Striving to be equal with European Dota is the white whale of South African Dota. It’s the final form we’re desperately trying to reach so we can take on the universe. Or just the world for now.
We’re like Vegeta always desperately trying to keep up with Goku, but no matter how hard we try, we never quite get there. That’s a Dragon Ball Z reference by the way, and if you didn’t know then you need to think about the life choices that have led you to this point.
To try and help us take our power levels to new heights, we had a chat with the manager of Clavis Aurea, Nicholas ‘BlueOceanz’ Theo. Despite what it sounds like, Clavis Aurea is not a mysterious part of the female anatomy. It’s Doni’s international team and recently they’ve had a lot of interaction with South African Dota.
They knocked out White Rabbit Gaming in the EU International Qualifiers, BlueOceanz hosted a podcast with some local Dota pros, which caused a bit of a stir, and BlueOceanz has also started a project to try and get SA teams higher ranked scrim partners.
Now, the first bit of advice he will give us about improving our game is that we’re like Vegeta, because we train like Vegeta, not like Goku – who is a training beast. Here’s what he had to say when we asked if there was anything Doni had to get used to playing on an EU team.
“I think he was a little bit shocked hearing us wanting to scrim very often. Almost everyday actually.”
This point came up again when we asked what he thought the biggest difference between SA and EU teams was.
“I think the biggest difference is that EU scrims more than the SA scene in general. Our regime is pretty strict actually, players have to play at least five pubs a day, and scrim between 16:00 – 20:00 or 21:00.”
So straight out the gate we’ve got something we can work on. We think we train hard, and we do, but the teams in EU train harder. Simple as that. White Rabbit are the strongest Dota side in SA, there’s no doubt about that. But compared to EU teams, they’re just ‘not bad’.
“I think they’re still very low-leveled compared to the EU teams we’ve played/scrimmed with. But they’re definitely on their way. We faced off against a 7k average MMR team after [beating WRG in The International Qualifiers] and let me tell you this, it was way harder than WRG. Even though I do admit that WRG is very notable.
There’s a large gap skill wise. There are hundreds of 7k players in EU. But only a few in SA. I’m not dissing the SA scene by any means by the way, I think they have a great future.
When I see SA players in pubs, they’re like average (I’m sure it’s because of the 200 ping). And then I see them at the LAN with a small ping, they show pretty good mechanical skills. Some are quite similar to those in the EU. Some developed their own unique playstyle. But again, I think EU is still waaaay better than SA right now.”
Since going up against WRG, BlueOceanz has taken a keen interest in the local Dota scene, even going so far as to offer to coach one of the teams competing at the VS Gaming Masters Dota LAN at EGE. Unfortunately he didn’t really get to spend much meaningful time with the team who took him up on his offer, eXdee Gaming, but he did tune in to watch the games.
“In terms of the quality of Dota, I think some of the games were flat-out boring, but some were really good. In terms of the quality of the LAN though, that’s something else. I would give the games 7.5/10 and the LAN itself, 9/10. Maybe even 9.5/10.
What I like about the SA scene is the fact that they make their own metas and strats. It is extremely different from that of the EU.”
South Africans do love do things our own way. Bakuzzi anyone? This is probably a good time to give VS Gaming the props they deserve for the LAN, it was the best part of EGE. We’ve written a lot about improving the quality of production, taking care of players and generally making local esports events more professional. To have an objective international viewer, who clearly isn’t shy to criticise where it’s due, rate it 9.5/10 is outstanding.
But back to the matter at hand: What SA teams and players can do to be more like their EU counterparts. We asked BlueOceanz what one piece of advice he would give local players to help them improve.
“Play as many pubs as possible until you learn and improve. That’s what my players did to get noticed anyways.
Hard work beats talent, when talent fails to work hard. (GLHF: Quoting Kevin Durant, what a baller. That’s a basketball pun. Kevin Durant plays basketball. You get it.) You can always put extra hours into Dota and you’ll get better individually. You play scrims to get better as a team. But I think the 200 ping thing is quite a burden for them. And the fact that they don’t have enough exposure.”
The message that BlueOceanz keeps coming back to is pretty clear, we’ve got to work harder. We know it’s tough between jobs, studies, life and video games that aren’t Dota, but, at the end of the day, if you want Dota to be your career, you’re going to have to work at it like a career.
To end off, we thought we’d take a stab at creating some drama by asking BlueOceanz who he thought was the best Dota player in South Africa: Doni or Castaway?
“You can’t really compare a mid to an offlaner. Who knows? We should do a vote on who’s better. I don’t know who to choose 😀 both are THE best in their roles in SA, right?”
Very diplomatic. Not at all the controversial answer we were looking for. So, we put it to you, dear readers, who do you think is the best Dota player in South Africa?