Tundra Esports Nine


AFK Gaming

Interview With Tundra Esports' Nine: "It will all come together for this TI"

Vignesh Raghuram
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Tundra Esports surprised many at The International 2022 (TI11) with its dominant performances in the Group Stage of the tournament. The Western European team was the only team that did not taste a series defeat through the course of the group stages. Thanks to its immense performances it secured the top spot in Group B and will face OG in its opening series in the main event of TI11.

The team's midlaner, Leon "Nine" Kirilin is one of the key reasons behind the team's success at TI11. The player has proven to be integral to Tundra's strategies with his unique mid hero pool that includes the likes of a Tusk and Outworld Devourer.

AFK Gaming had the opportunity to converse with the player before the group stages of TI11 and gather his thoughts about Tundra Esports' expectations and goals for the tournament, the new TI11 format, and how it prepared for the bootcamp.

Tundra Esports' Nine is confident of his team's chances at TI11

What are your goals and expectations heading into TI11?

The main goal is to win obviously, but I’m going to take it one step at a time and make sure we make it through the group stage first. After the bootcamp we had I expect us to do well, we are in good form and I’m very excited to play.

In your opinion, which teams will pose the biggest challenges for you at the event?

I do not fear any team, every team is beatable, and I think it’s more about how well teams will take playing at TI, there are a lot of new players that have never been at TI before so it’s going to be interesting to see how most teams will do. I think Team Spirit is the strongest team going into the tournament.

How was your pre-TI bootcamp? Can you share a memorable out-of-game incident from the bootcamp?

Our TI bootcamp was amazing! We stayed at the Bleed gaming house in Singapore. I love the city and it’s been a very fun time here. The most memorable moment I have is just seeing the city at night, having a very nice scenery, and just making me happy I am playing Dota in Singapore.

What was your training regimen like in the bootcamp?

We all wake up early and meet at 8am for team breakfast at the hotel. Afterwards we go to the bootcamp where everyone plays warmup pubs before scrims. After scrims are over its already evening and everyone has free time to chill or cool down however, they want to. This is the daily routine unless we are having an off day, where everyone can do whatever, they want.

Considering how the team kicked off the season, can you describe how the team has evolved since then?

I think our improvement has been very huge. At the beginning of the year, we were very unstable in the DPC and we have fought very hard to get better and secure out spot at TI,

We have gathered a lot of LAN experience that will help us, we have won and lost important and stressful games, we stayed together as a team through hard and good times and it will all come together for this TI

Which team surprised you the most in the last chance qualifier? Why?

The team that surprised me the most was Xtreme Gaming. I thought they would do way better, but they underperformed a lot in my opinion.

What are your thoughts on TI11's format with LCQs and the long breaks between various phases of the tournament? Do you prefer this over previous TI tournaments?

The LCQ is a nice add-on while the long breaks between the start of playoffs and the end is something I am not a fan of, there has never been something like this in a tournament. In my opinion it can take away a momentum a team built through the tournament so far, however it’s hard to judge since we never experienced this before.

What makes TI different from the other tournaments you've played this season?

You can just feel how everyone is trying their hardest for TI, everyone that got here came to win, and everyone will give it their all. It’s very exciting to play and compete like this.

Where would you like next year's TI to be held at? Why?

I would like another TI in Europe, one with a crowd. Stockholm is a nice city, and I would be excited to be playing a TI there.

Other than that, a TI in Germany would also be cool, I would have a lot of friends and family visiting.

If you win TI, what is the first thing that you will buy with your prize winnings?

First thing I would do is invite my close friends and family to a nice dinner to celebrate. Besides that I am not sure what I would do honestly, I have no plans of working so I have to spend my money with thought.

Tundra Esports kicks off their journey at TI11's Main Event against OG on Oct 21 at 10:00 AM SGT. A win here would secure the team a Top 6 finish and atleast $588,313 USD in prize money

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Vignesh has been covering the esports industry for nearly 5 years starting with the early days of the DPC. His industry expertise includes experience in Dota 2, CS:GO and Mobile Esports coverage.

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