KuroKy talks about his motivations then and now, his long-time teammates in Nigma Galaxy, and missing two TIs in this heartfelt interview.
Kuro "KuroKy" Takhasomi is a legendary star of Dota 2 who had cemented an eternal legacy throughout his decades-old career as a professional player. He has experienced the highs of winning The International in 2017, but he also faced tough losses that saw him and his long-time teammates on the bench for years.
This season, Nigma Galaxy returns to Division I, and all eyes are locked onto the team, which now fields a new young carry player, Ammar "ATF" Al-Assaf, and a new coach, Daniel "ImmortalFaith" Moza
In this season, Nigma Galaxy had it pretty rough with early losses. But they seem to have found their momentum and prevailed in the deciding series against Team Secret. Nigma Galaxy successfully retains its slot in Division I for the next season. And for the first time in a while, the team finally gets a breather.
KuroKy compares his motivations from then and now
In the post-match interview, panelist, Alexandra "Sheepsticked" Roberts, asked KuroKy about his motivations and how it has changed from when he first started compared to now. "What was your motivation like back when you sort of started And what made you want to play back then compared to now? How has that changed and how have you grown and differed?" she asked.
KuroKy reminisced about his beginnings in esports. He started out when he was 11 years old and the thing that motivated him was his desire to become the best individual in Dota 1. When he realized he could make money out of Dota, he pursued it even further to support his parents.
When Dota grew, I realized you can earn good money with it. My main motivation was just to do that. I wanted to support my parents. It drove me so much.
"I remember my first competitive game. I was 11 years old. Now I'm 30. So, back then my motivation was to just be the best player Individually and I became that in Dota 1. I was the best midlaner and carry. And then afterwards when Dota grew and I realized, Oh, you can earn good money with it. It was pretty much when Valve took over. My main motivation was just to do that. I wanted to support my parents. It drove me so much."
KuroKy then walked through the moments in his career. He finally lifted the Aegis of Champions at TI7 and he won countless tournaments during that era. But he shared that by the time he won TI, he was already burned out. Prior to TI7, KuroKy had played in one of the most stacked lineups in history, alongside names like Clement "Puppey" Ivanov and Johan "N0tail" Sundstein. But the roster failed miserably and KuroKy describes the time with Secret as a "tiring experience".
KuroKy in Team Secret.
By the time I won TI7, I was already tired, like really tired. I've been doing this for such a long time. And before that, I played with Secret and it was a bit of a tiring experience.
"Alhamdulillah, I got everything in my life. I won TI, I won, I don't know, 40 tournaments. I did a lot of stuff and now the motivation is different. I mean, I don't even believe in motivation. It's a lot of hard work because, by the time I won TI7, I was already tired, like really tired. I've been already doing this for such a long time. And before that I played with Secret And it was a bit of a tiring experience. What happened afterwards? I had to rebuild like a new team fully become captain, Which I didn't really enjoy. Yeah, I was tired."
On what makes him motivated nowadays, KuroKy stated that his journey in Dota 2 feels like a mission. The people that want to see him win are the biggest drive in his motivation nowadays, including the support from his teammates and fans.
Nigma Galaxy at ESL One Malaysia.
Image via Nigma Galaxy
I have certain people who really want to see me win. I think that drives me the most. Like some people in my life, They just love seeing me play and win. I'm doing this for them. I'm doing this for all the people working in Nigma Galaxy. I'm also doing this for my teammates.
"It wasn't really motivation, it was more like I have to do this. It was like a mission and it still feels this way somewhat. And nowadays I would say, I mean, I still love what I'm doing. I'm really grateful. I have certain people who really want to see me win. I think that drives me the most. Like some people in my life, they just love seeing me play and win. I'm doing this for them. I'm doing this for all the people working in Nigma Galaxy. We have such a good support staff here. I'm also doing this for my teammates."
About his team and his perspective
KuroKy then talks about his teammates, who have long played together with him on the same team. Ivan "MinD_ContRoL" Ivanov and Maroun "GH" Merhej are his longest teammates in Nigma Galaxy, both of which have been playing with him since 7-8 years ago. And according to him, Nigma Galaxy holds the strongest bond in a team, possibly in the entire esports industry.
We have such a strong bond with each other. This is maybe the strongest bond team in all of esports, I believe.
"We have such a strong bond with each other. I mean, this is the maybe strongest bond team In all of esports, I believe. Because we just really love playing with each other. We had good times. We had three, four really good years, amazing years. The last two years, result-wise not so good, obviously. Missing TI. Well, other than that, our life is good."
Despite his utmost passion for the game, KuroKy highlights a mindset that we don't often hear of. He plays Dota 2 for himself and for his legacy. But he also thinks that a failure in Dota 2 is not the end of the world as there are bigger things in life.
"This is just a stupid video game at the end of the day. And we're really lucky to do this. So yeah, I enjoy doing it. I have people who love watching me win. And I'm also doing this for myself, of course. There's a part of me that cares about legacy, But at the same time, None of this really matters to me. I don't know if that makes sense to you guys, but there are bigger things in life, you know? And I believe in bigger things."
"And of course, we have fans who really love to watch us win, too. There are a lot of fans, they're really waiting for a comeback. So I want to deliver, and Inshallah we'll do it."
How Nigma Galaxy sticks together
Prior to The International 10 in 2021, KuroKy was among the few who had attended every single TI in history. However, his streak broke following a heartbreaking loss in the TI10 qualifiers. KuroKy said that after the loss, there were talks about the team and its roster. But everyone wanted to stay and make it work, even if it takes a long time.
"When we lost the first TI quals for TI 10, That hit us really hard. When it was the first TI we missed. To be honest, there was never a moment Where it felt like anyone wanted to leave the team. Obviously, we had the talk, who wants to stay can stay. My teammates are amazing players. I think they could play for any team, all of these players. And be a bonus."
We have something, it's called hope. We're very hopeful. We never despair. We really believe we can do it. It just might take some more time than we like.
"What everyone expressed, is they just want to stay in this group of people and make it work, even if it's hard. We all know it's hard. I think we all felt like, hey, this might be not just like two months of hard times, it may be a year or two. And we just stick through it, and we're trying to make it work. We have something, it's called hope. We're very hopeful. We never despair. We really believe we can do it. It just might take some more time than we like."
Nigma Galaxy stays in Division I for Tour 2 DPC
The Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) has been brutal for Nigma Galaxy in the past two years. The team had been making a back-and-forth trip between Division I and Division II, and missed two TIs in a row. But this season sees a spark of hope.
Nigma Galaxy has prevailed in the intense Western European (WEU) battle, placing ahead of Into The Breach and Team Secret. Even though the team failed to qualify for Lima Major,
they still can breathe in Division I in the next season.