SumaiL: “The gap between me and other carry players has closed… But now that doesn’t mean I’ve gone down. They just came up”

Michael Hassall

Michael Hassall

SumaiL is headed to Team Aster full-time after the Berlin Major. We caught up with him pre-signing to ask him about the team.

It’s official: Syed Sumail Hassan is now a full-time addition to Team Aster after a top-eight finish at the Berlin Major and a weekend of deliberation. On Saturday, even after their elimination, Aster was clearly keen for SumaiL to stay: The team told reporters the team was trying very hard to keep him.

We had an opportunity to talk to SumaiL on May 6, just a day before the deal was reportedly done. Of course, we asked him about playing on Aster, and whether those reported communication issues were all that big of an issue. 

SumaiL on playing with Team Aster for the Berlin Major

SumaiL interviewed by Slacks at the Berlin Major (Image via Viola Schuldner/ESL)
SumaiL interviewed by Slacks at the Berlin Major (Image via Viola Schuldner/ESL)

SumaiL joined Team Aster as a stand-in in a similar manner to former Nigma Galaxy teammate Ivan "MinD_ContRoL" Ivanov: A last-minute phone call and some quick negotiation. But by the time we saw SumaiL, he didn’t feel like a last-minute addition. The former TI champion was laughing and joking with his team, and clearly relaxed. Honestly, it felt like these communication issues were a bit overhyped.

There have been SumaiL to China rumors for years, it’s almost become a meme. SumaiL to PSG.LGD, SumaiL to iG. Now it’s actually happened. Has it been fun playing on Aster?

SumaiL: “Yeah it’s been really really fun”

I saw in an earlier interview, the communication with you and Aster was apparently limited. Did that improve as the tournament went on. 

SumaiL: “Oh, I don't think it improved. It was pretty stagnant.”

Did you work out any signals or anything?

SumaiL: “No, but it's not like we are struggling because of our comms, so I don't blame the comms. I don't even think it mattered that much. Maybe a bit, you know. But even if you speak the same language, it sometimes doesn't work anyways.”

On playing at the Berlin Major and the new patch

(Image via ESL)
(Image via ESL)

In that final game against Liquid, you were on the KotL, and after the game, some of the analysts criticized the pick as not one that enabled you to carry. But during that game, I was here interviewing Seleri of Gaimin Gladiators, he disagreed, saying something along the lines that you were the best KotL mid players in the world. Did you think you were in a good spot to carry that game?

SumaiL: “I think the pick was fine. The idea was good if we could have executed better, because we had to out-pace them. Because it's hard to out-scale them especially when they will have Alchemist and they have counterpicks on two cores. So I think our idea was good. We just couldn't we couldn't do things right early. And if the early game fell apart, then the game is hard anyway. It doesn’t matter what you pick.”

It’s been a while since you’ve played consistently against these top-level teams. Now you’ve had DreamLeague 19, and this tournament, do you think you’re still at that top level?

SumaiL: “Me personally? Yes.”

Without a doubt? You haven’t missed a beat?

SumaiL: “I mean, I think the gap between me and other carry players has closed. Because there was a huge gap back then. But now that doesn't mean I’ve gone down. They just came up.”

Do you think you learned anything or picked up anything from this tournament, or from Team Aster that you’re going to take back with you to Team Nigma, or any other team’s you play on?

SumaiL: “I mean, it's a new patch. So I don't think anybody has figured it out anyways, but there are some things there are some heroes that are clearly broken and better than every other hero in the game and I think everybody knows them to be honest. They're very apparent, you know, they’re first picked.”

Like Medusa?

SumaiL: “Yeah, Medusa, Alchemist, Underlord, you know these heroes. You always pick them.”

I spoke with MinD_ContRoL yesterday and I asked him the same thing, but, hypothetically, if Nigma Galaxy was here at the Berlin Major, how do you think the team would do? Could you make the top-three? Could you win it all?

SumaiL: “I think with Nigma you can never tell at a LAN event. Probably could have won… probably could have come in last place, you know? With LAN it changes. But I would have been super confident.”

SumaiL and Team Aster's next event following the Berlin Major will be the CN DPC Tour 3. Stay tuned to for more Dota 2 news, interviews, and guides!

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