boo1k is a Dota 2 roster coach. Previously, he played positions in various Starladder tournaments.
After boo1k ended his playing career at the end of 2013, he dropped out of esports for several years until he became the coach of AS Monaco Gambit in 2018. Having failed his performance at the qualifications for The International 2018, the roster, along with the coach, was sent to. Together with , , , and boo1k put together a mix. Taking second place at , the players, together with the coach, again received an invitation from AS Monaco Gambit. In the 2018-2019 season, the team showed an excellent result for the CIS club, having won silver at The Bucharest Minor and StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Season 1. With the advent of spring, the team began to perform worse and worse, the apogee of which was not reaching The International 2019. Immediately after the qualifiers, the roster along with boo1k was disbanded. A month later, it became known that Anatoly became the second coach.
It was after the tournament in Shanghai that the meme about “ventilating windows” stuck for boo1k, and many began to perceive him as a frivolous specialist. Despite this, in the new 2019-2020 season, he became the first VP coach. The updated roster could not achieve the results of the «golden» roster, and therefore, in March 2020, boo1k left for . A month later, he became a coach. Having not achieved significant results, Anatoly left the Russian club.
After the failure, I needed a coach. Many insiders predicted the transition of Anatolia, but there was no official confirmation. Everything became clear when boo1k was added as a friend of the sports director and Dota roster manager in VK. At the end of August 2021, he officially became a coach.
Coach Anatoly ‘boo1k’ Ivanov, in an interview for the club’s youtube channel, spoke about how the team’s draft process for ESL One Berlin Major 2023 went, and also talked about the problems of the roster.
- Team drafts at ESL One Berlin Major 2023
- About the mood of the team before the replays
- About the problems of the team
- About interaction within the team
- «I always wanted to work with Egor and Vitaliy, they are passionate about the game and give it their all»
- Career start
- VP 2019/20
- After VP
- Return to Virtus. pro
- ESL One Fall 2021
- What’s next
Team drafts at ESL One Berlin Major 2023
We chose the heroes collectively, I removed a lot of responsibility from myself on this topic. I’m not trying to tell you that I didn’t suck up drafts and I’m not to blame, but on the contrary, I’m trying to say that I was shitty ready, and it’s very hard for me to live with this. Under slightly different circumstances, I would have been a little better prepared.
About the mood of the team before the replays
It’s hard. The fifth game day, the groups are already over, we played 8:8, lost, because of this we are playing tie for the lower bracket. Today could be decided at all, if we win LGD 2-0, then we are in the top.
About the problems of the team
You’re just sitting there, trying to play with a certain pool and develop these ideas, while half of the team thinks that, on the contrary, everything needs to be radically changed. And so, Gladiators take something there — let’s repeat after them there, something else. Because of this, it turns out some kind of mess, we give a lot of energy, and every day, I personally had a feeling and I think one of the guys would also share with me, I had a feeling that it was just more difficult to play. It’s getting harder to get drafted every day. Not because the opponent is better and better prepared there, but simply because we ourselves are already starting to get confused about what is happening in general. We lose some confidence in something and we want to do more than we can or should do.
About interaction within the team
was defeated in the replays for the right to advance to the playoff stage of the ESL One Berlin Major 2023 and was eliminated from the championship. The team took 13th-14th place in the standings and did not earn any prize money.
- Imagine that you are a product
- WesusLong 1896
«I always wanted to work with Egor and Vitaliy, they are passionate about the game and give it their all»
Anatoly «boolk» Ivanov recently re-joined our team as a coach. After ESL One Fall 2021, we talked to him about his career, approach to training and, of course, Dota.
— What initially prompted you to start your professional career in Dota?
— I just really liked computer games. Even as a child, I believed that they would collect stadiums, and I told my mother when she took the cord from the console from me. As my childhood fantasies began to come to life, I realized that I simply had to be a part of it. I did not have serious ambitions to become a professional Dota player, for a long time I combined my hobby with study and work, so there were no serious misunderstandings in my inner circle. At different periods I had to go inactive, but I was always drawn back. I fell in love with esports even when there were no big prizes, regular tournaments, organizations and salaries, and to get to the LAN, you had to spend your own savings, so most people of that time perfectly understood that this trip would not pay off. Hello to everyone who spent the night in a one-room apartment with a group of 5-10 people before or after the tournament. These people know what I’m talking about.
— Was there a specific moment when you formed the decision to move from being a player to coaching, or was it a gradual process?
— I didn’t have the ambitions of a professional player and just did it for love. I spied on the stream at work or at the university, played in my free time. Gradually, I noticed that I liked watching and analyzing much more than acting. Of course, this is also due to the fact that I simply could not play for days, and to watch an interesting match, it was not necessary to rush home and start the computer.
In 2014, my Steam account, from which I played StarLadder, was stolen, and I finally realized that I could not make a career as a player. This was the last straw that hastened the inevitable decision.
— Do you have examples of big-time sports coaches that you would look up to?
