Graphics by Shiroiusagi. Art by Valve
Korok, TC, and BuLba have all had their time in the spotlight, now it's time for our moustache'd support player, opponent-investigator, and in-house fanatic, Liquid`ixmike88! Did we mention he has a moustache?
Thanks for speaking with us? How's it going?
Liquid`ixmike88: Good, thanks for having me!
Been a good year so far?
Liquid`ixmike88: It's been alright, results have been inconsistent and we haven't been able to create a stable practice schedule yet. As far as non-Dota related, bad! It's hard to wake up for early morning classes just for the sake of adopting the European practice hours.
Lets cut to the chase. You have a moustache. Discuss. (How did you get it? What do you like about it?)
Liquid`ixmike88: It's just something that I've grown forever and never bothered to shave it off. I have no opinion about it either way but it has gained a lot of fans (possibly more than me) so I must keep it.
Your moustache stole the show at TI2. What have been the side effects of moustache stardom?
Liquid`ixmike88: I get a lot of random comments and questions regarding it, and sometimes mustache puns. "I mustache you a question" is my personal favorite.
You play Dota as well?
Liquid`ixmike88: On my good days.
Tell us about how you started playing.
Liquid`ixmike88: I played a long time ago with Clan DotA in 2003, but I was really young and really bad. I eventually quit as The Frozen Throne was produced and got back into playing in 6.27b, with my first game being Sniper and my friends telling me to go Sange and Yasha; even though I remember reading a guide to go Eul's and spam Shrapnel for farming. Ever since that I've played on and off in various American in-house leagues, never with any competitive experience or accomplishments until I joined FIRE (later compLexity).
There's a feeling that it's hard to find players who want to play a supporting role; what attracted you to the position?
Liquid`ixmike88: Nothing! I was mostly playing sidelane (3) at the start of Dota 2 beta, but since I had never really taken on a role officially (due to never being on a real team), I made it clear that I was content with taking on any role that was required for the team's cohesion. It just turns out that my support services were required!
You play a hard support role on Liquid, describe what that role means to you.
Liquid`ixmike88: Supports definitely have the opportunity to set the pace of the game, though it mostly depends on strategy. Some strategies set the pace with supports in the very beginning with offensive trilane or dual roaming tactics, others prefer to passively acquire levels and protect the carry until he is big enough to dominate everybody. To me personally, I focus on achieving my early game goals (whether it be to pressure the enemy team, get levels from pulling, or denying a long lane solo experience), followed by both making sure our team has sufficient map vision to help make decision making a lot easier; and anticipating team fights in order to think about my positioning and my targets in battles, defensively or offensively.
What is the art to playing a support player?
Liquid`ixmike88: A lot of players can get really content with dying as a support player, when the fact is every death gives away a ton of gold and experience and sets you behind as well; it's not okay to die for no real reason and justify it as being a support. Other things that I notice is people playing too aggressively in team fights which will easily lead to your demise, along with the failure to maintain warding consistently as the game progresses, including sentries for defense against early-mid game ganks from heroes such as BH or NA.
On Liquid specifically how is your role different than it might be on other teams?
Liquid`ixmike88: I personally try to focus on other aspects than just the in-game itself, I often look up our enemy's favorite strategies and heroes and address with the team the best way to go about countering them.
You played on coL with Fluff and TC before, and you're with them again. What do you like about playing with these guys?
Liquid`ixmike88: Fluff is a great leader and you won't find anyone more dedicated than him when the grind gets going. TC is a nice guy with a ton of individual skill who is also very dedicated, if he's not playing Dota then he's watching a stream!
Liquid pairs you three with BuLba and Korok. How did they change the team and what do they bring to the team?
Liquid`ixmike88: BuLba and Korok have been friends of mine for a long time, so besides the "getting along" aspect, they both offer a lot of individual skill and flexibility, which allows for more dynamics in terms of strategy. There's usually not the worry of not having a player to tackle a niche hero if it's required.
How did you first hear from Liquid? What did you know about TL before?
