“This year will be different” says Team Spirit’s Mira with confidence on the back of the team’s recent success at Riyadh.

It is no surprise that Team Spirit are team others are looking out for right now. Despite going through a somewhat challenging year, they cemented themselves as one of the most successful Dota 2 teams in the world after their recent Riyadh Masters 2023 championship. Now, they are looking to further their accomplishments at the upcoming DreamLeague Season 21, and later, The International 2023 (TI12).

Esports.gg had the opportunity to speak with Myroslav "Mira" Kolpakov to talk about Team Spirit's Dota journey in 2023.

Mira on getting his confidence back after Riyadh

You went out quite early last TI and mentioned that you had lost confidence. How do you feel today? What did you do to get that confidence back?

Mira: "This year compared to the previous one is much better for us. We won a big tournament [Riyadh Masters 2023]. Even though we lost all the Majors, we had good mentality as a team. Even when we were losing, we were cheering like and we were basically okay. We knew that at some point we will win and we will come back. So I guess our mentality is much stronger than before. Me and Collapse have much better synergy. This year will be different."

What exactly did you do to build that mentality? And how are you and Collapse synergizing better?

Mira: "We spoke about our problems more openly and tried to fix them by playing more scrims as well as fixing our small problems on lane and stuff. And now we understand each other much better. So, we just used our time better."

Power-up surge at Riyadh

Team Spirit had flown under the radar throughout the year. However, you suddenly have this power-up surge at Riyadh. What exactly happened?

Mira: "If you look at our drafts at Riyadh, we have more meta heroes picked than the other teams. Which says that we have the skills since the start of this year. We have enough skill to win, but we don't have enough strategies, drafts and meta ideas. Maybe we didn't have enough heroes in the pool to pick and I would say we just lost by drafts on Majors. Maybe Bali Major was different because we had personal problems in life. Whereas in Riyadh, we had the most meta drafts of all teams. So I think that's the reason we won."

Team Spirit had around 56 unique picks at Riyadh Masters 2023 (Image via <a href="https://stats.spectral.gg/lrg2/?league=riyadh_masters_2023&amp;mod=teams-profiles-team7119388" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Spectral</a>)
Team Spirit had around 56 unique picks at Riyadh Masters 2023 (Image via Spectral)

Mira has nothing to hide at DreamLeague

"It's not about some secret strats. We will show everything in DreamLeague."

Mira and Team Spirit do not plan on hiding their cards for DreamLeague Season 21

Are you planning to go all out for DreamLeague or are you planning to save your strats for TI?

Mira: "Nowadays, Dota is not about having some secret strats. It's about how good you draft meta heroes; what you pick first and what you let your opponents pick. It's like a poker game. You need to know how to juke and fool your opponents on draft. How to give them worse heroes so that you can get better ones. Because everyone picks the same meta all the time. Maybe Tundra's picks are a bit different, but all other teams pick more or less the same heroes. So it's not about some secret strats. We will show everything in DreamLeague. In the end, it's about the way you pick and the way you draft better."

So not only juking in game, but also juking in the draft.

Mira: "Yes, especially with the new system of drafts it will be very interesting. It's much more complicated now because in the past the second pick was overpowered most of the time. But now you don't know because you have so many ways to juke your opponents in the draft."

So, which teams do you think are your biggest rivals or biggest threat to you in DreamLeague?

Mira: "I think it's still Gaimin Gladiators who play the fastest and most high pressure Dota. They really know how to pressure the map. They will punish you for every greedy move you make. Other than that, maybe Liquid? I would say these teams are very good."

Mira sets eyes on Gaimin Gladiators and Team Liquid for DreamLeague Season 21 (Image via ESL)
Mira sets eyes on Gaimin Gladiators and Team Liquid for DreamLeague Season 21 (Image via ESL)

Nature's Prophet, Warlock, and Vengeful Spirit are Mira's top meta support heroes

In your opinion, what is the best way to win games in this current meta?

Mira: "If you're talking about pubs, you should just pick the most meta support. I think supports are winning in pubs because there are so many strong heroes. On position four or five, you should just pick Furion, Warlock or Vengeful Spirit and just destroy the lane. And maybe some offlane Brewmaster as well. This hero is broken for sure."

What about yourself personally? Who's your favorite hero of all time?

Mira: "I would say it's Tiny or Rubick. These are my first two heroes in position four."

Being a shotcaller and Mira's most memorable games

In a recent Team Spirit vlog, it was mentioned that you are the shot caller. Do you call shots most of the time? If so, why do your teammates entrust that job to you?

Mira: "That was partly a joke because our team is not like this. Everyone can call smoke most of the time. Maybe it's often between me and Miposhka. But no, it's not me all the time. The person who can seize the moment makes the calls."

Who do you think is the best shotcaller in your team?

Mira: "I think it's Miposhka. In the last tournament he didn't do it much because he was playing very carefully. But when he makes calls, they're very good."

What was the most memorable game in any tournament so far in 2023?

Mira: "The series versus 9Pandas and LGD in the Riyadh group stage. Those were wild games! Wild games! It was insane when we came back against mega creeps versus 9Pandas. And in the game versus LGD, they killed our Juggernaut [Yatoro] without buyback for two minutes. They just went for the throne while we defended it four versus five. We actually did it and won this game, which was crucial because that led us to go to the upper bracket."

What motivates Mira and the rest of Team Spirit?

By Winning Riyadh, you've become one of the top 10 highest earning pro players in Dota. Does that change your mentality for playing the game? Does the prize affect your motivation at all?

Mira: "I don't think so. Everyone is in the boot camp to prepare for DreamLeague and TI. We're still trying to win every pub, because we don't like to lose even in pubs. So I think it's not about money. We just don't like to lose. That's all. So, it's not about money. We're very competitive, guys."

Team Spirit Mira is the top 10 highest earning Dota 2 player in 2023 (Via <a href="https://www.esportsearnings.com/players" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">esportsearnings.com</a>)
Team Spirit Mira is the top 10 highest earning Dota 2 player in 2023 (Via esportsearnings.com)

Finally, what do you wish to say to all your fans out there?

"We were losing all the time this year before Riyadh, but people were still rooting for us, cheering for us and didn't lose trust."

Mira appreciates his fans for not losing faith

Mira: "I want to say thank you to all the fans out there. We said it before in Riyadh, but I want to say it once again. We were losing all the time this year before Riyadh, but people were still rooting for us, cheering for us and didn't lose trust. It was very nice because personally for me, it helped me to survive this year. And I just want to say thank you."

Thank you, Mira. It's been an honor to speak with you. We wish you all the best on DreamLeague and of course the upcoming TI. Good luck.

Mira and Team Spirit will face Gaimin Gladiators as their opening match at the upcoming DreamLeague Season 21 on September 18, 5:30 a.m. PST. Be sure to catch their game and follow the tournament on our site.

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