The real-life Armand Pittner is quite a character, with his little idiosyncrasies and quirks.
Terrified of earthquakes, he sometimes mentions in passing that he doesn’t think he’ll live to be 30, only to crack up at the horrified reactions he gets from people around him. He enjoys going to the cinema alone. He’s a disciple of the “gradual intake of caffeine” theory, so he sips his coffee throughout the day and always carries a huge Starbucks cup around with him.
He loses interest so fast, if you blink, you miss it. He’s a master of digression. You ask him a question about the new Dota patch – ten minutes later, he’s casually explaining René Descartes’ school of thought to you. He sometimes gets so excited about sharing an idea, he doesn’t even bother to finish his words properly.
He is seemingly unaware of the space he takes up, so he often bumps into people and objects in his path. A bit awkward, a bit fidgety; unintentionally funny, to say the least. He is brutally honest and might come across as tactless. In fact, if you get to know him, you’ll appreciate his lack of social constraints and thank him for his candor.
The Dota 2 Armand Pittner – more commonly known as bOne7, is a whole different person.
Calm, diligent, professional, aware of space and time, he can practice for 12 hours a day, with little to no interruptions. He has been out of the spotlight for a while and is now trying to get back on the tier one horse. “I was delusional about my ability to make a good team myself,” he admitted.
The first part of this interview was recorded in Changzhou, China, during the WESG event, where bOne7 captained Team Romania. He was torn between giving Kaipi another chance and accepting a coaching job with Team NP. He chose the latter. “It’s the rational choice,” he said.
A few days later, in Bucharest, Romania, he opened up about his reasons to leave Kaipi behind, his new coaching responsibilities with Team NP, and his hopes of building up his reputation and playing at a high level again.
bOne7 interview VIDEO
bOne7 interview TRANSCRIPT – Part 1, in Changzhou, China
DotaBlast: We’re in Changzhou, China, for WESG. You came here to captain Team Romania.
bOne7: I captained Team Romania, to some extent.
DotaBlast: It went okay, but it wasn’t quite marvelous, right?
bOne7: It wasn’t fabulous. (laughs)
DotaBlast: What went wrong?
bOne7: Many things go wrong – generally, in a team that is a mix of Romanian players. (laughs) Romanians have a weird thing. It’s hard to pinpoint, but everything goes badly. It’s hard to find a good mix of players who actually work well together. I’ve been playing Dota from 2006 or so, and the only (note: Romanian) teammates I’ve had that were actually really solid were Ppasarel and Ly0n, in DotA 1.
In Dota 2, I can’t name a legitimately good (note: Romanian) teammate. I don’t consider myself a good teammate either. It’s not like I’m saying: “I’m good!” No, I’m not good either.
DotaBlast: You’ve had a tough year and a half or so.
bOne7: Yes, by my own choice.
Not to be very mean, but (…) you have these kids – 16 to 25-year-old boys, who never had to live in stressful environments, where you have to be a good part of something and try to understand that it’s not only about you, it’s about the people around you as well. So, what happens is that you end up with people who are not emotionally intelligent, they’re not hard-working. Some people are very passionate – that’s nice, but those people are rare.
DotaBlast: What happened there exactly? Was it your decision?
bOne7: Of course, it’s always my decision when I do stupid things. I got very lucky at the beginning, when I started out. I only played Dota competitively for about a month before getting to play in a good team, with EternalEnvy and Pieliedie. So, I had no idea, I was completely oblivious to how Dota players are in general. Not to be very mean, but if you take it logically and simply analyse the situation: you have these kids – 16 to 25-year-old boys, who never had to live in stressful environments, where you have to be a good part of something and try to understand that it’s not only about you, it’s about the people around you as well. So, what happens is that you end up with people who are not emotionally intelligent, they’re not hard-working. Some people are very passionate – that’s nice, but those people are rare. That’s why I said that I was lucky. For example, Pieliedie was very, very smart and very, very talented. Envy was very, very smart, very, very hard-working, and pretty talented as well. I’d say Pieliedie would be more talented, but he’s a bit less hard-working. It’s always going to even out. People who tend to be smarter also tend to choke more. People who are less smart and less next level can be counted on to never choke and play constant. I was lucky to have good teammates from the get-go, after only one month of playing competitively. I didn’t have money for a PC for about two years after Dota came out. Then I got a PC and started to play competitively and I got into a good team almost instantly, out of sheer luck. I had no idea how players are in general. I had these weird assumptions that a player doesn’t have to be experienced or talented as long as he is willing to learn and work together with the team. It’s not true. It’s so hard to find people like that.
