Jimmy “DeMoN” Ho has a long history with Dota that dates back to the original game. His career has spanned well into the advent of Dota 2, and featuring stints with some of the biggest organizational names in esports, including Evil Geniuses and Team Liquid.
His two years with Evil Geniuses placed him atop the American Dota 2 scene, and he has competed twice at The International.
Following brief stints with multiple teams including Korean squad MVP Phoenix, Ho landed with Team Liquid, with whom he managed a top-ten placement at The International this year. Ho and his teammates came within a single game of reaching the playoff stage at Seattle’s KeyArena and the massive boost in prize money that would have come with it, and the team broke apart not long after the event.
Ho is currently at Seattle’s Manguson Park Hanger to take part in the Red Bull LAN Seattle, an event featuring 100 players competing in a series of randomized pick-up games, with the sole undefeated player at the event’s end being declared the winner.
The free agent took time to chat with The Daily Dot about his career, the state of Dota in North America, and his future.
The Daily Dot: How do you look back at your time with Evil Geniuses?
DeMoN: Being a part of Evil Geniuses was one of the highlights of my career. Being sponsored, being a part of a prestigious organization. It was a great start. I really felt stability from being with them, something I’d never had throughout my whole life.
What led to your leaving the team?
It wasn’t worth it for me. I wasn’t really motivated because I had something so stable, being one of the highest-paid players at the time. I didn’t think about the future. After a year had passed I realized I wasn’t as good as I used to be. I lost motivation to compete in tournaments, I wasn’t very disciplined, and it all led to my downfall, being released from the team.
The current Evil Geniuses Dota 2 team is very successful both domestically and abroad. What separates them from other teams in North America?
They have the talent, a very capable leader in Peter “ppd” Dager, and two veterans in the scene, Clinton “Fear” Loomis and Saahil “Universe” Arora. They all strive for one goal together, they’re always on the same page.
How was your time playing in Korea with MVP Phoenix?
It was quite an experience. I had to adapt to the Korean culture and food. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were made in the house. Eating during the first week was quite a struggle, but I loved the training program MVP Phoenix had.
We trained in the team house all day. Started training, then took a lunch break, then practice, then dinner, then practice again. It was something I definitely needed. Being part of the team house, I learned a lot. And I won a title there.
Do you think Team Liquid could have done more at The International?
They had problems within the team before I joined, and some of those problems were still there when I joined. The team was full of introverts and I thought I’d lighten up the team atmosphere. It worked, but only briefly. We had a team camp that really bonded the team with a friendlier atmosphere, and that’s why we did so well during The International.
Overall, no one expected us to go as far as we did. We were one game from the playoffs. We made some mistakes along the way and it’s hard to say if we could have done better. I’m not entirely happy with where we placed because winning is always my goal, but (our placement) is what we deserved.
What are your thoughts on other North American teams trying to achieve the success Evil Geniuses have had this year?
In the beginning with Dota, there was no real top North American team. Now, having such a successful team like Evil Geniuses, it’s different. There was never a team like Evil Geniuses before, placing first at events consistently.
If Sneaky Nyx Assassins remain stable, maybe make one roster change, they could be on par with Evil Geniuses.
What are your plans for the future? Will you resume your professional career?
I’m still focusing on rebuilding myself as a player and as a person. I’m in the works of building a team or joining an existing one with the goal of competing at The International 2015.
Red Bull LAN Seattle will be held on Saturday, December 13. You can catch it on BeyondTheSummit’s Twitch channel.