MinD_ContRoL Interview


AFK Gaming

MinD_ContRoL Interview: "I definitely miss my old teammates. They were all great"

Vignesh Raghuram
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Ahead of DreamLeague Season 22, Tundra Esports' newest offlaner, Ivan "MinD_ContRoL" Ivanov, stands out not just for his exceptional skill but also for his thoughtful perspectives on the game's evolving landscape.

As Tundra Esports navigates its first international tournament post-roster shuffle, I sat down with him to discuss expectations, changes in the professional scene, and the differences in atmosphere he has experienced after spending eight years with the Nigma roster compared to his current team, as well as the dynamics of playing with new teammates.

Update: Minutes after this interview was published, MinD_ContRoL announced that he was kicked from Tundra Esports.

Update 2: Tundra Esports has indefinitely suspended Ivan "MinD_ContRoL" Ivanov following an internal disciplinary investigation. The suspension awaits the investigation's outcome. Tundra stated that MinD_ContRoL refused to participate or represent the team unless his unspecified, deemed unreasonable demands were met.

Interview with MinD_ContRoL

Hi MinD_ContRoL. I think this is the first international tournament for Tundra after the roster shuffle. What are the expectations and goals that you set for yourself? 

Hi, hi, hi. So, yeah, this is our first international tournament. Just an online cup for us, but we are taking it very seriously. We're preparing, scrimming. Since there's a new patch though, it might change our plans a little bit. But what we're expecting is to pass the group stage. We don't know if it's going to be first, second, third, or fourth place, but we want to be in the top four in our group. That's surely our goal.

It's not important to be the top one because it simply doesn't matter, I think, or maybe top two matters. I didn't check the details of it. But for me, the most important thing is to just perform our best and see how we manage against the best teams in the world, like Team Spirit for example.

We want to see our level of Dota, because that's the point of the international LAN, to see if we can actually fight them. And if we manage to do well against Spirit, that's a huge confidence booster for our team, I would say.

This is the first new roster you've joined after so many years with the Nigma roster. How is the atmosphere, right? How is it different from the Nigma team? Is there anything that you miss?

Of course, I miss the guys. I miss them, and I miss the atmosphere there. But in the new team, it's completely different, actually. It's different because we still don't know each other well. We're not yet friends, of course.

We're certainly trying to be friends, but these things take time since we haven't known each other for very long. Developing friendships isn't instantaneous; it doesn't work like that just because you start a team together. I mean, you can't force it. And I like that it's new. In a way, I miss having this kind of fresh atmosphere outside of the gaming aspect. I spent eight years with Liquid and Nigma combined. That's a long time.

Before that, I wasn't a professional player, and... I'm experiencing a bit of nostalgia from those days before I joined Liquid, now being in this team, which is a nice feeling. It's lovely. But I definitely miss my old teammates. I miss them a lot. They were all great.

Miracle-, GH, and MinD_ContRoL at Nigma Galaxy's bootcamp

Valve removed the DPC following TI. How has that affected you personally and professionally?

In a good way, because I think it was a good idea. The DPC was a good idea, and it still could be a good idea if there were some changes made to it.

But for me, it's only positive. The DPC, first of all, is just online cups. It takes a lot of time to play each match. So, the problem with the DPC for me was that it's a little bit unfun, as you need to wait about a week to play just one match, only online, if you don't do well. 

When I was playing, Europe was a super strong region, perhaps the strongest. I don't remember—was it the top 4 that only goes to tournaments? We were 8 teams, and we weren't even in our best shape back then with Nigma. So what is the chance of actually going to a tournament when you're not the best team? 

I think that concept is flawed because I believe teams, even if they're not the best in the region, should have the opportunity to experience a LAN event. At least from time to time. This way, it's only available for the best teams. And it might just not be your evening, your season, or your year, and then you have to sit back and grind online, which is rough.

It's just really rough for a long time. But it was good for the tier two teams. I know, I know it was good for the tier two teams

Why are Western Europe and, to some extent, Eastern Europe so far ahead of every other region? What needs to happen in the other regions to reverse this trend?

I'm not sure if it's still the case, but it probably is. I think it's because of the ranked games. If you look at all ranked games, in SEA, China, NA, South America, all these public games are of much lower quality than the European pubs in terms of skill, even though Europe has its own issues. For example, there are account buyers, smurf accounts, and other problematic behaviors. Despite these issues, if you remove them, the skill level is really high.

There are many more players involved. So, when I'm playing in European pubs, I'm automatically getting much better at the game at a faster rate. If I had to play SEA pubs all the time, I would still get better, don't get me wrong, but it's slower because you're not experiencing the highest level of gameplay. Maybe you are against the pro players, the SEA pro players; they will bring a high level, but there aren't as many of them. In Europe, both Eastern and Western, the number of such players is higher, so almost every game feels like it's of really high quality.

Yeah, I think that's the reason. I really believe that's how it developed over the years.

MinD_ContRoL Talks About Gearing Up for ESL One Birmingham 2024

What are your thoughts on Valve’s decision to ban all smurfs including professional players’?

I don't really care about it because I think people can anyway find their way to smurf again. Okay, but it does make it harder for them. I mean, I don't really smurf. I think the last time I smurfed was years ago, and I did it because I didn't enjoy smurfing, but that's just me. I just cannot play my best on my smurf. However, there are people who love this, and you can never really tell if someone is smurfing or not. I'm talking about pro players, right?

Yeah, and you can ban them, but then they'll just create a new smurf, maybe get a second PC. I don't know; they will probably find a way. So, it removes some percentage of the smurfers because not everyone will go through the extra work now to actually smurf. In a way, it's good for sure; it makes things more fair in the sense that I'm revealing everything I have because I'm playing on my main, and now only some people have a smurf, and only they don't reveal it. Yeah, in that way, it's good; it's fair.

But anyway, competitions are never really fair. It doesn't matter if it's Dota or anything else, so I need to deal with it anyway. It is good, though. Ban them, just ban them.

Which team are you looking forward to playing in the Dream League? 

Team Spirit, for sure, because they are like champions. I respect them and need to play against them. I also want to play against BetBoom; I think BetBoom is an amazing team as well, despite some weaknesses, but I like them. Team Falcons, the champions of Dubai, are another team I want to play. But to get to them, I need to make it through the group stage. Playing against Team Liquid is always nice, as well as against Xtreme Gaming and Azure Ray. Xtreme Gaming is in our group, so we will definitely play them.

It feels really good. Playing against Team Secret, especially against Puppey, is always amazing. Honestly, there's no one specific; just a lot of great teams I want to play against. The only specific one would actually be Falcons, because they just won the Dubai tournament. Yeah, for me, that would be the specific team to target. I think they are challenging; I need to play against them.


Considering the long history between Topson and you, TI9 finals and all. What is it like playing with him in the same team? 

I like playing with Topson. Basically, I understood that he is better than I thought. I already thought he was good, but now I understand how good he actually is.

I didn’t know some things about him that I wouldn’t know without playing with him, seeing him, talking with him. I would actually never know this about him. It's hard to explain what it is exactly, just some feelings about how he sees the game and how he plays the game.

So, just to increase my respect for sure, much more. I already respected him a lot, but this made me respect him even more.

The final question. Just wanted to ask if you have any words for your fans and your upcoming opponents. 

For my opponents, “be ready, we are coming for you”. And for my fans, be ready, “we are coming for you”.

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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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