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Jerax talks about Winning TI and its Emotional Toll

Vignesh Raghuram

15th Dec, 2019

Earlier this month, Jesse "JerAx" Vainikka interviewed with Pelaajat, a Finnish esports podcast and dwelled upon life as a Dota 2 Professional, his mentality at TI8 and TI9, and the ethos of OG amongst many other interesting topics.

However, one of the most fascinating topics in the podcast was the discussion on how Jerax’s mentality changed after winning TI8. He revealed that the win at TI8 was much more ‘emotional and heavier’ than his win at TI9.

He states:

“I felt the first TI win a lot more emotional and more heavier. I thought that my life kind of stopped and I couldn't really do anything in my life because we talked about having a 4-month break after that. "Well, what the hell am I supposed to do during it" 4 months? That's a hell of a long time.

We had a very long break and all I thought was "I don't really know what else to do than play Dota". I had heavily committed to the game before that time. I had been playing very actively which I don't usually do. That much, at least. So it felt a lot like the ground fell out from underneath my feet as a result of the win. There just wasn't any backup.

For example, I wasn't really keeping in touch with my friends nor my relatives or family. Perhaps I didn't see other things as important as Dota. When you only have one important thing in your life and that gets taken away from you so you're only left with emptiness and I feel that's what many players go through because they've put so much emphasis on gaming.

Understandable. But it's not really healthy, and in those times I felt emptiness.


When Jerax was asked to elaborate on what he did during his first break after TI8, he stated:


I thought a lot about whether I still want to play. That was one big topic that I'm also thinking of right now. Then I also thought about what could motivate me again because I had no motivation anymore. I couldn't really grasp on why I would still want to play this game. I'm interested in so many games so why would I want to play Dota specifically?

Then I thought about what my teammates were going to do. Then I thought could I do something meaningful in my life. I don't believe that I'll play this game forever and I don't think this is exactly self-fulfilling. I know that I will change someday. So when is it going to change and what is it that I want to do then?


The player also confirmed that OG will start playing once again in January 2020, presumably to prepare for the ESL One Los Angeles 2020 Major Open Qualifiers.

You can watch the full Podcast here:



In this, Jerax talks about how he began his career in esports, his military life, OG’s ethos, their runs at TI8 and TI9 as well as why hiring a sports psychologist (Mia Stellberg) was crucial to winning their second TI.

It is long and comprehensive but an interesting watch, regardless.


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