Save-: «Virtus.pro is a team of super skilled players»

- Since it’s your first full interview in Virtus.pro, let’s start with the usual. Tell us about yourself: where are you from, when did you start playing Dota, how did you pick “Save-” as your nickname, etc.

- I’m from Moldavia, started playing Dota in 2013, but it was just for fun back then. I reached 5k in 2016 - and that’s when I started taking it seriously: around 15 games per day. About my nickname? I just decided it was finally time to pick a decent name one day - so I facerolled the keyboard, got Save as a result and decided to keep it. Don’t remember any of the names I had before.

- How did you make it to your previous teams?

- My first team was Team Jekich. That was my first ever bootcamp and qualifier experience. NoFear invited me - just added to friends after a pub, and then offered to join the team.

- You mentioned how epileptick1d invited you to VP in your chat with SirActionSlacks on ESL. How was it?

- That was more like him suggesting to pick me up for a trial. I met Egor a year ago - just after a pub where he BMd me with pauses.

- Pauses after kills? Did that piss you off?

- We were both 16 and both BMing each other. I also had my share of pauses after killing him.

- Before Virtus.pro signed you, did you have any talks with anyone on the team about what the team expected from you: your role, in-game behavior, etc?

- We had discussions about the game with everyone.

- How do you think you can be most useful to the team - on which heroes, with what playstyle, with what role?

- I’m most effective when the game’s going in my favor and I can do my thing on my comfort picks like Rubick or Shadow Demon. If I get rolling, my micro is on point and we win.

- You named Rubick and Shadow Demon instead of Tiny and Earth Spirit you’re known for. Why is that?

- I haven’t played Earth Spirit with this team at all because I consider him weak in this patch. Well, as for Tiny - you got me there, he’s my platinum signature pick. We’ve won plenty of games with him.

- What are the main differences between VP and other teams you’ve played in?

- Tons of differences. People discuss some things others wouldn’t even acknowledge during games - certain game aspects, map movements. It’s a team of super skilled players.

- Any difficulties you faced during Major qualifiers? What changed from Minor quals and Parimatch League games - where you had convincing victories for the most part?

- We only had a couple of days of practice before the Major qualifiers. We weren't in tune, had some problems with communications and gameplay. It’s all better now, though.

- How’s laning together with Resolut1on? Are you guys used to each other now?

- The first two-three days of online games weren’t that good. Then something clicked, and we started smashing our lane in every game.

- We saw Resolut1on use two hero archetypes: Leshrac, Dazzle or other squishy picks or, say, Underlord that builds Vanguard/Pipe and acts as a frontlaner. Which one is more comfortable to lane with? And which one is more useful overall?

- Both are comfortable for me. We usually demolish our lane when he’s on Leshrak or Dazzle since I pick a melee like Tiny - the game flows nicely this way. Resolut1on is always great to lane with no matter the pick.

- Let’s talk about ESL One Hamburg 2019. What was the goal here?

- Egor and I were on a trial, so it was a chance to show ourselves here. We wanted to show our best and find ourselves in this series. It was an experiment, so to say.

- If this tournament was an experiment, why did the team switch to PL/Morph every game after a certain point?

- We realized that Egor and I would perform better on our signature picks as the tournament progressed. It’s just better for us this way. We decided to play in a way that is comfortable for me and Egor because we realized that playing Dota Solo wanted us to play is difficult.

- So the team based the playstyle around you?

- Yes, so we could have it easier - and so we could show our best.

- Mid Lycan worked wonders in Parimatch League games, but we only saw it once in ESL One Hamburg. Why did you decide against this strategy?

- Lycan is a spontaneous strat. It’s a hero we lastpick when we already have 2 or 3 push-oriented heroes. It’s not a hero we aim since the firstpick.

- Enemy’s easy lane T1 was a high priority throughout the entirety of ESL One. It was the first tower to go down in nearly every game. Why exactly this tower? Why not the T1 in the middle - that is traditionally considered to be among the most important?

- It’s more comfortable for us this way.

- It seemed you had trouble laning against a trilane. Is that it?

- Yeah, I was having trouble dealing with it. Alliance were in their comfort zone in that match. I couldn’t do anything except for pulling creeps and dying for it. You could die 2 or 3 times doing that - which I did. That’s why Alliance were a very challenging opponent.

- Was that the opponent's hard read? Or was it a failure to adapt?

- Alliance trilaned in nearly every game. We knew they’d most likely do that.

- What’s it like - laning against a trilane in the current patch?

- There are a couple of options. We’ve specifically decided to run a duo lane against a trilane - we planned to have Solo destroy the enemy offlaner with Egor.

- About enemy offlaners: how did it happen that Drow Ranger and PL remained solo on their lanes in unfavorable matchups?

- If you mean the last game of Alliance match - there was hardly a better option. We didn’t see any other way. Egor made a call that he’ll be okay in a 1 v 1.

- Let’s talk about your playstyle and your hero pool. Mirana - why was this hero in particular picked on 4th in nearly every game?

- She became a popular fourth after the arrow buff and a couple of Leap buffs. It’s a versatile hero: you can farm jungle with the arrow, can gank mid, helps out the team with invis.

- Jungle Mirana vs lane Mirana - which is better?

- It’s situational. Usually, you help your offlaner first, then rotate mid. You can farm a few creeps on the way to mid and get level 2.

- Your Tiny is impressive. How can you always pick the best target for Toss out of the clutter?

- I wouldn’t say I do it flawlessly. My Tiny’s platinum - level 20, tons of experience.

- In a recent interview, Solo mentioned that you have the potential to become the greatest fourth in the game’s history. Is that how you see yourself?

- Yes, it is.

- Are there any players you compare yourself to?

- I wouldn’t say I compare myself to anyone. I watch replays of absolutely everyone and take out what’s important to me. I can highlight EG’s Cr1t - I like the way he plays.

- What comes next? Where else will we see our team?

- For this year - games in the Parimatch League and also a tournament in Singapore.