Sam ‘BuLba’ Sosale is a pro Dota 2 player from Team Liquid (not that I really needed to tell you). He and his team just placed 7th-8th in The International 3 a few weeks ago and I got a chance to catch up with him in the aftermath. Only now as things begin to settle down for all the teams (and their voices begin to recover).
Congratulations for being a top 8 team in the world. What were your expectations coming into The International and how do you feel about your performance there?
Thanks! My expectations at TI3 based on our bootcamp were to do relatively well compared to the Western Scene. We had no scope of how strong asian teams were, but we knew Alliance and Na’Vi were the strongest outliers in the west. I am somewhat happy based on our performance. Getting 7th/8th was fine and it was great to knock out a strong Chinese contender along the way. However, I had hoped we would place at least top 6. IG was definitely beatable but they had a better plan in our game vs them and executed it better.
After your performance in the match against MUFC I defintely had high hopes for you guys against IG. What was your favorite moment of the event?
Definitely beating LGD as most of the gifs show. I was really happy and did some funny, after-match, celebration.
How did Team Liquid prepare for The International? How did you balance this with your studies?
We prepared a month long bootcamp in one of our Team friend’s house in Las Vegas. We kept a lot of our preparation for our bootcamp. I felt our bootcamp could have went a bit better in terms of strategy talk and getting better individually. I balanced this with my studies by having a class schedule that let me practice with my team and still have some time after for university work.
So the house wasn’t coming from sponsors?
It was a poker players house that he let us use for a month. He’s a friend of our team owner, Nazgul.
Liquid was one of the only American team invited to The International. Why do you think there is such a gap in the competitive scene here compared to that of Europe and Asia?
The player pool of the US is a lot lower than Europe and Asia. That is the main reason. The competitions that are held for European teams also allow American teams to play so the problem isn’t really the availability of the competitions but the limited amount of top players
Elder Titan, Abaddon, Centaur and Troll Warlord were recently added to Captain’s Mode. How do you think these heroes will affect the meta?
Not sure. It’s always how captains want to use the heroes. Each of them can be part of a certain playstyle or strategy. Any hero in dota is viable. It’s just who executes it well.
Do you think you’ll be utilizing any of the new heroes?
I can see Elder Titan being a decent mid hero and abuse his aura in a good teamfight lineup. Abbadon seems really annoying to play versus. Troll’s ultimate is quite broken and Centaur is strong in some trilanes. I think Elder Titan might be experimented with the most competitively along with Abbadon.
When do you think it’s a good choice to pick Invoker? I understand it’s one of your most famous heros.
Until the tanky heroes with bkb that bottle crow spam mid are gone, Invoker will also be gone. It’s always good to have a hero that can build for a bkb like dk. Invoker is useless versus bkb.
Also Invoker needs to stay in mid lane for too long and needs too many levels for his spells to be useful. Other mid heroes like beast and dk can just push the lane, get the rune and go gank
Who do you think is the most overrated hero?
At TI3, probably Weaver.
What characteristics make a good solo or mid player versus a support or carry?
Mainly mechanics such as lane control and csing. Also the ability to know which lane to rotate to and gank. The mid role needs the most practice.
I’ve heard that teams after TI3 have been hectic with roster changes and so forth. Are you among these teams making changes?
I can’t really delve too much into it but yea, we probably will make roster changes
Lumi in an interview mentioned this topic; he made the point that Dota2 needs to increase the amount of tournaments that happen year round to encourage teams to keep together. What are your thoughts on this?
I don’t think so. I think as long as players in teams find problems with each other after losing, roster changes will be inevitable. The only reason teams wait ’til after TI to change rosters is because of the threat of getting their invite taken away.
What upcoming tournaments can we expect Team Liquid to appear in?
All the relevant ones and as long as we can accomodate them as per our time schedule.
You are double majoring in Political Science and Biology currently. Do you plan to make Esports a life long career, or do you expect to fall back on your college education to make a “regular” career.
My entire motivation at the moment is on Dota 2. After I lose that motivation, I will probably switch into whatever will constitute my ‘regular’ career. I just love the game so much and its competitive scene. I’m enjoying it’s growth day-by-day.
Speaking of it’s growth. Where do you see Esports in 5-10 years. I’ve heard rumor of major American TV networks in the works of jumping on it.
I’m not sure on how esports will be in regards to TV. It will be hard to fit esports game into timeslots and have ad breaks since dota games are so long. I hope to see player’s getting bigger salaries so they can pay more attention to the game.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk! Any shout outs?
Shout out to my team and its sponsors, Razer Barracuda, Shiny Things, Need for Seat, and Twitch! Thanks to everyone who watched us at TI3. It was an amazing experience