I don’t want to make myself sound better than I am: I didn’t do a good job either as a captain, as a teacher, as a coach to my own team. (…) I was delusional about my ability to make a good team myself.
DotaBlast: You actually thought you could find people like that.
bOne7: Yes. I don’t want to make myself sound better than I am: I didn’t do a good job either as a captain, as a teacher, as a coach to my own team. I wasn’t perfect. You can always blame yourself, but it’s probably not a good thing to solely focus on blaming yourself, so you have to look at people around you as well. It was a combination of me not doing a very good job – ’cause you have to do an insanely good job to make everything come together – and people who aren’t willing to work on their own and listen. Also, you don’t want people who only listen to you; you want people who also have their own ideas. They also have to be reasonable in the way they communicate with the people around them, so they also have to listen and learn. It’s extremely hard to make a good team. I was delusional about my ability to make a good team myself.
DotaBlast: I’ve seen you with Kaipi and now with Team Romania, because both teams have bootcamped at the DotaBlast house. You look like you yourself need motivation from someone else and you’re really struggling to motivate your players.
bOne7: I talked about this with my team. I don’t have that personality. “Okay, guys, we can do it, let’s win, let’s play together” – I don’t have that, I’m just not good at that. As for motivation for myself, I don’t think it matters. To be completely honest, the thing that motivates me the most is people hating on me and telling me “you can’t do this, you can’t do this”. That’s when I go: “I for sure can do this, I want to try!” I don’t work well under “oh, you did a good job”, “oh, you’re good”. I don’t like that. I feel embarrassed when I hear those things.
DotaBlast: You want people to utterly destroy you.
bOne7: (laughs) I don’t want people to destroy me, but it motivates me, that’s what I’m saying. I don’t like it, it just makes me try harder. Obviously, I don’t like it. No one likes it.
DotaBlast: Okay, because that would have been weird.
bOne7: (laughs) Obviously, it’s annoying. Sometimes, when I play on stream, I get mad at the flame on the Twitch chat. If I actually f*ck up (note: and they flame me), it’s fine, it’s fair enough. But if I have a bad game because my team is complete garbage in that pub, and someone says “oh, you’re so bad”, I go “oh, you motherf*cker”. I get so mad! So, yeah, that motivates me: people not believing in me. One of the things that motivates me as well is playing in a team with people with similar mindsets. You need to have people around you who you can talk with – argue with them, disagree with them, agree with them, whatever – but you kind of have to be playing with friends. For me, at least, it’s not easy.
DotaBlast: Can you give me an example of a player like that, apart from EternalEnvy?
bOne7: Pieliedie was very nice.
DotaBlast: And apart from Pieliedie?
bOne7: Those two guys are the only ones I managed to make a connection with. We registered for the Major with a roster we put together in the eleventh hour. I’m not sure what’s gonna happen there.
DotaBlast: I was just about to ask you about the new Kaipi roster. You’ve just admitted that you’ve basically made a string of bad decisions in the past year and a half. That’s not harsh, that’s just the truth.
bOne7: That’s just reality.
I’ve been more proactive lately to figure something out for myself instead of making my own team.
DotaBlast: What’s going to happen with this new roster? It was quite unexpected.
bOne7: I have no idea. For the past month, I’ve been trying to maybe join a team, so I’ve talked to a lot of people to figure out an option for me somewhere. I’ve been more proactive lately to figure something out for myself instead of making my own team.
