[Iview] Era: "Playing the groupstage was more of a learning process for us"

posted by Malystryx.GDS,
It's been a tough road back to the limelight for the former Fnatic and NiP carry se Adrian 'Era' Kryeziu, but with a new groups of friends in Escape Gaming they've made it to the main event. We sat down with the Swede to talk about his journey.
Era's trademark smile during the TI6 press day

eu Ninjas in Pyjamas* went from strength to strength over the last few months, and a 3rd place in the EU Regionals gave them a shot in the Wild Card. After a 2-0 win over Execration, which involved what Era liked to call a "dirty Huskar pick" Escape Gaming progressed to the groupstages. We sat down with Era at the TI6 press day to learn more about Escape Gaming and the inner workings of the popular team.

Were you happy to just reach the main event or did you hope to place in the top 4 of the groupstages?

Era: Coming into Ti from the start was just a lot of pressure in the Wild Card and then after that we legitimately don't have any expectations. We just play to win and hope for the best. So just getting out of the Wild Card was a big success for us and then playing the groupstage was just more of a learning process for us. We feel we're a bit behind most of the teams, most of the games we tried to learn as much as we can. It's not that we're not playing to win but we're just being realistic about our chances.

WE DID IT!! GGWP @ExecrationGG! πŸŽ‰ pic.twitter.com/Xgk3EMgQkFβ€” Escape Gaming (@TheEscapeGaming) 3 August 2016

The story behind the memes and the climb to success

Your guys take amazing team photos. Who comes up with the ideas for the pictures?

Era: Haha, nobody comes up with it it's just a fun thing we have in the team, we have a lot of goofballs in the team so like to just play around. Whenever we go to a professional photo shoot we ask if we can goof around a little bit, have some fun, I guess you saw the TI picture. The famous gun show from Max (qojqva). We just like to have fun.

Escape Gaming's team photos are becoming legendary

You were in STEAK Gaming with Synd and that didn't go too well but for DiG (now Escape Gaming) I think it was around the DreamLeague Season that you started to get into shape and become a "proper" team. Would you agree?

Era: Yea, it was the run-up to the DreamLeague when we played the qualifiers for that and for EPICENTER, we had pretty good games. We found our niche but were a bit disappointed at the LAN finals for DreamLeague, but yes I think that was our prime, the rise of the team.

How did you become Escape Gaming?

Era: We were looking for sponsorship, me and Synderen spent a lot of time on STEAK project and that didn't work, and then it went a couple of months with no safe pay, stuff like that, so it was more about getting a secure income. We feel really professional working around Escape, they are a legit organisation and I'd heard about their CS:GO team before. They are trying to get up there.

On joinDOTA I did a stat to demonstrate just how substantial the TI6 prizemoney is, and worked out that if Escape made it out of the Wild Card you would earn more in one week than you have done in 4 months of competitions. Does having an organisation also justify this kind of risk in terms of rewards?

Era: Yes it does, you need a secure money coming in, and just playing Dota and not having an organisation or winning tournaments is not going to support you. Either you stream or you get a sponsor like we did to back you up, to make you able to put all of these hours into the game and then hopefully win tournaments.

Escape Gaming has helped Era and his team-mates to find stability and support

Is lack of a stable income a new worry for you to have? You seem to have always had an organisation behind you in Dota 2.

Era: It is the first time I've been in this kind of situation, and it's a scary situation. After we disbanded from NiP I was.. left out I guess. Obviously Limpp, Handsken and Chessie found Complexity and I was happy for them but I was a bit left out, I didn't find a stable team. I got some offers but I didn't want to have to fight my way back up again.

What I mean by that is the NiP project, none of those players were famous before, they played HoN, I knew they were legit and I knew they were nice people. It was a project and it worked, but it took a lot of time and I didn't feel I had the time to go through all that again. That's why I wanted to get right back into it and then got contacted by Synderen and we tried with the whole STEAK thing, but that obviously failed.

Why did STEAK Gaming not succeed in your opinion?

Era: I think the players in STEAK didn't match. When you play together or spend time together you feel that there is synergy, you feel you understand how people think about Dota, it's important in a team that all of you have one way of thinking Dota. When it comes to the team game you need to want to play Dota the same way, and we didn't have that match at all in STEAK.

So you recognised the CoL boys had talent, but how did you know your Escape Gaming team-mates de Maurice 'KheZu' Gutmann and jo Yazied 'YapzOr' Jaradat had what it takes?

