This article was written as Dimaga was preparing for DreamHack Summer 2012.
Dimaga holding his check at DreamHack Summer 2012 EIZO Open where he finished in 2nd place
Hailing from Eastern Europe and from clan mTw (Mortal Team Work) – Dmytro Filipchuk or Dimaga as he is known in the StarCraft 2 community – has been considered to be the Juggernaut from the East (as compared to White-Ra who is known as the Beast from the East). Playing a very aggressive Zerg style since he started out in StarCraft 2 Beta in 2010 he has left a mark in almost every tournament that he has been a part of until now. With Diablo 3's recent release he has been spending some off hours from his training regime. "I play StarCraft 2 full time but since I am playing Diablo 3 right now I am going to start playing StarCraft 2 only after my level 38 DemonHunter dies," says Filipchuk as he laughs.
Filipchuk ascended into the upper echelons of professional gamers somewhere during the beta where his impressive matches against FruitDealer at the 17173 StarCraft 2 World Cup, and his exploits in the weekly ZOTAC Cup, where he was the only Zerg player to perform consistently that earned him even more fans. Previously, Dimaga was a strong StarCraft: Brood War player where he was considered competitive and easily one of the best the European scene had to offer.
"It was very easy and very interesting to switch from Brood Wars to StarCraft 2, because the game felt similar but yet everything was new at the same time," says Filipchuk and continues, "The biggest change for me was that I became a professional gamer from playing a computer game and I could earn a living off games."
Filipchuk is not a regular at most events, barring a few tournaments such as Blizzcon, Asus Summer, and DreamHack. He has never been to an MLG. "Yeah I have never been to an MLG but I was at DreamHack and lost in my group stage. Right now I am preparing for DreamHack Summer. Also, I will be at HomeStory Cup 5," says Filipchuk. At the EIZO Open DreamHack Summer tournament he will be competing with participants from around the globe for cash prizes worth more than 22,000 euros, one of the biggest cash prize pots so far in 2012.
Dimaga (right) at HomeStory Cup IV in January 2012
Aside from his rather impressive performances in tournaments, Dimaga has been a strong force against Koreans, too. In fact with the dichotomy of the StarCraft 2 world into foreigners and Koreans, Dimaga has been a symbol of strength to foreigners everywhere. It wasn't just his games against FruitDealer (who at that time was considered unbeatable) that made him a household name, it was his famous Zerg mirror match up against Nestea in March 2011 where he became the only Zerg player in the world to have beaten Nestea in a televised mirror match – a huge achievement till date for anyone. "Yeah it is a high achievement and I was very happy about it," says Filipchuk.
Filipchuk has been a part of mTw (Mortal Team Work) since July 2010 and he has enjoyed the highs and lows. "Everything about the team makes me content, I suppose we have a really great co-operation and I am happy with everything" says Filipchuk. Longevity is key to understanding Filipchuk's career, not just an old schooler from Brood Wars but at age 25, he is also one of the older pro gamers in the realm of eSports. Age as we all know tends to make the reflexes slower, but Filipchuk does not feel so. "I do not think that one becomes slower and stuff, if you practice enough you will be able to compete with the top players and this is one of the beauty of eSports I feel." says Filipchuk.
Innovation is perhaps one of the keys as well to remaining successful and relevant in a competitive title that boasts of millions of dollars in prize money through the year. The Baneling bust is a peculiar strategy employed by Zerg players around the world to end games quickly, in particular one needs to specifically time the strategy effectively for it to be successful. Filipchuk was one of the first players in StarCraft 2 Beta to have made use of such a strategy and has always used it to great effect, "Umm, I do not think it was something special, just a very standard strategy that I used," says a modest Filipchuk.
Professional Gaming has a long way to go before it can be considered to be mainstream and gamers everywhere strive on a daily basis to eke out a living from this passion. Eastern Europe and Ukraine in particular have a lot of top players who can be considered as some of the best in the world. Natus Vincere or "Na'Vi" as they are known is one such organization from Ukraine that have stood the test of time and now boast of an impressive lineup across DOTA 2 and CounterStrike 1.6. StarCraft 2 however does not have the same appeal as these aforementioned games, "I really have no clue how to make professional gaming a viable job in Ukraine, our market is not so good for sponsors and so it is very hard to improve anything," says Filipchuk.
Mortal Team Work does not have a lot of StarCraft 2 players but Filipchuk enjoys competing with partner in crime the Canadian Payam "TT1" Toghyan. He enjoys practicing with another Ukrainian - Mihaylo "Kas" Hayda, "I enjoy playing a lot with Kas lately as we spend a lot of practice hours together and we also talk a lot about the Terran vs Zerg match up," says FilipChuk. When it comes to strategy, Filipchuk feels he falls behind when he does not scout his opponent well. "Aside from scouting problems I feel counters (like run bys) are my biggest weaknesses while my strength definitely is when I have one big fight," says Filipchuk.
The topic of Korea evokes different sentiments within players; some feel they must go train in Korea to become the best while others feel that they are better suited in staying where they are. The Korean server is considered to be one of the hardest online ladders to compete in. The European one comes second but by some distance. Koreans are thus considered to be some of the most feared players in tournaments; they are also the ones not to be taken lightly, "They just have everything better in terms of conditions and practice, also maybe they practice harder than most Europeans is why I feel they are always considered to be the favorites" says Filipchuk. He does not feel he wants to go Korea right now, maybe the future might bring about a change, "I would like to leave that door open, but for now my answer is definitely no" says Filipchuk.
With so many impressive medals and achievements it is hard not to take Filipchuk seriously when he talks about professional gaming. "One of the biggest plus points about being a sponsored player definitely has to be the gear we use, I feel it definitely is useful and helps the player make the best result possible and the EIZO FS2331 monitor has the best colors a monitor can offer for StarCraft 2 I feel," says Filipchuk.
The future is uncertain but the one certainty that is known to Filipchuk is that as long as there is Blizzard and StarCraft he will be around. "I hope that I can stay for a long time in eSports, I love it so much especially StarCraft and the kind of games that Blizzard produces," says Filipchuk. Before we closed this interview Filipchuk had this to say, "Thanks to my teammates in mTw, all our sponsors and of course a big thanks to all the fans of eSports."
At DreamHack Summer 2012