Fnatic's new squad is dominating the SEA region again and at the centre of their success is Djardel 'Dj' Mampusti. Today we caught up with Dj and talked about his time at Rave, transition to Fnatic and Malaysia and his new role.
Hi Chrissy, how are you doing today?
I'm doing fine.
What was your first point of contact with DotA?
I started playing DotA like 7 years ago. I first played in a cybercafe, my classmate in high school introduced me to Dota and taught me how to play. The first hero I played was Kardel, because it sounds like my name (Djardel)How did you get involved in the pro scene?
After 1-2 years of playing Dota for fun, some guy asked me to play with them for a bet game and we were doing fine and I was having fun at that time so I kept on playing bet games with them.
So your first team was EoT-Hammer, did you quit school at this time or were you doing both the things?
I did quit school.
How did your parents react to this?
They didn't want me to play in Korea and told me that I'm just wasting my time with DotA. But after we won tournaments they realized that I could really make money by playing DotA so they started supporting me.
EoT-Hammer transitioned into Rave somewhere around 2014, tell me about that.
We just changed the name EoT because EoT's sponsor dropped us. We continued to play DotA in Korea with pyung, who was a player in EoT but became our manager in Rave.
Rave were the favorites going into the SEA Qualifiers, what do you think went wrong there?
Hmm, we didn't train that much before TI qualifiers. That's the only reason I know.
It was around this time that Rave disbanded. Was it solely because you didn't qualify for TI or some other reasons as well?
We already talked to each other about this before the qualifiers. We decided that we were going to change roster or disband if we didn't make it to TI5.
You formed MSI-EvoGT with Cast and Ry0r after Rave. How did this team come into existence?
Well, we already lived in Korea for almost 2 years and after TI qualifiers, we decided to just play in Philippines because we didn't want to play in Korea anymore so we formed a team in PH. Cast had already told us that if Rave disbanded, he will take boombacs in our team (MSI). MSI's manager is a good friend of Cast as well, so he helped us build the team as well.
Why didn't you want to play in Korea? Was it the culture or some other reason?
Because we didn't want to stay away from our families anymore and we were tired of travelling. Also getting a Korean VISA is quite hard.
You joined Fnatic in late August and left MSI obviously, does MSI still exist or have they disbanded now?
I think they disbanded now; Ry0r is playing for Mineski, Polo is playing for TnC and I don't know about Cast and Boombacs' plans.
Speaking of Fnatic, who approached you with the offer to join? When did you move to Malaysia?
Eric (fnatic's manager) asked me to join Fnatic after TI5. I moved to Malaysia on 24 August after playing my last tournament with MSI.
Tell us about Malaysia, living with the team and your schedule.
We have a really big bootcamp here in Malaysia. We practice 6-8 hours everyday, from 4pm to midnight. We also play badminton here sometimes like 3-4 times a week after our practice. Before I came here in Malaysia, I thought we were going to be like DotA nerds or something, just play play play, hahaha. It was quite surprising to see that these guys like to do other stuff as well such as Badminton and other outside activities
Tell me about Malaysian food? Is it very different from Filipino food or not?
hmmm. I really don't know what's the difference between Malay food and PH food, but me and Black^ really like to eat fried rice here. haha
You played mid in Rave, at least in the last few months. Now you play offlane in Fnatic. Tell me how you guys decided that you were going to play offlane?
Before I joined Fnatic, I really loved playing mid but the first time we practiced, I realized that our supports are very good and with their help, I can easily dominate my lane (offlane). Now, I'm starting to love my role and it feels like I don't want to play any other role anymore.
Tell me about the differences between Fnatic and Rave in terms of team strategy, farm priority, early game or late game and stuff like that.
I think that players in Rave and players here in Fnatic are equally skilled, just different in style. In Rave we used to do our own thing. For example: I always made a plan for myself but no plan for the team. We also prioritized the carry and we wanted to get him rich so we could stick together and play around him. Here in Fnatic, we always want to stabilize our lanes, control the game and then win. We do not play own our own but rather make plans for the team.
You've risen to stardom in the past few weeks. Your fans expect you to play amazing every game. Does that add pressure on you? How do you deal with it?
I don't feel any pressure while playing and I don't think about fans expecting me to play good every game because if you keep on worrying that you need to play good every game because our fans were expecting it, that's the time you will under perform. I just don't care if they expect me to play great every game.
You guys qualified for ESL One NY, what is your aim for that tournament?
We are aiming to finish first in that tournament. We are practicing everyday not to be 3-4th or 5-6th but to be the champions.
Any last words?
To all the fans of Fnatic, thank you for supporting us!