This is the first article in an exclusive interview series with Evil Geniuses’ Artour “Arteezy” Babaev. You can read the second article with the Evil Geniuses carry player here.

Artour “Arteezy” Babaev has occupied the hearts and minds of Dota 2 fans for almost a decade since he began playing on teams in 2013. Still only 25 years old, he’s been through countless patch updates—and still, he was “pretty disappointed” with the recent major Dota 2 patch, 7.31.

The Evil Geniuses star was “confused” about the “strange patching structure,” with Templar Assassin, in particular, escaping the nef bat. But he believes that pro teams will still be able to adapt in an increasingly competitive landscape, no matter the changes—or lack thereof.

Arteezy expected more significant changes in new patch

Dota 2 Arteezy at TI10 with Evil Geniuses
Credit: Valve

“I expected a more significant change to what I would call more important factors like Roshan, high grounds, or cliffs.” Arteezy explained.

Terrain changes are usually important changes in new patches, but were conspicuously missing in 7.31. Instead, the patch focused on the addition of new neutral creeps and several abilities to existing ones.

Speaking mostly from a hard carry perspective, Arteezy felt that the changes like new neutral creeps barely affected him, calling them “memes.”

“For how much work had gone into the thought of creating some stronger neutral camps, I feel the effect of it was barely anything,” he added.

Templar Assassin is still ‘broken broken

Dota 2, Templar Assasin
Credit: Valve

Besides changes that were less significant than he thought, Arteezy is surprised that little has been done by the dev team to alter Templar Assassin’s dominance despite her long stint in the spotlight.

The EG star pointed to Templar as one of the heroes he thought was broken but was somehow “made stronger.”

EG’s hard carry cited the changes to Templar, where her Psi Blades spill range was changed to a flat bonus in 7.31. But he believes that change buffed her again, turning her back to a point where she was “way more broken.”

Before the patch, Templar Assassin was already highly valued in draft for her versatility. At TI10, she was one of the most contested midlaners, often becoming a first-phase draft pick. Then, because of her innate damage bonuses and survivability, recent innovations shifted her to the safe lane, where she’s proven to be a capable hard carry as well.

Even when facing counters, she remains effective because of Psionic Traps, which lets her get cheap vision in highly contested areas and aid even when she’s on the other side of the map. And she remains one of Dota 2’s premier Roshan killers, still a prime objective for most teams.

Stability is more important than flexibility

While EG has constantly been criticized for their one-dimensional drafts, Arteezy believes that stability, whether during the draft or the lane, is still one of his priorities. While versatile hero picks can be a powerful tool for any pro team if they pull it off, Arteezy said it can “abolish a lot of things in your draft.”

But Arteezy isn’t entirely opposed to versatile picks. Speaking about Templar Assassin again, the 25-year-old said one of her greatest strengths is her flexibility, which creates problems for opponents, requiring them to “find a good hero mid and a good hero offlane.”

“Those mid and safelane flexes, I like,” he said. “The support [flexes] are a lot more unstable.”

The EG star brought up an example in his own match in the DPC NA 2021/22 Tour 2 Division I against Wildcard Gaming, where their opponents elected to move Viper to a safelane support in favor of a last pick Underlord.

“You have to win your lane, you know. But they didn’t win their lane, and it’s just like GG, it’s really hard to play.”

Because it’s “hard to find a balance” between picks that destabilize the draft and picks that can give teams an edge, he favors stability over flex picks at the end of the day.

7.31 might be ‘disappointing,’ but pros will still innovate

Dota 2 7.31 patch
Credit: Valve

Regardless of Arteezy’s personal feelings on 7.31, EG’s hard carry believes that pro players will continue to innovate, with or without hard coded changes.

“When you do something for a long time, some teams will figure out a way to beat that,” Arteezy said. “Because they are trying to figure out how to beat what is the most meta, you will discover something new.”

Arteezy pointed to the recent trend of offlaners rushing Helm of Iron Will, often forgoing regeneration items in favor of getting it even seconds earlier.

“But I wouldn’t say it’s because of something in the patch. I think it’s just time,” Arteezy said. “Things will always be discovered, and people always try to figure out ways to kind of cheat the game.”

READ MORE: We found out the real story behind Arteezy’s pink pom poms headband