We spoke to Entruv about his experiences in India, his take on what the Indian scene is missing and about his plans moving forward. Read on to find out what it’s like to be a Dota 2 coach in a country like India.
Hello Alex, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. Tell us a bit about yourself and your esports journey.
Entruv: Sure. I’m from Indonesia, I’m 24 years old this year and I started playing Dota 2 somewhere around January 2014, I guess that’s around 3 years now. Post TI 3 I started aiming to build a career in Dota 2 and earn some money out of it rather than just treating it as a hobby. I started by playing in small Indonesian teams but I thought that I needed to play on different servers to improve because different servers have different play styles and personalities. I had already played SEA Dota for around two years, so I moved to the U.S.A where I stayed with my sister who is working there. EG, DC and other top tier teams play on the NA servers – if I wanted to be the best I had to play with and against the best players in the world! Unfortunately, I didn’t have any connection to Europe. While in the U.S, I started to grind my MMR. I went from around 6k MMR in Jan 2016 to 7k by April – that is in around 3 months. Before I moved to India my MMR was around 7.8k MMR while my highest in the leaderboard was somewhere in the top 20. My goal was to become a pro player/coach while learning as much as I can from different people. If I can learn more as a coach, then I’d like to be a coach but if I can contribute more as a player then I will be a player. I had finished my bachelors in computer science and was aiming to pursue my masters in the U.S. Around then, Entity Gaming approached me with a good offer and after a little bit of Googling and a few discussions with the organization I said ‘sure yeah, why not!’ and put my studies on hold to move to India. I figured this would be a great learning experience that could lead to something new that I’ve never had before.
Was the reality of being in India in line with your expectations?
Entruv: It was actually higher than my expectations! If we are talking about results then of course it was below expectations but in terms of the organization and how the management treated me, it was really good. Everyone was extremely professional and really hard working. The owner and the manager always took good care of us and the players were willing to give it their all and listen to me.
What was your training regimen like with the team?
Entruv: We made a schedule where we would be awake at 8 30 a.m. and ready by 9 30 a.m. We would then scrim for 6 hours post which we would either have discussions or play solo MMR for the rest of the day. We started doing really well in scrims over the first couple of months with this routine.
What in your opinion does Indian Dota lack that’s holding it back from being internationally competitive? Do you think there is a solution for it?
Entruv: Well I think it’s the players themselves. There are just around 4 to 5 people in India that have reached 7k MMR – No Chance, Blizzard, Swifty and a few others. If you can produce more players, better players; then you can produce better teams. The solution is very simple actually. In my opinion either you go all in or you don’t play Dota at all. If you want to play Dota competitively you have to aim to be the best otherwise you’re just really wasting your time. At the very least you have to hit 7k MMR, that’s the minimum without which it’s really hard to continue. Dota requires you to put in around 10 hours a day, you have to give money to your family and earn enough to feed yourself. For this, you need to work really hard and you need to be really efficient at training. It doesn’t matter if you put in 14 hours a day but you are still stuck at 6k MMR. You have to first hit 7k MMR, form or join a team of similarly skilled players and then try to compete with international teams. That’s the way to take the Indian scene to a higher level in my opinion.
In my opinion either you go all in or you don’t play Dota at all. If you want to play Dota competitively you have to aim to be the best otherwise you’re just really wasting your time.
What were your observations when you first joined the Entity Gaming house and what changes did you implement as their coach?
Entruv: When I came to the house, they were of the mindset that they were already the best in India. They didn’t play too much versus international teams. They would always win against Indian teams and technically that did make them the best in India. However, that meant that they would always play with the same people which wouldn’t really allow them to learn something new. When I first came it was really hard for me to talk with Swifty and with Blizzard because they didn’t really have too much exposure and their knowledge inside of the game was really low. It was really hard for them to listen to me at first because they always think that “yeah I’m the best already, I’m always right!”. But after around two weeks, I started being tough with them forcing them to listen to me. I explained to them that the only reason that I flew from the U.S.A to India is to get them to work together as a team and that if they weren’t willing to listen to me or to each other, there is no way this thing could work. Slowly but surely they started to improve, particularly Balaji (Blizzard) who improved really fast! Swifty started doing really well too. My job was to first get their basics right and then start working on them as a team. Some people on the team were very vocal while others didn’t talk very much. When people don’t talk much they are really hard to understand. My biggest challenge was to bring out everyone’s opinions and channel them into productive discussions. I also helped with strategies. I basically watched our opponents’ replays for weeks at a stretch to learn their playstyle and prepare our team for them. Unfortunately, there’s only so much preparation you can do for best of one matches like in the TI Open Qualifiers.
