ARS-ART: I'm ''sick'' with DotA
posted by ReiNNNN, 1 year agoWhen Na'Vi's former captain, the illustrious ArtStyle, left the team, fans the world over were left wondering who could possibly fill the breach. The mastermind, who captained the Ukrainians to the ultimate glory at The International at Gamesom 2011, had a wealth of experience in competitive DotA combined with frighteningly high skill – he could not be replaced easily.
However, one man was capable of answering the call – Sergey 'ARS-ART' Revin. A veteran in competitive DotA from the Russian scene, his vast, successful experience includes numerous wins in famous teams such as The Retry and Moscow 5. With Puppey stepping up to claim the captain's mantle, the man also known as Smile slotted seamlessly into the Na'Vi squad, initially as a stand-in, to help them win ESWC 2011, before joining forces with them permanently to help them maintain their dominance in Dota 2.
Now, in another interview by prodota, ARS-ART opens up to his fans, reflecting on his life and career in DotA so far, and the highs and lows it has entailed.
As far as I know, you are 23 years old. Do you agree that your gaming reaction declines with age? Do you still you will still be able to play professionally when you come close to 30 like Drayich?
Yes I am 23 now and I could probably be called old in eSports (laughs). As for reaction, this is a really controversial issue. However, when it comes to usual sports, it definitely will but I don't think it will affect performance in computer games, at least not 23 years old. Will I still be playing when I'm 30? Why not? As long it keeps bringing me money.
In an interview with V1lat, you mentioned that you are working. Is that true?
Yes it is true but I do not wish to disclose that.
How about your girlfriend
I have been together with my girlfriend for three years and we broke up half a year ago. I am still feeling sorry about this.
I'm sorry. What is harder to balance your life with Dota? School, work or personal life?
Most probably work. Since you can't just skip work for games (smile).
Are you a big fan of sports? I heard that you have trained as a boxer. Is this true?
Yes I trained that till I was 20. In fact, I have played most of the popular sports and this includes boxing and I have always been very good at it. Now, I play football with my friends every week just to stay in shape.
What kind of sports do you follow?
I am well versed in most sports and if the Russian national team or any Russian teams, I will be cheering for them. However, I like football the most - like most guys.
How about poker? Are you a gambler?
I'm very reckless. Don't even think about asking me to play cause I give in so easily. There are several gaming establishment in Moscow and next to my previous house was a casino called "Korston". You have no idea how much time I have spent there playing roulette, blackjack and the slot machines. I play poker too and I spent a lot of money playing it but I have never thought of playing it professionally.
You started playing games when you were in the 6th or 7th grade. Are you not bothered by the fact that you are still playing games all these while?
If my memory serves me right, back when I was in 6th or 7th grade, Counter-Strike, Starcraft and Quake 2 was the bomb. All the guys skipped school or go straight to LAN cafe after school to play because most of us do not have home computers. So, instead of going to school, I follow my friends there. By the way, this was the reason I skipped my school for the very first time. Returning to the question, I am still very interested in games. I think that if you are "ill" with something, then you will never be bored of it and instead will be fun. So yeah, I am "sick" with Dota.
In an interview a couple of years ago, you said "Dota has never been thought as something to be played professionally, it is just a game which I play casually with a bunch of friends". It is now a job for you. Do you get pleasure from playing and socializing with friends or is it just salary as a motivation now?
Times have changed and Dota is now a professional passion for me. Of course I still enjoy playing and socializing with friends but obviously the salary bonus is great as well.
How did you come up with the nick ARS-ART. You also previously mentioned SMILE is a result of you using emoticons as nickname in games. Is this true?
Yes, I used to play in LAN cafes without any weird nicknames but just different emoticons. Over time, people began to call me "Smile" and I decide to just change the nickname to be written by letters. About ARS-ART, it's a secret (wink).
Tell us your opinion about Dota 2. The game is still in its beta stages and what kind of improvement would you like to see?
