Recently, OG’s Midlaner Topias Miikka "Topson" Taavitsainen interviewed with Cybersport where he spoke about his time during the lockdown and how it feels to be back and competing at the highest levels of Dota 2. In the interview, Topson spoke about a variety of topics including his time in Malaysia, SEA Pubs, his mindset after TI9, retirement and more.
Topson on SEA Pubs and why he was out of touch
"I played in SEA pubs, and it was very... (laughs) I can't say it was a positive experience, so I didn't spend too much time playing the game. At first, I really tried to kill time by playing Dota 2, but at some point I gave up trying and didn't open Steam at all for three weeks. That's why when I first got back to Finland, it felt like I was out of the touch."
Topson on the differences between Malaysia and his hometown in Finland
In Finland I would be much more comfortable. In Oulu, my hometown, there have only been 120 COVID-19 infections so far. That's why life here went on even during the worst days of the pandemic: there simply was no virus. I like the local atmosphere, and I would prefer this place to any other city on the planet. This is my homeland - can it really be better somewhere else?
I like to get out of the house: not to the clubs, but somewhere in nature, where you can get fresh air, walk in the woods. It has always helped me to relax and refresh my head. But in Malaysia it was impossible to do it: we lived next to a busy Kuala Lumpur, a very noisy place. I wasn't used to living in a big city, so I felt out of place.
However, I can't say anything bad about the city itself - it's beautiful and all that. But I prefer more private places.
Topson considered retirement after TI9
Answering a question on what was his motivation behind playing Dota 2, Topson revealed that he considered retirement after the conclusion of TI9.
I asked myself exactly the same question after The International 2019 and, frankly, I spent a couple of months thinking. Right after the tournament, I took a leave of absence from Dota and at that moment I was seriously thinking about retirement, trying to analyze what my life would be like if I gave up everything here and now.
But time went by and gradually I realized that I still love Dota 2, the game itself. I like analyzing it, finding new builds, testing heroes... I also like to compete, and Dota allows me to do it at the highest level. So I decided to continue - yes, just because I like to play Dota.
I'll leave when the game stops bringing me pleasure or if we have problems in the team: there will be some discord, we won't be able to find common ground with the team or if I lose my passion for competition. But now I feel that I am ready to continue fighting.
Topson reveals how the team dynamic changed with the new lineup
This is a very different team. All newcomers are very different from the ones they replaced. For example, ana was a much, much quieter than SumaiL. The new squad brought together people with very different traits. SumaiL talks more during the course of a game, constantly bringing up new ideas. And Saksa, on the other hand, is much quieter than JerAx - Jesse always had something to say to us.
The overall dynamics of the team have changed because of that. Now I have to talk more often during the matches, it's interesting. But this is a strong squad, and I see its potential - we just need to work together, and then we will become the strongest team in the scene.
Topson’s advice for aspiring players
"Besides the fact that you can only get here by giving up everything else, (laughs) To become a professional player, you have to forget about going out with friends, about studying, about any other aspirations in life. But the problem is that once you are in the pro scene, you can't just praise yourself and relax: you'll have to work even harder to stay competitive.
In-game success is most often related to how much time you spend training. People are different, of course, but most people need to spend at least eight hours a day in Dota 2 to stay in shape. I loved this game very much, but when it turned into a job that I have to do, it lost some of its charm.
You say you can just take a vacation in these cases, and it's true. But when I'm on vacation, I slowly lose my mind thinking to myself, that someone is training and getting better while I'm chilling, away from the computer. I start to get smothered by guilt, the level of stress increases immediately... So I go back to the game, I start spending more time in it, and this cycle starts again...
I got carried away (laughs). The biggest drawback in the life of an esports player is the need to spend so much time in the game. You will have to spend 8-10 hours every day at Dota 2, and that is not so easy to endure."
After Topson's return from Malaysia, the team managed to finish in the 13th-14th place at the ESL One Birmingham 2020 - Online: Europe & CIS. However, OG managed to secure a 2nd place finish at the BLAST: Bounty Hunt tournament.
Topson is currently competing in the BEYOND EPIC tournament with OG. Their next match will be against Team Secret on 24th June.