Bamboe: "[TI3] isn’t the only tournament..."

As the team rebounds and fights on, I got a chance to grab an extensive interview with EG's newest player, where he speaks on the qualifiers, state of the game, and more.

Shiro: Welcome to the team! Would you first mind introducing yourself to the EG fans who may not be too familiar with you?

Hi, I'm Alaan Faraj, I go under the tag Bamboe and play the offlaner for the Dota squad!

Let's get some of your history first. How did you get into playing competitive Dota?

It all started with me playing some WarCraft 3 custom maps with some friends. One friend kept bugging me to try Dota out. The first time I played it I hated it 'cause I didn’t know what to do. But a while later he started bugging me again so I tried it again, but this time I actually knew somewhat what to do! After that I started playing it a lot more - what eventually led me to create a team with some of my Dutch buddies. After 1-2 years of playing together we started playing some big tournaments where we actually got some decent placings. And people started noticing me. That’s how I got into it, and to actually make a living out of it was something I never imagined possible.

What were some of your career highlights up to this point?

Attending the International 2 was my biggest highlight, to just be there and experience something so big for a video game makes you feel like you've reached the top.

Before joining the team officially, you played as a stand-in for the team in the G-1 Western Qualifier. How did you find yourself in this role?

It all happened out of the blue when Jeyo messaged me to ask me if I could stand-in for them for the WePlay group-stage game 3 against Fnatic.NA. After we won that game they were somewhat impressed with me and asked if I could stand-in for a couple more games: what happened to be the G-1 Western qualifier.

How do you feel you fit into the team's atmosphere?

The team atmosphere is pretty good. We all are comfortable in the team and like playing with each other: our chemistry is improving a lot every day. While being the only European in the team, I feel American already!

You've been compared to EG's DeMoN very often, as another “high risk, high reward” player. Would you agree with this characterization?

I don't totally agree with this. I feel like my play style is a bit safer, I tend to take it as far as possible while still being somewhat safe if something unexpected happens.

With regards to some of your “big plays,” like the Roshan snipe in G-1, do you practice these ahead of time? Or are you playing off-the-cuff?

I practice them in official matches! So no, its hard to practice something like that since its situational you just have to know how to get in and at what moment. I see it more as something mathematical then skill based.

The team moved into the Lair for boot-camp going into the qualifiers. How did the team use this time together, in the same place? How did it differ from online practice, and how did the team dynamic feel with all of you finally practicing in the same place?

We started practicing a lot right of the bat. We scrimmed 8+ hours every day as long as we could find enemies. The difference with being on LAN and online is that while being online you always have some obligations or issues what makes you not able to practice for long period of times, while on LAN you all have the same obligations and schedules. The team dynamic felt great - whenever someone made a mistake you could easily point it out and show it in person than having to explain it over RaidCall, which sometimes still comes across wrong.

So, the team just competed in The International 3 qualifiers. Obviously, the result wasn't quite what the team had been hoping for. Even so, in the first group stage, EG played some of the most solid Dota the team had played in a long time, smashing their group. What was it that worked so well for you guys on the first day, dominating even the eventual champions, Mousesports?

We all just played our best, synergized well and knew what was expected from each other. It felt like we all knew exactly what the game plan was and had full faith in our teammates so everything went really smooth without any hesitations or doubts.

What changed for the team after the first day that caused things to not go as well? You tweeted something about your physical exhaustion at one point.

There were a lot of factors. After the first one against RoX.KIS we got somewhat cocky and started overextending a lot in the second game, what was kinda an eyeopener that we had to keep stay focused and play our best. In the 3rd game a lot went wrong. I couldn’t sleep the day before at all, what ended up me being up for around 20 hours when the games started. I hate using it as an excuse but I didn’t feel like I played 100% at all both the series what ended up me making some crucial mistakes like forgetting to use cheese and missing an RP.

Though it must have been a really somber affair, can you talk a little bit about the mood of the team immediately after the loss?

We all were just really disappointed. Because we felt like we should be able to beat all the teams in the qualifier on any given day, but that one bad day could end it all just stings a lot. We took it quite well in my opinion - we never stopped practicing and still try to keep going forward and becoming one of the best.

