Dosia on age cap in CS:GO: "Health permitting, I'd play till about 40"
In the first part of a two-part interview originally conducted in Russian by Alexey "OverDrive" Birukov for HLTV.org, the former Gambit veteran spoke about various aspects of his private and professional life.
The 32-year-old is currently a free agent following a short stint with Mustang Crew, an organization he has helped create and where he played for a time, a few months after his plans to move to China and play for OneThree fell apart at the beginning of the year amid the coronavirus outbreak.
With no concrete plans on the horizon, Mihail "Dosia" Stolyarov sat down with OverDrive for a rare in-depth interview to discuss not only his over a decade-long career and the many teams he represented in Counter-Strike 1.6 and CS:GO, but also his personal life and family. Read the first part below to learn mainly about the latter and find out some curiosities, such as how much Dosia was earning in various teams and what happened when he was asked to fix a match:
Which streams do you enjoy? Are you a fan of CIS commentary?
I don't know English very well, so I watch Russian streams. It's obvious that not all of our [Russian] streamers are good, but for the most part, I need streams as a background and I'm not focused on working out each word.
What age do you plan to play to? Does CS have an age cap?
I play FPL and personally I don't feel that I'm losing form, and that's accounting for the fact that I barely train and haven't performed competitively barring Mustang Crew, where we didn't really face top-level opponents. Health permitting, I'd play till about 40.
Did your wage ever affect your motivation?
My wage is just a pleasant bonus. I make money from playing CS, and if I lose motivation and train less, then I won't be able to put bread on the table, harming myself in the process.
Have you ever let fame get to you?
I'm not the person to answer that, but I don't think I have.
How did you come up with your nickname?
Initially, my nickname was Dosa, but I don't remember how I came up with it. It's likely that it was a childish situation along the lines of picking a nickname I landed the most frags with. Seeing as Dosa doesn't really roll off the tongue, everyone called me Dosia, so it just stuck after a while.
Do you remember the first time you played CS?
Yes, it was at an internet cafe called RTI in Ufa. For about a year I had played Half-life, StarCraft and WarCraft, and at some point, we were brought a CS disk. We installed the game on all of the computers. I remember holding bridge from balcony with an AWP on Dust.
Were you connected to the cafe in any way?
I was your average 10-year-old looking for a freebie. I'd help here and there, bring something over, and was given 30 minutes of game time as a result. If someone left earlier than their allotted time had ended, then I'd sit at their PC and play till it ran out. Wherever the freebies were, I wasn't too far away.
Do you remember your first team and tournament?
I was 12 years old and I was supposed to travel to a neighboring city with my team. I needed a passport to do so, but you only receive a passport at the age of 14, so I needed to provide a birth certificate, which I had left at a summer camp earlier. I wasn't able to travel in the end, so my first experience wasn't all that good.
When did you join your first serious team?
From around 2002 I traveled to various qualifiers, and even qualified for Russian Championships.
Moscow 5 asked for a match to be postponed because someone had a few drinks. Did this happen?
ROMJkE arrived at a tournament after a night out, and the organizers didn't want to let us play. We ended up convincing them, and it all turned out well.
Do you remember any stories involving [former Moscow Five owner] Dima Smeliy?
Dima was the soul of the team. He always worried about us and supported us, but if we slacked, we'd get whipped into shape, particularly when we showed lackluster performances and when we'd lose rounds we were supposed to win. He would take the entire team on trips into the mountains where we'd have barbecues, go on hikes and camp out. He would always have two pairs of boxing gloves on him, and we'd have sparring sessions now and then. Fox was the best at sparring out of all of us because he had long arms and he was able to reach Dima, while Dima didn't have the same reach. Dima's main goal was for us to always beat Virtus.pro and be higher ranked than them, the rest didn't matter much. He had his own scores to settle with Virtus.pro.
What were your thoughts on the CS 1.6 era coming to an end?
I had various thoughts. From one perspective, I thought that I needed to quit the game and get a job, from the other, I thought it would be good to give the new game a chance and try it out for a while. As it turned out, my drive to play was stronger and my age at the time definitely played its part.
Did you immediately like CS:GO?
I needed around three months to get used to it. It wasn't the most pleasant period of my life, but I understood that if I wanted to play well, there was only one way.
Do you have teams that you particularly enjoy watching?
Usually it's either teams that my friends play for, or teams where my former teammates play. Currently, I'd say that I watch Syman and Virtus.pro.
Which region would you like to play in?
In the United States. I recently did an English language test and my level of English is pre-intermediate.
Who was your best and worst teammate?
I enjoyed sharing positions with AdreN the most. He always assisted in time, we had an intuitive mutual understanding in regards to necessary actions and he perfectly adapted to me. As for my worst teammate, answers like that can ruin careers. Say I call someone out, and they might never get an opportunity to play in a team again. There were a lot of players that I didn't enjoy playing with, but perhaps they've fixed their issues, so I don't want to name any names.
Did you frequently get invitations from other organizations?
No, not frequently. Out of the more interesting offers, I was approached by a tier 2-3 organization based in the United States.
Tell us about how your wage grew over the course of your career.
In Virtus.pro we were paid $300, Astana Dragons offered $1,000 and HellRaisers paid us the same. My first wage in Gambit was $2,000, and after re-signing it went up around 1.5-2 times. Later it was tied to our results. When we were in the top five for a few consecutive months, our wages were over $10,000. In China we were offered some good conditions but, of course, it was significantly less than $10,000.
What was your largest expense on the money you made playing CS?
