Puppey on being Relegated: "We just need to keep working harder and we'll be fine with it"

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    Team Secret are currently competing in DreamLeague Season 20 throughout the month of June, which follows with relegation to Division 2 in Western Europe at the end of Tour 3 in the 2023 Dota Pro Circuit.

    Despite the setback, which effectively forces Secret to have to qualify for The International 12 via winning the regional qualifiers, the team has a chance to build momentum ahead of the qualifiers during DreamLeague Season 20 as one of six teams representing Western Europe alongside Team Liquid, Gaimin Gladiators, OG, Tundra Esports and Entity.

    Two days before the start of DreamLeague Season 20, BLIX reached out to Team Secret captain Clement "Puppey" Ivanov about his thoughts on the current state of the team, what he'll need to improve on in this event, how Div. 2 WEU compares with the other Div. 2's throughout the world, the new patch and more.

    *Note that this interview was conducted roughly 30 minutes after Team Secret announced the departure of Miroslav "BOOM" Bičan from the team ahead of the start of DreamLeague Season 20.

    Pedro Romero, BLIX: The Tour 3 has just wrapped up and after the team's relegation to Division 2, you guys are now focused on DreamLeague. How do you view the current state of the team with the relegation still fresh on your mind?

    Clement "Puppey" Ivanov: It was going to be hard to get to TI anyway with points. I mean, I live in the moment anyways. When we lost, then fine. What's the next thing that we can try to win because we were already gaining momentum. I think a lot of teams started drafting like we did and were bringing in the heroes we were bringing into the meta, so to be fair, we weren't that far off from winning against those teams. We just needed to finish our process of being a better team and start winning because we were very close to beating teams 2-0.

    BLIX: Even so, what have been your biggest positives and negatives from playing with this iteration of the team at this momentum with an eye towards TI12 quals?

    Puppey: I mean, I don't really know how to answer that question. The negatives are that we are losing and the positives are that we are almost winning, I guess. I think there's nothing positive about the scenario we're in and we just need to keep working harder and we'll be fine with it.

    BLIX: Keeping the focus on the team's trajectory this DPC season, you've been competing in Div. 2 for a while now and have grinded your way to get back up to Div. 1. At the same time, there's been this conversation about the comparison among Div. 2 with all the regions throughout the world. For you to have played in Div. 2 this year, how do you think WEU's Div. 2 ranks amongst the other regions, if you are able to make that comparison?

    Puppey: I can't really fully make that comparison because I've not played other regions but, obviously, there are other regions that are much easier in this world. Mostly every region is easier than EU and something like NA probably is the weakest region because they have the least amount of players playing Dota so there's really nothing to say other than the European region is stacked and going to Div. 2 practically means you're one of the Top 8 teams.

    But you have to bounce around in Div. 2 and Div. 1 and this has happened for a lot of teams constantly. Nigma has been to Div. 2 and they go back to Div. 1 and go back to Div. 2 and they'll probably come back to Div. 1 and so on and so forth because they're like the top seven or eight team a lot of the time in Europe. That's just life.

    BLIX: With you guys having this opportunity to get some reps in during DreamLeague ahead of TI12 qualifiers, what's going to be the main thing you’ll focus on when it comes to improving the team's performance?

    Puppey: Nothing special really because we were already on a good track but we just needed a little more practice and understanding on what to do in the game and perfect those things. We were already close to perfecting these things and I think we're not far off from getting actual success, so we're just going to keep at it and figuring out how to perfect these styles of play that we need to do.

    That's because every team has a different approach to the game and some philosophy, but mostly, the winning team has the best philosophy and, therefore, we need to create a winning formula for ourselves and I think we're pretty close to it.

    BLIX: Do you feel finding the winning formula is going to be vastly different from how you found the winning formula in previous years?

    Puppey: No, I don't think so. I think it's all the same. You kind of do it naturally. You don't think about the same methods that you used two or three years ago. I think methods change constantly because Dota changes constantly and you have to think about the game in terms of what's happening now. You can't think about what's happening in the past because if you think about the past, you're going to end up losing because you're digging yourself a hole. You're just searching for something that's outdated.

    Lee "Heen" Seung Gon, Remco "Crystallis" Arets and Puppey: the remaining TI11 Team Secret members. Credit: Valve Lee "Heen" Seung Gon, Remco "Crystallis" Arets and Puppey: the remaining TI11 Team Secret members. Credit: Valve

    BLIX: As you mentioned the recent state of the game with the institution of its new patch, there's been a lot of people that have liked it but there's also been plenty of people that have not. SUNSfan said in a recent episode of his podcast that he felt as though the meta has become repetitive. Do you also feel the same way? Why or why not?

    Puppey: I guess I feel the same way but I also don't feel the same way. I think there's things to like about it but there's things to dislike about it. I don't think any patch is perfect. I think it's true that, for now, the meta has basically stabilized very fast on what's good and what's not good and some heroes are much top-tier than the others surrounding what's happening with the new items and Wisdom Runes and such. To be fair, my biggest annoyance about the game are these forced mechanics that you need to fulfill in the game.

    You need to go to a different side of a map to pick up these Wisdom Runes and I feel it's a game mechanic that makes you slow down the game. I understand that you get experience and maybe base up, but running towards a side of the map to not do anything aggressive feels much more of a passive idea. I generally don't enjoy passive ideas in the game because it will make the game feel stale. It's where everyone is not doing their thing and everything is a stalemate. This guy's going his Wisdom Rune and the other goes his Wisdom Rune and it can just become a routine in the game rather than somebody trying to break by doing something crazy on the map.

    BLIX: Given that you've played this game for a very long time and are probably one of the pros with the longest active career out of everyone, if you were to build a dream team that consists of players from a particular year, what would that be and why?

    Puppey: And you ask me this question at the end so it's gonna take another ten minutes or what? [laughs] Let's say I'm choosing 33 for my offlane because I think he has broken the offlane more than anyone else in the world. Outside of him, it's Ceb on his prime so it's kind of a hard decision but I'll pick 33. And then maybe mid-lane Nisha.

    He's still, I think, the most progressed one. For carry, it's probably Miracle-. Prime time Miracle- carry was something else to see. Hard to choose, hard to choose. N0tail support was pretty amazing when he won two TIs. He was definitely top-notching it up. I would have to think of a better support but it's kind of hard. N0tail is probably up there.

    BLIX: Maybe pick yourself?

    Puppey: No, I wouldn't put myself in this list because it's biased in that way so I'll choose myself to not be in it. Prime Position 4 player...there's a lot of 'em. There's many people that have done really well but I feel like Position 4 is like a flavor actually. I'll just put YapzOr right there, man. YapzOr Pos. 4 for the dream team.

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    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 © 2024 BLIX.GG. All rights reserved.