DotaBlast: No offers?
bOne7: No, not really. For example, I played in ProDota. At one point, Kaipi was kind of dead and I joined ProDota for about two months. It was kind of nice and refreshing, there were some good players in that team. We didn’t keep playing together because of the reshuffle and everything. There were some issues there, but there were good, reasonable people on that team, so there weren’t any bad feelings when we parted ways.
DotaBlast: The deal was that you were going to play together for WCA.
bOne7: We said we were going to try to play together, so it wasn’t anything set in stone. Everyone knew that we would play together until the next reshuffle. We’re kind of friends with each other, we talk sometimes, we like each other. I like the people there. But everyone agrees that if you get an offer from a good team – for example Biver got an offer from Na’Vi – you join that team. Why wouldn’t you?!
DotaBlast: So, you haven’t really tried anything with the new Kaipi roster?
bOne7: No. We played the WESG tournament here, so I didn’t have time to practice with Kaipi. We didn’t even talk.
DotaBlast: You’ve registered a roster that you haven’t tested.
bOne7: Yes. That’s a very smart thing to do.
DotaBlast: Is it? How’s that smart?
bOne7: That’s for sure ironic. (laughs)
DotaBlast: Ar1sE is on the new Kaipi roster. You’ve just played with him in Team Romania for WESG, so maybe you’ve got to know him a little bit better. Has that made you change your opinion of him?
bOne7: He was for sure worse before. He was insanely awful. In Kaipi two or three years and a half ago, he was insane, I don’t even know what else to say. He got way better now, though.
DotaBlast: You don’t have to say that just because he’s here in the room with us, behind the camera.
bOne7: (laughs) He’s here, he’s here, Ar1sE is here. He has issues. He gets mad for real. He doesn’t make it worse for the team, though, because he only gets mad when he’s already out of the tournament.
DotaBlast: Are you measuring your words right now?
bOne7: (laughs) I’m for sure measuring my words, I’m so afraid! Not joking.
DotaBlast: I’m gonna make sure you’re safe.
bOne7: He said he wanted to beat me yesterday.
DotaBlast: He did? Was it your fault that Team Romania lost to Team Dilecom?
bOne7: That’s partially true. Obviously, it was my fault, I take most of the responsibility, because I’m the captain. But Dota is a team game and sometimes it’s hard to only blame one guy.
DotaBlast: If you were to repeat the past year and a half – take it from scratch, would you do the same things?
bOne7: With my knowledge? I would for sure not do it again.
DotaBlast: What would you do instead?
bOne7: I’d probably join a decent team – that would’ve been the more sensible thing to do.
DotaBlast: Which right not is not an option, because your “rating” kind of dropped.
bOne7: Yes, of course. It dropped very, very badly. It’s fair, I don’t complain about it.
DotaBlast: Are you gonna switch positions, are you gonna keep looking for teams, are you gonna go into coaching, are you gonna go into casting?
bOne7: All those things are possible. I just want to be a part of Dota. I love the game, so I don’t care about playing carry, I don’t care about playing offlane, I don’t care about playing support, I don’t care about coaching – as long as I play Dota and I do it competitively, that’s fun for me.
DotaBlast: Do you think you’re in a tip-top shape right now?
bOne7: No, no, no. But the way it works for me is that, I can get in a pretty good shape if I play the same role, five heroes, one month, 12 hours a day. The thing is, as a Dota player, you never take actual breaks. You might change your play-style, you might change your position or the heroes you play. Having a month of stability in playing gets me in a good shape.
DotaBlast: Have you considered going back to offlane?
bOne7: Obviously, it’s way more natural to me to play this kind of offlane position where I play sort of utility and I look out for my 1 and 2 position teammates. That comes more natural for me. I’m down to play whatever role.