— I read quite a lot of literature of famous people from various sports, but not in order to be like them, I’m interested in their path, their experience. Their experience and success is a whole science that turns into art, or maybe art that turns into science. In any case, the scale of their ideas fascinates me.
— Do you ever have a desire to take a break during the game, like in CS:GO, and help the guys with some aspect of the game? Maybe you tell them something during the TC?
— Sometimes, even often. I hope that someday coaches will be allowed to play and be allowed to talk, this will change Dota a lot. But for the time being, this cannot be done, so such a practice on HF does not make sense. You have to notice the key points and wait for the end of the game.
— How did you first join Virtus.pro?
— For the first time I had a chance to work with the team after TI5. Before that, I was a freelance analyst for Team Empire, worked remotely, sent them my observations and analytics. Virtus.pro found out about this and became interested in my candidacy. After TI5, I was faced with a choice: to join Virtus.pro or Team Empire on a full-time basis. VP previously offered conditions, invited me to the role of a statesman and an analyst, but there was no clear understanding with Team Empire. I accepted Virtus.pro’s offer.
— And how did you end up in Virtus.pro for the second time?
— I was Gambit’s coach, we had a good season in which we put in a lot of effort to achieve a result, but we still didn’t make it to TI9. First of all, it was a matter of personal conflicts.
— Was it in the qualifier where Afoninje was out of the game?
— He has absolutely nothing to do with it, my conflict with Nikita (Daxak) brought the biggest destructive to our team. In qualifying for TI, we no longer had a team. And going back to how I ended up in VP: after Gambit, VP players invited me to their bootcamp before TI. At that time there was no talk of me going to Shanghai with the team, but I was interested in trying to bring fresh ideas and see how competent I would be among players of this level. I came to the bootcamp, we talked with them, discussed games, I gave my ideas. Already during the bootcamp, the guys invited me to TI with them, although it was more of a formality, because I did all the necessary work for which I was invited, at the bootcamp. I went to TI to support the team. And after the tournament, Solo offered me to work with the team as a head coach. We had a similar view of the game with him, we wanted to build a team with a new playing style.
— Can you now explain what exactly you do?
— I am engaged in the training process, building the team’s game with the help of many systems that help players make quick and effective decisions at different stages of the game. I create the game model itself, within which all systems work and do not contradict the general idea. This is a very complex and exciting process, I make a lot of notes and I definitely have enough material for a whole book. I try to think about every little thing, I understand that there will always be elements of chaos in the game that players will have to adapt to, I teach this. Every little thing is important, the more we leave to chance, the less opportunity we have to create a good situation. Therefore, the game plan is so important, a set of game principles, setting goals and objectives at each stage. It is I who needs to set these goals, but I do not decide for the players how to achieve this, I do not teach them how to play Dota.
In general, I don’t try to control every step of my players, they make their own decisions based on the information they get in the game. I strive for them to act meaningfully and expediently. As a coach, I create a game plan and build its structure, but if I can’t give the guys something specific in the game itself, then all this will quickly lose its meaning, so in 2015 I started with an analyst. Analyzing a huge number of replays still allows me to come up with strategies and tactics. Any team and its players have their own patterns, and I like to find them.
— What place does the major in Leipzig take in the ranking of your worst tournaments?
— We took the last place in this tournament. Of course, it was a bad result for a team of this level, but it happens. I would not single it out separately. We were poorly prepared for the tournament, both individually and as a team. After this tournament, I left the squad, because I was one of the people responsible for the result. Then everything was natural: even if we had won that game against Team Liquid, it would not have changed anything. At that point, we all had to go our separate ways.
— After that tournament, you left the team. Did you break up on a good note?
— Yes, we discussed all the issues and made an absolutely balanced decision that satisfied both parties.
— At that time, did you lack something as a coach, or did you and the team not fit each other?
— In the process of work, you can always look back and compare your real self with the one you once were. Compared to that time, I have changed a lot, now I understand my strengths and weaknesses much better, I have worked on the mistakes. However, it is very difficult to say what exactly was missing. Probably, we just didn’t have much time and I didn’t have much experience to solve the problems that arose on our way. When we first assembled the line-up, we had a desire to build an incredibly cool team that would do absolutely unique things that almost no one else had done at that time. We all thought we had enough time, but then one failure after another followed. People began to have doubts about the success of the project, and we gradually abandoned some ideas and views about how we should play. This led to that reshuffle. We wanted to build something beautiful, but then it didn’t work out. Perhaps it will still work.
— After leaving VP, you almost immediately ended up in EXTREMUM. Didn’t want to take a break?
— This is probably not the most deliberate period in my career. After VP, I was still on fire with the idea of building something unique, but quarantine began and I let the organization and myself down. I don’t know if quarantine or some of my decisions influenced our results, I can’t clearly answer this question. At that time, I assembled an unstarred line-up and was eager to work with him, but we never got together at the bootcamp. It is very difficult to control all processes online.
— You made interesting decisions in EXTREMUM: you assembled the line-up yourself, relied on young performers, transferred G to the top five. Did you have complete freedom of action?
