Top Russian caster ArsZeeqq talks past and future at BetBoom Dacha Dubai 2024 cover image

Top Russian caster ArsZeeqq talks past and future at BetBoom Dacha Dubai 2024

The veteran caster and coach wants to see more Enigma.

When it comes to the Russian broadcast, BetBoom Dacha Dubai 2024 went all-out by hiring Arsenii "ArsZeeqq" Usov. The experienced caster is fresh off the grand finals of The International (TI) 2023 heading into the event. A frequent face in top-tier tournaments, ArsZeeqq agreed to give his first English interview in a very long time.

Read on for our exclusive interview with ArsZeeqq at BetBoom Dacha Dubai 2024.

Interview with ArsZeeqq at BetBoom Dacha Dubai 2024 ArsZeeqq, how are FISSURE and BetBoom treating you here at BetBoom Dacha? Is it your first time in Dubai?

ArsZeeqq: This is my second time in Dubai. I've been working here as a team handler for CS because my girlfriend was working here as a talent manager and she had to go there. She had a birthday while there was a CS Dacha and she said, "If you don't go there somehow, I will kick you out." So I had to ask my bosses how can I go in any way. And I was working like a team handler on CS — now working as a talent finally.

When you first started playing Dota 2, were there any particular pros that inspired you to go full-time?

Wow, what a question. I think there [were] a lot of Russian players like [Ivan "Vigoss" Shinkarev], Jolie, who else? [Sergey "ARS-ART" Revin], [Clement "Puppey" Ivanov] — he's not Russian, he's Estonian. I was watching Dota 1 replays, there [were] forums, I had to download things and watch replays and that was kind of the inspiring things.

ArsZeeqq coached for its 2018 Kuala Lumpur Major championship (Image via FISSURE)
ArsZeeqq coached for its 2018 Kuala Lumpur Major championship (Image via FISSURE)

Everyone says Puppey.

Yeah, I mean, he's too old, man. He's too old, but he's still playing. Even in Dota 2, when he and I were young, he was the extraordinary player. Insane builds. The first time I saw Shadow Fiend with Diffusal Blade — that was Puppey. I don't even remember the name of that league, but I saw the replay and thought, "Wow, you can build Diffusal Blade on SF! Wow, no way!"

ArsZeeqq agrees: Mage Slayer is broken

What do you think about the DPC dissolving and third-party events like this taking its place?

I feel like it's really good for the teams. If you have a really good, honorable captain, he can form the best team for the whole year. In [the] previous year, there was a DPC, there was a tier-two, tier-three team and they are playing this DPC. They don't want to disband, they don't want to kick anyone, they are getting salaries, they are getting money from DPC placements.

But now you don't, right? And you have to adjust every second. You have to make your team better, better, and better. But last year, you could just sit, get your salary, and be fine. Now you can't do that. I think that's the main thing. But of course, if there [are] tier-three players without ambitions, they will fall off 100% in that year.

Do you ever use your fame in pubs? If someone tries to take your role from you, do you just tell them that you're ArsZeeqq?

I never do that, personally. There was a video when I abused it, but for my teammate. It was for [Vladimir "RodjER" Nikogosian] and [Ilya "Lil" Ilyuk.] Lil stole his role. They're both playing position four, yeah? And they had bad intentions between each other. And I took RodjER's headset and said "Get the f**k out, man. Get the f**k out, man. My position four should practice because we're in tournament!" We were on ESL Hamburg, maybe six years ago — 2018. That's the only thing where I'll abuse my name.

But that's not real abuse, right? When I play myself, I don't care. When I play Immortal drafts, I'm marking every single role. I don't care.

What do you think of the 7.35 meta? Do any heroes or items stand out to you overpowered?

I think there [are] cool items in Dota 2. There [are] a lot of years past when Valve did not even touch any items, like there [were] just super minor changes. But now, you have great Mage Slayer, Veil, Shiva's. It's fun. I even played matchmaking with Troll mid with Mage Slayer and Shiva's and Aghanim's and Bloodstone. I mean, this is fun! You can't kill this hero. This is just an example. No one should try it in pubs because this is griefy for sure.

But right now, with all the new items, there's more fun in-game. That's the thing. I can't say that something is super overpowered. Maybe Mage Slayer is overpowered because when you hit a hero, he cannot blink for six seconds after this effect. That's insane. They should maybe make it for three or four seconds, but not six. If you just randomly hit someone who has Blink and he cannot use it in six seconds, that's insane.

