Earlier this month Alexei 'Solo' Berezin rejoined the RoX.KIS team after spending almost a year off the team after he was kicked due to being involved with a betting scandal which resulted at the time in a lifetime ban for the player in all of Starladder's events. This ban was also extended across most of the scene with a majority of tournaments enforcing the same ban which in the end resulted in Solo being unable to play in the majority of the competitions.
The ban was later reduced to one year after RoX.KIS issued a public apology and removed Solo from the team after he confessed that he was responsible for the bets that were placed.
Fast forward to 2014 and those bans have now been lifted leaving Solo to return to RoX.KIS and the Dota 2 scene. onGamers had the opportunity to sit down with Alexei and discuss a range of different topics including the low points from last year when the betting scandal came to light.
Interview with Alexei 'Solo' Berezin
Since your removal from RoX.KIS last year you have only been able to play as a standin on a number of different teams, how does it feel to be making a more permanent return to the Dota 2 scene?
Alexei 'Solo' Berezin: It was a tough time for me but I never lost my motivation to continue playing competitive Dota further and it feels really good to be part of the RoX.KIS team again.
Looking back at the last year did you think you would ever be in a position again to join a Dota 2 team on a full time basis again?
Alexei 'Solo' Berezin: I was playing a large number of pub games every day and I was also watching nearly every competitive game with the top teams in so that I wouldn't lose shape/focus and I feel that during that time I even became stronger as a Dota player. So I knew that joining a team once again was not out of my reach.
During your time away from the game where did you focus your time? At any point did you consider giving up on returning the game and moving on?
Alexei 'Solo' Berezin: I spent most of my free time with my girlfriend and friends. I like to do many things: travel, walking, smoke hookah, but Dota really takes the majority of time. I never stopped playing and wasn't planning on giving up without a fight.
The news about your re-entry into the RoX.KIS team also came with a snippet stating that the existing tournament bans that were in place for yourself have now been lifted, how does it feel now that you know you can continue to play Dota 2 without having to worry about restricting your team’s access to specific tournaments?
Alexei 'Solo' Berezin: It does appear that I'm not banned from any tournament any more, I'm just really happy to get second chance.
The betting situation that happened last year became very public and resulted in a number of bans for yourself and the RoX.KIS team, is there anything you would like to say to the Dota 2 community at this stage regarding that period of your Dota 2 career?
Alexei 'Solo' Berezin: Firstly I would like to apologize to all of the Dota and Cybersport community for what happened last year. I'm not sure that this act can be justified by any case, but yes, I had health issues and money problems to fix, it pushed me a lot to do that bet. I realise my bad completely and I feel really sorry for putting the community through that.
Your return to the team has placed you back in the position two role (mid), what is your current opinion of the mid role in 6.80?
Alexei 'Solo' Berezin: 6.80 brings us nice changes with the meta, but not enough to change the solomid guy’s tasks and opportunities. However I think we will see a lot more double lanes mid with this Dota such as Death prophet and Sven along with several other new heroes. I'm pretty sure that any hero can lane mid now, it all depends on what you need from that hero.
You are now also playing under the captaining of Artur 'Goblak' Kostenko who is famous for his unconventional drafts. How much of an impact does his captaining have on your game and play style, do you feel you are still learning new things from him?
Alexei 'Solo' Berezin: Artur is a really great captain! I like his Dota understanding and draft choices. We have only been playing for few weeks together and I hope we can play much much more with the same roster. He gives good advices during the game, and yes, I’m learning a lot from him.
The International 2013 qualifiers saw your team falling just short of the hurdle during the qualifiers, with the line up you have now do you feel more confident about securing a position at The International 2014?
Alexei 'Solo' Berezin: Our picks at last year’s International qualifier were so bad. I think we have good possibilities with this team. Sedoy is a very good offline player, Goblak is a great captain and I think this RoX has become much more stronger than before.
We wish you and your team the best of luck for the rest of this year, are there any shoutouts, sponsors etc you would like to thank before we end?
Alexei 'Solo' Berezin: Thank you! We'll do our best ;) Shoutout to my IRL friends, online friends, my mates, my girlfriend and big shoutout to all my fans. I love you <3 ;)