktop computer, so he started training regularly. I saw he had gotten much better than me and I had been playing the game for 10 years. We then tried finding a platform for him here in Iceland with people who are playing the game and by chance, we found this team and they were registering for a tournament. Then when he was 12, I talked to some tournament holders and asked if he could participate and be put into some team and he actually did alongside Consequence. Then things really started moving forward because he got into the local community and has friends playing the game with him instead of always being alone and playing with some Swedish or British guys.

BLIX: About watching other players' VODs, do you have a favorite player you regularly watch?

Ic3Fog: My favorite players are probably Gh an Miracle in Nigma Galaxy and the player i watch the most is perhaps Gorgc in Team Bald.

BLIX: What about them made them your favorites?

Ic3Fog: They are not toxic and are playing for my favorite team NGX.

Ic3Fog (Credit: mbl.is) Ic3Fog (Credit: mbl.is)

BLIX: To the father, were you surprised how fast your son has grown competitively speaking to the point where he caught a team's attention?

Ic3Fog's Father: Yes and no because he has always excelled in everything he has done. He's a grade A student and also won a chess tournament in his school so he's very clever. He reads the game very well. I have seen him dictate full squads in pubs where he tells all the positions where to be and what to do. I'm amazed at how well he reads the game and how far he has gotten in such a short time.

Sigurður “adaNte” Haraldsson, Flykir's manager: The story is that he didn't actually catch the attention of the team. The team was formed around him to help him grow. That happened after I hosted one tournament at Arena Gaming, where I was working as an esports coach and staff member. I saw this kid walking in, and I was like, "What's this kid doing here?" Then I watched one game where he played Ursa, and he was stomping everyone, and I went, "Wow, this kid has some real potential." Then I talked to a buddy of mine called Al­eks­and­er Mojsa and asked him if he was interested in talking to some top-tier players from the Icelandic scene to form a team around this kid to help him grow. And I think he's gained probably 1k MMR since the team was founded.

Joining Fylkir Esports

BLIX: What was the teammates’ first impression upon meeting Ic3Fog?

Friðrik Snær "Al­vöru­keyrsla“ Tóm­as­son, Fylkir's carry: I had played with him a couple of times before because, shortly after he was introduced into the scene through that tournament, I remember I was queueing a lot with a mutual friend where I met him through one of those games. I just remember how he played like a silent killer. He doesn't say much but he plays well and you know when he says something, it's something to take into consideration.

Ró­bert "Consqu­ence" Örn, Fylkir's hard support: The first time I probably met him was in a tournament a long time ago and I couldn't believe it. He was very impressive at the time as a 13-year-old and then he continued improving.

BLIX: Who best resembles Ic3Fog in pro-Dota in your eyes?

adaNte: SumaiL.

Consequence: Yeah, it has to be.

BLIX: Did you ever think you would get signed at this age in your Dota 2 career?

Ic3Fog: I never expected to be signed into a Dota team so young and to have a team built around me. I'm just very happy and humbled to have gotten this chance and its all because of the manager Siggi (adaNte)

BLIX: Your father talked about how you've been pretty good in other things besides playing Dota. In your eyes, what do you think is the biggest reason you improved so much and so fast in this game?

Ic3Fog: I watch a lot of YouTube videos on the game, tips, and a guy in our team called Trummy (Sölvi Hrafn "trum­my“ Kára­son). He has coached me.

adaNte: Trummy is the team captain. He does the drafts, and he has good leadership skills that Ic3Fog can adapt to, and they just work really well together. We also have a coach named Woofer who coaches in DPC. He's worked with some cool players. He's currently working with the team on and off, and I feel the guys have learned. He paired Ic3Fog up with some high MMR players he’s coaching, dissected his mid-play style, and gave him tips. Ic3Fog is just over the moon that someone with his credentials is helping him. Even so, he works to improve the team, not just Ic3Fog. Trummy works with Ic3Fog in one on one situations more.

