DotaBlast met 20-year-old Finnish Dota 2 player Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen for an interview in Minsk, during the StarLadder i-League LAN finals. MATUMBAMAN humorously talked about reaching 8K MMR, giving up his Maritime Management studies in order to play Dota full-time, his family and girlfriend, the current state of the Dota 2 scene, and his dreams of becoming a bartender.
The MATUMBAMAN interview was conducted in Minsk, during the StarLadder i-League LAN finals.
MATUMBAMAN interview video:
MATUMBAMAN interview transcript:
DotaBlast: Hello! How’s it going?
MATUMBAMAN: Hello! It’s going great, man!
DotaBlast: You’ve just reached 8K MMR.
MATUMBAMAN: Yes, that was glorious, I have nothing else to say about that. FATA- tried to deny me my 8K, but I succeeded like a real slayer.
DotaBlast: The Reddit mods deleted your thread from Reddit, because apparently they can’t stand you, and they probably envy you.
MATUMBAMAN: Yes, the bastards!
DotaBlast: Do you have a message for them?
MATUMBAMAN: Yeah, obviously, they’re bastards!
DotaBlast: Put that thread back up on Reddit, please, right now!
MATUMBAMAN: No, don’t do it!
DotaBlast: We’re definitely sure we’re going to see a lot more of you from now on. We’d like to know a bit more about you as a person. You’re 20, you’re from Finland, what else?
MATUMBAMAN: Alright, I’m 20, I’m from Finland, I like snow sports, I played baseball.
DotaBlast: You played baseball. I actually read that somewhere. Were you successful as a baseball player?
MATUMBAMAN: Somewhat, I was okay, more like a mediocre player.
DotaBlast: Were you a semi-professional player?
MATUMBAMAN: No, I was pretty young.
DotaBlast: So a lot more casual than that. Do you know Ar1sE?
MATUMBAMAN: Ar1sE, of course, Romanian brother!
DotaBlast: He used to be a semi-professional rugby player.
MATUMBAMAN: Rugby, oh, that’s cool!
DotaBlast: Yes, he was pretty good.
MATUMBAMAN: I can imagine. (Does an impression of Ar1sE as a rugby player.) Going on them like a real Romanian man! Uh! The opponents had fear on their faces when he looked at them.
DotaBlast: Measure your words!
MATUMBAMAN: Yeah, measure your words, man!
DotaBlast: Are you still in school – University, College?
MATUMBAMAN: No, I play Dota full-time.
I was in sea captains’ school, I was studying to become a ship captain, but then I just wanted to play Dota.
DotaBlast: When did you decide that you should drop everything else and just focus on Dota?
MATUMBAMAN: It happened like one year ago, when I started playing for Fnatic. I was in sea captains’ school, I was studying to become a ship captain, but then I just wanted to play Dota. I postponed my army service, played some Dota with my friends, went to DreamHack, sucked so hard but it didn’t matter. Power of friendship, awesome times!
DotaBlast: How did your family take it?
MATUMBAMAN: Ah, they didn’t like it. They hated it! They harassed me about it daily. “Go to school, do something with your life, apply for another school!” But now they’re okay with it. My dad even sends me messages: “Oh, well done, you did great!”
DotaBlast: Do they actually follow your activity?
MATUMBAMAN: Yes, they do. They follow me on Twitter, they made Twitter accounts just to follow me!
DotaBlast: Do they watch the livestreams from the competitions?
MATUMBAMAN: Yeah, my dad does. My mother is like: “yeah, whatever”.
DotaBlast: Do your parents understand anything from Dota?
MATUMBAMAN: My dad does. He looks at the forums and he’s like: “Oh, MATUMBAMAN is getting flamed again!” And then he’s so sad. But it’s alright.
DotaBlast: You mentioned your girlfriend earlier, when we talked. How does she feel about your Dota 2 career?
