One of Dota's rising stars, Artour "Arteezy" Babaev is a Canadian player who rose to prominence early in the 2013 - 2014 season with a MLG Columbus win as a stand-in with Cloud 9 (then Speed Gaming). A stylish mid player who has fast become a community favorite, Arteezy is a frequent streamer and also one of the most outspoken personalities in the North American Dota scene.
Most recently, he was also a member of the EG squad that went on to take the Monster Energy Invitational at SXSW 2014, and as such is very much in the news at the moment. Scroll down to find out how you can pick the A-god's brains!
A-god in his natural habitat.
Finally, just in case you haven't seen it, here's our MLG Columbus 2013 Hot_Bid interview with the man himself.
You asked the questions! The answers are below.
- Hey Arteezy. I heard you answering some questions from your chat the other day, and you mentioned that you think farming mids like Morphling, Naga, etc. are strongest in this patch/metagame. It feels to me like they shouldn't be as good with the heavy emphasis on mid ganks by supports. Can you explain why you think they are so strong, and what will it take to see you playing gankers like Puck again? [Xerxes657]In my opinion, it is just the better way to play the game. Having a carry like Naga Siren or Morphling middle ensures that they will go that extra mile to put you down (ex: placing wards in your medium camps/constantly pressuring via support rotation/constant support rune control) which evidently allows for other lanes to farm more and later on make up for the amount of space you provided for them. Heroes like Morph and Naga are very easy to come back with as well due to their almost-invulnerability status (Song and Morphlings' entire skill set) and AoE nukes. I am still capable of playing utility mids that aren't centered on farming but I will only play them when I feel like it is the correct game.
- How do you rate yourself vs. mids such as S4, FATA, Dendi or Mushi? [_SpiRaL_]It is hard to compare all of those players to me because of the “style” difference. Usually, I play a more farm oriented hero middle and the above play more gank oriented heroes. If I were to compare a common aspect in the middle lane like laning, I'd say we are all on the same level and are definitely able to defeat each other.
- Who’s your favorite player/the one who inspired you? [Thiagopv]I was inspired by Dendi's Youtube video on the middle lane in Dota 1; I remember watching this video when I was a mere age of 14. I told myself I would become the best mid in the world after!
- How much of what players at your level do is based on "feel" as opposed to something you actually think while you're playing? For instance, in the early stages of a 1v1 mid could you draw an imaginary line and say "if the other guy goes past this he's a free kill", or is it more of an intuition? [kzn]I can't speak for all the players at my level of play but I'd say it's just having experience. Once you played a matchup or the game enough, you begin to notice certain aspects and patterns which you can possibly exploit. I feel like pubs are a great way to test out your limits and improve on your "killer instinct" as there aren't any huge consequences for errors besides potential MMR loss and twitch chat flame.
- Pieliedie said in an interview that you were really the only player he knew that worked hard on getting into the scene by doing a lot of 1v1s and analyzing replays. Can you elaborate on what the process was like in studying these replays and doing 1v1s? Is there anything about your individual play now that you would like to work on more? [Kuroeeah]After TI2, I spent a lot of time practicing with S4/EE/BuLba. I would basically play with each of those players 5 hours a day on the same matchup (QoP vs Puck, SF vs Puck, SF vs QoP, TA vs QoP, TA vs Puck) until I understood each respective strength and weakness. I prided myself off of these 1v1 victories and it just helped my overall confidence in matches and league games. I spammed IXDL games on the same hero and just hoped to play one of the practiced matchups versus a pro player in hopes of showing my talents off because there were a lot of observers in each IXDL game back in the day. Eventually, I was defeated by pro players in matches like Korok and Dendi which made me even more hungry to get better and crush them later on because I knew I could do it if I tried. I definitely received a lot of help from a lot of various players and they acted as catalysts to form the player I am today!
A lot of my mistakes in the game come from a mental deficiency I seem to have about certain teams and players. If I could just somehow hold my ego back for matches against "bad" teams and assume people play perfect I think I really have the potential to perform exceptionally!
