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How to be a Dota 2 Champion (and K-Pop idol)

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Friday night, Di and I went to watch the ANZ Dota 2 grand final hosted by LetsPlay.Live. Despite not knowing a lot about the game, I had a ton of fun cheering and gasping with Di and the rest of the crowd!

When the undefeated Athletico took their trophy and the audience started to disperse, we loitered awkwardly next to the stage, wondering if we could get an interview with someone. I saw Fury, Athletico’s amiable captain, and I immediately asked if we could get a photo!

Fury, aka Sam Johnson, Captain of Athletico’s Dota 2 team

I then chickened out about asking him for an interview and we left. Later that night, we got a message on Twitter from Fury wondering why on earth we didn’t ask for one! So I emailed him a couple of questions.

When did you start playing Dota 2?

When I was in primary school around 15 years ago I started being allowed to access the computer and would play/watch Warcraft 3 with my brother.

Between my weekend gaming and sneaking to the net cafe to watch and learn, I started playing custom games which then led into finding Dota 1. Pretty much from the start of finding Dota 1 I never really turned back, so when Dota 2 was released I got a beta key quite early on, giving me access to play in 2011.

How did you get into the esports scene?

In early 2013 I moved out of home and lived with my brother. While continuing to learn, one of his flatmates invited me to his team. If I remember correctly we were called Rest Gaming and this was the first time I realised that I wasn’t bad at the game, as we were placing top 5 in almost every competition.

My biggest supporter for sure has always been my brother, from the early days of teaching me to always being there to talk to my parents through the possibilities and viability of professional esports.

How many hours of Dota 2 have you played in total?

My in-game hours on Dota 2 across my accounts is around 20,000 hours. The amount of time studied and actually put into the game would likely be closer to 25,000+ from outside research.

If you could be any Dota 2 hero, who would you be?

Crystal Maiden. (All the females seem to like her so they would play with me)

Okay, I have to admit, when we went to watch the grand final we had no idea who Athletico or Shutdown were, so we decided to cheer for the underdogs … ie. not you. But you won our hearts over with your trophy acceptance speech! Did you make that up on the spot, or did you know you were going to win and had it written down somewhere?

Made it up on the spot. I’ve played in many LANs and it’s quite rare to see people we don’t already know online as well as quite rare to actually have a decent crowd.

Looking out while playing and actually seeing people enjoying it 100% made the entire event much better. (It was one of the first times I’ve been asked to take a photo with a fan)

You sounded so enthusiastic and proud of your teammates, and that was literally the point in which we changed allegiances. From where we sat, you sounded like the best captain ever. But how did you become captain?

Every game with the team is great and playing with them makes every game enjoyable. Every tournament we play together I’m proud of them, win or lose. I have actually only captained now since the beginning of 2019. It came about when we first formed this iteration of Athletico.

I essentially said I need to be captain as I’m not the most mechanically gifted player, the majority of my skill-set comes from the preparation and thought process. On top of being a position 5 support player, my next big step as a player is to become a good captain. The team agreed with me and let me take the lead and since then I like to believe every day forward I’m getting better in every aspect.

There were a few moments during the match where I was surprised to hear loud shouting coming from somewhere. It took me a while but eventually I realised it was coming from you! Are you normally a loud gamer?

At home, I’m not very loud as I generally play lots late at night and my flatmates sleep. At LAN I’m almost always the loudest whether it’s for the morale boost or to get into the opponent’s heads. I find it not only helps us keep our momentum going it keeps everyone 100% awake and reminds everyone in my team I believe in us and we can keep going.

It was really awesome meeting you and I’m so glad we got a photo with you! Saskia noticed your little heart sign, so we were wondering if you’re secretly a Kpop idol?

I’m flattered, not sure if I can be on the same level as those amazing men

Favourite Kpop song?

Hmm, SObeR by Suzy or BBIBBI by IU. Honourable mention to Red Flavour as I can sing 80% of it

Do you have a favourite K Drama?

Signal for best K Drama. Don’t think I’ve watched one I dislike yet though.

FAVOURITE KOREAN FOOD?

Does Korean BBQ count? If not probably Pork Bulgogi.

Okay, one last question and I promise you it has nothing to do with your tastes in Korean. What did you do to celebrate winning the LPL Pro Dota 2 grand final?

As with all OCE Dota events, both teams and many of our friends came out to a pub to drink, normally followed by karaoke but some boys had very early flights so we didn’t go this time.

That’s awesome you guys all hang out at karaoke after trying to virtually kill each other! Thanks so much for chatting with us!

If you want to see more from Fury, check out his Twitch, twitch.tv/explosiv_fury. And follow him on Twitter, @explosiv_fury!

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