Dota 2 is the best game! When I first heard that it is coming out, the only thing I could do is guess. I was wondering if it will be the continuation of the legendary WC3 DotA. In the end, it turned out that Dota 2 is just as good as I wanted it to be. Yes the game is unfinished at the moment but as the song goes, "Moscow was not built at once", there are more improvements to come. Developers are using the players and beta testers to improve Dota 2 and correct various bugs and errors. I think when The International 2 comes, the game will be perfect.
Do you read the developer forums, changelogs and FAQs?
I only read changelogs as I need to know about all the changes to the game. I get to know the rest of the information from the players because everyone shares information. Bugs and all sort of game abuses cannot be hidden (smile).
Can you reveal something about the game that is not widely known?
That is hardly possible as most new stuff gets publicized and in an hour time, everybody knows about it.
In an earlier interview, you mentioned that human behaviour have a bigger influence in a bigger way compared to gaming behaviour. Do you still agree with it?
Yes I do. One of the most striking examples in this case is PGG (no offense to him, I love him). Because of his characteristic, he is unable to play with many good players.
Have you thought about streaming? What do you think about players who stream their games?
In terms of streaming, we need to start streaming to catch up with Dendi. Lost has already started streaming and others will soon too. I would personally start any time. My attitude towards streaming players is absolutely positive. If people like to watch the game of a certain people, then why not stream it? I do have to admit sometimes I watch Dendi's stream. Sometimes he can provide the viewers with such incredible performance and sometimes he plays like a retard. No offense, love him too! (laughs).
WDC in 2010
Briefly describe your feelings from the world's biggest DotA tournament. Were you nervous? Was it your first international LAN?
It really was my first LAN because we were not selected for ESWC in 2010 summer. The feelings that I get from the tournament is simply unforgettable, there were a lot of people, a huge stadium with autograph sessions etc. Everything is as it should be for a large scale tournament. I wasn't nervous - I have balls of steel (smiles).
Before the tournament, you mentioned that you have barely practised with a full team. Why were you so "negligent" when you are about to face off against some of the biggest DotA team in the world? Have you changed anything now and do you guys go into a match fully prepared?
At that time, I simply do not care. Now I have responsibilities to my team. In addition, my attitude has changed. I think if you want to win something, then you need to train hard.
Can you tell me why Vigoss did not come to the tournament? Do you forgive him?
You wouldn't believe this but I still don't know what happened (laughs). However, I do not take offense to it. It's just at that moment, everybody was angry because of this but the anger just disappeared with time. All was forgotten.
In an interview before the tournament, you said that "the main thing is to not lose the picks". Do you think it depends more on personal skill and how much does the picks determine the outcome of the game nowadays?
Skills are certainly needed because without it, it is just nothing. For most part however, it is still important to have an overall understanding of the game and the chemistry and interaction of the team on the map from the first minute till the last. If some players is not doing anything useful at all, you can still lose even if you have the stronger picks. Generally speaking, the picks of a team will be stronger from one to another but as the game goes, it all depends on your action to determine the outcome of the game.
Tell us about your performance in TR. How much experience have you gained playing alongside PGG?
I have probably played more with PGG than anyone else. There is nothing to talk about really except that we won a few ASUS and OSPL. About experience, I think I gained something from everybody.
What has been your best experience so far and what is the worst. How is playing with Na'Vi?
In TR, people seems to always come and go and there were always new players. So I just played casually and enjoyed the moment. Times have changed since then. Na'Vi is not just a mix team with some team goals and objectives that needed to be reached. That's why I say that I like to play with Na'Vi more now.
M5 and The International
Tell us whether you liked the first million dollar tournament? What was most memorable?
I remembered that we were ripped by MYM in the first groupstage. They managed to go through to the next stage and then eventually placed top 4 (sadface). We also lost to a team which I don't even remember and got placed to play against Na'Vi. We could have went into the easier grid. Obviously I still remember that the Ukrainians won. I also saw a lot of Dota players in real life. It was nice to talk to them.