Liquid`ixmike88: I learned about Liquid when I played Starcraft 2 for a few months. It's the go-to site for anything Starcraft related with great event coverage, interviews, articles and community. At the time, it was much more convenient to look at Liquipedia or the event calender to find more information about things such as MLG events or the GSL.
What's your take on the last month and a half? Are you satisfied with the team's progress?
Liquid`ixmike88: The results have not been very good as I have said, between the exams of November-December and holiday breaks along with other issues here and there, there hasn't been time to really start practicing heavily. I think we have a step in the right direction but now it's just a matter of playing more.
What other roles do you take on for Liquid outside of the game?
Liquid`ixmike88: I try to help with anything strategy related, whether it be watching our own replays, watching the enemy replays, or practicing different tactics in practice mode and such.
You have a presence in the community, whether commenting on forums or writing guides for sites like DotaHut. What does it mean to you to be active in the scene?
Liquid`ixmike88: It's important for the professional players to try to get involved. Relative to other games, Dota has very little structure and organization regarding anything formal or official, it helps when competitive players get involved in public events such as talk shows, news articles, etc.
What do you like most about the Dota 2 community? What could be improved?
Liquid`ixmike88: I love that the fans are loyal. Whether it be to adamantly support or hate a team, most don't change their opinions regardless of results. But the structure of Dota for beginners is very lacking. I remember when I was starting out with Starcraft 2, it was very easy to find reading material on just about everything. Between Day9 Dailies, Tastosis casts, and well organized guides, it's fairly simple to get on your feet in Starcraft; unfortunately none of this exists in Dota. With the exception of some hero guides, there are no generally accepted improvement guides or well documented thought processes, very little competitive player analysis, not much structure for improvement (at any level) and most of the casters are not very experienced in competitive Dota.
What is your experience with Starcraft? Any thoughts on what makes the two communities similar or different?
Liquid`ixmike88: I played Starcraft 2 for a few months and eventually got Masters, I was vaguely familiar with the names of popular Koreans from Brood War and I followed GSL every night at extremely obnoxious hours. I can't speak much for the community since I only played with a few friends and not too much other interaction.
Who's your favorite Liquid Sc2 player?
Liquid`ixmike88: Hero. He was a huge name and scary player very early into his career, and I'm glad to be on the same team as him.
Speed dating round now. Who's your favorite hero?
Liquid`ixmike88: Shadow Demon
Least favorite hero?
If you were in a different spot in the line-up, what hero would you love to play?
Liquid`ixmike88: Bounty Hunter.
What's your favorite moment in your entire Dota career?
Liquid`ixmike88: Meeting the fans at TI2.
Some of our Liquid fans from Sc2 might not be so interested in Dota 2. What would you say to them to convince them to give it a shot?
Liquid`ixmike88: There's a lot more social interaction in Dota compared to Starcraft, and in the highest levels, the strategy and mindgames are equally plentiful.
Tell us something about someone else on the team that fans won't know.
Liquid`ixmike88: BuLba goes quiet and starts mumbling when he's feeding.
Who else on the team would you like to see grow a moustache?
Sometimes, in the dark of night, when you're alone with your thoughts, do you think of shaving your upper lip?
Liquid`ixmike88: I've given it much thought but now I'm committed.
Would that be your version of a Saw movie?
Liquid`ixmike88: I'd say so!
Best celebrity moustache?
How'd you get your username by the way?
Liquid`ixmike88: When I was younger my cousin was named ixrick88 and he was my idol, so naturally I copied his name and it stuck.
What would your last meal be?
Liquid`ixmike88: Steak and potatoes.
Besides Dota, what are some of your other hobbies?
Liquid`ixmike88: Scarface 1983
Liquid`ixmike88: Of Mice and Men.
Favorite movie based on a book?
Liquid`ixmike88: Harry Potter series.
Alright, thanks so much for speaking with us! Any shoutouts?
Liquid`ixmike88: Shoutout to ae, bb, sulli, febby, brinkman, and eggs in a basket. I'd also like to thank our sponsors Twitch, shinythings, Razer, and Barracuda Networks, and our fans and supporters.