DotaBlast met Virtus.Pro’s Sergey Alexandrovich “G” Bragin for an interview, one day after his team was eliminated from the Frankfurt Major. God touched on Virtus.Pro’s elimination series and the team’s reluctance to make roster changes and described his odyssey of self-realization as a Dota 2 player, at length.
Sergey Alexandrovich “G” Bragin was born in beautiful Saint Petersburg, in Russia, 23 years ago. He started playing Dota when he was around 16 years old. His mother wasn’t pleased to see him drop Legal education in order to pursue his Dota 2 career.
“I would’ve been a horrible lawyer, I’m pretty sure about it,” God said, adding that his mother now supports him greatly and also trolls him, at times.
The interview was conducted on Friday, November 20, at the Frankfurt Major.
God interview (VIDEO)
God interview (transcript)
DotaBlast: How are you?
God: Could’ve been better, but it’s alright, it’s alright.
DotaBlast: You’re a bit disappointed at your run here, at the Frankfurt Major, that’s understandable. Do you want to talk about it? We can skip over that part.
God: That’s fine. Our team’s performance was good in the beginning, during the group-stage – it wasn’t perfect, but it was fine. During the main event, during the games against Monkey Business (note: OG), it could’ve been much better. The synergy was there, but in the game against OG something fell apart. We made more mistakes. My concentration wasn’t the best in that game against OG. It just happens.
DotaBlast: I’ve noticed that you kind of stepped up your game a lot here, at the Frankfurt Major, compared to the other LAN events of the fall season. However, you stumbled across OG and that was it for you guys. What surprised you the most at OG?
God: Honestly, I don’t think either of us showed what they are capable of. Monkey Business didn’t play their best Dota either. The second game would be an example. They made a lot of stupid mistakes and we made a lot of stupid moves too. The pressure was real. Monkey Business showed us again how big a hero pool they have in general. As I was saying a few days ago in a different interview, they kind of have four support players, but some of them are playing the core roles, so they often choose heroes that would actually be important in the team, in general, not individually. For me that’s why their team is pretty interesting. Miracle- performs really well. A lot of their games are kind of depending on Miracle- getting the farm and space he needs and that’s working. It’s really pleasant to watch.
DotaBlast: We’re quite familiar with your in-game persona, but we’d like to know a bit more about you on the personal level. We won’t get too personal, don’t worry. How did you get to be a professional player? What’s your background, where do you come from? Not literally; we know that too.
God: Okay, where do I come from?
DotaBlast: Saint Petersburg.
God: (laughs) Oh, you know, you know! I think it all started in my school years. I started playing Dota and I was playing from some Internet café. One guy was playing one versus three – two of my friends and me were playing against him. We actually didn’t know that it was imbalanced and he got more gold from the beginning, he was stronger than us and he was playing better. He kept winning, because it was easy for him. We actually bought gem to kill his lycanthrope wolves, because two of his wolves were killing us – and they were weaker back then than they are now. It was depressing. I wanted to win, so I started practicing to become better, I started playing more online, and then I heard about some LAN. You had to pay an entrance fee in order to compete and the money went to the prize-pool. Something similar to dog fights, it happened during the night. I kind of liked it. I wanted to improve in this way. It had nothing to do with the money. When I was practicing hard, I wasn’t thinking “okay, I’ll get as much money as possible out of this”.
DotaBlast: You weren’t sure it was going to turn into a career.
God: Yes, exactly. I really wanted to basically put all my effort, all my power into it. I was ready, but I wasn’t sure I would get money out of it. I knew for sure I would get satisfaction. Then some more important tournaments came along, I was travelling to different cities and paying out of my own pocket, in order to compete against stronger players. After two years, I ended up on my first sponsored team. The salary wasn’t that high, but it was a start.
DotaBlast: And that was quite early on, wasn’t it?
God: Yes, I’m pretty sure I started in 2008 and by 2010 I was already in a professional team. I was getting paid and at least my travel expenses were covered by the organization. I had some problems at home because I wasn’t studying much – I couldn’t do both things at the same time. When I’m focused on something, I don’t care about something else. My studies fell on the second or third place.
DotaBlast: So you basically dropped out of school.
God: At one point I actually dropped Uni. I finished school, though. In Russia, school lasts for 11 years.
I was studying Law, but I would’ve been a horrible lawyer, I’m pretty sure about it.
DotaBlast: You finished high-school and then you dropped out of Uni.
God: Yes, yes.
DotaBlast: What were you studying in Uni?
God: Oh, I was studying Law, but I would’ve been a horrible lawyer, I’m pretty sure about it.
DotaBlast: Why did you take it up, then? Was it the pressure from your parents?
God: I guess.
DotaBlast: Is it considered a good career in Russia?
God: I don’t know, not so many people know what they would do once they finish school. You’re 17, you’re raw, you don’t know anything about life, you don’t know what you’re going to do. All you know is that this is a big world, at least you think so. It’s a big world with a lot of opportunities and you need to pick something. I picked something, it didn’t really work out.
DotaBlast: How did your parents react when you told them you decided to drop out of Uni and pursue your Dota career?
God: (laughs) It actually wasn’t me dropping out of Uni. I mean, I think so, I think I left them. But actually they dropped me.
DotaBlast: You got expelled.
God: Yes, one day I got information that “Okay, boy, we don’t need you, go away!” But it wasn’t them, it was me. I didn’t like them so I left. At least I think so.
DotaBlast: We should write a letter to the University and tell them all about your Dota career.
God: (laughs) No, no, no! I don’t think they would care much. My mother wasn’t happy in general. She thinks that education is really, really important. I could not agree with that. It’s just how my life is right now, it’s not like I would never study again.
DotaBlast: Does your mother understand what you do?
God: Yes, she understands now, she searches for results, she cheers for me. She doesn’t watch games, she doesn’t know what’s happening per se, but she reads a lot of comments – which is pretty weird because the Internet has a lot of different comments and she reads them a lot. She gives me feedback, she trolls me, she’s a good supporter.
It’s a good experience to walk in a different direction than everyone else.
DotaBlast: She trolls you? Your mom trolls you?
God: Yes, for sure. She’s a really nice supporter in general. It wasn’t like that at the beginning, but it’s just because she didn’t realize how far it would go.
DotaBlast: A lot of players have gone through that with their parents and I think – I certainly hope so, I hope it’s going to be different for the next generation of players.
God: I actually think it’s good that a lot of players are going through that. It shows your character, your will to sacrifice something, sacrifice a relationship. It’s a good experience to walk in a different direction than everyone else.
DotaBlast: That’s a good point. It proves that you’re dedicated enough.
God: Yes. Maybe it will fail, but at least it will be your fail.
DotaBlast: Virtus.Pro was among the few teams that didn’t make any roster changes after The International 5. Do you think you’re going to make a couple of changes after the Major?
God: We don’t have anything like that planned, at least for now, as far as I know. We’ll see what happens. Roster stability is pretty important.
DotaBlast: Any shout-outs?
God: Shout-out to Virtus.Pro, BenQ, Egaming Bets. Thank you for all your support! To all of the fans: sorry for an unacceptable performance, we’ll try to do better. At least I will try to do better.