Get to know a little more about K1’s thoughs during DreamLeague S23!

With the DreamLeague Season 23 currently developing, we had a chance to briefly interview Hector "K1" Rodriguez. K1 plays the Hard Carry role for HEROIC, a Counter-Strike's powerhouse that joined Dota 2 by the start of 2024. He's one of the most successful Peruvian players and previously played with Team Nouns, the successful roster that got to Top 8 during The International 2023.

HEROIC won every single qualifier they played during this first half of the year, except for BetBoom Dacha's. Currently ranked 10th place on the EPT Leaderboard, this DreamLeague is their last chance to directly qualify to Riyadh Masters.

This interview was conducted in Spanish and translated by, as this was a more comfortable scenario for K1.

Introduction: Hector "K1" about his feelings and the team situation

Hey, Hector! Thanks for your time. I know these might be stressful times, since the tournament is about to start and your team had a rough time last time you guys played.

Hector "K1": I'm chill. I know it's not my fault or anything. All of us were out of tune and we had a lot of time to talk about it.

It's curious for me how you said that it's not your fault. Do you feel sometimes people pressure you to find the "guilty" one?

K1: At some point, every team theorizes who's at fault. Happened to Spirit and TORONTOTOKYO. To BOOM and ILICH-. It's not like treating them as scapegoat or saying it's all their fault. When you feel stuck, you just want [the team dynamics] to improve.

Now that there's no DPC system to get a TI invite, it feels like quickly changing players is something most teams are willing to try.

I feel it's more comfortable this way. I'm not completely sure how this works, but I think they still cut some points for Riyadh [Masters] if you change players. But still, it feels easier. Being able to try different players is a good thing.

Playing in South America

We'll talk about Riyadh Masters in a moment, but I wanted to ask about some stuff from the region you're representing here. Not much time ago, most players from SA used to make teams only with players from their same country, including you. However, after Nouns and HEROIC, it feels like the switch changed for you and the rest of the region. Teams are starting to build around international players, like it's always been for other regions. Is this your new formula for success?

Hector K1: I don't think it's something that will always work. For example, Team Spirit is doing really well with five players from EEU. Still, it's really nice to play with international players. For me, both ways have its good and bad things.

Investing in bringing players from outside [the region] and not qualifying is really expensive. Especially since SA has only one slot. This has not been a problem for you, since HEROIC qualified to every EPT tournament. But what do you feel about having only one slot for your region?

K1: Financially, having only one slot is killing new teams and players. I'm not sure how many teams are paying good salaries, aside from BOOM. I know Beastcoast and Leviathan are decent, but no idea about the rest. Nevertheless, having only one slot is really motivating for me. You have to beat every other team, and show you're the best without a doubt. It feels rewarding. But for the region as a whole, it's complicated. In the past, we had at least two slots every time.

Hector "K1" during PGL Wallachia (Picture by PGL)
Hector "K1" during PGL Wallachia (Picture by PGL)

HEROIC's past results and the international opinion

Hector K1: Of course, this motivates me to give my best! I didn't achieve the best results this year, so it's kind of deserved. The past DreamLeague, we didn't even make it through groups. Same for PGL [Wallachia] and Elite League. I think our best result was that Top 8 on ESL One. I guess I am on Arteezy's same tier, after all [laughs]. But I'm motivated to show how much I can improve.

You're still able to directly qualify to Riyadh Masters, though. The best case scenario would be getting first place, but second still gives you a chance depending on results. Is this direct invite something you still are looking forward to?

K1: Being honest, we're only focused on doing our best as a team. Doesn't matter how far we get [on this DreamLeague]. If we lose, we have to go down fighting. There isn't a specific position we want to reach; we just want to give it our all. Especially after the results of the last tournament.

Do you feel Riyadh Masters is maybe the new TI for pro players? Like, the new tournament everyone wants to be able to play.

K1: At least for me, TI will always be the biggest tournament, no matter the prize pool. It's just something nostalgic, I don't know how to describe it. Plus, if you win TI, all the sponsors will want to be part of your team. That's something good.

Miscellaneous and closing questions

Hector K1: I don't think I've been trash talked that much, lately. Maybe the thing I remember the most is that time Ammar [ATF] called me "bot" on 2022. But yeah, I've been tipped a lot lately. For me, that's just normal. Not something I'm feeling I want to do now, but it doesn't bother me at all.

And what about rivalries? Any team out there you want to wreck?

K1: I'd love to beat OG.

Funny how you picked the team with two South American rising stars. You must have a reason.

K1: We're always tied, and I think last time they beat us. It would be great to beat them to make it even again. Plus, it's always fun to play against Timado and "el pato" [means "the duck", he's talking about Wisper in a friendly way]. It's not a rivalry based on bad spirits or anything, just fun.

HEROIC will have to decide their fate in DreamLeague S23 by facing Xtreme Gaming, one of the top teams in the world. Make sure to follow our coverage of the whole event by checking our Dota 2 section.