- How did the "RTZ block" start? Did you just feel that the blocking could be improved? I’d like to hear the story of how you got the idea to start doing it. [DrPandaPhD]Back in the days, I used to fiend on Teamspeak with some of the now C9/Liquid/NEL players and we were always talking about certain mechanics and aspects of the game. Clairvoyance told me there is probably a way to control the pathing of units just based off some random observations from mid players in matches and I just started playing around in single player with him. Eventually, we found a great spot on the Radiant side. It is not the same one in Dendi’s Dota 1 video which everyone seems to be saying! If anything, I give credit to Clairvoyance.
- Playing electronic sports at an high calibre requires a lot of time. How do you manage school and pro-gaming at the same time? [VIPrandom]I used to pride myself off my disciplined time management and focusing skills but after Term 1 was over at school it completely fell off. I started to just skip to play tournament matches and my teachers were annoyed at me so I skipped even more... Let's just say they aren't too happy with me. I am still maintaining a relatively high average so my parents don't mind. It is just awkward sometimes when I do show up it's considered a big deal; “the A-God has finally decided to show up to class!” YOLO BOYS.
- A lot of fans feel that the current EG squad is unique because of the large age/experience gap between its players. Fear and Universe are some of the most consistent and reliable players in the West, while you and Zai are relatively young and inexperienced on the bigger stage.
What kind of dynamic does that create within the team? Are there situations where you find yourself relying on the experience of your older teammates? [Beirut]The older players are a good anchor for the team when things get too clownly or emo. But overall I don't think age really affects the team dynamic too much other than sometimes we call Fear old.
No, not really. We are all very confident players at the end of the day and when someone has an idea they step up and say it regardless of the lack of experience which may be accurate. Experience is an important characteristic but I feel like it is over-hyped and not an issue unless you are not confident in yourself.
- What are your plans after high school? College or EG teamhouse? [SwallowTheSun]After I graduate in June, I plan on taking a year off and focusing entirely on Dota. We will definitely bootcamp prior to The International which is fortunate timing since school ends before and gives me a lot of time to practice and attend LANs. Regardless of what else I do for that year, I plan on returning to school in the Fall of 2016.
- You seem to literally shape the metagame by yourself, playing Drow/Morph/Naga/Ember... Do you feel the pressures of having to perform at such a high level to appeal to the thousands of fans you have? [NbSky]I never felt the pressure, honestly. I really just try to isolate myself from any external distraction that is present when I play Dota 2 whether that is just background from my brothers room or a mental distraction. It is much harder to play at your best if you are constantly thinking about the 40 pages of math homework you have the next day.. (oh well boys)
- How did classmates react to you coming home with your MLG Columbus winnings? [innociv]My friends were waiting in front of my house when I had just arrived in Vancouver and it was just a tremendous surprise to me that they were actually interested in the entire aspect of professional gaming. Let's just say Bubble tea was on me that night. I believe the yearbook is writing some article about me winning the event as well! Super cool stuff.
- What under the radar hero is going to rise to prominence in the months leading up to TI4? [wonderbro]I think a hero like Alchemist or Morph can just pop up and start being picked by everybody at TI4. Right now the hero pools are absolutely huge so it would be no surprise to me to see some of those heroes being picked on a consistent basis for a huge tournament like The International.
- Are there some bugs/inconsistencies in the game that you think need to be fixed before TI4? [Artic]When you teleport to a tower and someone hands you an empty bottle it refills instantly. I see those god damn Cloud 9 players abusing it all the time and seeing trees break in fog which often gives away teleports onto trees near a tower or Batriders fireflying to get into a power position. Oh and fissure messing with creep movement allowing jungle pulling is really dumb in my opinion as well.
