Mineski.net: How has the Philippines been for you so far? Have you gotten to explore the city and sightsee?
Scantzor: It’s been pretty good, thanks! I’ve been very busy so haven’t had much time for sightseeing really but maybe if we qualify for the Major I’ll get some players to give me a tour
You called the MVP Boston invite. Why do you think SEAn teams (especially the non-Chinese ones) are typically underrated despite their track records? Any thoughts on how this perception can be fixed?
Scantzor: With respect to the MVP invite in particular, I think very few people have taken the time to sit down and actually analyze the invite process, or at least the data we have available so far. Dota fans are fanatically committed to their favorite player, favorite team, or even favorite personality. Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of people very committed to engaging critically.
As for the existing bias against the SEA region, with consistently good results coming from SEA teams I’m fairly confident we’ll eventually get there. We should already be there, and it will probably take longer than it should, because that’s how biases work – they lead people to believe even against the facts. I think the bias is rooted in both the legitimate fact that the region wasn’t always this strong and a bunch of other less legitimate stuff like important decision-makers not making time to follow the scene closely. And probably just some plain old racism, ya know?
What are your thoughts on Philippine Dota – particularly the personality of it, more than the stats? How do you think it fares on the world stage?
Scantzor: As my players have told me, every Filipino can play a good Puck. That already says something about the personality of the scene. I think Filipinos like to laugh and have fun and mess around and troll each other a lot. I think maybe partly because so many players started at such a young age there’s a certain immaturity, but also playfulness, to Philippine Dota. Most players seem to have an endless appetite for trolling or banter. I will say, though, that this is not to the exclusion of seriousness about winning, which is something my players in particular have no shortage of!
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What got you to agree to coach Mineski? Are you able to see potential in them that others may have overlooked?
Scantzor: The truth is I was trying to find an opportunity to get involved in coaching for a while as I thought it might suit me, both in terms of the skillset I have and in terms of what I might find fulfilling. I previously had a relationship with TNC, after following them very closely and casting a lot of their matches for a year or two. Then before TI6, Execration asked me to attend with them as their coach which I fully intended to do until I encountered some serious health issues which prevented me from going.
Shortly after TI6, I was contacted by Mineski. I guess I have some kind of connection with Filipino Dota in particular, as I’ve watched, analyzed and cast a lot of their games. For me it was a no-brainer to agree as this was exactly the kind of opportunity I’d been waiting for. I will admit as well that Meracle was a player I had been following very closely, expecting whichever team signed him to enjoy huge success this season. So it definitely helped that the team who signed him was the same team to approach me!
Would you be willing to share your thoughts on how you’re going to get the historically tilt-prone team into shape for this competitive season?
Scantzor: I’d rather not share too much information that could be used by our opponents at another stage. I’ll just say that most of the work is done by the team. You’d be surprised how much a few tiny pokes and nudges in the right places can do. Most of the ingredients for huge improvements exist within the players already.
Any other expectations for the season? Think we can expect more Filipino (and SEAn) teams – most hopefully Mineski, of course – reaching playoffs in Majors? The International?
Scantzor: Well, one thing at a time, lets qualify for the Major first and go from there. As for the region, yes, absolutely, this is an extremely strong region – the strongest, even, in certain respects, I think. So I definitely expect more impressive results on international stages for SEA teams in the coming season!