Dota 2 News: Interview with Entity mid laner Stormstormer: “I have no reason to believe we cannot win TI11”
Interview with Entity’s mid laner, Stormstormer, about their rise to prominence, the new Dota 2 meta and TI11.
When it comes to the biggest Dota 2 tournament of the year – The International – one of the factors that makes it extremely exciting is the underdogs that have the potential to score unexpected wins. For The International 2022 (TI11), the team that tops the underdogs’ list is Entity, who have earned the tag after their demolition of the Western European TI11 qualifiers. Leading the demolition is their mid player, Daniel “Stormstormer” Schoetzau, who has been a standout name in professional Dota 2 for the past few months. GosuGamers caught up with the German to talk about Entity’s rise to prominence, the new meta developing around Dota 2 patch 7.32, and his expectations from the team going into TI11, amongst other things.
Hello Stormstormer! Thank you for taking the time to do the interview. Where is the team bootcamping right now?
We are bootcamping in Malaysia, in the city of Johor Bahru, with some other teams like Gaimin Gladiators, BetBoom, Thunder Awaken, Evil Geniuses and beastcoast. We got here on the 2nd of October, so it’s been around a week.
You are about to play at your first-ever TI. How do you feel, are there jitters?
No, nothing like that. I am just amazed to be here and looking forward to it. Mostly just feeling hyped for The International 2022!
Congratulations on making it through the TI11 Western EU qualifiers! It was a pretty competitive region with some very experienced teams in the mix. Did you expect to dominate the region in the manner that Entity did?
Not at all. We went into the qualifiers with a lot of confidence, knowing we could win the entire thing, but none of us expected to end the qualifiers with a 9-0 game score. That part was unexpected, but the team never really doubted our chances to qualify for TI11. That was our goal from the beginning.
None of us expected to end the qualifiers with a 9-0 game score
Who did you see as your main competitors for the Western European TI11 qualifiers slot? Team Secret would definitely be one of them.
It was a surprise that Nigma was eliminated that early, but this is something we have been seeing for a while now in Western Europe. Up-and-coming teams like Entity and Gaimin Gladiators change the face of Dota 2. Why do you think this shift has happened? Is the DPC format one of the reasons for this?
Honestly, it’s a bit hard to pinpoint the reason for that. There are a lot of players who are saying that the online format favours the up and coming players and teams, but I’m not too sure about that.
I just think that the new DPC format allows more new players to perform well, which is why a lot of rosters of five new players can be seen in the DPC Leagues. Before the DPC system began, you would typically see one new ‘star’ player in a roster of four veteran players. An example of that would be Amer “Miracle” Al-Barkawi in Monkey Business [later OG] back in 2015.
The DPC system, in my opinion, has had the biggest impact. But it is also due to the fact that a new generation of players has kicked in; 10 years is a long time. The drive and motivation of a young player to go to The International are bound to be higher as compared to a player who has been competing for a decade. Maybe I’m wrong about that!
From what we are seeing, it does make sense, and that probably is a factor. What do you think set you apart from other experienced teams like Liquid, Nigma and Secret that were a part of the qualifiers?
I think we figured out the new meta [patch 7.32] quite well and had unique picks that the other teams weren’t ready for. Also, Entity had the chance to play a LAN event in Malaysia [ESL One Malaysia] on the new patch, which helped us a lot. So did Team Secret. Team Liquid got eliminated in the group stages, and Nigma didn’t attend the event at all, so we were able to get a few more games under our belts as compared to our adversaries. LAN events tend to boost your confidence quite a bit!
But apart from that, the meta just fits our playstyle really well, and it always helps when the drafts and strategies for your team work well.
We figured out the new meta [patch 7.32] quite well and had unique picks that the other teams weren’t ready for
So Dota 2 patch 7.32 really suits the Entity playstyle?
We were really comfortable with the old patch as well, and the new one took some time to get used to. At ESL One Malaysia, we played the first day on Dota 2 patch 7.31, and ended the day 4-0 in the group stages. On the day after, when patch 7.32 arrived, it was quite terrible for us. We went 1-3 on the second day, losing games against teams we wouldn’t have expected to. Like any other team, the patch caught us off guard, but eventually, we adapted pretty well. The WEU TI11 qualifiers showed that! Personally, I love the 7.32 patch.
What do you think about the mid lane in the current meta? The small neutral camp near the mid lane was removed which changed the lane dynamics quite a bit. Did you like that change?
Absolutely! Initially, I disliked it, because as a mid laner, you were so used to having that small neutral camp. You Illusionary Orb there with Puck and there’s no camp, and you just end up losing mana. But if you ask me now, I do like the change. Honestly, I like any major change to the meta. It’s only been a few days, but now I am completely used to not having the small camp. Everybody had the mid lane figured out when the camp was present. If you had a bad lane, you would just stack this camp and use it to make a recovery.
