The International 2018: FTM.Winstrike

The best description of FTM.Winstrike’s team probably came from V1lat: “Those guys are the real original Russian Dota team. They flame each other, they hate each other, they don't talk to each other nicely. They're friends. It's like the stack you play with every day. That's good. They don't give a shit about if they lose or how they will look on camera. They just play Dota. They're having fun and it works for them.” The players on FTM really are the embodiment of the CIS scene: incredibly skilled individually but flawed as teammates. Somehow that has all changed with FTM. Thanks to them all being friends they have a trust in one another. They may disagree and yell at each other but in the end they always come together. FlyToMoon slipped on a banana peel and landed in the DPC top 16. That’s pretty much how their season went.

The team formed late and didn’t have much success, at least not initially. They wouldn’t even have qualified for EPICENTER XL if it wasn’t for the Madness qualifier, a full best-of-1 qualifier held on the Russian servers. Call it luck or call it unfair, they got through the best of what the T2 scene had to offer and never looked back. FTM peaked too late in the season for them to have a chance of grabbing a lot of DPC points. So the 3rd place finish in Moscow ended up netting them a final 15th place in the standings. EPICENTER XL truly was FTM’s coming-out party. When they arrived in Moscow, none of the other teams would play them in scrims. They were seen as fillers. Turns out that’s a dangerous term to use in the Dota scene as filler teams seem to impress more often than not. Remember when Liquid were called a filler team? FTM turned these rejections into a positive. They used the other teams' unwillingness to play them into fuel and realized that they were in a unique position. If they managed to outsmart the others and find a few heroes that were outside of the meta but still strong they would have a huge edge. And that’s what happened. They picked up Doom and Leshrac and almost made the finals. For them, rejection was nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success. While FTM are incredibly skilled and the players have started improving their teamwork, they still have a long way to go. If they stay together for another year they may be a competitor but their results at EPICENTER have removed their underdog status and that means their opponents won’t be surprised again. If Dota was a straight up 1-to-1 comparison of the players, FTM would be up there. But the game is as much about teamwork as it is about skill these days, so unless FTM has one of the most productive bootcamps of all time they’ll be happy getting out of groups.

(1) Airat "Silent" Gaziev
(2) Bogdan "Iceberg" Vasilenko
(3) Aleksey "Nongrata" Vasilyev
(4) Alexander "NoFear" Churochkin
(5) Andrey "ALWAYSWANNAFLY" Bondarenko
The International 2018: FTM.Winstrike The International 2018: FTM.Winstrike Reviewed by Jesi Max on 08:16 Rating: 5

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