MATUMBAMAN: She’s fine with it. Of course, it takes so much time, I have to travel, practice so much daily, so it takes our time together. It’s hard to make everything work, but we’re managing. She actually doesn’t play any games, she’s not a gamer at all.
DotaBlast: What does she do? Is she a student?
MATUMBAMAN: She’s studying to become a doctor.
DotaBlast: So she can’t really take time off from her studies to travel with you.
MATUMBAMAN: Yes. She’s actually studying for the test, to get into medical school.
Teams aren’t that strong! I think teams got a bit weaker after TI5, because people don’t actually care that much.
DotaBlast: What do you think about the current Dota 2 scene? You’ve been part of a tier 1 team first, then you kind of slid towards tier 2, and now you’re going strong again, on Liquid.
MATUMBAMAN: It’s pretty weird. It’s like every team is so strong and teams can beat each other. But teams aren’t that strong! I think teams got a bit weaker after TI5, because people don’t actually care that much.
DotaBlast: Why would they not care?
MATUMBAMAN: It’s off season.
DotaBlast: Yes, but we’ve got three Majors and a lot of money on the table.
MATUMBAMAN: Yeah, it’s a lot of money, but new teams have formed, ’cause people started hating each other at TI5, so they made new teams. They just got worse. You play with a new team, you left your old team that you tried hard with for four or five months: “Hardcore, we’re gonna do this at The International 5, we’re gonna win millions and become the champions of Dota 2!”
DotaBlast: And that happened for EG. Do you think they’re as good now as they were around TI5?
MATUMBAMAN: No, they’re not. They’re worse, every single team is worse as well, so it compensates. But teams are gonna get better now.
DotaBlast: Liquid, of course, you’re doing great!
MATUMBAMAN: We’re getting better. We’re kind of new to the scene.
DotaBlast: What’s your biggest struggle right now, as a team?
MATUMBAMAN: Our biggest struggle as a team? Ah, hard to say! I really don’t have anything specific. Just people playing Dota 2.
I get nervous when I play. I’m playing a match, I get really nervous and start playing worse. It’s my biggest problem. That’s why I stream. (…) I’m blushing and everything.
DotaBlast: What’s your biggest struggle as a player?
MATUMBAMAN: I get nervous when I play. I’m playing a match, I get really nervous and start playing worse. It’s my biggest problem. That’s why I stream. I get nervous when I stream, I make a bad play and people start writing their shit all over that chat and flame me. It’s horrible! And then I’m blushing and everything. I’m like: “I need to play better!” And it helps me. I get used to it.
DotaBlast: Has your gaming career become financially sustainable for you?
MATUMBAMAN: Yeah, right now I can sustain myself. Nothing actually changed in my life. I still spend the same amount of money. I don’t really buy anything, I just buy food and that’s it. I bought new jeans, actually. They’re awesome, like red wine!
DotaBlast: Yeah, very trendy!
MATUMBAMAN: I’m looking handsome right now! Oh, baby!
I’m trying to save up, ’cause my career is not gonna last for long. I need to save up for the time when I try to study to get into a school. I can’t just waste all my money on a car. I would like to become a bartender and a waiter.
DotaBlast: So you don’t actually spend a lot of money.
MATUMBAMAN: Yeah, I’m trying to save up, ’cause my career is not gonna last for long. I need to save up for the time when I try to study to get into a school and stuff like that. I can’t just waste all my money on a car. I would like to become a bartender and a waiter. I’d be the most handsome bartender that’s ever existed, flipping those bottles all over the place, and serving vodka with ice to my Russian brothers.
DotaBlast: That’s an interesting dream! Give us a call when you get to do that and we’ll come and try out your cocktails.
MATUMBAMAN: Sure. It’s gonna be called Bar Urpalainen. That’s my surname.
DotaBlast: Urpalainen. Lasse Urpalainen. Okay, thank you so much! Any shoutouts?
MATUMBAMAN: To my sponsors (checks out his jacket) there’s some HyperX in here, HTC, G2A, Alienware, Quest Nutrition, Razor. I got it!