Has the change made the mid lane a lot more skill based as compared to before?
That was the impression that I initially had because if you get owned in the mid lane now, there is no way of making a comeback. But after a bit more thought, I’d say it is hard to tell. It’s easy to say after a major change like this one that the lane is more skill based, but players probably thought it was more skill based when the small camp was introduced, because you had to stack it and use it. But once you get used to it, I’d say both metas are quite similar in terms of skill required in the mid lane.
In the past few months, you have definitely been one of the standout mid players in the professional scene. Who has been the most challenging to play against in the mid lane, or someone that you have relished playing against? And who are you looking forward to playing against at TI11?
First of all, thank you! Michał “Nisha” Jankowski was a difficult opponent to play against. He made me suffer at ESL One Malaysia. His Sniper completely dominated my Ember, and he carried Team Secret in that game. Other than him, OG’s Bozhidar “bzm” Bogdanov and BOOM Esports’ Erin “Yopaj” Jasper Ferrer are the mid laners I respect the most.
I haven’t had the opportunity to play against Chinese mid laners yet, so that is one thing I am looking forward to at TI11 on the main stage. I did play against Jiaoyang “Ori” Zheng from Team Aster, but I am relishing the opportunity of playing against all the other big names.
I am eager to see those matchups! Let’s talk about your coach, Daniil “MeTTpuM” Gilev. What does he bring to the table, how much of an impact has he had?
MeTTpuM is a massive part of the team, and does a lot of work behind the scenes. Most people only see him on camera during the draft, but he has a gigantic impact, both inside and outside the game. He works on the drafting, studies what the opposition is comfortable with, but also has a foot ahead with the in-game stuff. When there is a game replay to be analyzed, he will always have notes prepared for it.
Apart from Dota 2, when players are having emotional ups and downs, he has a neutral point of view, which is probably one of the biggest benefits of having a coach. He can help the players reset their emotions.
In a recent interview, the three Team Liquid coaches mentioned that the impact coaching has on the professional game varies a lot from player to player. According to you, how much has coaching in Dota 2 changed the professional game?
I experienced the first real impact of a coach only after I started playing with Entity! Before this, the teams I played on did not have a coach. And comparing those experiences with the one right now has made me realize how invaluable it is to have a sixth person. Having witnessed the stuff MeTTpuM does for Entity, I cannot imagine playing on a team without a coach. Dota 2 is a lot about theory – how you approach a particular team. I think that a team without a coach probably performs at only 70% of its maximum potential.
Having witnessed the stuff MeTTpuM does for Entity, I cannot imagine playing on a team without a coach
That is some great insight, because it isn’t a part of the game that everyone gets to witness. Even though Entity made it through the qualifiers, the way you dominated has earned you the dark horse title in the minds of a lot of people in the Dota 2 community. Does that put any pressure on you?
I’ve noticed that it has affected me subconsciously to an extent. Before the qualifiers, we had fans who said we would win the WEU qualifiers. But after the qualifiers, the number of fans has grown quite a lot and there are people suggesting we will win the entire thing. Of course, having these fans is amazing and I couldn’t ask for anything more, but I now realize how that automatically raises expectations.
I’m still just trying to play my game and have fun, but knowing that there are so many people cheering for Entity and expecting us to lift the Aegis, you tend to think of your team at a higher level than you did before.
Realistically, what are your expectations in Singapore at TI11?
Of course, the main goal is to win the tournament. Looking at the way we dominated the TI11 qualifiers, I have no reason to believe we cannot win TI11. I would at least love to make it to the final two days as I have friends and family coming for the final stages of the playoffs, but winning The International 2022 is the goal I imagine Entity to strive for.
Winning The International 2022 is the goal I imagine Entity to strive for
When did your tryst with Dota begin, and how were you introduced to the game?
I have two older brothers and got in the habit of playing games quite early on in my life, and by early, I mean when I was in kindergarten! I used to play Warcraft 3, and I occasionally saw my brothers playing Dota 1, but I didn’t like it back then and thought it was too complicated.
I got into Dota when a friend at school talked to me about it, and fell in love with the depth of the game. It has been around 12 years since I started playing the game!
What do you like to do when you aren’t playing Dota 2?
I go bouldering or climbing with friends back home [in Munich, Germany]. Other than that, I love going on bike rides and on holidays with family and friends. When you’re a professional Dota 2 player, you tend to travel a lot. So. when I am home, I just like to hang out with friends, grab a drink and play board games.
Shoutout to my teammates – they are all beasts who are the best at their positions! Shoutout to my family and friends for supporting me on my journey to The International. My mother is my biggest supporter. Dzmitry “Fishman” Palishchuk is pretty good, but she is a level above him! And last but not the least, shoutout to all the Entity fans who have been supporting us.