— Yes, and this was one of the key factors why I chose that particular team. I was given freedom of action and given the maximum credit of trust. I am still grateful to that organization and I am sorry that nothing happened.
— In EXTREMUM you had complete freedom of action, and in VP in 2019 you came, as it is believed, with a rather narrow specialization and a specific task: to establish interactions on the map. How do you feel more comfortable working?
— I did not have a narrow specialization, I always did the same thing. It’s just that over time I improved my understanding of the game, the ability to convey information to the players. I have never been just responsible for «interactions on the card», I have always strived to become a full-fledged coach in the understanding of this term from big sport. I have a completely different approach to the training process and the game itself, I evaluate Dota not in terms of heroes, but the functions that they perform in order to implement the game model. And this is an exciting process, very complex and unique for our region. That’s what I did in VP too, it’s just that at the time of preparation for TI9 and the tournament itself, my influence was limited, I could not do everything necessary, but only everything possible.
The confusion with the perception of coaches in general comes from the fact that esports is still quite young, there is no understanding of what he should do in the team. I consider myself one of the pioneers in this direction in the CIS. It surprises me that different teams have their own understanding of this profession: somewhere the coach just drafts, somewhere he performs the functions of an analyst or psychologist. It is very strange that most organizations encourage this, but I think that will change soon.
— It turns out that the most comfortable work option for you is the one in which you get as much responsibility and influence as possible?
— In terms of development, yes. In terms of my personal comfort, I never thought about it. I am self-taught, I go through everything from my personal experience. I have never thought about the balance of responsibility, influence and comfort, but when I have the opportunity to take responsibility, I am not afraid to do so.
Return to Virtus. pro
— How did you end up in VP for the third time?
— The guys were looking for a coach for a long time and eventually settled on my candidacy. Some time after qualifying for TI, VP contacted me and offered me this position. I have already trained Egor with Vetal and wanted to work with them again. They are completely given to the process, they live the game. Despite the age difference, I’m just like them and I really enjoy working with them. The most important question for me: Was my invitation a mere formality for the organization? Do the players really want to work with me? When I was convinced that it was the players who had chosen my candidacy, I immediately agreed and began to prepare for the bootcamp before ESL to understand what I could give the team, how to influence the game. I wanted to come to the bootcamp not empty-handed, but with a clear understanding of what exactly I would do.
— It was widely believed in the community that it would be difficult for Virtus.pro to find a coach that the players would listen to. To what extent were these fears justified?
— Everything is based on the consciousness of people in the team, the game consists of a sequence of simple actions, their interactions. Suppose a person has a large MMR, has achievements in the past, but he does not have an understanding of how he achieved this. In his mind, it just somehow happened, which means that he will not be able to pass the formula of success to other people. I have always approached this consciously.
ESL One Fall 2021
— Save- and Nightfall said in an interview that you are now drafting. Who has the final say in the draft?
— I press the button, so I have the last word. We have a fairly simple format: the guys share their opinions and offer ideas (most of the ideas from Egor, of course), and I just choose the best and combine it with my understanding of drafts.
— In an undeciding game against T1, we tried a few of the best heroes of the new patch (Clinkz, Vengeful Spirit), and in the rest of the matches we played by default. Why did we play heroes from the last patch like Lion, Wyvern, Phoenix, TB?
— We played only four CVs before this tournament, so we had to work with what we had. We have a lot of cool ideas that we do not seek to implement here and now. At ESL, we focused on the tasks in the game itself, no matter what heroes will perform the functions that we put into our strategies.
— Our supports had 2-3 heroes in the pool. Is this also a consequence of the reluctance to show your ideas, or is it generally the norm now?
— Both. It’s normal to have a pool of not 40 heroes, but 7-10, that’s enough. Yes, and we did not want to show much.
— In the decisive games (against Tundra and PSG. LGD) we took almost the same pick on the second map, which we lost on the first one. Was it confidence in your strategies?
— At this stage, it’s not about which heroes we take, but how we implement them. If we lose and conclude that the problem is not the heroes, I am always ready to repeat the draft exactly the same.
— How useful was this tournament in terms of understanding the meta?
— Meta doesn’t need to be understood, it is created and dictated by strong teams. If someone starts winning with the Techies carry tomorrow, in a week it will be played by half the teams in the world. We will always strive to dictate our meta. If someone wins with a certain character, we don’t need to add him to our pool if this hero contradicts our game model.
— Will you have a break now?
— Yes, we will rest for about a week, and then we will start preparing for TI. We can definitely show a game of a different level, I will try to make sure that we realize it.
— How do you plan to spend your vacation? Will you stay at the bootcamp or go somewhere else?
— I live in St. Petersburg, where we have a bootcamp. I have some business to complete and then I’ll join the team.
— Small blitz. Favorite hero?
— Who is this? Riki?
— Favorite movie or series?
— Cats or dogs? (Or your own version)
— Cats and dogs.
— What is the biggest purchase in your life?
— Mortgage studio apartment.
— If not Dota, then what?