Normally it takes a start-up esports team 12-18 months to achieve success and experience success, however GAIMIN Gladiator’s Dota 2 team was only formed in January 2022 and they have already risen in the table. ranked Dota 2, qualified in the Top 14 for ESL One DOTA 2 Main this May in Stockholm, increased their followers and created significant brand awareness for GAIMIN.
Arseny Kuzminsky recently interviewed the founders of GAIMIN Gladiator’s about their Dota 2 team and its formation. To get ready for the DOTA 2 ESL One Major in Stockholm, we are proud to re-post his articles and interviews.
In 2020, a breath of fresh air has come to competitive Dota. Viking.gg. These guys have been able to fight against the strongest teams for almost a year in the online age; brazenly, without fear or reproach, breaking the famous lineup in many tournaments. As they got to know each other, it turned out that the players and coaches had a unique chemistry – a mixture of strict discipline, fatherhood, brotherhood and strong friendships.
After that, Vikin.gg disbanded. Back as Team Tickles with almost the same core.
Melchior “Seleri” Hillenkamp, Miroslav “BOOM” Bičan and Daniel “ImmortalFaith” Moza from the previous roster have joined forces with Marcus “Ace” Hoelgaard, Erik “tOfu” Engel and Anton “dyrachYO” Shkredov. New players, same gameplay. Fixed a bug on team interaction where the strongest player out of the top five could not be selected. And there’s no reason to, to be honest. GAIMIN Gladiators work as smoothly as a clock, where every gear is important and as soon as one slacks, four flaps. GG is an example of how a team becomes strong through great player interaction and power balance.
I spoke with GAIMIN Gladiators top management, to have them explain why Team Tickles was their pick. As well as knowing a little more about their history, investments, future plans and why they are confident in the success of the Dota 2 roster.
GG’s background sounds like a typical Silicon Valley startup story – four friends passionate about what they love decided to launch their own project. But before GAIMIN Gladiators, it was something else.
“We got a little older, couldn’t achieve a lot of success in professional gaming, so we started OCG Esports about three years ago,” said Alex Cuccovillo, Vice President of GG. He, along with Shawn Porter, CEO, and Nick Cuccovillo, President, chatted with me.
Shawn and Alex met quite a while ago while playing Dota and have expertise in different MOBAs. The latter did coaching and commenting during the early days of Dota 2. Nick joined the FPS game, working in the talent acquisition field. So, they have enough knowledge and network in each field of e-sports, giving them an edge due to the fact that they already know the details of e-sports not only from business point of view but from a player’s point of view.
Alex admitted that they had to leave competitive NA Dota 2 for other games because of its lack of tournaments and money. OCG Esports started contracting with players, helping them and looking for investors and partners to stay financially. In January 2020, OCG Esports changed its name to GAIMIN Gladiators.
GAIMIN Gladiators is based in Canada but geared more towards the global arena, attracting EU, SEA teams, heading to Brazil, trying not to be restricted to North America.
But in addition to the Gladiators team with about five people on staff and a few contractors, there is also parent company Gaimin.io, the company-wide security team. “They take up a lot more at the corporate level and to be honest, we pass some of the business on to them and they either approve or not. And so it works on both ends,” Nick told me. “They confirm all transactions or any decisions made to the GG side.”
Alex continued: “We always have a plan. We always knew that at some point we would need an investment.. No organization is truly successful without some form of incremental investment. So we always have an action plan built in. We created investment platforms a long time ago, always updating them. We have met some investors a few times through talks; and then a few months later, they realized that esports was a great way for this app.”
GAIMIN’s mission is basically this; “Passive AUTO MONITORING FOR GAMEPLAYERS”. It’s kind of a play-like platform: get free game rewards and do whatever you want with those bonuses.
“While we have an element of Crypto and NFT in our platform, we are a game engine by design.” Nick explained, with the platform’s core focus on “using processing power, not mining or buying coins, nor NFT.”
Instead, GAIMIN’s software “simply uses Blockchain Elements to work in the background and should be viewed as a game engine, with the ability to launch into Private Server Games, including Minecraft and GTAV , watch Stream Creators and practice your favorite games with skill training . “
He was also quick to clarify: “Under no circumstances will GAIMIN ask people to buy currency or buy NFT.” Establishing the core use case of the platform is “actually as a processing power aggregator, to provide processing power for video rendering and AI Production.”; aspects of using the technology are completely separate from most crypto-based ventures.
Taking over and rebranding is a rather lengthy process. It took a year to close the deal from the first meeting with GAIMIN. We’ve come up with a plan that benefits them as well as in terms of attracting users to the platform and they’re really enjoying it.”
“They’ve invested in us more than the teams we have,” says Alex. “We have some teams that are definitely pretty good and some very high level players, but we don’t have anyone at the level of our current Dota 2 team. We’ve identified different groups at different cost levels and what they can deliver, with what success, and viewership metrics. We introduced our plans for the next year and a half, what teams we’re bringing in and why we’re bringing them on, and what kind of potential they have. So honestly, there’s a lot of background work, that’s another part of why they really like what we’re doing.”
Get Team Tickles
Shawn and Alex have a background in Dota and are looking to return to the Dota scene due to the very high viewership. During mid-season; back in late December early January, they saw something special in Team Tickles.
Alex continued: “We had a talk with a couple of teams. But we’re most interested in them not because of how good they are, but about a new organization with the brand awareness they bring to the table playing against Team Liquid, OG, and Secret. All of these groups allow a new organization to recognize that brand very quickly, rather than if you were in many other regions. So it’s also been a huge decision maker for us. And we also see that there is a lot of potential with a squad of young players.
Even so, signing with a North American team gives you a higher chance of getting into the Majors and then TI, adding to the fact that there are highly skilled teams in need of sponsors. However, we decided to look at other regions such as CIS, Europe and Southeast Asia. We came across Team Tickles, and we went after them. “
The GAIMIN Gladiators Dota 2 roster is their most significant asset and standout investment to date. “We had enough budget to sign a Tier 1 team in any of the respective games.
Alex continued: “Dota 2 is actually still doing really well in terms of viewership. And especially now that live events are back, that’s huge for us. But after the overall analysis, we just think that participating in Dota is indisputable.
Bootcamping, Stockholm and plans
GAIMIN Gladiators have been at the Relog Media facility for the entire DPC league. Instead of players going around trying to figure out visa issues, GG’s management decided to keep them in Belgrade for as long as possible. They have a great connection to Relog who has been “very helpful” in this regard.
Nick highlights the importance of bootcamping and its impact on player success:
“Everybody thinks bootcamp is about 24 hours of reflection and practice. However, there are aspects where the players have never met physically. So it’s the perfect time for them to meet, develop a team relationship, and even establish a team culture. If we have to compete in the next Major or a big event like TI, that’s a necessary aspect; It is important for a group to have at least initial interaction. We also get them a psychologist once a week to discuss things with them. It’s important for mental performance and mental training, so they won’t burn out or burn out.
“We were a top two team in the past and were regional champions,” says Alex. “And there are four positions for the EU. OG was a bit of a surprise, but they have a very strong young roster. So they surprised us a little bit, but I think we always knew our team could make it to the Major. But in the end, we had faith, undying faith, you know. “
Follow the Gladiators in Stockholm starting May 12 and see what they show us next. https://www.esl-one.com/dpc/
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