Era: de Maurice 'KheZu' Gutmann is the same as se Simon 'Handsken' Haag and se Jonas 'jonassomfan' Lindholm in that sense, I knew him from HoN, I knew he was super legit. (What is "legit"?) He has tried really hard for a really long time and he has played a LOT of Dota. So he is trying, you can see that he really wants it. You can feel that desire, the desire to win, the desire to try.

No matter what you tell him, whether it's positive or negative, he will always just listen to you. If I tell him something that I know that he didn't know, he won't get frustrated, he'll just take it on board and maybe the following game you will already see improvement. That is what legit means to me, a player who really wants to do whatever it takes to succeed, the burning passion inside.

Era and his team-mates put their faith in Synderen to do the drafting (Image: @TheEscapeGaming)

So Synderen is the drafter but what happens in-game? Who calls the shots?

Era: Synderen is the drafter but in-game we have several different roles. In Dota we use the word captain but in our team it's a bit... messy..sometimes. So Synderen does the draft himself, but the best way we came up with lately is that whenever he comes to a stage in the draft where he would like some input, he asks us. He is very confident in asking what the best pick is.

I like it when the drafter explains what he is thinking, and that's what we have got better at. Synderen doesn't just pick, he explains why he does and how he wants to do it. If he didn't explain anything then when it came to giving suggestions of which heroes I think we should play I wouldn't be sure because I don't know the gameplan.

We usually set a game-plan together at the end of the draft. During the early game the supports have to lead, so Synderen and Yapz0r. Mid is busy doing.. mid things, he is trying to outskill his opponent and get more last hits and i'm busy..farming (laughs). So the supports will dictate and say 'Era do you think we can get a kill bot?' and I'll say yes let's get this guy, in 20 seconds when he goes for the pull. We try to get everybody involved but in the first five minutes I for example, don't have as much to say as I do later. However, later if I am in a position to take over I do, I'll run the game, the whole shebang.

A good example is the Execration game, I knew I wanted Huskar, I even called the early TP warding to get information, because we need good lanes. I wanted to lane versus Timbersaw specifically, because I knew that I would crush him in lane just because of how the heroes match-up against each other. If I can I will, and it's the same for other players in the team.

You said the groupstages were a learning process for Escape, so what have you learned now they are over?

Era: We learned that heroes we have been rating high we should be rating a bit lower. Keeper of the Light for example, Beastmaster, Dazzle as well. We've been trying to learn how to use our heroes the best as seriously we only really have had one legit strat and that was the Lone Druid strat.

In the Lone Druid strat we all know how we want to play the game, but when the hero is banned we sometimes get drafts that are a bit all over the place and we're reacting to the enemy picks because we're nervous. We don't have a clear cut plan and that's when the game becomes messy and things don't work out for us.

People if they talk about Escape just say we farm early, which is true but it's normally only when what we wanted to do didn't work, so then our game becomes stale because we don't have any plays to make. We just need to play more games, we need to find the same kind of niche like we did at DreamLeague and Epicenter era. TI6 qualifiers Dazzle and Earth Spirit, worked super well, and we were able to build a line-up around those heroes. We're trying to find our niche again.

Era is hoping Escape can reach top 8 but is already happy for making out of the Wild Card (Image: @TheEscapeGaming)

Do you see this team sticking together after the summer? You've worked so hard together to get here.

Era: It's very hard to say, as it depends on a lot on if other people get offers. If people find themselves in a position where they think they could do better on another team. But right now we're all enjoying each others company, we're all good friends. Just like in NiP and Fnatic. (Is that because of you?) Haha, I don't know.

What do you think about the changes to have only 2 Majors instead of 3?

Era: I like that idea, I felt that it was a bit too much, too many things going on at once. There was very little time to sit down and say 'all right guys, we're in a bind right now, we need time to figure out a good way to get back on our horse'. There was no time to sit down for a couple of weeks and try to figure out stuff.

You just always had to perform of it wasn't tournaments then it was qualifiers for tournaments, all of that it was just a bit too much. So I really like this two Major system as I think it will allow more stable rosters and more stable play in general, far less hectic.

Final question, would 13-16th at TI6 be enough for you?

Era: I wouldn't be satisfied, I'd like to place top 8 because I really think we have what it takes in terms of individual skill. At the same time I wouldn't really be heart-broken if we lost first round in the playoffs to Fnatic, sure it sucks losing but at the end of the day we're all just human and we can just try our best when the time comes. Sometimes the best isn't enough and I'd accept that. I'd still be happy we made it our of the Wild Card and we really tried our best to get here in the first place.

Escape Gaming will play Fnatic in the first-round of the LB playoffs. The match is a bo1, but a win would ensure at least a top 12 finish

[i]joinDOTA's TI6 coverage is brought to you by ASUS, our official partner for the event.

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