Kikka, from the EloTalk writer’s team, was able to reach out to one of the underdog Dota teams representing North America: Team Digital Chaos (DC), and arrange a brief interview with their carry player, Mason “Mason” Venne. Here’s some of his personal insight before the main event at The International 7.
The Interview with Mason
K: Going into the main TI event, all of the teams this year are looking really tough. Do you guys do anything when the pressure is on to relax and help get focused for the next game?
M: Between games, we have a team meeting to talk about what we want to do in the game. Our coach talks about what we did well in the previous match, so we can take what we did that was good and keep at it. We can change what we need to, to do better.
K: Are there any teams that you’re especially nervous about going up against?
M: No, I don’t really feel that way about teams. Whoever we play is who we play. We just have to try our best. No particular opponent makes me more nervous than the next.
K: DC has been playing some atypical strategies lately. I’m referring more specifically to when you play a hero that’s more traditionally an offlaner, such as Bristleback (in the qualifiers), Timbersaw, etc., and allow BuLba and DuBu to roam, making things happen elsewhere on the map. What led your team to decide to adopt this unconventional strategy?
M: It usually rounds out the team composition because Abed tends to play more carry mids. We’re kind of changing it up this tournament because that’s not the meta. So while I played some Bristleback and Timbersaw safe lane in the qualifiers, the current meta isn’t there right now. We haven’t been doing it so much.
K: What do you think your greatest strengths are as a player, and how do your teammates complement those strengths?
M: My greatest strengths are probably that I’m flexible with my hero pool. It’s really big, it’s big to a fault, so you don’t really know what works with the team. It can be hectic because you don’t know what’s going to work out. But it’s good because it complements my other players and it lets them play what they’re comfortable with.
K: Despite having a shorter Dota 2 career compared to some other players in the scene, you have had some impressive success, with getting third at TI4, and now competing at TI7. What do you think it is about you as a person and a player that allows you to perform so well?
M: Being flexible and keeping an open mind to heroes and playstyles. It really helps to keep an open mind. That’s the most important thing, I feel, especially for being a strong player. Like for example, if no one is picking Chaos Knight but it comes up in a game, it’s important to know its strengths, how it affects the team, and how they interact with the other heroes.
K: Is there anything in particular that draws you to Dota 2, or draws you back to it, despite having taken a break from the game?
M: I’ve always just been a competitive person. I don’t think there’s anything particular about Dota that gives me more of a competitive drive. It’s a competitive game. I’m a competitive person and I just kind of do it.
K: Does having BuLba, who has such a long career in the Dota 2 scene, as a coach help counteract any shortcomings that the newer players on the DC roster might have due to lack of experience?
M: Yeah, of course, BuLba does a lot of strategy talk. He’s usually the mastermind behind our strategies, he and DuBu, so it’s nice having his experience. Like Abed is a really highly skilled player, but lacks that experience. Having them (Bulba and DuBu), with people who are high skill but don’t have as much experience, lead the team really helps a lot.”
K: If you made it all the way to the grand finals, is there any team would you most want to encounter there and why?
M: Not really, but if there was a team I’d want to meet EG. It’d be nice to play against friends and really play well. Other than EG, not really.
K: Are there any teams that you weren’t expecting much from before the event but now are worried about?
M: Not really. I think this tournament has really gone as expected. Maybe people under-rate TNC, but they’re top four in their group. Not really any surprising teams because everyone’s playing really well.
K: How does playing on DC compare to playing with other teams you’ve been on?
M: I’d say DC’s the second real team I’ve been on. I was on EG and then some worse and smaller team. The difference between DC and the teams I was on, like a year go, is there was no sense of teamwork. It was every man for themselves. There was no leader. It was no effort. They weren’t trying to improve and get better.
K: If DC does manage to win TI7, what’s the first thing you’ll do after the event?
M: Go to the after party and get super drunk.
K: What do you usually do with your time when you’re not training in Dota?
M: I usually spend it with my friends and spend a lot of time with my girlfriend. I play a lot of games, random games, the usual stuff.
K: Do you have any plans for after your Dota 2 career?
M: Probably going to finish school. I think that’s my only real plan. That’s a personal goal, at least.
K: What were you going to school for and what sort of degree will you get?
M: I was going for general shit because I have my associates already. I’d probably just take it from there. Probably go into business.
K: Do you think your time in Dota 2 will help in any way with a career in business?
M: Probably not, honestly. I don’t think they’re very related. If I want to do something in esports, maybe, but I don’t think so.
K: So what sort of path are you thinking of taking with a business degree, then?
M: These are some deep questions. I don’t really have an answer. I’m just taking it day by day. Right now I’m doing Dota, later, I don’t know. I just focus on what I’m doing right now and we’ll see when we get there.
K: Soft shell tacos or hard shell tacos?
M: Soft shell. I hate hard shell tacos.
K: Because of the texture?
M: I guess it’s the texture, yeah sure.
Don’t forget to tune into The International 7 on Twitch. It is held at the KeyArena in the Seattle Center, and has a prize pool of over $18 Million dollars. Don’t miss out!
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