Post-TI11 interview with Tundra: “Tusk is a normal mid for us”

By Kenneth Williams


Nov 23, 2022

Reading time: 4 min

Our interview with Tundra reveals some lesser-known parts of The International 2022’s champion’s dominant victory.

By winning The International 2022, the five players on Tundra immediately catapulted themselves into esports superstardom. With the grand prize of $8.5 million split between them, they now rank as the highest-earning esports pros of 2022. As it has previously done, the Tundra roster graciously took the time to answer some of’s questions about its phenomenal The International 2022 championship.

An interview with TI11 champion Tundra Esports

Blog post image Nine, you’re always a fan of offbeat mid picks. Was Tusk in game one purely a strategic choice or did you want to style on Secret?

Leon “Nine” Kirilin: No, it was not about styling at all. To us, Tusk is just a normal mid hero like Tiny. We’ve played it a lot this tournament, we have played it a lot in scrims. It just feels like a normal mid hero to us. I’m not sure why no other teams started playing it because I think it fits the current meta for mid heroes very well. It’s very fast-paced. We just thought it was the best mid hero for the current meta, and I’m surprised we even got to play it that often and people didn’t really have an answer for it. People still don’t know how to play against it, I feel like.

As the captain, working with Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling must be an interesting experience. Was there a certain moment when you both earned each other’s trust?

Wu “Sneyking” Jingjun: I’ve been working with Aui for a long time, we’ve had a lot of history. We even started off playing competitively together on the same team. I think the trust and understanding and mutual respect was always there for one another, so I think it started from the very beginning as soon as he was our official coach. And I think Aui is really detail-oriented and he pays a lot of attention to small details, and I think Dota is about making a lot of small decisions and making them right. When you make a lot of small decisions and have them to be right, it kind of snowballs and they become a bigger impact over time.

I think Aui is really good at helping each individual player to make those small decisions a little bit better and it makes you a drastically better player.

I think Aui, in terms of the drafting side of things… against every team, they have good heroes and they have good strategies and you kind of have to pick your poison of what you want to play against. Aui, as a coach, thinks a lot about each team’s strengths and weaknesses and suggests the best line we should play against.

Sneyking, you are also the first American to win The International since 2015. Why do you think NA struggles to find success?

Sneyking: I think the player pool in North America has drastically dwindled over the years and it’s the lowest pub game count in all six regions. At the end of the day, if there are not enough people playing the game, then that means there are not enough quality games/practice happening, and then that just prevents people from getting better as a region overall. So I think in order for North America to find its stride again, there have to be more players coming in, and that issue has been a core fundamental problem of NA for a long time. I don’t know if it’s going to get much better.

Saksa, getting kicked from OG to winning The International is a pretty insane rebound. Did you feel like you had something to prove going into TI11?

Martin “Saksa” Sazdov: Yes. I feel like in previous teams, I’ve had situations where I have a view of the game that I truly believe in, but felt like people didn’t listen to it that much or enable it. So when I joined this team, from day one I felt like had a voice in the team that people respected, my view of the game, and how I want to play. So for me, that was very satisfying to be able to go into TI and be enabled to play in the way that I enjoy playing the game and then see it with my team. To be able to beat all the other teams and prove you’re the best and prove that the view that I have works, it was a very nice, satisfying feeling for me. It was nice to be able to prove that my view works, so I’m satisfied.


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