Saberlight on leaving TSM: “I did feel like my progress was slowing down a little bit”
Esports.gg sat down with Jonáš “SabeRLight-” Volek for a brief interview ahead of the Dota 2 Lima Major.
In 2022, Jonáš "SabeRLight-" Volek headed to The International with Team SoloMid, as one of the top seeds of the North American Region. Just months later, and SabeRLight was out of TSM, and a new part of former Evil Geniuses squad, Shopify Rebellion. Now both SabeRLight's former and current roster head to Lima, Peru, for the first Major of the season.
Esports.gg sat down with SabeRLight- for a brief interview ahead of the Dota 2 Lima Major. SabeRLight- talked about joining Shopify Rebellion, the difference between Fly and Moonmeander as captains, the Lima Major, and more.
SabeRLight on joining Shopify Rebellion
Congratulations on qualifying for the Lima Major 2023 with your new team Jonáš. Shopify Rebellion has performed exemplary in DPC NA 2023 Tour 1. How did you end up joining Shopify?
"After TI I felt like I needed a change in order to keep growing as a player, and at the same time Nightfall was leaving EG to play for the Russian stack so they needed a new offlaner. So during my last days in Singapore, Bulba approached me with the offer of joining Shopify. Which was very intriguing and exciting since I would be playing with such good and established players."
Were TSM’s results at The International 2022 one of the primary reasons behind your decision to leave?
"Not necessarily but it did play a role. If we were more successful I might have stayed in TSM since it is a bit discouraging to lose a lot of tournaments and lose this badly. Furthermore, I feel like after a result like this the team becomes a bit disillusioned with itself so you do need to make some changes.
"I felt like playing with new players, and players with so much experience like the Shopify team will help me improve and grow as a player."
However, the primary reason why I left was still the fact that I felt like playing with new players, and players with so much experience like the Shopify team will help me improve and grow as a player. So I never thought about it in a way that I felt like Shopify is a better team so I should join them because we will do better. I think both the teams are very similar in skill, but playing for Shopify improves me much more than staying in TSM. On top of that, there is the potential that the chemistry we have in Shopify can be much better than what I’ve had in TSM, which is something you need to try in order to see."
What do you think has worked so well for your old team TSM after their changes this season?
"I'm very happy they won the NA DPC. They played really well. They are still my friends and I wish them only the best. It’s also good that we have a tough opponent in the NA DPC since I believe it will help both the teams improve and hopefully stand a chance against the EU teams. Moon being a coach is something that he and I talked about after TI, and I think it's a very good fit for him. He’s a really smart player and a great leader so I think being a coach he can utilize his qualities the best. Dubu going to SEA surprised me a lot since it's a whole new lifestyle, but I think this proves his dedication and all the hard work he is putting in to still compete at the highest level."
Was the loss against TSM an unexpected outcome? What worked against you?
"I did expect to win against TSM but I always knew that they are a great team and that there is a very big potential of us losing. I think playing against me was a big motivation for them to try their hardest and I hope that they keep this fire for all the upcoming tournaments as well!"
Tour 1 and the Lima Major
Let’s talk about DPC NA 2023 Tour 1. There is a debate over whether the NA region has been weakened this season compared to last. What are your thoughts?
"Yeah, the NA DPC skill level dropped a lot since last season. I feel like right now it’s just us, TSM, and Nouns, with the other teams having the potential to also be really good but just not being quite there yet. For that reason we mainly scrim outside of NA."
How are you growing as a player under the leadership of Fly and playing with some of most the world-class players to ever play Dota?
"I think my laning has improved since laning with Crit, but mainly it's just interesting listening to their views of Dota. And since I’m still new and I have a lot of the views from the old team I can compare them and use the best of both worlds. Fly is also a great captain, the amount of work he and Bulba prepare for matches is very impressive."
What are the significant differences between playing under two different captains: Moonmeander and Fly?
"I think Moon is more of a solo leader, he is very charismatic and confident in his ways. He rallies the team behind him. On the other hand, Fly is more of just a captain, who prepares a draft and makes sure that everyone on the team is feeling good, but I think this team is much more of an "everyone has their voice." Whereas with Moon, it's mainly him, similar to Puppey and Kuro. Not to paint the wrong picture though, but in TSM everybody has a voice as well and it’s still democracy there and everyone can express themselves, the main difference is for example in-game. You could really feel that Moon is the captain. Now that he’s a coach I’d assume the team works similarly to ours."
"Fly is more of just a captain, who prepares a draft and makes sure that everyone on the team is feeling good... I think this team is much more of an "everyone has their voice." Whereas with Moon, it's mainly him, similar to Puppey and Kuro."
What are the things you appreciate about playing with your current team at SR?
"The org is really nice and helpful, they support us with a performance coach, they give us an amazing boot camp and food, they will even get us a new PC, which I really badly need. And the players are great too, I'm learning a lot from everyone. I also just enjoy the time that we all spend together, it's a ton of fun!"
Did you, at any point, feel that you had hit a ceiling in TSM?
"Not really, but I did feel like my progress was slowing down a little bit."
Are you actively watching teams from other regions play in their own leagues? Which team do you think is the strongest at the moment and which team do you think has the potential to cause a huge upset?
"I watch a lot of EU Dota, especially Liquid. I think this team with Nisha is insanely strong. And huge upset - I think the biggest upset is going to be Team Bald. Gorgc and the boys are gonna qualify for Div I EU and wreck everyone there!"
(Note: This interview was performed prior to Team Bald Reborn being relegated from Div II)
Heading to the Lima Major 2023, what are you looking towards the most?
Mainly just play good Dota. After a month of the NA DPC I’m a bit deprived of the really high-level Dota so that’s going to be the most fun. Also meeting everyone, my old teammates and my Dota friends, is going to be fun. And lastly and very importantly, to meet all the amazing SA fans!
SabeRLight- and the rest of Shopify Rebellion will be in action at the Lima Major 2023 on Feb. 22. Stay tuned to Esports.gg for more Lima Major content!