Esports.gg had the opportunity to speak with TeaGuvnor who is currently creating content on IESF 14th World Esports Championships Bali 2022.
British Dota 2 player, coach and analyst, Robson "TeaGuvnor" Merritt visits South East Asia (SEA) for the first time. In partnership with the International Esports Federation (IESF), TeaGuvnor is covering the Dota 2 tournament at the World Esports Championships Bali 2022 (WEC 2022) as a content creator.
Esports.gg had the pleasure to speak with TeaGuvnor and talk about his experience at WEC 2022. He shared his thoughts on the importance of national tournaments, opinions on roster changes, and plans for the future.
(This interview was conducted on December 8 in the middle of the Dota 2 playoffs.)
TeaGuvnor talks about his first time in Bali and in SEA
Hello Tea thank you very much for speaking with me today. Welcome to Bali! What do you think of it so far?
TeaGuvnor: It’s super cool! The people here are awesome, hospitable and friendly. I’ve never been to SEA before but I really want to come back. If I could extend my trip I would. Legit! The people here are so into esports as well. They’re just so passionate about gaming and have such an infectious energy.
What do you know about Indonesia? What were your expectations before coming here?
TeaGuvnor: I’ll be honest, I didn’t really know much. I just knew their Dota players are incredibly good. Indonesia has beaten every expectation I’ve had so far.
Is there anything you’ve been looking forward to doing while you’re in Bali?
TeaGuvnor: There’s been a lot of talk around this monkey temple thing so I really want to go check that out. But we’re on the hotel side of the island, and I am hoping I'll be able to travel to the other side and actually get to see the more authentic side of Bali rather than the touristy side. That’s going to be like my weekend activities. And also try some great food!
About IESF WEC 2022 and the importance of national tournaments
Let’s talk about WEC 2022. How did you hear about this event and end up coming here?
TeaGuvnor: Before I became an analyst, I did a lot of playing and coaching. I’ve always been involved in competing in some sense. So whenever there’s a chance to do national tournaments, my interests are always piqued. I know there are a lot of opinions where people don’t want national events as it’s not the prestige of playing in the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC). I feel like we’re still exploring the platform that’s going to make national tournaments more valid.
There are so many players outside of DPC that could showcase their skills and national tournaments are one of the best ways to do so.
I’ve competed in other tournaments that are national-based. The idea of bringing your country’s best players together to compete brings a level of pride to it, but there are also elements where you can create a tier two or tier three scene. So that’s why these events always sound so awesome to me. I’m a big fan of supporting players outside of just DPC, because DPC is so hard to get into. There are so many players outside of DPC that could showcase their skills and national tournaments are one of the best ways to do so.
Given the potential of national tournaments to promote the growth of new pro players into the scene, why do you think they haven’t really been picked up as much?
TeaGuvnor: Esports is an emerging sport. You need to take your time to get players to want to compete in certain tournaments. And there really isn’t much incentive with national tournaments. We’re still a couple years away from national tournaments being more relevant. Esports is just a bit too young of a sport to really care about every aspect of competition. In the future, I think it’ll be quite normal.
Getting more participation from DPC players will help raise awareness for national events
For a non-DPC event, don't you think WEC 2022 turned out pretty well especially with a decent $100,000 USD prize pool?
TeaGuvnor: They’ve got a cool setup for the players, a nice venue and a pretty cool hotel to house people. So these players are getting the full Dota experience from a national level. But again, there are not a lot of players from Div 1 or Div 2 competing. SEA-wise we’ve got Whitemon and Dreamocel. I’m trying to list players from Team Indonesia here because they’re the most star-studded team out of all the other teams. It’s pretty cool to see Team Indonesia bring some of their best. Hopefully, other countries do that in the future.
Indeed, hopefully, we’ll get some of the more established players to join such events.
TeaGuvnor: Exactly! Getting players like Arteezy, Dendi or Topson, for example, who have a bit more of a brand behind them will help boost the event’s popularity. Because people would go to watch him but then they watch a different country play, and then you get that world cup-esque vibe. If you compare it to football, Japan is doing so well right now, but would you watch Japanese football on a local level? However, after beating Spain and Germany at the World Cup, people became a bit more interested.
Imagine having that effect at this event as well where, for example, Team UK beats Indonesia. We beat Whitemon and now everyone looks up Team UK. They see TANNER, adzantick, or maybe if I’m playing people can be like "Wait the analyst can play? Yay!" Maybe there’s a cool storyline there that can build interest. National events are scorned years ago but I hope things will start to change.
TeaGuvnor thinks Indonesia will win WEC 2022
Which country do you think has what it takes to win the whole thing? Who are you rooting for?