Did you meet these players for the first time?
It depends. I have met Puppey and KuroKy before in ASUS and MYM in WDC. As for the rest, it is my first time.
After the tournament, NS said that you did not practise with the team because of your job. Are you not able to take time off your job to prepare to win a million dollars?
Well, I could not. It is not just my work that hindered practise, it was also because my birthday is on the 12th of August. I was in holiday mood.
If The International 2 will have the same amount of cash prize, do you think you will sacrifice your celebration time to bootcamp with Na'Vi?
I would celebrate at the bootcamp (laughs). Seriously, I can assure you that history will not repeat itself.
Can you explain how M5 (Smile was playing with them) was defeated in The International?
It is because we lack in practise and we do not have full understanding of all the imba heroes. The main reason of it is surely not understanding what to do and the lack of knowledge of Dota 2.
You still won 35 thousand dollars though. How did you spend the money?
Oh nothing much. Just spent it on leisure (smiles).
Were you surprised that you and Santa was removed from the team after the tournament?
I wasn't exactly surprised. I knew that it was necessary to look for the reason of defeats and I knew I would be removed from the team after the tournament. Santa was kicked too although I don't think his removal is properly justified because he is now back in the team. I do believe that the roster of M5 at The International was strong.
Do you have any conflict with any of the other players in M5?
There was no conflict but NS was angry at me, perhaps others too. However, I don't see how I am the main one at fault too. If a team cannot come to an understanding about the game (with four, there should be), then sorry.
Is a victory at The International 2 one of your main goal?
For me, I just want to emerge victorious. Well, $200,000 is not bad too (laughs).
Did you read the article on prodota titled "So why Smile"? What do you think - bad analysis, a set of obvious facts or anything else?
I do not remember exactly how and what you mentioned there but everything seemed to be sensible. Briefly answering the main question of that article, I think that the victory of Na'Vi in 2 championships with my participation gave me a huge advantage over the other candidates. In addition, as far as I know, my main competitor God did not want to leave M5.
Judging by official statements, you did not go to WDC 2011 because of your job. Why did you leave your job for Na'Vi after WDC? Were you fear for the Chinese the main reason for your refusal to go to China?
My job was the main reason I did not go to China (sadface). If I could I would love to visit WDC. I have no fear of the Chinese. As for leaving my job afterwards, I decided to play as much as I can because I will have my whole life to work in the future.
Recently on our forum, there was a rumor that Na'Vi's payroll is about $500 a month. Obviously these are all just speculations but the fans are really interested in this question - did you quit a job in Moscow for the salary of this level? It is indeed a small sum of cash.
Without mentioning any specific numbers, lets just say that I get more or less enough to live but as you know I have other means of income, so I have nothing to complain about.
In 2009, you were asked about the unexpected use of Pudge in Virtus Pro and Team Russia and you said that this was just a part of your strategies. Did you decide to reuse those old-school tactics at ESWC? How did you come to a decision of picking Pudge?
In 2009, Pudge was weaker, and the metagame back then was quite different. But Na'Vi picked Pudge at The International so, it was no surprise that we picked him again during ESWC. The decision came very simple really - Dendi wanted this hero and promised to destroy our opponents with it. So we believed in him and he did not disappoint!
You said that you hate the support role and love to play late game heroes and gankers. Nowadays you seem to be playing all heroes. How do you feel about that? Were there any tension in the team in this regard?
In pubs, I random my heroes. So any hero is no problem for me (smiles). Anyway, with the addition of Smoke of Deceit, support heroes can be turned into gankers in the early stages of the game.
Tell us about your training. How often do you play as five? Who are your opponents commonly?