So, EG is out of The International. Clearly, even though many teams would be demoralized, EG has managed to keep it together – taking out VP in the TPL Demon Edge Cup just recently. How will you stay motivated, and where is the team looking to go for the rest of the year?

The International isn’t the only tournament worth playing for even though it's the biggest there is: there are still a lot of tournaments to come. We are keeping motivated by knowing that we still have a lot to improve on to become one of the best. We are looking forward to all the upcoming LAN tournaments.

The team moved into the EG Lair in Arizona for the qualifiers, planning to bootcamp up til TI3. Do you and the team still plan to remain in the Lair (sans Bdiz, who cited personal reasons for having to leave)?

For the moment we believe its still the best way to improve so we are planning to stay as long as possible and make the most out of it!

Let's talk the game itself now. The game's seen a few new heroes – Skywrath, Tusk, and Drow – added to Captain's Mode. Skywrath in particular has gotten a large amount of play, particularly out of Na'Vi and some of the Eastern teams. Do you see these heroes finding a permanent place in the competitive scene? Are there any currently underused heroes you think should be explored more?

I feel like Skywrath Mage is more like a fluke hero. When people will start understanding how to play against it, it wont see that much play anymore, while Drow Ranger is a really strong hero in the right lineups. In the near future she's probably gonna be picked up a lot more. As for the other heroes we might see a comeback from Morphling since its still a really strong hero in the right lineups.

Just after The International 2, 6.75 hit and changed the gold bounties for kills – shaking up the game considerably, shifting things further away from the farm-heavy meta and rewarding aggressive play even more – and we've seen a tremendous amount of balance shift and new heroes. How do you feel about the state of the game right now, as it's about to be shown to its biggest audience of the year?

The current meta is pretty fun and exciting to watch; my only concern is the limited hero pool that is shown. If IceFrog is able to buff/nerf the right heroes in 6.78 to make teams start picking more out of the ordinary it would become an almost perfect showing of the game.

Icefrog has said that 6.78 will be coming before the main event. What would you like to see in the next version, not limited to just balance changes?

I'm still hoping that the Roshan pit change rumours are true from a while ago! I'd also be happy if Mirana's base damage gets buffed a tiny bit so she might get viable again, and maybe add new neutral creeps with new spells to change the jungling up a bit.

There's been a lot of controversy recently about servers – that EU teams have a considerable, statistically significant advantage on EU servers, while NA teams have the same on US servers, which makes results in any online cup questionable. As someone who's played from both NA and EU, with teammates in the opposite zone, how much do you feel this has affected the game?

I have never had a problem with playing on US East while being in Europe, but having to play from US West to Europe feels like playing a different game. Everything you do is so delayed that it almost gives away what you're doing from the moment you start doing it. The only real issue should be US West vs CIS teams. Since there isn’t any good middle point yet it ends up in both teams having at least one game with a disadvantage, and most of the time it comes down to the coin toss.

As a bit of trivia, who are your personal favorite heroes to play (whether they're good or not) and why?

Tiny, Mirana and Windrunner! Tiny because I have always enjoyed being able to go in burst someone down and get out! Mirana and Windrunner because of their swiftness and skill-shots the feeling of hitting an impossible arrow/shackleshot in a clutch moment feels awesome!

Do you have any additional words for your fans, as they cheer the team on in the events to come and eventually the #RoadToTI4?

Every obstacle we hit will only make us stronger! We wont give up until we reach the goal we desire! Hope you keep supporting us on our road to the top. Shoutout to my team, all our fans and our sponsors RaidCall, Monster Energy, Kingston HyperX, Razer, Astro, Zam, Intel, In Win, Beyond Gaming and Split Reason.

Be sure to support Bamboe (and follow him on Twitter!) and the rest of the team as they fight through the RaidCall D2L and other ongoing tournaments, and be sure to follow EG on your favorite social network!

About Evil Geniuses

Evil Geniuses is a premier professional gaming team with a worldwide following. Founded in 1999 from humble beginnings, the team has grown to a place of massive influence as one of gaming’s best known brands. Long known by a hallmark of elite players with unbreaking determination, we are unapologetic in victory and the world's best video game team.