Black^: The analyst who's still fighting for his pro playing career

Dominik “Black^” Reitmeier will be among the talent at the ONE Esports Invitational. In this exclusive interview, the German talks about his favourites to win the tournament - which is taking place is his home city of Singapore - the 7.23 patch and the fight to kick-start his professional career

You've been streaming a lot these days and sound particularly excited about the new patch. Have you been enjoying the game lately?

The patch and all the new changes are very fun to explore. I've been trying out a lot of new things and it feels very fun to be able to experiment around again. Still getting used to some of the changes, but overall it has been a pleasant experience so far.


What is the craziest thing you've come across in the new patch?

Nothing too crazy yet, really. I've been playing a lot of games daily but I haven't reached the 70-minute mark yet, so I have not experienced the new tier 5 items yet.

Are you glad Magnus Aghanim was nerfed? Which other buffs and nerfs are you happy about?

I wasn't too worried about it getting changed, to be honest. I just tried to figure out the best ways to deal with it and possible counters to it. Usually, when people picked Magnus like that, I'd just counter pick with Bloodseeker and enjoy my free MMR!


Playing on stream really takes away a lot of your focus and you perform considerably worse

What have you been doing lately besides streaming?

Other than streaming I just do the same thing. Dota all day every day, pretty much. I'm doing a lot of off-stream practise, because playing on stream really takes away a lot of your focus and you perform considerably worse.

How are things going on the professional front? I haven't seen you play for any gaming org as of late. What's happening?

I've been plagued by injuries that occurred at unfortunate timings. I've had a couple of offers here and there, but could not pursue them due to injury. The longer you are absent from the scene, the harder it is to get back into it. However, I am very confident in my own ability to perform and work hard so hopefully something will come around soon.

For a competitor life without competition just feels very boring and depressing

It must feel bad on missing out. How do you cope?

One of the worst feelings ever, to be honest. It might sound a bit dramatic, but for a competitor life without competition just feels very boring and depressing. I'm working very hard right now and will seize the next opportunity that will present itself.

Coping with it is another issue entirely. It is tough on you mentally and all you can do really is to keep telling yourself to stay positive and look ahead.


On the bright side, you're streaming regularly and that must help you with a stable income. Also, you're getting the occasional broadcasting gigs as well. You'll be an analyst at the upcoming ONE Singapore Invitational tournament starting December 17th.

I don't really earn much money streaming, since I didn't accept any sponsorships yet. Once you do you have obligations to fulfil and that might possibly impact your pro career.

Streaming for me as of now is just a way to share some time with my fans and have conversations with them. The broadcasting gigs on the other hand are quite fun! You get to meet a lot of friends and competitors from all over the world. Happy to be part of an event where I don't have to travel far.


Related: Coach Heen on Secret's preparations for One Esports Singapore

Going into the ONE Esports Invitational, what are you most excited about? What kind of games do you expect from the participating teams? Any strategies you think might be a regular occurrence at the event? Do tell!

It's hard to talk about the new patch, since we haven't really seen any tournaments on it yet. I'm not looking for any heroes in particular, but I am hoping that people will figure out how to deal with the very popular five-man death ball strats, which will result in longer and more fun games. Lots of good teams are attending, so it should be a very fun show.


I am hoping to see some post-70-minute games to see some of the new items.

Which is that one crazy strategy you'd like to see at ONE Singapore Invitational - something that you haven't seen so far?

If I knew that I'd be an oracle and possibly the best coach in Dota! I'm sure teams have practised a lot of different strategies and heroes, but since my experience consists mostly of pub experience it's vastly different from actual practice and tournament games.

Not sure what I'll see, but I am hoping to see some post-70-minute games to see some of the new items.

Which team are you rooting for the most? Will the winner of ONE Singapore have an upper hand at winning DreamLeague Major as this event is most likely be a testing ground for teams?

MATUMBAMAN on the carry position has been cleaning house so far in the qualifiers. I'm very interested to see what performance he will show versus the best teams in the world.

Of course, any team can have a surprise run but, personally, I am rooting for Secret and TNC. Winning a big LAN like this, assuming the patch won't change too much in that time, is always a good indication that the winning team knows exactly what they're doing and are likely to continue this trend in the Major.

When do we see you next in the competitive circuit?

I'm not too sure yet. It's been long overdue, so, hopefully, very soon.


Have you considered going full-fledged into casting?

I don't think I will ever be able to fully commit myself to casting, for as long as I have the motivation to play. Seeing it from the other side is a very painful experience when you are still working hard to making it work for yourself. Once I feel like I am not fit for playing, or my motivation is gone I'd definitely consider branching out.

Alright. That's a wrap. Give your shout-outs

Shout-out to the family, friends and fans supporting me! I've made a couple of dumb decisions the past years and months and they are still continuing to haunt me, but I've learned a lot from them and grown a lot as a result.

Recent times have been rough, but now I am stronger mentally and as a player than I ever have been. The comeback is close and I can't wait for it to happen. See you all soon!

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Pictures: EPICENTER photobank / StarLadder / Flickr