All the guys from our team finally pulled themselves together after the New Year and began to train with complete dedication and I think you can see the result of it. Speaking of time playing together it depends. Sometimes, there are no opponents and we ended up sitting and waiting. If everything is going good, we normally play four to five hours in a row. As for me, it all depends on my mood. Sometimes I don’t want to play and sometimes I play for 20 hours in a row! We usually look for European teams because we don’t want to play on American or Asian hosts since it makes us want to kill ourselves. Recently, we play more with Loda's team. The score is currently 10-2 in our favor.
XBOCT recently talked about some boot camp. Has it started already and what is the goal of this boot camp?
The boot camp has already ended last Thursday. It lasted for about a week and it is not aimed at preparing for something special. It's more to hang out, socialize and of course, not to forget how to play on LAN!
In March, you will play a show match versus DTS. Do you crave for a revenge of final of Dota 2 Stars Championship?
Yes we wish to taste the sweet sensation of revenge and we will come prepared this time.
Since we are on the topic of Dota 2 Stars Championship, what exactly went wrong in the final? Why was Dendi not at the award ceremony?
The final was an absolute nightmare! We did a complete nonsense... Just no comments. Dendi was rushing to catch a train to Lviv and that is why he did not attend the award ceremony. He was busy packing his stuff up.
So did he missed his train?
Nah, he got there just in time (laughs).
In my opinion, a few people have noticed that since The International, Na'Vi and Darer (ex-M5/Garaj) has exchanged only one player. Do you think after changing ArtStyle for you, Na'Vi will obtain the same excellent result for The International 2?
I wouldn't make any predictions. Only time will tell.
Which upcoming LAN tournament will we see you at? Or is nothing settled yet?
We would be glad to attend any LAN even if the tournament is tomorrow but unfortunately, there is absolutely no LAN at all. The nearest one will probably be the showmatch against DTS.
What do you think is the reason behind that? Is Dota 2 not popular enough yet?
That's not the point. It is usual for spring time to not have much championships. Besides that, OSPL has decided to use WC3 DotA and with ASUS going online, there is really nothing happening you see.
Tell us about your tactics with Carry Vengeful Spirit. Who is the mastermind behind this idea and why has the team given such a big task to Vengeful?
Vengeful is a very strong hero - one of the few that has all the useful spells but the problem is that this hero needs levels. In general, the strategy of carry Vengeful is very old and it seems that a lot of the old strats are making a comeback in Dota 2. Although it sounds weird but Vengeful will beat half of the typical late game heroes.
Since we are talking about tactics, I want to ask a few questions from one of our users. You like to pick Venomancer in the first picking phase. Is this your personal request or does Puppey auto-picks this hero for aggressive strategies?
We take Venomancer because it is very useful for the team and can perform multiple roles - from support to tank. Also, it has very damaging ultimate and it can easily go into late game alongside Vengeful. Plus, his wards are also really good for defending and pushing.
What is wrong with Batrider in DotA 2? Why is it that it is ignored by most of the teams?
Batrider had a bug in which the stack does not do anything. Since it has been fixed in the latest up and the stacks working as they should be, we should be seeing more of Batrider in the near future.
After listening to your teamspeak in Dendi stream, it was evident that your team have no global tactics and simply select the strongest heroes on lanes. Is this true and what’s the reason behind it?
No, we do have a global tactic in mind and that is the throne (smiles). On the serious note, our common plan is simple that we push the towers down quickly to get some money which can require the heroes to buy more items to have the advantage. This is easier for the push later on. After all, , you can push with any heroes even if they are not designed for this purpose. Everything depends on the player.
As for the heroes in lanes, we like to do a heavy or mobile bundles to all lanes to permanently set the tone for the game. As I said earlier, if you don't make yourself useful, the opponents will quickly impose their own game and win.
Let’s continue talking about your organization. Na'Vi has recently acquired a League of Legends roster. What do you know about this discipline?
Frankly, I know nothing about LoL. Yes, I saw the game, but I didn’t play it.
Since you left work for Na'Vi, you have probably calculated the possibility of you being kicked out of the team. What will you do if this happened?
I will go and find a job (laughs). Don’t worry, I have everything under control!
