MinD_ContRoL: “If I sleep good… I can definitely bring my A-game and smash some people” cover image

MinD_ContRoL: “If I sleep good… I can definitely bring my A-game and smash some people”

MinD_ContRoL has stepped up as a stand-in for OG at the Berlin Major. But how does he feel he’s handling the main stage so far?

With OG down two players for the Berlin Major, a familiar face stepped up — Ivan "MinD_ContRoL" Ivanov, Nigma Galaxy’s offlaner. Despite the last-minute call-up, MC, and indeed the rest of OG, have defied expectations, making a run into the final stages of the Berlin Major. 

We had a chance to sit down with MinD_ContRoL at the Berlin Major ahead of OG’s match on May 6. We talked about the stand-in situation, his relationship with the OG team, and whether Nigma Galaxy could measure up to the competition at the Berlin Major

MinD_ContRoL on how he ended up at the Berlin Major

MinD_ContRoL (Image via ESL/Stephanie Lindgren)
MinD_ContRoL (Image via ESL/Stephanie Lindgren)

How did this stand-in situation happen? When did you know?

MinD_ContRoL: “So what happened is, I was supposed to go back home because I was in the boot camp. So me and SumaiL left. And two days before the major happened, I got messaged by the OG management and they told me, 'Do you want to stand-in?' Then I was thinking about it, and I said, 'Why not?' It's a Major. I didn't play one in a while. I was really hyped up, I wanted to play already, and we didn't qualify for the major. So I was, anyway, ready. I was bootcamping. So I was ready to play. So why not? Let's f*cking go!”

What’s it been like playing with this OG lineup?

MC: “I mean, it's definitely very odd because we don't know each other. 'Who are these guys? Who am I [to] them?' You know, and it's really a fun experience. You're just playing with a bunch of guys, you know. We're basically a stack. We're a stack of a bunch of players, and three of them are OG, and they're showing us everything we need to do to keep track. And we're just following a little bit of their orders, and it’s a little bit of us. So it's 50-50, and it's working quite well. Nice mixture of using the talents!”

You seem to have a pretty close bond with BZM. Is this a bit of Bulgarian brotherhood?

MC: “Oh, there definitely is. We really like each other. We already know each other from before. He’s a really nice kid, I really like him. I feel like his bigger brother a little bit. His Bulgarian big brother. So it feels good to chill around with him!”

What’s it like being the old man on the team? How is it compared to playing with Nigma where you’ve all been around for years?

MC: “So it feels like in some moments, I hear them arguing and stuff like that. And usually, [on Nigma Galaxy], I don't have to come in there. But they don't stop sometimes, so if I have to do something, you know I have to go in and talk to them because they aren’t stopping!”

“I have to break the ice. There were a few situations where they're a little... I will say emotional, and I understand: I was the same when I was their age. They were very emotional between each other and they were arguing so I have to step in a little bit here. Like I felt the need to. Usually, I don't have to do it because people figured [it] out between themselves, but since they're a bit unexperienced, I can do this.”

One thing everyone’s been saying on socials, on Twitter, and on Reddit, is that you look really happy playing with this lineup. But I think one reason for that is that what most people remember you for is the True Sight documentaries where you’re stressed, you’re playing in the finals of TI, etc. Is this happy, relaxed MC the “real” MinD_ContRoL?

MC: “Yeah, I mean, this is definitely what happens when I'm playing good. This is connected to all of the things, not just the fact I’m playing in this roster. Of course, it helps. These guys — they are helping me feel better.”

“But there's many reasons for this. First of all, I'm ready to play this game. I'm ready to play in the Major. I feel very good playing already in the Major. I miss it. And there's no doubt you're going to feel some freedom being the stand-in."

“So there’s a lot of small details which I can't even think of all of them right now. So it's not just one thing. It's many things, all combined — makes for a happy MC! And we're winning! So yeah, there's a lot of things.”

MinD_ContRoL on Team Nigma and heading to a Major

MC is a big BZM fan, going so far to wear his shirt at the Berlin Major (Image via OG)
MC is a big BZM fan, going so far to wear his shirt at the Berlin Major (Image via OG)

Team Nigma is kind of becoming the stand-in team. Mercenaries for hire. You’re on OG, SumaiL is on Aster. Obviously, it’s not ideal that the whole team isn’t qualifying for Majors, but is this a good way to keep your skills sharp?

MC: “Definitely. One reason is to keep up my level because I don't play against these teams in a while. When was the last time I played them? A little bit in the DPC for [a] single match or two matches? It's like six or seven matches for one month? I don't know how much. It feels way too long. And these matches are online. They're not in the LAN environment. So it has been a while [playing] LAN against the top teams. So just for myself to understand where I am as a player, it’s good.”

Do you think you're measuring up? Do you think you're still at that level?

MC: “I think if I sleep good, watch the replays, and then get really prepared, I can definitely bring my A-game and smash some people.”

We’re in a world where it’s just not easy for teams to get all five players to any event. The next Major is in Bali and TI is rumored for Seattle. It’s pretty likely other teams will need stand-ins. Would you step up be a stand-in again if OG or any other team asked?

MC: “I would definitely do it, of course. I mean, there's no loss in this for me. This is if I don’t qualify with my own team. Of course I will say yes if someone asks me. I always want to play in front of the fans. As long as I feel like I can show my A-game, I will do it.”

One last question: Hypothetically, if Team Nigma was at this Major, full lineup, you, SumaiL, Kuroky, everyone, how would you do? Would you win? Top three?

MC: “I think we would definitely get to the top three. Then afterwards, I’m not sure. I’m not sure how we’d match against someone like Gladiators. Because we never played them before, I respect them a lot. I think we could make top three. If we bring our best game, [then] I think so. We would.”

MinD_ContRoL and the rest of OG will be in action again at the Berlin Major on May 6 against Evil Geniuses. Catch all the latest Dota 2 news, info, and interviews at esports.gg!