Christopher: Hey Nahaz, how are you doing today?
Nahaz: Pretty well, how about yourself?
Christopher: I have been great. The games have been exciting and I have been able to catch up with a lot of talent. Go ahead and give the readers a brief introduction about yourself for those who may not know you.
Nahaz: I am a college professor by trade. I got my PhD in economics at Duke University. Just a couple of years ago, kind of by chance, I got into Dota stuff. I have a brother-in-law, who is much younger than me, that introduced me to the game. I really loved it and got to know a few people in the scene and started doing statistical analysis of Dota. Somehow, because I talk for a living, I got in front of the cameras.
Christopher: There have been some major upsets at this year’s TI, what are your thoughts on the tournament so far? Who in the remaining teams are you rooting for?
Nahaz: Rooting for is a difficult question because as I got into the scene, I now know guys in all of these teams. I’d love to see Digital Chaos do well today because I know not only people on that team, but the people who run that organization. And as memey they can be, they really are class acts. Moo’s parents who I got to know earlier this morning are terrific people.
Christopher: Could you give me a head vs. heart for who you think will make it to the grand finals?
Nahaz: It is very hard to bet against either of the teams that are in winners bracket finals right now. If you go by the highest Dota that we have seen played at the tournament so far it would be Wings and EG. Wings look incredibly scary right now.
Christopher: What were your predictions going into the tournament?
Nahaz: I thought OG and Liquid were the best teams going in. OG showcased how small the talent gap is right now and how hard it is when everyone sees you as the team to beat. When each team is watching every single one of your games twenty to thirty times and figuring out what you do. It was definitely clear in their series against TNC. TNC had a lot of their warding positions and early rotations mapped out. You could see them drawing on the minimap. With that level of preparation is part of why I expect even more teams will be using analysts in the future. With that level of preparation it was very hard for them to win.
Christopher: Stat-wise how do you compare this TI to others?
Nahaz: The teams of this TI have been very close although many of the main event matches have been 2-0. The games have been very competitive. There have not been many one sided games. The last night’s Liquid verses Newbee game 2 was the most one sided game here in the main event. We have probably seen the best pro Dota2 game ever played last night featuring EG with a ridiculous come back against Ehome. In 22,000 pro Dota games on record there have only been 33 teams that have come back from mega creep to win the game. Most of those are base races or “GG” pushes. That game EG held out and had the craziest fights and great understanding of objectives.
Christopher: This patch has been very diverse, 95% of the heroes have been picked. Do you think the hero pool can cause problems in the future as Dota 2 grows because of niche picks such as Broodmother, Huskar, and Meepo who need specific line ups to deal with.
Nahaz: There has always been cheese, but I don’t even know what that means anymore. There are so many things that are viable and drafting becomes understanding the possibilities and having at least a little bit of insurance against what the other team is going to do. You saw in the last pick Medusa in the second EG versus Ehome match. It was just something that Ehome was going to have a hard time dealing with unless they rolled over their lanes. I don’t necessarily think that it is a problem. If anything right now we are seeing a meta that hasn’t settled. At the end of 6.86 we still had a lot of innovation at Starladder Kiev. We still saw teams trying different things and pulling out strategies that nobody had seen. Then we had gotten two rapid fire patches on top of that. Things just haven’t settled down yet. I think over time the meta won’t be as chaotic as this tournament, but there will always be your Huskars, Broods, and Meepos and that is what makes Dota, Dota.
Christopher: You were picked up by Complexity as a coach, will you continue to work with them after TI ends?
Nahaz: I have no idea because of the nature of the business. Because TI is the event of the year. The fact that TI’s prize pool over shadows every tournament throughout the year combined actually understates the case a little bit. The event is so big for the players and organizations. Everything is up for grabs. The coaches, the analysts, the players, and talent are at the mercy of the great shuffle that happens. The off season carousel
Christopher: It has been great chatting with you, is there anything you want to say to the readers?
Nahaz: Sure! You can follow me on Twitter at @NahazDota I tweet out lots of fun stats and anecdotes. I have a Youtube series called Stats Don’t Lie. I have been a little less active because I have been travelling to so many events. After TI I will be picking that up again. Thanks for having me.