Fylkir Esports’ Dota 2 team  (Left to right: Consequence, Mojsla, Al­vöru­keyrsla, adaNte, Trummy; Center: Ic3Fog) (Credit: Rakel Guðmundsdóttir) Fylkir Esports’ Dota 2 team (Left to right: Consequence, Mojsla, Al­vöru­keyrsla, adaNte, Trummy; Center: Ic3Fog) (Credit: Rakel Guðmundsdóttir)

BLIX: It's been a few months since this team was formulated. How have you helped Ic3Fog integrate himself within the group since its start?

adaNte: I tried to do everything for him so he only has to focus on Dota and getting better. That was the reason why I contacted his dad after I saw him stomp at that tournament. That's the reason why the team was formed: to help them grow. It's like what Friðrik says: he's the silent killer. The guys meme a lot and Ic3Fog is probably one of the most mature players in the team. Like in most things, when you play with better players, you get better. It's just the way how things go. Putting him in a team with some of the best players in Iceland is just a recipe for making Ic3Fog better.

BLIX: To the teammates, how would you describe Ic3Fog's play style? How has his play style changed in your eyes from the start of the team until now?

Consequence: He used to play as support so that changed and just about all his common sense about Dota has changed as well.

Al­vöru­keyrsla: I think a lot of people are quite surprised because he was a bit lower-ranked, and he used to play mostly Position 4 or 5, where the individual skill isn't as noticeable. But once he started playing mid, not only within the team but a lot of players who are watching the games can see that the improvement is definitely there.

BLIX: To the father: What do you think has been the most significant adjustment you've seen from your son in the team?

Ic3Fog's father: He had to step up his game and focus more on everything he's doing. When he was playing pubs, he was playing basically every position. When this team was formed, he got the mid-lane, and he has just been channeling that and playing much more Dota than he did before this team was put together. He always had to go to football or basketball practice or something to earn his computer days. But now it's much more flexible. He can play every day he wants, and we support him as much as we can as his parents.

BLIX: In looking at this team, one can only imagine what kind of pressure a player has given that a team was formed around him. Have you felt any pressure as the most important part of the team?

Ic3Fog: When it was first formed, I felt a little bit of pressure, but I don't feel any pressure now.

adaNte: What makes him unique is most players his age, at that skill level, if there are any, probably couldn't handle that pressure. That makes Ic3Fog so unique in that his mentality is just amazing. He is just so mature. He's just very grounded, and that's often the x-factor, and I think he has the mentality to go all the way.

Is signing a 13-year-old worth it?

BLIX: In forming a team such as this, there might be some skepticism about whether it's okay or worthwhile to sign a player as young as Ic3Fog. Do you think signing someone so young to the team poses a risk?

adaNte: When I met him and his dad for the first time, I was like, "Maybe I can go somewhere with this," but when I got to know them both, and I go back to his mentality, a lot of 13-year-olds couldn't handle what is going on in doing interviews, being on probably the best team in Iceland, and playing with such good players in a team. But he's just so mature, and he's shown that he has everything that makes a good potential player. I don't think it's wrong to sign a 13-year-old, but it has to be with the parent's consent, and as long as he's not dropping school and stuff like that to play Dota, I think it's fine.

BLIX: In the Dota pro scene, we've seen many teams vie in two directions: 1) form the best possible team with the best-known players; 2) select young players and develop them to where they can eventually compete with the rest of the top teams. Why do you think not enough teams are taking the development route similar to what you guys are doing?

Al­vöru­keyrsla: The teams probably more often choose to pick the best players they can find because it's a quick and dirty solution, whereas if you are going to develop talent, you need to have players that are good at being developed. We're pretty fortunate that we have that. Especially with our Position 3 Trummy, he's pretty good about sharing some of his wisdom with us.

adaNte: It's like a championship chase. They kind of overlook the possibility that they might have a dynasty with developing players, but they go for the 'win now' because they want to win now instead of winning in the future for maybe two or three years in a row I think that's the wrong mentality.

(Fylkir executing a game-winning Reverse Polarity ultimate during a local tournament)

BLIX: How is the team balancing Ic3Fog's schedule between esports and everything else?