ArsZeeqq built a hero with 1.0 INT gain as a caster (Image via Valve)
ArsZeeqq built a hero with 1.0 INT gain as a caster (Image via Valve)

Related to that, what heroes do you predict will dominate the BetBoom Dacha Dubai 2024 meta?

I hope there will be a lot of Enigma. Because Valve [is] making this hero much stronger every patch, but it's not being touched by pro players. Now tier-one teams — they're trying it. It's a good flex hero. You can put it on position five, four, three. You can dominate the lane if you're the offlaner. With new Vladimir's that costs not so much, Eidolons are now much better. You cannot even kill Eidolons in the lane. It's almost impossible. So yeah, I want to see a lot of Enigma games.

What else? We will see a lot of Pangoliers and Spirits, but that's not that interesting anymore. I want to see a lot of Enigma.

Arc Warden thoughts?

He's a great hero. I don't like it personally because I'm not playing that high of matchmaking anymore. So every time I play against Arc Warden, I lose. Every time I play with Arc Warden, I lose. I hate this hero.

What RAMZES666 is really like in person

You've managed to coach several big teams while also doing commentary and analysis over the past couple of years. How do you manage to juggle all of that?

Yeah, I did it both for half of the year. I don't think it's difficult. It's all about you being not involved in one process 100% and you feel bad about it. I mean, I should work in a studio, be a talent, and then I should watch replays, but I don't do it all 100%. And that's why I left [YNT.] And there was a problem when I left the team and I'm just working as a commentator, talent, whatever.

It became healthier for myself because I'm working only for me, there's only me doing stuff. I'm not responsible for anyone. But when you're a coach, you're responsible for little kids or grown-up kids and it's tough because you have a lot of things to do. Even if you think that you do all of that 100%, something might just fall off and be bad. Like, someone wakes up with bad behavior the whole day. Like, "I did my work, but he's not doing it?"

That's why I feel healthier in my mental state that [casting and analyzing is my] main thing, but maybe later I will come back as a coach. It's a fun thing.

Wait, did you leave YNT?

I left that team because I (long pause) felt like I couldn't do it anymore. Plus I thought that someone in my team might be involved in some, uh, 322 stuff. I'm not 100% sure, but I was thinking about it. I'm watching the game, you cannot lose that, but they lose. When I come back to the scrims, to the practice, I'm still thinking about it. And I'm like, "Guys, it's better for me to stop doing that. You're just on your own now."

ArsZeeqq coached RAMZES666 during the peak of his career (Image via Epicenter)
ArsZeeqq coached RAMZES666 during the peak of his career (Image via Epicenter)

You’ve worked with Roman "RAMZES666" Kushnarev quite a bit in his career, and that player has a very infamous personality in the west. What is he really like as a person and as a player?

There's the most common thing that people see in public media — that he is arrogant and mad at everyone, being toxic and stuff. It might be in public, but when you're his teammate, he is the best that I ever had. Really the best. He's very — he's a strong leader, he will help you with anything that you're struggling with. I want to say more. He is the best teammate, but in public, yeah, he might be a little bit toxic. But he's a really good friend. There [are] not that much people around him who he likes. And if you're in a team with him, if you're playing with him, if you're coaching him, he's trying his best to be a good guy. So this is very controversial.

Are there any players that you've coached or worked with in the past that you're particularly proud of?

There were a lot of situations where you can say I scouted someone. Someone who never played anywhere, but I see him and I say, "He's gonna be a good player. [Anton "dyrachyo" Shkredov]. We were playing pubs with him and I was feeling like he was a really good player. And he's grown up to be an all-Major wins player in one year. But we were just playing parties and I knew he was going to be a great player.

Who else? In my past career, I've played in Vega with [Volodymyr "No[o]ne-" Minenko], with [Pavel "9pasha" Khvastunov], and many years after that they became Virtus.Pro. I joined them like five years after that. And I was proud of them when I wasn't working in Virtus.Pro because they're like winning everything. We were growing together as players, as friends. I'm still friends with them. There [are] a lot of players I'm proud of, actually.

That's it for our interview with ArsZeeqq at BetBoom Dacha Dubai 2024. Stay tuned to for the latest Dota 2 news and updates.