Ionuț “Ar1sE” Turtoi, getting ready for his flight to Jönköping, took a few moments to talk about Basically Unknown’s imminent demise, shed some light on some of the rumors surrounding the team’s disbandment and speculate about the future.
In the past couple of months, Basically Unknown managed to make a name for themselves in the seemingly volatile tier 2 scene. They won several minor tournaments, including Bridon Open Cup, GIGABYTE Challenge #13, and MSI Dragon Battle #4 and #5, placed third in the Yard G2A Fest and qualified for DreamLeague’s League phase, after having won one of the Main Qualifier finals over 4 Clovers & Lepricon.
You could look at any of the players and see the potential there. However, that was not enough to make them stick together and step out of the tier 2 shade. Lack of experience, strategic leadership and financial security led to the team’s disbandment. They decided to seize the opportunity to take Team Empire’s place at the DreamLeague LAN finals.
DotaBlast: First things first: Basically Unknown is going to the DreamLeague LAN finals. There are a lot of money and glory on the table. Would you say there’s a chance that a very successful run in Jönköping will bring the team back together?
Ar1sE: Absolutely not.
DotaBlast: That ends a lot of speculation. Let’s talk about Basically Unknown’s brief history. Back in March, when you joined Basically Unknown, you had plenty of other offers. What made you choose Basically Unknown?
Ar1sE: When I was approached by Nikolay “Nikobaby” Nikolov, I have to admit I was a bit reserved, but after a few games together with the boys, I realized there was a lot of potential and, at the time, I thought that we could go on and achieve a lot of great things together. We were motivated, committed and willing to work hard. There was some speculation that I joined Basically Unknown in lack of a better offer, but I can honestly say I was enthusiastic about playing with these guys.
DotaBlast: During your honeymoon phase, you all got along great and showed some high potential performances. What objectives had you set for the team at that time?
Ar1sE: Our one and only objective was to progress. I thought my teammates were really young and had a lot of room for improvement. Realistically, we knew that if we play well and make a name for ourselves, we have a good chance of getting a TI5 qualifiers invite, so I suppose, unofficially, that was, perhaps, one of our main objectives.
The four of us, along with our manager, decided that it was MinD_ContRoL who had to leave as, in all fairness, he was the one causing the tension. It actually goes a bit deeper than that, but some things are better left undisclosed. Sufficed to say that MinD_ContRoL’s actions, behavior couldn’t be tolerated in any group of coworkers, let alone a Dota team.
DotaBlast: Some people seem to think that things started to fall apart for Basically Unknown when you decided to part ways with MinD_ContRoL. What happened?
Ar1sE: There was a lot of speculation, but not a lot of clarification on why we felt we had to move on without Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Borislavov. First and foremost, none of us thought he was a poor Dota player, on the contrary. However, weeks if not months of personality clashes and open conflict between Nikobaby and MinD_ContRoL led to the point when we had to make a decision. The four of us, along with our manager, decided that it was MinD_ContRoL who had to leave as, in all fairness, he was the one causing the tension. It actually goes a bit deeper than that, but some things are better left undisclosed. Sufficed to say that MinD_ContRoL’s actions, behavior couldn’t be tolerated in any group of coworkers, let alone a Dota team. We had just qualified for DreamLeague and many other tournaments at that time, and we felt that we should have gone on as Basically Unknown, with all due respect for MinD_ContRoL as a player and team co-founder.
DotaBlast: The team has been through its share of stand-ins. You’re making the trip to Sweden with ReaLaxXx as your offlaner. Why hasn’t Shachlo worked out in the first place?
Ar1sE: Shachlo is a great player, we’re grateful for his contribution, but our team’s language is English and we needed someone with a higher English level. We were pretty happy with Nikos “ReaLaxXx” Kiazolis and I think if the team hadn’t disbanded, we could’ve made it work. His input on the strategic part of the game was valuable and he’s a very solid offlaner.
DotaBlast: You were faced with some unfortunate circumstances during the Open Qualifiers. Sadly, the entire team had to take the blow. Was that the last nail in Basically Unknown’s coffin?
Ar1sE: It wasn’t the last nail in Basically Unknown’s coffin, but it certainly didn’t help. For anybody who’s wondering, I don’t disconnect nearly as much as people think, but I do disconnect when we’re in the middle of an important game. If I look back at that night, we were two steps away from making a dream come true and I think we had what it took to make it through. I guess you could say it was a random Internet issue that happened to have long term consequences. All in all, it was a very emotional night.
For a group of younger, starting players, financial security is very important, it generates confidence and motivation. Not only did we not have a sponsor, but also most of the tournaments that we’ve won so far have yet to pay the prize money, some being delayed longer than three months.
DotaBlast: If you were to single out three things that led to Basically Unknown’s demise, which would those be?
Ar1sE: Despite our obvious potential, the big games were always slightly out of reach for us, and I think it has a lot to do with top Dota experience. The cool and composure that are a part of any great player’s success can only come with experience and I think in time, if these guys keep working hard and stick around, they will look at our time together as just a stepping stone to their success. But at this time, we were too inexperienced for how high we were aiming.
Lack of strategic leadership: Every great team benefits a lot from the captain factor – a player who is not only able to predict, counter and explore their opponent, but also great at leading the game play by play and sustaining everybody’s morale and composure. I tried to assume that role for a while, but I have to admit I wasn’t a stellar captain, while losing focus on my own midlane objectives. If anything, captaining, especially from the midlane position, is not something I’m ready for at this time.
Lack of financial security: Through its four-five months’ existence, Basically Unknown did not have a sponsor, nor did we win a lot of tournament money. For a group of younger, starting players financial security is very important, it generates confidence and motivation. Not only did we not have a sponsor, but also most of the tournaments that we’ve won so far have yet to pay the prize money, some being delayed longer than three months. Our manager, Panda, did a tremendous job organizing this team, but sometimes that’s not enough when you’re facing family pressure or financial constraints. I have to say I disagree with some players advocating that in reality we don’t need organizations behind us. A powerful, fully staffed, financially secured company, with rock solid contracts, goes a long way toward motivating a 17 year-old Bulgarian player, for instance.
DotaBlast: What are your plans from here on out?
Ar1sE: There’s a very small chance that I actually join a team before The International. I think I might go solo-mode for a while and focus on my streaming and, more importantly to me, practice to improve my game. I’m streaming daily now, if not twice a day, on my channel, so go ahead and follow or I will smash your heads.
If you’re asking about the El Clásico fight between me and Eternal Envy, we actually get along well, there’s no actual beef, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t dream about smashing his head now and then, especially when he doesn’t measure his words.
DotaBlast: Alright, on that lighter note, are you really a violent bully?
Ar1sE: Not at all, actually. The last time I got in a real fist fight was about five years ago. It was a really classic brawl after a tense rugby match. Many heads were smashed that day. But if you’re asking about the El Clásico fight between me and Eternal Envy, we actually get along well, there’s no actual beef, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t dream about smashing his head now and then, especially when he doesn’t measure his words. Kidding aside, I do believe strongly that gaming goes hand in hand with healthy body and mind. I was actually a pretty promising basketball player, rugby player and French student, but made the choice to turn Dota into a profession and I’m not regretting it for a minute.