I’m not successful in Dota right now, but for some reason I have this intuition that in the end everything is gonna work out. (…) If I were to sit down and think about everything rationally, I’d be like ‘Oh my god, what’s happening?!’
DotaBlast: What are three concerns about your future that keep you up at night?
bOne7: I never talk about my future. I like the present for now. Life for now is actually pretty fun for me. I’m not successful in Dota right now, but for some reason I have this intuition that in the end everything is gonna work out. So, I’m not insecure about those things. If I were to sit down and think about everything rationally, I’d be like “Oh my god, what’s happening?!”. But I have a lot of confidence in my ability to make myself useful and make myself feel decent.
DotaBlast: Do you get emotional at tournaments, during the games?
bOne7: I get emotional everywhere, not only at tournaments. So, yes, I get emotional at tournaments as well. I never cry about losing. I might get mad.
DotaBlast: Does it affect your decision making in-game?
bOne7: I don’t think it’s emotions. My brain just happens to choke for no reason.
DotaBlast: Well, that’s got to have something to do with emotions, right?
bOne7: Most likely, yeah.
bOne7: (laughs) Yes! There was this one instance when I played Tidehunter, I dropped my Arcane boots and I didn’t pick them up. This tournament (note: at WESG), I didn’t have my hotkeys set up at the beginning of a game.
DotaBlast: I know, you were in ALT-TAB all the time.
bOne7: (laughs) I was trying to set them up without pausing the game. “I need to fix this, but, eh, I don’t want to pause the game, whatever.” We missed a kill, then I died. It was insane.
DotaBlast: You know, they call you bOne3+2+2 for a reason.
bOne7: That’s ridiculous, that’s ridiculous, honestly! My brain just stops working for like five seconds.
bOne7: Yes, and then it’s over! I don’t feel the emotion itself, it just happens. Obviously, there’s something there.
If you play with me, you’re just gonna have to accept that in at least one game of the tournament you’re gonna have to GG.
DotaBlast: How would you fix that?
bOne7: I don’t think I can fix it.
DotaBlast: I’m pretty sure it could be fixed.
bOne7: If you play with me, you’re just gonna have to accept that in at least one game of the tournament you’re gonna have to GG. (laughs)
DotaBlast: Wouldn’t it make you a better player if you could just fix it?
bOne7: Slightly better. I don’t think it would make me that much better.
DotaBlast: So it’s not worth fixing.
bOne7: It’s worth fixing if you can figure it out. For example, in Kiev, when Team Romania played against Horde, I had this massive brain fart that cost us the series – so, that sucks. But at the same time, we could’ve won two games. We played three games and we lost two of them. I lost one game, I guess, but we could’ve won the other two.
DotaBlast: I mentioned getting emotional earlier. What are the real-life situations that put you in an emotional state?
bOne7: Real-life is not that stressful, so there’s not much to get emotional about. Dota is very stressful, it’s super stressful. You travel a lot, you have to deal with people who are very immature, so it gets very stressful.
DotaBlast: When was the last time you cried?
bOne7: At Star Wars Rogue One. I cannot NOT cry at movies. It feels good, I don’t know.
DotaBlast: You blow off some steam by crying at movies.
bOne7: I don’t recall other real-life situations that made me cry. There’s not many things to cry for. I empathize a lot and I like to really get into a movie. Even the most awful ones, like that one with Brad Pitt and that girl – I forgot her name – about the Nazis and WWII (note: Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard in “Allied”). It was honestly a bad movie, but I still cried at it.
DotaBlast: True story, he teared up during “Horrible Bosses 2”, on our flight here.
bOne7: (laughs) That’s just not…
DotaBlast: I saw you, you can’t lie about it, I was there right next to you.
bOne7: (laughs) Yeah, well, maybe, probably.
DotaBlast: And then we watched “Finding Dory”.
bOne7: That just put me to sleep.
