Armel defeated the king of mid, SumaiL, in a 1V1 tiebreaker match at ESL One Malaysia and was eventually named the King Slayer

The story of Armel "Armel" Tabios dethroning the king of mid Syed "SumaiL" Hassan in a Shadow Fiend one-on-one (1V1) tiebreaker match for a spot at ESL One Malaysia upper bracket playoffs will be told through time. had the opportunity to speak with Armel regarding his experience as well as his plans and motivations ahead of TI11. Interview by Lawrence "Malystryx" Phillips.

Armel talks about his 1V1 experience against SumaiL

Malystryx: I really enjoyed the 1V1. What did you think of the 1V1? How difficult was that?

Armel: I think it was really difficult. There's an upper bracket in the line and you’re going to play against SumaiL, so definitely it was going to be hard. I haven’t played 1V1 for a while and I just kept thinking about what I am going to do in the game and things that I need to avoid to not lose the game. It’s about my team too. It’s all on my shoulders so it’s very nerve wracking but at the same time it’s really fun

Malystryx: When you said you haven’t played in a while, how long is a while?

Armel: I think my last 1V1 was versus the OpenAI. Five years ago or something.. maybe in 2016? [laughs]

SumaiL thought there were water runes in a 1V1 match against Armel (Image via <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">NoobFromUA</a> YouTube)
SumaiL thought there were water runes in a 1V1 match against Armel (Image via NoobFromUA YouTube)

Malystryx: If you played 100 matches 1V1 against Sumail, how many do you think you’ll win? What was critical to you winning this 1V1?

Armel: Maybe just 50-50, because I think he made a mistake by buying the bottle. The game was too close until he bought that, then I took advantage of it.

We thought that the water runes were going to spawn in 2 minutes. That’s what I thought too. That’s why I’m asking my teammates if I should get the bottle or not. And then when I was in the game I just thought that I cannot afford the bottle. He bought it and I didn't, so I got the edge of just playing with the salve and the mango, and I just kept harassing him.

Malystryx: You said to win the 1v1 is about the tempo, can you explain what you mean?

Armel: There are always little edges that you can take advantage of. I think you just have to see that in the game. Because if you missed something like--this is your time to kill him or something--if you miss it, then maybe the game is either going to go longer or you might f**k it up in the later stage of the game.

Malystryx: Could your teammates talk to you while you’re playing?

Armel: No. They were outside. I think they just don’t want to pressure me or something. Because I just told them that I really cannot play 1V1, that I’m not really used to it but I will just try my best.

Malystryx: Was there any discussion of a different player playing the 1V1? Or was it always you?

Armel: I think obviously I’m just a midlaner. It’s a more obvious choice. I’m just more used to it. Even in 5V5 I’m always doing 1V1.

Malystryx: The fans absolutely loved the 1v1? How do you feel about it?

Armel: I think it’s really fine. I think I would still say that even if I lost the match–I think it’s very new–because before 1V1 is just for fun. They just trolling around, f**king around. Now there was something on the line and it was upper bracket. It’s still a big deal. It’s really fun but it’s still so much pressure. But if this kept happening you’re going to get used to it.

Malystryx: How did you deal with the pressure... what did you do to stay calm? Do you ever try to imagine yourself winning to build yourself up?

Armel: I just keep using my hand-warmer and try to relax my body and my hands. I think all that is in my mind is t I just want to do my best and not make some stupid mistakes that might cost me the game. Because I believe I have the skills to win it but I'm still not very comfortable doing a 1V1. I really didn't want to let my team down.

Malystryx: Who do you think are the top three midlaners now in the world apart from yourself?

Armel: I’m just going to base it on the skills. Paparazi, I think SumaiL is still really good and Nisha.

Check out our other interviews from ESL One Genting:

  • Resolut1on on talks about joining Team Secret, his impression of Puppey as team captain, Patch 7.32, and more
  • Matumbaman shares his plan to retire after TI11 with

Going against the crowd-buffed OG and motivation for TI11

Malystryx: During your match against OG in the arena, I was surprised by how many OG fans there were. There were a lot of people shouting the OG chant. Did that surprise you or not?

Armel: Not really. I think OG as an organization just has many fans around the world including me. I’m a huge OG fan.

Malystryx: This year you've auto-qualified for TI but I was looking back at your history and realised you missed TI10. What was that like and how did that motivate you for this year?

Armel: I think before going to TI10 I kind of got lazy. Maybe chilling too much I would say. Chill so many times and just not learning enough going to qualifiers. So, I think my laziness cost me one TI and I don’t want it to happen again. When I joined Fnatic, I just kept working hard. Even up until now I’m not going to stop pushing myself just because we got the invite. I still want to win TI.

Armel missing TI10 after losing SEA qualifier with TNC Predator (Image via <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Liquipedia</a>)
Armel missing TI10 after losing SEA qualifier with TNC Predator (Image via Liquipedia)

Malystryx: So did you just wake up one day and start doing pushups? Is that what happened?

Armel: I think it started by being more mindful even in pub games because you want to learn something everyday even in just pubs. I’m starting to become so mindful about this kind of thing, and I’m just trying to make sure I learn and not just pass the time.

I think being so mindful even in pub game because you want to learn something everyday even in just pubs. I’m starting to become so mindful about those stuffs and I’m just trying to learn.

Armel on learning new ways to better prepare himself for TI11

Malystryx: Well it’s working right? I mean you’re top four [laughs]. The fans really love the OG-Fnatic match. What do you remember most about that match at ESL One Genting?

Armel: I think the first game is–of course the first game we win the match right so it was really fun–but I think the second game is like a missed opportunity you know? We had this huge opportunity to take the game from them and we didn’t do it. And we suddenly threw away our late game and that’s it. I think in the series against them that’s what I’m going to remember because we don’t want it to happen again, especially going into TI.

Malystryx: What do you enjoy most right now about your Dota career? What makes you the most happy apart from winning?

Armel: I think bonding with my teammates and I really just enjoy playing Dota. When I’m playing Dota I feel like I’m in control of my life, you know?

Malystryx: What do you mean by in control of your life?

Armel: You’re just always having fun. When I’m playing Dota, even in pub game, even in actually anything, when I’m just playing Dota, I’m just having fun. It’s just very peaceful for me.

Malystryx: Is there any other thing in your life that give you the same feeling?

Armel: Oh yeah of course. I have a girlfriend and I have a family. And I have a dog so I’m very excited to come home to see them.

Malystryx: And you don’t need to practice right? You’re already qualified for TI?

Armel: Yes. We’re going to have I think two weeks or three weeks break so we’re going to enjoy that time and then we’re going to get back to practice.

Fnatic narrowly qualified for TI11 after Valve released the finalized official DPC ranking that placed the team ahead of Outsiders (Virtus Pro) by one point.