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Alexey Kondakov: "There was a mistake on player selection stage" 11.07.2018 Author // Ace

Vega Squadron Owner & CEO told MAXIM why the team failed on TI8 qualifiers, Dota 2 coaching problems and esports as a business.

About The International 8 results:

The preparations for the qualifiers were going as usual. We played with EU teams and managed to beat almost everyone except for OG. We did not play with CIS teams on purpose in order not to show strategies. I was confident, I couldn't be 100% sure we'd win the qualifiers, but we have definetely been able to put up a fight. The 0-6 result was something shocking for me. After the first 2 maps I decided to step in, I tried to cheer up the team. Even the players were stunned by the performance. Everyone did their best, noone did give up. So it's not something on the qualifiers, the problem should be looked for in the period before it. There was a mistake on player selection stage, let's say.

About coach choice:

We considered the CIS options including some unknown personalities. The problem is that we're really lacking agents in eSports - a prepared coach is impossible to find. There are some ex-pro players that want to try themselves in a new role, there are some amateurs that message me every day: "I want to become your coach because I'm working in sports, I know how it works and I also love Dota". There was a number of options, in other words. We chose Kips because she really displayed solid results with other teams. She's really clever, knows how psychology works, reads a huge amount of appropriate literature. She maybe lacks practice in psychology, but she definitely understands things told by sports psychologists.

About the previous Dota 2 roster:

When we lost to LGD FT with 3-22 score in Shanghai, I understood that this roster had no future. After the match we had a skype call with the team and accidently heard that guys were fine with the result. I didn't agree - if there is no inner motivation and such failures are considered "normal", then there's nothing I could do. The player shouldn't just attend the practice matches, he should do his utmost best and aim for the highest highs, that's the only way to reach tier-1. This is why I decided to make a bet on a coach and build a team around her.

About problems with players:

There are players that do not understand that professional Dota is not just the game itself, but it's also teambuilding and many other things. Such personalities are hard to work with. The younger the player is, the more he's motivated, you see the fire in their eyes, so working with them is a pleasure. It's harder with famous guys, as it is in every business, they require a special approach. Let's take Akbar SoNNeikO for example, he's a personality. He already has a plan of how he wants to reach success. And this plan may differ from the organization and player plans.

About the «gold roster»:

Guys went to The International 2015 with a miserable salary. They had so many offers from other organizations, but they stood as a team because they believed me. When we lost the Wild Card, I believed them and we saved the roster and I provided them with all the necessary conditions. Alexey, Pasha, Andrey - we're still in touch as good friends.

About transfer costs:

Usually 20-30,000$ is a normal price for a CIS player, if we're not talking about Roman RAZMES666 Kushnarev. In Counter-Strike the prices are much higher, even in CIS.

About esports as business:

The biggest investment so far is $100,000,000 from Alisher Usmanov. Yeah, sometimes we have other investments and money do exist in esports. Let's say, eSports is of high profit as a business only if you're the best in your region and your team is at least top-5. Then you can earn something. But so far this is a business of future that may cover the costs but doesn't let you earn much. It's mostly because the paying audience still has to grow up for 4-5 years.

ПYou can read a complete interview here (Russian).