DotaBlast: Speaking of movies, you have a crush on Amy Adams.
bOne7: Well, she was super hot in that – what was the name of the movie? It was this movie with Christian Bale (note: “American Hustle”). Anyway, she was extremely hot in that movie. I hadn’t seen a hotter female before that. (laughs) I was like: “Jesus Christ, she’s so hot!” She got older now, but I think she was in her prime in that movie, like 37 or so. She was insane.
Emotionally, I feel like a teenage girl, basically. (…) There are so few things I like in life: music is nice, Dota is nice, pretty girls are nice, and movies are nice.
DotaBlast: True or false, but please don’t lie about it, because I know the truth: you look at pictures of Amy Adams in between games.
bOne7: Not necessarily in between games. Emotionally, I feel like a teenage girl, basically. (laughs) During TI5, I liked looking at pictures of Mary Elizabeth Winstead. I like pretty girls. There are so few things I like in life: music is nice, Dota is nice, pretty girls are nice, and movies are nice.
DotaBlast: I know one of your biggest dreams used to be to become some sort of a rock star or be talented at music.
bOne7: You can’t say it’s a dream. I would be a nice fantasy. If I could choose a talent, I’d go for being a musical guy, a rock star. There’s nothing better than that.
DotaBlast: Because of all the groupies?
bOne7: I’ve never thought about that. I only thought about the feeling of being on stage and singing, getting your message across through art.
DotaBlast: What would your message be?
bOne7: I don’t know.
DotaBlast: Make love, not war!
bOne7: I like love songs.
DotaBlast: So, you’d have a love message.
bOne7: My love songs are depressing, basically.
DotaBlast: A depressing love message.
bOne7: Something like that. I like Jeff Buckley – he’s insane at doing that – and Arctic Monkeys – Alex Turner is an insanely heartbroken guy.
DotaBlast: I know you like to keep a healthy lifestyle.
bOne7: I want to keep a healthy lifestyle. I can’t, though. There was one point when I didn’t eat anything unhealthy, but I ended up eating one or two meals a day – maybe 1,000 calories at most, and I was going to the gym every day for an hour and a half, so I eventually started burning muscle mass. I was so underweight. I was feeling awful, I had no stamina. I’m going to try to figure out how to do it properly, but for now I’m good. You have to think it would make you a better player. The most important thing is sleep, the next thing is food, and then exercise.
DotaBlast: So, discipline, basically.
bOne7: It’s very hard, though, very hard.
bOne7 interview TRANSCRIPT – Part 2, a few days later, in Bucharest, Romania
DotaBlast: We’ve been back from China for a couple of days and bOne7 has an announcement to make. Well, I’m not sure if it’s going to be an announcement – we might have to wait for a certain team to announce it first. But let’s talk about it.
bOne7: Yeah, so, by now they’re gonna know that I’m gonna coach Team NP.
DotaBlast: You’re going to move to Canada to coach Team NP.
bOne7: I’ll go to their bootcamps, I’m not gonna move there. I’m just gonna travel more.
DotaBlast: You’ve known about this for a couple of days, but you really took your time to think about it.
bOne7: I initially talked with Envy, I asked him if he wanted a coach – maybe two weeks ago or something, or one week and a half before the WESG tournament.
Initially, I was just looking for anything, then I kind of changed my mind, but then I talked to Envy again. He was like: ‘No, no, no, let’s do this!’ He made some good points.
DotaBlast: So, you were the one who approached Envy.
bOne7: I was approaching so many teams. I talked to some players who wanted me as a coach. I tried to join some teams, it didn’t work out. So, I might as well try to coach Team NP, because I know the guys there and they’re all smart, so I can actually work with them as a coach. I didn’t have faith in other teams that wanted me as a coach, because I thought there would be some issues. With Team NP, I think it’s gonna be okay. It’s a fine decision. Initially, I was just looking for anything, then I kind of changed my mind, but then I talked to Envy again. He was like: “No, no, no, let’s do this!” He made some good points. So eventually, especially after failing the WESG tournament, I came to the conclusion that it might be a good decision to coach.
DotaBlast: Do you think you can be helpful to Team NP?
bOne7: Of course I can be helpful.
