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photo by: StarLadder

A day before the main event portion of the Chongqing Major we’ve sat and talked to the Virtus.pro coach, Arsenij “ArsZeeqq” Usov. He was a fresh Major semi-finals winner with his team, as he had to stand in for VP’s captain Alexei “Solo” Berezin who had to fight a very nasty flu during the first few days of the event in China.

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Hello ArsZeeqq, let’s start with the beginning. Sometime back in 2013 you were starting a professional career as a player on a team with Resolut1on and Mag. After that, you’ve changed a couple of CIS squads and the next thing we know is that you coached the Effect team that made it to ESL One Katowice and DAC 2018. So, what happened in between, how did you transition from player to coach?

Yeah, I like to think that I was actually a pretty good player, but at some point, I had a hand injury. I think it happened after I left Vega Squadron. When I tried to return I had to switch to position 5 because I couldn’t play well as a 4. With time, I started to lose interest in playing. To be honest, I don’t like the game anymore, I don’t love it as I used to, but I like to work with professionals, with smart and passionate people. And this is the main reason for which I became a coach.

 

Ok, so you started to coach Effect and you qualified with them to Katowice and DAC 2018. How did you get contracted by Virtus.pro?

I don’t think that the work with Effect mattered that much. When I was still active, I got to play with almost everyone from VP. I played with Pasha and No[o]ne at Vega, I played with RodjER at Rebels and then Effect, and they all said that I have good ideas, smart strategies and things like that. At the same time, it was hard to play with me because I’m the emotional type of player. So, when I transitioned to coaching I think that they understood that they don’t have to play with me, but they still can use my ideas, pick my brain. RodjER is a very good friend of mine, so when VP were looking for a new coach, he told them “why don’t we try ArsZeeqq?”

 

Let’s talk a bit about this 7.20 patch and the Chongqing Major, which is the first LAN played on it. What are the main changes that make the games at this event to end so fast?

The most important aspects are the removal of the armor from towers and the reduced cost of Vladimir’s. And honestly, these changes are a little bit stupid because in one single patch you make the towers weaker and at the same time you make Vlad’s cheaper. As you might have noticed, now every single position 3 player is rushing this item, which again, makes the game so stupid and so predictable. Basically, this meta is about which team buys Vlad’s first, and how early they get it.

 

What support heroes you find a bit broken right now, heroes that should perhaps be looked at before releasing the new patch?

Tusk for sure. There are no real counter picks to him. Earth Spirit is also a bit OP this patch, but Tusk is way too good. He is good for laning, he is good for Roshan, combos with Meepo or Nature’s Prophet and Tusk’s Tag team makes Rosh go down so incredibly fast, it’s silly.

 

Unfortunately Solo has been pretty ill this event and in the upper bracket semi-finals, you had to stand in for him. How and when did you guys decide to have you play, a day before the match, on the eve of that match, in the morning? Walk me through how it happened.

Honestly, a day or two before it happened, we were joking about it. They were like ArsZeeqq you will have to play and I was continuously saying ” no, no, please don’t.” But, yeah, unfortunately, Solo felt worse and worse and we actually wanted to play with CemaTheSlayer or KingR as they were already eliminated from the tournament, but Valve didn’t allow us to do that.  So, I was the only option available.

Now, to tell you something funny, when we were bootcamping for this Major, Solo had to take a day off to sort out some personal matters before the trip to China and we had scrims scheduled for that day. So, I played with VP on that day. I played Witchdoctor and I was feeding so much. But, now I realize that those practice matches helped me here when I had to stand in.

 

So, how was it to beat the team that was in the TI8 grand finals? Did you feel any kind of anxiety before the series or even during the games?

No, not really, because before I joined VP, I worked with a sports psychologist and I have all the mantras and I know how to keep myself calm, how to stay confident and how to stay focused. I’m usually a very emotional person, but I entered this series with confidence. However, when the games actually stated I was talking way too much. In game one at some point, Ramzess actually shouted  at me “stop talking, stop talking!”

I was calling too much for them. They wanted less conversation during the game. But in game two, I was calmer, I called out only the important things, like “we should go there” “we should do that,” the macro things, you know.

 

Did you learn something new about your team during that series?

Yes. Definitely yes. But the only thing I can talk about is just a funny one. I realized that RodjER is feeding too much. I mean, I kind of knew that already, but most of the times, when I’m watching them playing it kind of makes sense what is he doing, and it doesn’t feel like that important that he died, again and again. But now, I was with him and I saw him jumping on Tiny and dying in a second, and I was like “what the hell, this is feeding”. I felt like I could report him. But, the good part is that I realized what I should tell him to do in the future to correct plays like that.

 

I guess some people got a little bit jealous on you now.

Oh, yeah, for sure, I’m aware. Hey, I have a 100% Major LAN win rate.

 

What would be your advice for the young players out there who grind their way to the professional scene?

Guys, don’t wake up every morning wanting to become this next super esports player. Just love this game, play it because of your immense passion for the game, enjoy and love the things you do. Don’t do it just because you want to become famous, or become rich. If you are passionate about this, if you do it because you love it and if you are also talented, things will come your way.

 

Thanks a lot for taking the time to talk to us ArsZeeqq, good luck to you and your team in the main event and if you have any shout-outs to do at the end of our interview, please do.

Of course, thanks for having me and a shout-out to all our sponsors, shout-out to my mom, to my friends and shout-out to Babka.

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More content from onsite at the Chongqing Major:

– Kyle interview: “I built teams my whole career, I’m over it. I don’t have it in me anymore”
– ASD Interview: “We are here to learn”
– Fy Interview: “We practiced with Fnatic and the results were pretty even”
– Fade on Vici Gaming’s performance: “We didn’t make any serious mistakes”
– Black^ Interview: “I thought of it as a joke build for pub games, but now people are using it at the Major”
– MidOne Interview: “There is no way we are going to relax until TI is over”
– Faith_bian: “The competition should be about the skill instead of luck”
– Players’ Thoughts After BO1 Elimination Matches at The Chongqing Major
– Mars by Forward Gaming
– Mars by EHOME

 

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