TeaGuvnor: Just because Whitemon now plays with Ari (at TSM) who’s our British player from Div 1, I kind of have this little bit of bias. So I think Indonesia. Also, you know, it’s the local team. But skill-wise, I think Laos has impressed me. They had to go through qualifiers where they beat Bulgaria who has bzm and lil pleb, and now on top of that, they’re doing this run in the upper bracket as well. I think Laos is potentially the favorite. But again, a little bit biased but I would like to see Whitemon win in front of the home crowd.
I’m sure the Indonesian and other SEA fans will be really happy to have your support!
TeaGuvnor: It’s also unfair. Because the SEA teams are actually bringing DPC players. Most of the SEA teams have at least one or up to three DPC players. Some other countries just brought their mates as if they happen to be the only five Dota players available from their country. I feel the SEA teams have a bit more drive for national tournaments.
Thoughts on roster changes
Let’s talk about roster changes. Which roster change news is most shocking to you?
TeaGuvnor: I think probably Team Spirit. TORONTOTOKYO moving away from mid. If you watch true sight, even though he was the midlaner he gave a forward-thinking outlook in the draft whereas most players in that position would be a little bit more reserved. It’s really cool to see TORONTOTOKYO's captaining mentality in Team Spirit. He comes across as a visionary. That’s really a hard thing to achieve in Dota. I’m interested to see more of how TORONTOTOKYO captaining works. You rarely see a swap from mid to pos 5. Other than that, I think of course the promotion of SA Dota. They did well at TI and suddenly they swap to a whole new region.
What about a team that you think will have a bit of a challenge adjusting to the change?
TeaGuvnor: I think it’s going to be Alliance just because of their struggles last year. And now they rejuvenate their roster by going back to the old version with S4 including new players from SEA. ChYuan is a godly midlaner and has done pretty well with some of the teams he played on. It's exciting to see a SEA and Europe blend. But it’s one of those things where they either pop off and become a decent team or stagnate. Especially going into one of the most competitive regions. I really hope they can bounce back even though I think they might struggle. I’m just really excited to see S4 back in Alliance. It’s always cool to see him in the jersey.
"Wraith Pact has been beautifully nerfed" - TeaGuvnor's thoughts on the 7.32d patch
So let's talk about the patch that recently came out. What’s your take on the Wraith Pact nerf and why is Bloodstone suddenly getting picked up so frequently?
TeaGuvnor: Bloodstone is always just really good when you have spells to amp up the healing. Any hero that has the ability to pump out consistent damage like Leshrac and Razor will feel good with a Bloodstone. The disassembly feature is so underrated. For example, you can buy a Vanguard for Razor and then disassemble it and suddenly you now have components for a Lotus Orb and Bloodstone. You then just buy Black King Bar and a shard and you’re just this OP hero.
Wraith Pact has been beautifully nerfed where it becomes a very situational pickup. It is no longer an item that you must buy every game to win. It’s no longer “If I want to win, I must buy Wraith Pact,” but more of “Can I strategically buy it and am I buying it for a reason?” Wraith Pact has moved to a specialty item where you need a good reason to buy rather than just face-smashing your keyboard to buy it every game, which I enjoy.
A round robin drops of wisdom. Tell me the best heroes for each role for pub players out there to increase their MMR.
TeaGuvnor: For carry, if you can get out of lanes, Terrorblade can just 1v9. Midlane Pangolier is great because you can do rotations plus deal insane amount of damage late game when pushing out waves. Pos 3 Visage. Unfortunately, the zoo meta is still prevalent. Pos 4 would be Tusk or Tiny as they can easily transition to a carry role. As for pos 5, I would go for Ogre, Clockwerk or Chen.
So what's next for TeaGuvnor?
What have you been doing besides IESF post TI11?
TeaGuvnor: There’s a lot of downtime in-between DPC. It’s mainly just personal reflection and enjoying my time relaxing. Trying not to get into the monotony of always needing to do the next DPC or Dota thing. Playing a lot of pubs of course. Just relax and enjoy my time.
Looking back, what has been your best or most favorite highlight of your career this year?
TeaGuvnor: I’m just excited to be working in Dota. Not a lot of people have the opportunity to call this a job and the fact that I get to call it my job every other day is awesome and I wouldn’t change it for the world. And the fact that people still want me to do this job is humbling and I hope to keep on doing it.
What about your goals for the future?
TeaGuvnor: Continue being happy and loving life. Goals-wise I’m really happy with my position, but I want to keep improving. Keep analyzing Dota and getting better. I want to get 9k MMR. One day I think I want to return to coaching and get back to the competitive side, but for now, I’ll keep on broadcasting.
And when is your next one-word spam stream going to happen?
TeaGuvnor: Okay! I won’t be saying the same word, because next time it will be better than that. It will be an in-real-life (IRL) stream. That’s as much as I will say. It will be an IRL stream until the patch comes out. So I might just be out there in the wild for many hours till Valve releases a new map.
We will be looking forward to that stream, TeaGuvnor! Thank you very much for your time and I hope you get to enjoy Bali to its fullest! Please enjoy your time at WEC 2022.