DotaBlast: You’ve already started.
bOne7: This would be my third day.
DotaBlast: And how’s it going? Are you happy with the way things are moving along?
bOne7: It’s pretty nice, it’s good.
I can be very helpful with many, many small things about the game – especially about the early game.
DotaBlast: What do you think they should improve on?
bOne7: I’m good at little, specific things. So, I can only help them improve in the sense that maybe someone had a misplay here and I can try to explain how it works, so that they don’t end up repeating the same mistake. Or maybe there’s something that they don’t see. Basically, I can be very helpful with many, many small things about the game – especially about the early game. Later on, as you play tournaments, you obviously need a sixth person, because you don’t have enough time to research the teams you’re gonna play against. Even if you’re not gonna play against a team. Maybe a team does something very good and you think that your team might be able to do that as well. It’s always nice to have a sixth person there, if he’s committed.
DotaBlast: When are you leaving?
bOne7: I don’t know, I first need to get a Canadian visa, which seems to be difficult.
DotaBlast: So, you’re gonna travel back and forth.
bOne7: Yeah, I’m gonna travel back and forth through bootcamps and events.
DotaBlast: You should be leaving on the 28th, right?
DotaBlast: If you manage to get your visa. You have a U.S. visa, so it should be fairly easy.
bOne7: You obviously get it if you have the right documents, but it takes time, so that’s the thing.
DotaBlast: What about Kaipi?
bOne7: I think the players from Kaipi are gonna still play together – I’m not 100% sure. I still keep in touch with “33”.
It’s the rational choice. Our chances of succeeding with Kaipi were so f*cking low. I didn’t have anyone I could trust to help me.
DotaBlast: How did they take it?
bOne7: They understand it, generally. “If I were you, I’d do the same thing.” It’s the rational choice. Our chances of succeeding with Kaipi were so f*cking low. I didn’t have anyone I could trust to help me.
DotaBlast: What about your professional career as a player? Are you worried at all that you’re going to get our of shape?
bOne7: Now it’s a bit more difficult, because I actually don’t have any free time. When I’m not coaching, I’m supposed to play a lot, so that I don’t get out of shape. It’s fine if you don’t play for about five to six hours a day – which is the time teams usually scrim. If you use your time watching Dota, I think it’s fine, because you can learn a lot and you can also stay in an okay shape. Then, when you want to get in a good shape, it might take a month or two.
I think the players who don’t manage to be on a good team after coaching are players who never managed to be on a good team in the first place.
DotaBlast: There have been players who retired into coaching or casting and when they finally wanted to get back into the competitive scene, they just couldn’t do it.
bOne7: It depends on the player. Fear was coaching at one point, Theeban was coaching, BuLba was coaching, Aui was coaching – many people were coaching. I think the players who don’t manage to be on a good team after coaching are players who never managed to be on a good team in the first place.
DotaBlast: Are you secretly hoping that you’re going to get back into the tier one scene?
bOne7: I’m not secretly hoping.
I told Envy I want to coach his team so that I can build up my reputation and start playing again. (…) The deal is: I should help Envy for TI at least and then we can see what happens next.
DotaBlast: So, it’s in the open.
bOne7: I told Envy I want to coach his team so that I can build up my reputation and start playing again.
DotaBlast: Okay, so no secret there. Maybe that could happen after the Kiev Major?
bOne7: Maybe after TI, most likely. The deal is: I should help Envy for TI at least and then we can see what happens next.
DotaBlast: What do you think the biggest issues with Team NP are?
bOne7: I can’t really talk about that. They’re a good team. I can’t really pinpoint what they lack. They make some mistakes, but they’re all pretty easy to fix and I’m pretty good at spotting them. So, if everyone is calm and smart about it, we can approach mistakes easily. They don’t have major issues. From my competitive experience, I think they’re a very good team, in the sense that I didn’t see any very bad aspects. And those small misplays can be adjusted easily.