I bought a flat for 5,000,000 RUB (~$70,000) in the outskirts of Moscow, plus I had it done up and furnished.
Were you ever asked to matchfix?
About two years ago some guy messaged me on VK and offered 400,000 RUB (~$5,600) to throw a match, but I just blacklisted him, even though he was willing to wire the money upfront. The whole thing doesn't really interest me, the most I might end up doing is gambling a few skins on a roulette website. You get some excitement, the rest doesn't interest me.
Have you ever played with cheats?
Back when I was playing for forZe, there was one time that I visited an internet cafe in Ufa. When I got to the PC, I saw a cheat software widget pop up. I had about 15 minutes of fun on our local server, but then I called over an admin and had him clean up the PC and check for other software on it. Cheats are boring, it's better to play without them and have people think that you're cheating instead.
Have you ever asked for a person to be kicked from FPL?
No, and I have no intention of being involved in that. I never had access to the chat where these things are discussed.
Name your dream team.
If we're talking about a CIS stack, then it's the iteration of Gambit that we won the Major with. As for a general roster, then it would be NEO, coldzera, FalleN, and olofmeister.
How did Dosia X God come around?
Somewhere on the HLTV.org forums people voted on who deserved the title of a sex god. Among contestants were flusha, JW and other high profile pros. I won. Groove decided that it was a cool idea and made a show out of it by creating a fan video which went viral and now I'm sex god.
Why did your brother, Fox, quit his career as a professional player?
The wages were small, the future wasn't clear and he decided to bring cardinal changes into his life by taking up a job.
Tell us about your family.
I never met my father, the only thing I know is that he died. I have a sister, brother, and two nieces. Now I have a wife and her family as well. My mother lives in Moscow with my sister. In my childhood I was alone, I didn't really see my mother much as she was rarely at home, either at work or somewhere else. My grandmother raised me. She put me into a boarding school focused on sports, where I lived, got an education, and did fencing.
Who did you want to become as a kid?
I wanted to become a driver. I don't know why, but I was attracted to it. In the end, I only got my driving license when I was 28.
Do you have a dream outside of esports?
I want a big house with a swimming pool and a banya. In business terms, I'd like to have my own vineyard where I'd make my own wine and sip it while sitting next to a fireplace.
Do you have a higher education?
It's incomplete, and I won't be finishing it, as it doesn't matter at this point.
Have you ever worked outside of esports?
I earned extra money as a loader that delivered goods to stores in a Gazelle [a Russian brand of sprinter van]. Other than that, my work as a youngster revolved around internet cafes.
How did you decide to open a carwash?
In the past few years I've developed an interest in cars. It always rains in Moscow, and there's always dirty slush from snow. I'd take my car for a wash nearly every day, and projected that idea onto other vehicle owners. We gathered as a friend group and decided to give it a shot; mou was actually one of the co-founders.
What went wrong?
We had employee issues, we simply couldn't find car washers. We had a good start, but after a few months things slowed down. Our competition also worked on making our lives harder, as we'd constantly have the local precinct come along with various checks and he warned us that he was told to constantly visit us with inspections.
What's your favourite food?
I love milk and potato mash, no matter what accompanies them, but, unfortunately, I can't eat products containing lactose, so any products that contain milk.
Why can't you have lactose?
I have psoriasis, and the doctor recommended I remove lactose from my diet. Over the past month I've had substantial improvements.
When did your psoriasis start?
When I was about 17. I tried treating it many times to no avail. I was treated in different cities and countries, and each doctor I visited would have different recommendations. I had positive improvements, but only after treatments via injection. As soon as the injections ended, it would all come back. Nowadays I'm not taking any medicine, but because of my diet it's improving.
What is your favourite music genre?
I love all genres of music, but I'd say I'm most inclined towards pop.
Will you allow your kids to get involved in esports?
Sure, I can give them a lot of advice. If I have a son, and he decides to get into esports, then he definitely won't be a noob and he'll be successful.
Do you have any fears?
I don't have any specific fears. I'm not afraid of insect, maybe only poisonous ones. I'm not afraid of heights looking down from the sixth story, but if I go up to the twentieth, I get a bit shaky. I developed a weird fear of flying around two years ago, but it subsided after a year.
What was your biggest mistake in life?
The car wash.
Are you overweight because you like to eat, or is it connected to health issues?
Throughout my entire childhood I was involved in sports, and at some point I took on the sedentary esports lifestyle. It seems my body reacted to it by gaining weight. I'd like to lose at least 10 kilos.
You've visited a long list of countries. Which was the most memorable for you?
Most likely it's the United States. It seemed very welcoming and warm, as if you were in some sort of a nice movie.
What are your thoughts on the coronavirus?
I became a lot more careful. In enclosed environments I wear a mask and gloves. I take it seriously, but not to a point of panic.
Part two of the interview with Dosia will be released on Thursday and will revolve much more around the specifics of his Counter-Strike career, some of the biggest teams he played with, and his most notable achievements, such as the Major victory at PGL Major Krakow.
Below is a snippet from the second part:
During the PGL Major you would message me after every game saying that you would definitely be eliminated after the next match.
In the beginning we didn't even believe we'd make it out of groups. My friends that are into betting would message me asking if they should bet on us. I'd reply to them saying that they should bet against us as we definitely won't be able to win a single match, but it turned out that we didn't lose a single game instead.
At some point, even though I was confident in our victory, I continued telling everyone that we'd definitely lose. It became my catch phrase for the tournament.