Ti7 winner Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen feels it’s time to call time on his career in Dota 2, despite still competing at the top flight.
In a heartfelt interview at ESL One Malaysia, Team Liquid’s Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen spoke to Esports.gg about his mentality as he heads to the end of his Dota 2 career. The 27-year old and TI7 winner shared that he will not compete beyond TI11, reflected on his career and pointed to a poignant harsh reality facing Dota 2 pro players trying to stay in the game.
Malystryx: At the end of the DPC season we published an article on the top 5 carry players in WEU. You were number one based on stats, were you aware of that and I was wondering how you felt about that?
Matumbaman: Lucky, I guess. [laughs] This season had its ups and downs. Sometimes better, sometimes worse.
Malystryx: What’s the key for you to be in good form?
Matumbaman: It’s just practise which builds confidence, getting those games in. Once you know you’ve played enough you feel like ‘I’ve got this, even if I play a bit below my own standard, I’m still going to get better’. Preparing for events is always the same for me, same routines. If I play a lot then I just feel good about myself.
Malystryx: You’ve done this for so long how do you keep motivated to keep up that routine. Is it patches? Is it a rough defeat. How are you getting motivation at this point in your career?
It’s not so much about motivation for me, especially as my career is coming to an end in two months. Maybe earlier if we don’t qualify for TI. I heard a nice quote from Magnus Carlsen recently, he was asked about motivation level and he said ‘probably no motivation, but I’m still trying’. So I’m just going to stay the same and although I’m not motivated I’m still trying my best. Then I’ll see how far that takes me.
Malystryx: So are you at the point where you’ll continue and see how it goes. Or can you not see yourself doing this in a few years’ time?
Matumbaman: No, I’m like done after two months, like literally done. After TI done-zo.
Malystryx: But what about if you won-zo?
Matumbaman: Yeah, still done-zo. There are no like, ifs or buts. If I don’t qualify, I’m still done.
Malystryx: Have you thought what you’d like to do instead?
Matumbaman: When I tell people this they keep asking me but how the f**k do I know, I played Dota all my adult life, I don’t even know what’s real life. [laughs] I’ll go out there and figure out something fun to do. I have plans but every time people ask me I tell them different things. Some people I tell them I’ll become a professional sailor, other people I tell them I’ll make my own video game.
Malystryx: What are you going to tell me?
Matumbaman: I’ll become an astrophysicist.
Malystryx: That’s one hell of a headline, Matumbaman wants to quit Dota to become an astrophysicist. [both laugh]. What do you think your legacy will be as a player? What would you like to be remembered for?
Matumbaman: I’ll be forgotten in three years, who the f**k cares. [Malystryx: Of course you’ll be remembered!] “Maybe some old people will remember me. ‘That Matumbaman, he was so cool. Lone Druid, Lycan very cool, very good’, but what am I going to do with this?
In five years if someone comes and says ‘hey you used to play video games five years ago and you were pretty good’, I’ll be like cool, I guess? I don’t know, it’s not very real to me… but it was real before.
When it happened it felt real but after you’ve done or performed at all these events. For me it’s in the past and it doesn’t really affect my current state. I don’t draw happiness out of it afterwards.
When everything is done and dusted, winning a lot of tournaments and trying to reminisce about them, I just can’t really draw anything from them, it’s already done. I’m just looking forward to the next thing I want to do. I always enjoy the journey more than the achievements I had in the past. They’re done, I can’t eat the achievements. Those past achievements just don’t give me anything.
Malystryx: So what are you enjoying about this journey with the Team Liquid squad?
Matumbaman: I think playing with Team Liquid, I’m playing with good players but they don’t have the same knowledge of the game. They just need some guidance which I think I can bring. In my journey I’ve failed… I’ve succeeded and in the end if we [Liquid] were to lose the qualifiers, it would be my fault, I really believe so.
Malystryx: Then you’ll be like sorry, I’ve already decided I’m done-zo. Good luck to you guys…
Matumbaman: I mean, they know I already told them when I joined them. Literally, when I signed for Team Liquid, I told them, it’s a one-year deal for me its decided, otherwise I would have signed for Liquid for two years.
Malystryx: You mentioned giving guidance to Liquid. What is something you wish you knew when you started as a pro?
Matumbaman: It’s hard to say specifics because it depends so much on personality but some people who are low in popularity they just get really into people watching them play. I did that the first two years, I was really into it. If people asking me for interviews or coming up to me, I was like ‘yeah let’s do it all’, I was like… on [drug reference], literally on [drug reference]. I’ve never used it but you know I wanted to do everything, unlimited energy.
Now I’ve mellowed out and I seek different things. I think it’s for each and every person to figure it out themselves. But ultimately I would tell them that losing is not the end of the world.
Malystryx: There’s a football series I watch on Amazon Prime Video called All or Nothing where they show you behind the scenes of different famous clubs in England. One I thing I found interesting is that in the half-time chat, even if they’re winning the manager will still come in pissed off, or players will complain about mistakes of team-mates. I would have thought if you’re winning, it would be all about pats on the back, ‘good job mate’. Is it the same in Dota?
Matumbaman: I mean, I think it depends on the way you win.There’s like good ways to lose and bad ways to win. I think it applies to both. And like, definitely, I’m not always happy when we win. If I feel like we did not like play well, I’ll say we did not deserve the win, we are f**king around too much. That’s when I get angry too.
Sometimes emotions get the better of me and I get tilted. Like what the f**k are we doing? We still won but… what the f**k are we doing?
Malystryx: I know that pro Dota behind closed doors is very different to what the public sees. What’s something you wish the public knew about life in pro Dota?
Matumbaman: It’s a hard question. I guess one that people don’t realise is playing Dota 2 professionally is the most stressful job because your income is almost based solely on your success. It’s not even like other esports titles where their salaries are fine. Ours are not that high, so if you don’t win, you don’t get paid basically.
It’s a pretty stressful environment to be in a team where your income is based on what your team-mates are doing and not just what you are doing. That creates a lot of tension and it’s not a nice way to live life. It’s not like we go to our 8-4 or 9-5, get paid the same amount of every time. It’s not like that.
That’s why some people quit pro Dota, because it really kills you inside. You have to put in so much work into something that is not guaranteed to give you anything.
Team Liquid head to the TI11 Qualifiers next month, and if they qualify, Matumbaman has the opportunity to secure Liquid a second Aegis.