StarLadder ImbaTV, the third Minor of the season, kicked off today in the Kyiv Cybersport Arena. Taras Bortnik, our special reporter at the event, was able to sit and talk to Linus “Limmp” Blomdin before Alliance’s opening series of day one in the group stage. Their conversation touched a couple of topics, starting with the qualifiers, going through how Alliance is looking at this Minor, how is Limmp feeling about his own performance right now, and of course ending with The International 2020, which will be held on the Alliance home soil.
Hi Limmp, thanks for talking to us, and because we are recording this a day before the tournament begins, let’s start by asking what’s the mood inside the Alliance coming to the StarLadder ImbaTV Minor?
Right now we are in a pretty good mood, we are playing around, practicing, while still having fun. Obviously, we are aiming to win the tournament.
I’d say Alliance is the main favourite at the title here, does this add some pressure on you guys?
No, if anything, it gives us even more confidence.
Which teams do you consider to be your main rivals here?
Probably Gambit and Aster. Gambit are going to play on their home turf, but they are a bit random with their performance. They have very skilled players, but they don’t always have the best team-work. They’re good for sure, but I think we are better.
The opening series will pit you against your former compLexity Gaming teammate, Tavo. I’ve talked to him earlier and he said it’s going to be a bloodbath.
Oh yeah, it will be fun, but we are going to slaughter them (laughing).
Having to play and practice in the European region, you get to meet these extremely good teams, while NoPing e-sports is the underdog here, which can free them from any pressure.
Yeah, they have nothing to lose here while in this particular match-up we are supposed to win, this is how people look at it, right? But we are taking this series seriously, we are not looking at it like “oh they are worse than us.”
Your presence at the Minor was secured in a super tense qualifier grand final against Nigma. You pushed the series to a game five and made it to the Minor, can you talk to us about all the emotions you guys felt after that game?
Yea, that was crazy because at some point in that game most of us didn’t expect to actually win it. To be honest, I didn’t feel so happy immediately after. I mean, of course, we were happy that we qualified, but I’d prefer to have done it in a better fashion.
You started the season so strongly. You got to go to the first Majors, you had good results in a couple of non-DPC tournaments, but here we are now, at a Minor. It feels kind of a downgrade for you if I can say so.
Yeah, of course. Obviously, we aimed to qualify straight to the Major this time as well, but what can I say, EU is a hard qualifier and I don’t think we played particularly well this time, especially in the group stage. I’d say that we are in better shape now.
From outside it doesn’t necessarily look like you are playing worst, I think you being at the Minor instead of the Major it has more to do with the fact that Europe is so stacked now, but it still has just 3 qualifier slots.
I think it’s both, EU is stacked, but we also played badly in the Major qualifier for sure. It is what it is.
Everyone keeps talking about how Europe should get an extra slot, what do you think about that?
I play in Europe, so yeah, I’d like that very much. Europe right now is the hardest region and it will make sense to give us more than three slots, but honestly, I don’t want to think too much about this because I don’t want to spend energy and time to go with “oh but we should have 4, we should have 5.” No, I just want to play, make sure we are at the top of our game and that we do our best.
At the start of the season, when you formed and got signed by Alliance, people were looking at you and didn’t know exactly where to place you; a stack, a group of European rejects, a team with great potential. Your first tournaments made it clear that you are a strong unit, so I’d like to ask you how did you find the dynamics and the synergy so fast between all the team members.
We found our dynamic and identity as a team, we became a team pretty fast and I was pretty surprised to see us being so quick with that. Like any team, we have problems, but each day we try to work on them and we try to become better.
Did you consider working with a psychologist?
We thought about it and we might bring a psychologist to the team when we get closer to the TI. We actually worked briefly with someone, but it was just something very short, we met with him like three times, he didn’t travel with us at events and things like that. Having a psychologist is pretty important because this is a very stressful job and you need to learn how to deal with these situations, when you get frustrated, when you get down with your morale. You need to learn how to not let these things impact your performance.
What do you think about the mid lane match-up in the current meta, what’s better suited now, the mid space creating type of heroes and overall gameplay or the mid-carry kind of heroes?
I’d say you want to play more active heroes in the mid lane now, however, it can be different from game to game. You can do both in the current meta, but if you play something like a Medusa mid, then the carry needs to be more active because if both mid and safe lane heroes are just farming in the first 10-15 minutes, it’s really bad.
Some mid players are a bit more farm-oriented, like they just go with a Morphling mid and just farm, farm, farm for like 15 minutes and that can work in certain scenarios, but against good teams, you will get punished.
How would you rate your performance in the mid lane right now?
I’m inconsistent. Some games I might play amazingly and in the next game I might throw the lane. I’m working on my mentality, I’m trying to stay focused and play smart.
We are close to the middle of the season and I’d like to ask you what’s the main goal for Alliance now?
The main goal is The International, obviously, there are some tournaments leading up to that and we look at them, but for me at least, the main goal is to have a good placement at TI.
The International 2020 is more like a National for Alliance, how do you guys feel about this year’s TI being in your home country, does it add extra pressure on the team to perform well?
I don’t know, I can’t answer it right now. TI still feels so far away, but we will see how we feel about it when we get closer. I mean, we will have friends and families there to watch and support us, but I try to think about it like it is any other tournament. TI is a big tournament, a lot of teams choke at TI, but I guess you have to stay focused, take one game at a time and just keep playing.
You played for Alliance about three years ago, what changed with the organization since the last time you’re with them?
They probably have a bit more money now (laughing), they have these amazing headquarters which are really nice to boot camp in, but overall Alliance has always taken very good care of us, and that is still the case and I’m glad and happy to be here.
Alright, we will wrap up our interview with that, thank you for your time and best of luck here at the Kyiv Minor.
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