I explained to them that the only reason that I flew from the U.S.A to India is to get them to work together as a team and that if they weren’t willing to listen to me or to each other, there is no way this thing could work.
What are your thoughts on the squad consisting of players from the Philippines and India both?
Entruv: I think that was a good move. There’s no way that Indian players can learn something new by simply playing among themselves. Philippines is one of the best Dota 2 countries right now in SEA and they’ve been doing really well. Bringing in players from there has really helped Indian players get better at Dota 2.
What do you think ETG’s chances are at the next international Dota tournament?
Entruv: As of now I believe they are still trying out players for their roster. As soon as they get 5 players and a coach they need to work together as a team. If they do that, I think they have a really good shot. I just want them to be stable in terms of team mates because changing members every 3 months or so makes it really hard for people to adapt.
From the outside the esports life looks like it’s all fun and games, but the reality of it is quite different. Could you tell us what an average day looks like for the players and for the coach when you’re training for a tournament?
Entruv: Well it’s not as glamorous as people think it is – it’s not just sponsors, jerseys, branded mouse, keyboards and headsets. The reality is you have to wake up early in the morning to train, watch your replays, discuss your team’s replays, scrim a lot, practice in solo MMR a lot. We basically sleep for about 6 to 7 hours tops because playing Dota is so stressful that we need to go and hangout somewhere to relax after a day’s training.
Well it’s not as glamorous as people think it is – it’s not just sponsors, jerseys, branded mouse, keyboards and headsets.
What were your favourite moments and least favourite moments during your time with Entity Gaming?
Entruv: I think my most favourite moments were when we were hanging out as a team, because we are really good friends. By 12 midnight players are not allowed to use the computer. Everyone has to go to their room and sleep. But nobody sleeps! Instead we send stupid smileys and emoticons to each other on Facebook messenger from two rooms away haha. That was one of my most favourite moments.
My least favourite moment was after we lost at the TI SEA Open Qualifiers. We had very high expectations. We kind of threw the game in the first qualifiers so we settled down quickly but then we lost in the second qualifier to a team that we have scrimmed against a lot. We had an 80% winrate versus them in scrims and we had reviewed our mistakes in the first qualifier as well. Despite this we lost! Everyone was so sad, people were not talking for two to three days at a stretch!
What went wrong in your grand final match versus IQ Dota at the ESL India Premiership Summer LAN Finale?
Entruv: We were just not prepared I guess. It was really hard to figure out a strategy to beat them. We looked up Dotabuff and other sources but we couldn’t find too much data on the team. Meanwhile we played a LOT at the ESL India Premiership – we had like a 27 win streak through the league up until we lost at the finals. This gave them a lot of data about our team and playstyle. We tried to learn about their gameplay through the couple of games they played at the LAN. We looked like we were the team with the advantage when we beat them in the best of one upper bracket finals. This gave us the feeling that we are better than them. They lost to us so they learned even more about us and in the grand finals they knew exactly what we were going to do. They played better than us.
Entruv: Right now I just want to watch TI and enjoy the tournament. I’m actually going to be a panellist on one of the Indonesian esports streams – Supreme League Arena. After TI ends I will either join or coach an Indonesian team or I’ll move somewhere else. In the meantime, I will be streaming some casual Dota on my channel while grinding MMR. Daily practice in the team house was very stressful! Can you imagine 12 hours a day of practice, sometimes you fight but you have to get back on your feet again after you lose at the TI Quals or the ESL India Premiership? I just want to chill for a while and watch TI with my friends and my girlfriend before I decide what to do.
I just want to chill for a while and watch TI with my friends and my girlfriend before I decide what to do.
One last question before we wrap this up. What’s the story behind the name ‘Entruv’?
Entruv: I used to play World of Warcraft when I was around 13 years old and there was this character called Vurtne. Entruv is basically his name spelled backwards haha. Sounds cool right?
Not bad haha. Thank you for your time Alex! Do you have any shoutouts?
Entruv: A big shoutout to Entity, the owners, the management and the players. Also to ASUS and for every sponsor that Entity has because you guys are all amazing and have taken good care of me while I was in India. I wish them goodluck for their upcoming tournaments – ASUS ROG I believe.
You can catch Alex ‘Entruv’ Prawira live on YouTube and Twitch.