Interview with EEU Powerhouse: Team Spirit

By Jack VioletAugust 12, 2021
TrackDota had the opportunity to talk with Team Spirit’s roster, coach, and manager after their monumental victory in the TI10 Eastern European qualifiers. Team Spirit provided some insight on their journey through the qualifiers and how they adapted in a close grand final against Team Empire.
We also covered how the players have felt living in a team house and playing under an organization, their thoughts on the upcoming patch, preparation for TI, and ESL One Fall.

Team Spirit’s Roster

Carry: Illya "Yatoro" Mulyarchuk
Mid: Alexander "TORONTOTOKYO" Khertek
Offlane: Magomed "Collapse" Khalilov
Soft Support: Miroslaw "Mira" Kolpakov
Hard Support and Captain: Yaroslav "Miposhka" Naidenov
Coach: Airat "Silent" Gaziev
Manager: Dmitry “Korb3n” Belov

TrackDota: Hello and congratulations on qualifying to The International 10! What were your expectations going into the TI10 qualifier? What teams were you expecting to be your toughest opponents?
Silent: Results-wise we expected to win - we were the favourites after all. However, we realized that anything could happen: any team could be in form, get a good momentum and good meta for them and go all the way (this is exactly what happened with Empire). Regarding who we thought would be our biggest opponent, I guess it should have been Na’Vi - due to sheer names on that roster and the fact nobody knew what to expect from them. But all in all we were prepared to play and beat any team.
The grand final was a lot closer than many were expecting as you dropped down to a 1-2 score. How did the team quickly adapt and make the changes necessary to win the series?
Miposhka: During the first 3 maps we didn’t get our drafts right as we had no understanding which heroes to pick first. Afterwards we came to thinking that pos 3 was key so we adjusted our drafts to pick good heroes for Collapse (Mars, Axe) -- it worked well and we won.
The squad greatly improved between the first and second of the DPC. Is there anything specific you can pinpoint that changed between seasons to cause this?
TORONTOTOKYO: Not much has changed, we just played our Dota. On the other hand, during the first season the situation inside the team was a bit turbulent (so bad didn’t mesh with Silent) so after we got more stability with Mira in the second season we got to show our real level.
It seems that CIS teams often struggle when they don't have good early game momentum and the region is known for lane dominance and aggression. Team Spirit seemed like a team that often played from behind and sacrificed their early game a lot but played even better when they were in a hard game. Why is your approach so different?
Yatoro: Well, we watch a lot of Dota from the other regions to not be one-dimensional. In addition, in the current meta it’s hard to dominate the draft phase, so we had to adjust in terms of macro - we play to win the whole game, not the laning phase.
Team Spirit signed the squad Yellow Submarine back in December of 2020, and brought on Mira a few weeks later. Your team is sponsored by huge brands such as Nike and Red Bull. How has it felt to go from playing Dota at home with friends to having your own Nike line of clothing and living in a team house?
Mira: At first I didn’t notice a lot of changes, but recently I began to appreciate more playing for Team Spirit and being sponsored by Nike which is my favourite brand. Living in a team house is also a unique experience that taught me a lot of valuable lessons on being a better Dota player and teammate.
There has been a lot of discussion over the past year about the format of the DPC. Did you feel that the format helped yourself and your team grow or do you believe it hindered your abilities? What changes would you like to see made for next season?
Miposhka: Surely this format helped shape us into a team we are right now and we’re doing well so we can’t complain. However one could never know if other format would be better or worse for us. Overall I would like the leagues to be shorter so teams wouldn’t have to bootcamp for so long.
This will be Team Spirit’s first appearance at The International and the organization’s largest accomplishment in the Dota scene. How does it feel to represent Team Spirit at the biggest Dota event in the world?
Collapse: It’s really nice to know that all the strongest teams attend TI and we’re among them and get to compete against the best of the best. This tournament is of the highest importance to any dota player as well as any org so we will try to show our A-game.
It’s been announced that we’ll be receiving a patch soon. Are there any particular heroes or items that you’d like to see nerfed or buffed? Are there changes you’d like to see to stacking, runes, the map, etc. ?
Collapse: I would like Broodmother, WW, TA, Luna to be nerfed and CK, Magnus and Void Spirit to be buffed a bit. In terms of items it would be nice if Meteor Hammer, Solar Crest, Spirit Vessel and Falcon blade would be a bit better. The landscape and runes don’t need changing in my opinion. Other than that the game performance should be optimised and some bugs also need fixing (Mars’ Arena and Pango Roll among others).
Miposhka and Coach Silent have both played at TI in the past. How is the team using your previous experiences in order to prepare for the event?
Silent: We haven’t started preparing for TI specifically, but I don’t think we will change much in terms of our routine. We think that our preparation as it is right now is optimal. But who knows, maybe we will tweak some things in the future. Me and Yarik try to share our experience with others as much as possible.
How do you feel about TI being held in Bucharest this year?
Mira: I’ve never been to Romania, but it’s nice that the flight will be short and there aren’t many entry restrictions. Hyped to visit Romania and play at TI!
Team Spirit recently received a direct invite to ESL One Fall. Is the team treating this as a tournament to practice the new patch and try things out or will you be going all in and doing your best to win? Are there any teams you’re looking forward to facing?
Korb3n: We will do everything in our power to win -- that’s our plan. This tournament will give us a lot of information about the form we’re in right now and what we need to work on. It’s always interesting to play against teams from outside of our region and EU, so we want to verse Thunder Predator and T1.
How are you preparing for TI aside from ESL One Fall? Are you hoping to spend a good amount of time at a bootcamp, or take some well deserved time off?
Yatoro: We played D2CL and won it which was nice to get into the rhythm. We will practice as we always do and try to come up with something new in terms of drafts.
What do the players like to do when they’re not playing Dota?
TORONTOTOKYO likes jogging; both him and Yatoro like to watch anime. Collapse likes single-player games like the Witcher. Mira just likes to chill watching series eating pizza. Miposhka likes all of the above, except maybe jogging.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us. Is there anyone or any sponsors you’d like to give a shout out to everyone reading?
Thank you guys for your interest, it’s nice to reach out to the western audience. Shoutout to our organization Team Spirit, our sponsors, but above all our fans. We appreciate your support, cheer for us at ESL and TI! <3

Be sure to cheer on Team Spirit at ESL One Summer, starting on August 21, as well as at The International 10 in October!
Also be sure to check out Team Spirit’s official website and Twitter here.
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