Ic3Fog's father: He does everything he needs to do. He knows he needs to be focused on school, his friends, and his family. Also, we find it very important that he's still doing exercises like going to practice. All of that is number one, and Dota comes right behind, so it's been fine. Additionally, I know if he takes maybe five games in a row, he needs to go outside for a walk or do something different. We basically have a very good kid. We don't have any problems with him at all. He's just a very focused young man.

adaNte: We met with probably the most renowned esports figure in Iceland called TurboDrake. He is the most educated coach in Iceland, and I was working under him at the time when I first met Ic3Fog and his father. The three of us met, and we talked about laying the lines about he can't miss school, ignore his friends, and his obligations to play Dota. He can't put Dota as number one, but that might change when he gets older.

BLIX: How have you handled this massive shift in your daily schedule from sometimes playing Dota to treating it full-time?

Ic3Fog: Before I was signed to Fylkir, I played a lot of Dota. I played for almost the same amount, so my minutes played didn't change that much.

BLIX: Can you give me a walkthrough of what your day is like?

Ic3Fog's father: He wakes up to go to school, comes home at around 3 p.m., usually goes for practice for an hour, is back home between four and five, plays a couple of games until dinnertime, and plays maybe until 10 in the evening on a regular day. Since signing with Fylkir, he has had more flexibility in playing a little bit later. Especially if his teammates are playing, then we try to let him play as much with them as possible, so he might sometimes be playing a little bit later than ten on a typical day, but during the weekend, it's okay to play later, maybe around 11.

BLIX: To adaNte: how much have you had to work around his schedule for the rest of the team?

adaNte: It's sometimes like babysitting five kids and figuring out a time because if they're at the training facility, I have to be there since I'm responsible. I try to be flexible because it's my job to do it, so I try to work around their schedule rather than work around mine. So the only issue we basically ever had was if we tried to schedule games too late.

BLIX: Has it been challenging for you to coach a young player, such as Ic3Fog, compared to your past work with other teams?

adaNte: I don't really do coaching with his team. I'm more of a manager. I coach at the youth level of this organization, but I'm their manager. Having to manage these guys is fun. It's interesting. It's sometimes a little bit of a challenge, but it's always fun. You don't want to spoil them because then they want more. Nah, I'm just kidding. [laughs]

What Dota should take away from Ic3Fog and Fylkir

BLIX: What do you think of the attention surrounding yourself recently?

Ic3Fog: I think it's great.

BLIX: What about it makes it great in your eyes?

Ic3Fog: When we play, the casters talk about me and say very positive things and many people talk about me doing positive things too.

Ic3Fog's father: I think it's building his confidence in the game. He's getting a lot of positive things, as he says, from different people in the Dota community here in Iceland. It's so good for him to get to know all these good players and be able to play with them.

BLIX: What do you want the rest of the Dota 2 community to take away from looking at this team and how it was formed?

Al­vöru­keyrsla: I think helping others improve is good. You don't only need to think about playing with the best players. You can also try to improve others and they will come up to that level.

Ic3Fog's father: This is a very interesting team, and I think it's just very much fun for the community to see them play. I think all of them enjoy playing in this team and that's the most important thing and shows when they're playing competitive games. They are a very good team, and watching them is fun. They give a lot to the community, and I hope they will help it grow in Iceland.

adaNte: You ain't seen nothing yet. Even though we're on an island in the middle of the Atlantic doesn't mean that we can't be good in Dota.

BLIX: What do you think should be the number one thing people should know about you and your career?

Ic3Fog: That I am the best Arc Warden player in the country.

BLIX: But not in the world?

Ic3Fog: In the world too.

Discussions

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Copyright © 2022 BLIX.GG. All rights reserved.
CS Virtual Trade Ltd, reg. no. HE 389299 Registered address and the principal place of business: 705, Spyrou Araouzou & Koumantarias, Fayza House, 3036, Limassol, Cyprus
Copyright © 2022 BLIX.GG. All rights reserved.
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