- Does professional Dota require natural talent or could anyone get to that level with enough practice? [Snerd]I think any professional sport or e-sport requires mental fortitude. If you want to win, you must be very sure yourself that you actually CAN win. That being said, I guess that is some sort of natural talent because not everyone is able to compete in tournaments with lots of pressure on the line. You can be extremely strong in pubs but if you cannot perform in such a situation you are of no use.
- Outside of "practice makes perfect", what's your advice to an amateur player trying to imitate the style of Dota you play? [NewMonolitH]Back when I was starting my quest to become the best mid player, I looked at all the top mid players and decided on one of them to mimic. (I think I chose Dendi or Bulba I actually don't remember.) I watched their player perspective in all competitive matches and some personal pub games until I truly understood each click or movement. I slowly adapted and created my own style of play from there (unconsciously).
- What are the best mid heroes to practice? Which ones are your favourite? What mid hero is best to pubstomp with in solo queue? [BlackGosu]I think the best mid heroes to practice are the ones you feel like are commonly picked in competitive Dota. I mainly focused on heroes like Invoker, QoP, Puck, SF and TA when I was just entering the competitive scene. My favorite hero since day one is SF. Solo queue is an amazing thing honestly, because even if you stomp with your favorite hero you can still lose to OP TB and Lycan strategies. If I want to win in Solo Queue I usually pick Naga Siren or Ember Spirit.
- When should a radiant Tinker start stacking ancients with March (what level?) as opposed to simply just going to the neutrals near mid at :51-52? [ymir233]I think you should wait until level 3 or 4 march to kill ancients. Typically, I do ancients at level 3 march because I have 2-2-3-1 and the exp to level 9 is very hard to achieve without stacks.
- Since you've been dominating with Tinker recently, I'd like to know in what situations you build what items on Tinker. People used to build Blink -> Hex -> Dagon -> E-Blade in the majority of games but you and other pros have recently picked up less standard items like Shivas and Bloodstone. [Rainling]Tinkers item route usually depends on the enemy composition and items. In almost every game you will see me with a hex on him because it is simply too good of an item to pass up on, but after that it I evaluate if more damage is needed, survivability or the best of both worlds. For example, in a game vs Ember I decided Shivas was the item vs him because I potentially am able to die if I am caught in a single Bolas + SoF combo with a Dagon 5 or Eblade. In theory, Dagon seems stronger but I really just feel Shiva’s is better most of the time regardless.
- Have you ever thought of playing Starcraft 2 with the micro that you have? [MrFolgers]I played Starcraft 2 before I joined Kaipi actually because at one point pubs infuriated me. I was on the route to Grandmasters (Rank 1 masters) but then I quit because I lost like 6 games in a row to the same Terran strategy. That game made me so mad.
- How much Armenian do you know? [Slardar]Absolutely zero. I know a few Uzbek phrases and a lot of Russian, though.
- Are you more based than EE-sama? [konadora]EE-SAMA is on another level which cannot be compared to mortals like us.
- What's your favorite anime? [Emnjay808]R u srs dude?
- Why Dota out of all games? [Omnishroud]Dota is the shit dude
- Prom King or winning TI4? [lyxarn]TI4, we in it boys.
- As a fellow Vancouver resident who is only a year younger than you, it feels really unbelievable to me that a high school student from the city I'm from is so successful and playing professionally in the Dota 2 scene. Can you have a Vancouver meet-up with your fans where we all drink Arizona Iced Tea together and listen to Yung Lean? [lenniemoo]I'll organize something like this on my Facebook page soon... Maybe at 10k likes. Like it up boys (facebook.com/arteezydota)
- Blue Dream & Lean or Stay Trippy? [TheLardyGooser]Blue Dream & Lean. GET HIGHER BOYS
- When you go to Timmy Ho's (that's Tim Hortons to the non-Canadian) what do you order? [Shai]I only get iced caps from that place man. I will forever mark that place as the place I met Aui 2000... what an honor Wow! I ordered two iced capps that day and couldnt sleep on the plane to MLG.
- Why is your Tinker so much better than Bulba's Tinker now? [Verator]Bulba fell off dude... too much Anime