Last Saturday, PIXEL studios was alight with lets of auto-battling. A Dota Underlords Community event was underway organized by Singapore’s very own Team Knightley.
The talk-show turned organization had something for the competitive and the casual players alike; cash prizes for the top three in every single game played. Special guests like Julian Tay and Keiji graced the event as well, playing in the competition and doing pretty well as well.
We spoke to Lysander, the man behind all of it for his thoughts on the event and more.
Congratulations on a successful event! Did you expect such a big crowd?
I think we were very confident of our method of having a flat payment structure. Singaporeans love gaming but a lot of them are very practical as well; when they realize that they cannot make top three, they end up not going to the tournament or just go in half-hearted. But for us, every round, we award $50 to the winner and there’s also prize money for 2nd and 3rd places. So even if you think you cannot hit top three overall, you can still aim for top three each round.
To go one level further, we split it into competitive and casual. Competitive people signed up early and we put them into a four round bracket where they can duke it out with other competitors. For people who don’t really want to try so hard, they can play casually with eight new people every round. We still award money, so people can feel like they can still win money even if they don’t try so hard.
How much time and effort did it take to get this up and running?
We conceptualized this about less than a month back. When Underlords first came out, we decided that this was going to be the new big thing. So we threw this together in about three weeks. The last week has been hell. [laughs] You can probably tell if you look at my face now.
How did you hear about underlords? How did you start off?
I was a Dota commentator, so I follow Valve games very closely. Working in esports, we tend to keep track of what trends are most popular. Autobattlers have been pretty big for a while and when Valve dropped Underlords, it was a pretty big headline. So we gave it a few plays and decided to do a tournament.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how addicted to Underlords are you?
I would say 7.5 right now because I don’t have a lot of time to play; we’ve been planning this event. But, after this, I’ll be playing a LOT. I’m going to be on the move so I’ll be playing a lot on my mobile. So it will probably go up to 9 or 10 after this.
What is your favourite synergy combo for Underlords?
I think for me it’s more of what I get offered with the items. That’s what I really like about Underlords. If I get a particular item, I will try and build something around it. Before the bug was fixed, I really liked going for Radiance-Bat Rider, so that was really funny for me. Or Dagon-Arc Warden, some of the more memey stuff. I prioritize memeing over winning.
You know the question is coming. TFT or Underlords? Why?
I’m going to give what people would call a PR answer. Both games have their merits. Dota Underlords made a lot of things more stable and they have mobile integration, which is big for something like this; because sometimes you might have to move around. Underlords fixed the item system as well.
For TFT, the aesthetics look nicer. Riot’s artists are very good at presentation. The Carousel is a good idea; I think all Auto Chesses could steal that idea. It’s a comeback mechanic that’s very good. But TFT has worse item RNG. Items have no tiers, so it’s just a matter of getting the right bits. If you get a good item early, it can really break the game. Imagine for context, in Underlords, getting a Dagon after the first round. So I feel that has to be tuned down a little.
Overall both games are really good and I would play them both equally.
Obviously this is something new from Team Knightley. What else can we expect from you in the future?
We are primarily a talk show but that has slowly evolved into half-talk show, half-community event. We’re doing a kickstarter to raise some funds to start off with Season 2. We’re hoping to get people in Southeast Asia to gather with us and produce Season 2; all gamers, not just the professional gamers.
Team Knightley is one of the first organizers of Dota Underlords Tournaments. What kind of advice would you give to other organizations that want to organize one as well?
Because of the long time investment that goes into these games, I would say going for “Bring your own device” is a good strategy. I would also say that our flat prize structure is also really good to incentivize more people to play. To build a community, you would want to incentivize more people to join first, then strive to get better.
When can people find Team Knightley?
You can find Team Knightley at all Social media platforms. A very good way to remember Knightley is Keira Knightley from Pirates of the Caribbean. That’s the Knightley you should be typing.