Quest Esports initially burst out into the Dota 2 scene at the Bali Major where they placed fourth when few people expected them to. Even so, with the addition of Ammar "ATF" Al-Assaf to a lineup that was previously under the Ooredoo Thunders banner, they quickly established themselves as a capable squad that can contend with the likes of Gaimin Gladiators, Team Liquid and more.
However, things then turned sour once Quest couldn't arrange a long-term deal with ATF, so with few time in their possession before the start of Western Europe qualifying for The International 12, the team announced the signing of Tobias "Tobi" Buchner, who joined after parting ways with Entity earlier in the year.
Despite facing the customary challenges of building a new team, Quest persevered in the qualifying tournament— dispatching OG, Team Secret and Luna Galaxy to reach TI 12 as one of the five WEU teams that will participate in Seattle, Washington for the coveted Aegis of Champions.
Prior to DreamLeague Season 21, BLIX talked with Tobi about his time with Quest prior to the start of TI 12 WEU qualifying, how he looks back on his time with Entity and more.
Playing with Quest Esports
Pedro Romero, BLIX: It's been a few months since you joined Quest Esports as your new team after being with Entity for a good while. How's it been playing with this new cast of players at this point of the year with a ticket to TI secured?
Tobias "Tobi" Buchner: It's been a good experience. Of course, they had very good results before me and that's why I wanted to join them, because I believed in all the players. We had a slow start. I would say we underperformed in the TI qualifiers. We barely made it when I think we should have won more convincingly, but in the end, it doesn't matter at all. I think we have more to show than what we showed.
BLIX: What exactly did you see that made it so difficult for this team to play to the level that you wanted to see them play?
Tobi: I think our laning was weak, mostly.
BLIX: And what do you think is the reason for the week leading from your perspective?
Tobi: We just started playing together recently with me. To play together on the same lane, you need to work together for a long time to always be on the same page always and now with our new coach, Daxak [Nikita Kuzmin], our laning improved a lot so I'm excited to show it in the upcoming officials.
BLIX: You mentioned your new coach in Daxak, who joined the team less than a week ago after partying ways with Level Up. What's the difference been like with Daxak as the coach compared to the prior one?
Tobi: I would say there's two types of coaches. There's the coach who listens to the players individually and then brings it all together and then there's the coach that is a very experienced and successful player who has his own ideas and then brings his own ideas as well and Daxak is the second type of coach.
BLIX: On top of just having him assist in fixing the issues such as laning, as you said, what are some other ideas that he has brought to the table that has helped the team and their current state at this moment in time?
Tobi: For the gameplay in general, in early, mid-game and late-game heroes, there was a new patch so what kind of heroes we are looking for that we need to enable the other heroes and this kind of stuff.
BLIX: What kind of heroes have this team been focusing on in particular amidst this new patch in which teams are trying to figure it out?
Tobi: No comment. [laughs]
Looking back on the Entity days
BLIX: When it comes to looking at you and how your career transpired, I want to know what's been the difference between your experience so far in Quest and what it was like with Entity with all the events that you attended with the team such as TI11, Arlington Major and everything else?
Tobi: More direct and rough discussions in Quest, I would say, which I think comes from them working with a psychologist which I saw in Tundra's version of TI True Sight videos. They were basically telling each other how they f***d up and what the f**k they were doing and I guess in Entity we kind of avoided talking about issues.
BLIX: In avoiding talking about those issues, how then did Entity try to fix those issues?
Tobi: By bringing in a new offlaner. [laughs]
BLIX: Okay okay. That said, about the difference between Entity and Quest, was the reason why you parted ways of Entity because of that communication aspect and things like that?
Tobi: We had four bad tournament runs in a row. I wouldn't say it's true, but I guess the impression for maybe the organization was that people couldn't communicate properly.
Fitting in with the new team
BLIX: What has been one single characteristic within each of your teammates in Quest that has helped you develop and also contribute to them performing at a higher level?
Tobi: TA2000 [Aybek Tokayev], I would say, was like, "Come play with us. We think you're good," so that was his role. Then No!ob [Tony Assaf] was very including and nice in real life in boot camp, I would say. With OmaR [Omar Moughrabi], when laning with him, I could discuss and we could work hard together. And kaori [Oleh Medvedok] gives good criticism.
BLIX: What kind of criticism would kaori give you and the rest of the team that would lead to you guys building off of that?
Tobi: It just depends on moments. I like to discuss mistakes after games in the replay so it's just individual moments.
BLIX: It's one thing for a person to observe Quest and their ascension within the DPC at the late stretch of the year and it's another thing to play with them, so how has that difference been like for you now that you're playing alongside the guys in the team?
Tobi: They always had surprisingly good results because none of them are ladder grinders. None of them have extremely high ranks, but at the same time, I know at some points every player is surprisingly good individually, or not surprisingly good. Obviously from their results, they have surprisingly good players Yeah, I mean, that's it. They got fourth place at the Bali Major and eighth place at Riyadh Masters and, with my confidence, I thought I can do the same or better.
BLIX: One of the focal points that have been surrounding Quest Esports is the constant changing in the offlane role. Of course, they had ATF for a few months, who was a key piece in the team reaching fourth in Bali so there's obviously going to be comparisons between how the team worked with him and how the team is working with you. What do you think about the comparisons made Quest with ATF and Quest with yourself?
Tobi: Well, ATF is like a prodigy of this game. He's a Major winner so, of course, as a humble player myself, it's a fine comparison, but I don't try to be him or play like him or anything like that.
BLIX: How would you describe yourself, and where you’re at this year, given your progression as a player? How would you describe yourself and your brand of offloading?
Tobi: Underrated and not flashy at all.
BLIX: And why is that?
Tobi: Because I do what I think is good.
BLIX: Gotcha. Short and concise. What is the expectation for you and this team for DreamLeague with an eye towards TI12 and trying to get more reps in?
Tobi: Our expectation for this tournament is to not get eliminated in the first round of playoffs and then take it game-by-game. Just improve as much as we can for TI and have a good, presentable result in this tournament.
BLIX: One upping from that to TI12, what's going to be the single thing that the team will have to refine so that you guys can surpass the mark that was set earlier on at Bali and Riyadh?
Tobi: Consistency, I would say.
BLIX: You're not going to add anything more to that?
Tobi: [laughs] What I mean by that is one person underperforming can lose a full game so even in bad games everyone needs to try to have a fine game.