Interview with AnatoLiy: "Despite coming in second, we hope we will remain #1 in your hearts"
Fri 4th Apr 2014 - 8:50pm: Smite
We spoke with Team Dignitas solo laner, Anatoliy 'AnatoLiy' Alekseyenok, after HiRez's Smite Launch 200k Tournament, where Team Dignitas took 2nd place.
First off, congratulations on taking 2nd place! What were your expectations coming in to the 200k?
AnatoLiy: Thank you. Our expectations coming into the 200k were to give it our all. We planned for our first opponent, SK Gaming, really well by researching their past scrims and looking at all their individual players and what they liked to do. Then we had to guess who would win between TSM vs. DENIAL and since we had a lot of experience vs. DENIAL, we had to spend more time preparing for TSM. Despite the good preparation we had coming into the event, we had a little bit of a lack of execution in the games against TSM which ultimately led to us getting knocked down in the lower bracket and losing to them in the grand final.
You had some time to hang out with the other NA and EU pros, as well as HiRez employees and active community members before the event started. Tell us about your personal highlights.
AnatoLiy: Every event that we have the privilege to attend has never let me down with the familiar and new faces we get to meet. Everyone from HiRez is down to earth and getting to hear how they contribute to the big puzzle we call Smite strengthens my belief of how dedicated everyone is towards Smite. I haven't met any of the EU players before, except for Realzx during the Tencent Gaming Carnival back in late November, and these guys sure know how to enjoy life.
Trixtank's father was there to accompany him on the trip and it reminded me of the day I met Clutch's father at the twitch party back in PAX Prime 2013. Both the father's support for their respective son in their career path is very strong and makes me wish I had something similar as I was coming up through the ranks originally. All the backstage production and admin staff members were really cool too, it's a shame that they don't get enough recognition as they are the backbone to running the event.
Over the course of the tournament, we saw some of the greatest Smite ever played. What were some of your favorite plays?
AnatoLiy: This tournament has definitely had the best Smite games I have ever spectated. LAN environments definitely bring out the best out of all of us. Some of my favorite plays was watching TSM vs. COG. Lawbster was playing phenomenally well during those matches with his positioning and execution.
We heard that you and the team put lots of time into preparing picks and bans. Where did you see it pay off the most?
AnatoLiy: As each night ended for us, we spent about an hour talking about different picks and bans scenarios that we can do against our next (potential) opponent(s). The picks and bans against C9 in the lower bracket payed off for us the most as we predicted all their picks and got everything we wanted.
Last time we spoke was during the path to the 100k and you had mentioned that the team’s mid harpy and buff control needed improvement. We saw the difference, especially in your day 2 lower bracket rematch against SK Gaming, where you guys really showed immense control over their jungler, ProxyQQ. What lead to the improvements?
AnatoLiy: We had a lot of vision control over SK and took advantage of any poor positioning they had by rotating over multiple people to get a pick and then an objective whether it was a buff, mid harpies, a tower or gf.
DMBrandon mentioned it during multiple casts and I agree, there's a lack of talk about your game impact. You performed superbly in your matchups during the tournament, with clutch Ra snipes and very strong Chaac play. Which matchup was your favorite?
AnatoLiy: My most favorite matchup, and difficult, is Ra vs. Vamana. It's a double edged sword matchup because despite me being able to out push the Vamana early easily, especially with a level 2 heal that I use to counter push after the umbrellarang and armored umbrella, I constantly have to watch out for the jungler. I have to play with no fear and constantly push my early advantage as hard as I can knowing that a fed Vamana can really ultimately hurt my team in the later stages of the game yet at the same time be aware of their jungler positioning and timing for buffs and ganks.
Your lower bracket final series against Cognitive Gaming NA was a matchup most fans would consider the classic matchup for the NA Path to the 100k. Whatwere your thoughts before the series and after the 2-1 win?
AnatoLiy: Before the series against COG we felt confident we had a mental and experience edge over them so as long as we don't play too overly aggressive and play objectively we would have the advantage. After game 1 we were ecstatic that the split push led to the titan kill especially while we were winning the 4v5 fight. Despite losing game 2, we refocused up fast and made sure to play super tight and proper in the next early game which led us to play objectively the rest of the game and take out our biggest NA rivals for the past few months.
You showed us amazing series after series and all of your fans in the crowd and those watching from home cheered their faces off. Is there anything you'd like to say to the fans?
AnatoLiy: To the fans that came to show their support in Atlanta, and all the fans watching back home, we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you guys. We greatly appreciate all the support and hope to keep meeting more fans as the Smite events keep coming in the future. We love you all.
It's been a pleasure, Anatoliy. Any final comments?
AnatoLiy: Thank you HiRez studios for this privilege to play your game. To our sponsors for all their support and trust in our efforts moving forward. To the casters/analysts and admin/staff members behind the scenes for all their hard work. To the hosts Seltzer and Clutch that made the event a treat. Most importantly, once again, to our fans. Despite coming in second, we hope we will remain #1 in your hearts.
A huge thanks again to AnatoLiy for taking the time for the interview. If you enjoyed the interview and want updates on my future content, consider following me on twitter.