Players and teams
XBOCT once described you in an interview as follows, "There has never been any conflict between me and Smile and I regard him as the most appropriate and normal player I know". What do you think of him?
XBOCT is a very cheerful and friendly man. It is always a pleasure to talk and spend time with him. Besides that, we also have similar interests and hobbies.
What do you think of Puppey as a captain? Do you agree with his decision on the picks and the in-game decision that he makes?
Honestly, I really like to play under his leadership. He is intelligent and understands all there is to know about the game. We mostly discuss the game plan and the picks together before making a final decision.
Here is a quote from an old interview of yours, "You met Vigoss when your old team [xxx], came to hang out in one of Moscow computer clubs and he won your team 1v5.". What is there to say about this player? Do you think you can beat him with Mirana yet or can he still 1v5 you?
Vigoss is still quite strong and he certainly knows how to kill heroes and to fight for the runes. However, Dota has changed and he is still a top player. I usually play the same pool of heroes as Vigoss as in I know how to play the same heroes as he does. So I would say the 1v1 battle would turn out 50:50 (smiles).
Let's go back to your game against PGG in TR. How would you describe him as a captain? Do you think DTS will be able to achieve glory under his leadership?
PGG is a good captain. It is no wonder that he won Stars Championship. If their current line-up will not change as it always happens in TR, then they will succeed.
What do you think a out God. After a recent Tinker game he played where he performed excellent, fans started calling him "octopus". Is he now not just a promising player but a world class player?
Of course! I recently compared his performance with Dendi and the both of them are really identical and are extremely strong players. I want to see them playing each other again.
What do you think about the recent successes of the team Fire. Do you think you will be able to overcome them in LAN?
Complexity is a pretty strong team with their own style of play. They don't allow any mistakes and play with confidence and this will only benefit. They are a very difficult team to beat.
So do you think you can beat them since they are so good?
We will see!
You will face off against Complexity in The Premier League in a few days time. Will you start analyse some of their games or will it just be online training as usual?
Our aim is to throw them off Gosugamers top ranking since they have been sitting there for quite a while now (laughs). Everyday I tell Dendi that TC is better then him at mid to make him angry.
Describe the European Dota 2 scene. Which would you highlight especially?
I like Next.kz. These guys train hard and they have already established their own style which always results in a good challenge. Quantic Gaming is not bad. Wester Wolves are well trained but not that hard. Another highlight would probably be Dignitas led by CWM and another strong team will be Evil Geniuses. Loda and company are on their way towards the top but they have a lot to compensate for their team allowing a lot of mistakes. Oh yeah of course there's Darer and DTS which have not showed their strength yet.
What do you think about the Chinese domination in Dota 2? Is it even possible?
Yes maybe. I want them to quickly switch to Dota 2 to find out. I am not afraid of them at all and they should switch and try playing Dota 2.
Recently, one of our users, Permaktikis, drew a cartoon of you (right) and you have used it as your avatar on Prodota.ru. Do you like what he did? The author even thought of remaking it.
I really liked my own cartoon despite the dedicated chin (laughs). I think the author is very smart. Good job mate! Keep up the good work. You are extremely talented!
What do you think about all the other cartoons that he drew? Who came out better and who would you like to see in the future?
The coolest ones are no doubt Versuta, Lost and ddd1ms but the others are really good too. I would like to see the author draw everybody because he is just so talented. Period.
Another user, LegMC also did a Dota rap. Have you heard it? What do you think?
Yes I heard it. I do not want to hurt anyone's feelings but in my opinion, it was quite the nonsense.
Thank you for the long interview. Any last words?
I want to thank everybody who I know in the game and also the fans and the relatives and friends of my fans! I also want to convey my feelings to the our team's haters and for your sake, we will try even harder. Of course, a big thanks to all our sponsors especially Steelseries and Antec. For the latest information on our team, go to our website here!
Sources: Part 1, Part 2