Packers LB Blake Martinez: 'During the next session out in Green Bay I want to speak to our president about sponsoring [an esports] team in the near future'

by 4d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Dylan Buell / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Green Bay Packers linebacker Blake Martinez isn't just a big Dota 2 fan, he's also an advocate for the game and esports in general among his NFL teammates.

Martinez has been streaming Dota 2 for charity almost every day since mid-February, and he was recently invited to MoonduckTV's Kiev Major Qualifier hub and helped cast dozens of Dota games in the lead up to the Major. theScore esports caught up with Martinez to talk about how esports are perceived in the NFL, how he got into Dota 2 and his plans to pitch the Packers on esports.

How did you get into Dota?

The way I got into Dota was an interesting story because my friends were all playing in our living room my sophomore year of college at Stanford and kept egging me on to play with them but I was so focused on football that I didn’t take up the offer but after a week or so they finally got me to try and I fell in love with the game and was one of the things I do to get my mind off of football!

Do you keep up with Dota during the season? Either playing or keeping up with the esports scene?

I watch Dota 24/7 whenever I am stretching or in the ice tub or any down time that I get from film watching and all other football obligations. Also I only play on our off days because there isn't enough time on a daily basis during the season to get games in! It was tough my rookie year, I didn't play Dota for about 6-7 months.

What position do you play in Dota? Who are your favorite heroes to play?

I mainly play the carry role and the shot caller of my team when I am in solo ranked, but I know how to play all positions since a lot of Dota players like to instantly pick the core roles regardless of skill. My favorite heroes are Storm Spirit, Luna, AM, Earthshaker, and Juggernaut.

What was your worst solo queue experience?

Worst solo queue experience happened about a couple weeks ago, I had a offlane Underlord that went afk farming the whole game (key note was that we were still winning the game without him). Then at about 30 mins the Underlord came out of the jungle with a rapier and fed it to the enemy team and we lost the game. Then I asked him why he did that and he said "I hate Monkey King pickers so I didn't want to win...."

What's your favorite Dota team? Why?

My favorite Dota team was the original No Diggity team that Synderen started, because I love the underdog role in any situation and they proved to everyone how good they are. It was awesome when they made it to the main stage at TI.

If you could play a game with any Dota pro, who would it be and why?

The one person I would want to play a game with would probably be Fata from Bears because I have just heard how amazing of a player he is, and I would just want to learn from his play!

What prompted you to start streaming? Do you find it hard to balance offseason training with your daily streaming?

The main reason I started streaming was because I play this game so much and it is one of my favorite hobbies, so I thought it would be a great way to use it in a beneficial way! That meaning I use it to donate money to the Saint Jude’s children's cancer research program! All the money I make from streaming goes to Saint Jude’s also every 100 followers I get I donate $50 to the foundation as well!

What do you think of the growing interest from traditional sports in esports? Do you think the NFL is going to get involved, given that it's been mostly from the NBA so far?

I think it is awesome how much sports and esports are meshing together! I knew it would happen sooner than later, because every professional sports player plays video games of some sort and the competitive aspect always catches the eyes of the real sports players! I think soon the NFL will get involved, and it is my mission to be the one that gets that to happen as soon as possible! During the next session out in Green Bay I want to speak to our president about sponsoring a team in the near future.

Are esports and gaming things that people talk about in the Packers locker room?

A lot of us talk about gaming because everyone plays console games and we have massive tournaments in Madden, FIFA, and UFC, but not too many conversations about esports competitions until I got there! I think every day I got asked "what are you watching on your phone" and I would always have to explain what Dota is, what Twitch is and the grand scheme of the tournaments, prizes pool, TI etc... and after I talk to anyone about it they think it is the coolest and greatest thing so hopefully that is a good start in easing its way into the NFL!

What is the most played game among the Packers' players?

The most played game is probably FIFA, I think there is a tournament in our game lounge almost everyday!

What's it like casting the Major qualifiers? Is casting something you've wanted to do before?

Casting was an amazing, crazy experience because I had no Idea what I was doing, but the people at Moonduck were extremely helpful in teaching me the ins and outs of casting. Also they just made it a fun and enjoyable time throughout the qualifiers. It was always something I wanted to try but never thought I would be able to do!

Jeremy Lin is noted in the community for being a pro athlete with an interest in Dota, he even has a team named after him. Could you beat Jeremy Lin in lane?

Yes I could easily beat Jeremy Lin in any lane or game!

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

theScore esports Podcast ep. 6: Conrad Janzen on The International, Dota's Major system and Kiev

by 5d ago

1:55: Conrad Janzen on Kiev invites, the amount of Chinese teams
3:09: Janzen picks OG to win Kiev, Digital Chaos as the dark horse
4:50: "100 minute games are very easily possible" at Kiev
6:05: Why teams won't be holding back at DAC
7:15: TI prize pool "always going to be more," Valve will find a way
8:30: On the future of Dota 2: "Have we reached peak Dota? I don't think so"
10:03: Ded gaem? Why Dota 2 won't go the way of StarCraft
11:53: How to improve the Major system
17:37: Teams like OG, EG and DC will benefit from 7.03 changes
18:23: "Monkey King is going to be a huge presence" in 7.03
21:00: The time Janzen and Arteezy got drunk and debated swords vs. guns
25:28: Kyle on being on SXSW's esports panel with Dyrus
29:21: Ryan hijacks the podcast and talks about Thorin
31:26: Enter Dennis Gonzales, theScore esports' Valve guy
32:48: What Dota's Major system could learn from CS:GO
34:21: Team Liquid, OG among the teams to watch at Kiev
35:44: Has Valve given up on NA when it comes to Dota?
37:57: Esports audiences are getting burnt out
42:03: Jungling in Dota? "I'd say you're kind of screwed"

Click or tap here to listen in on SoundCloud.

Pick your lane, oil up your meat hooks… and don’t think too hard about that metaphor, because this week on theScore esports Podcast, we’re talking Dota.

Hosts Colin, Ryan and Kyle sit down over Skype with former Cloud9 player manager and current Twitch partnerships team member Conrad Janzen to talk about The International, The Kiev Major, and the state of Dota 2 today.

Janzen breaks down his picks for who will succeed at Kiev and DAC, why The International’s prize pool will forever increase year after year, and gives us some insight into how Valve’s Major system could be improved.

Next up it’s theScore esports’ own Dennis Gonzales, who has his own thoughts on who’s looking hot heading into Kiev, as well what the competitive Dota scene could learn CS:GO.

Colin McNeil is a supervising editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

A beginner's guide to jungling in Dota 2

Thumbnail image courtesy of Valve

Jungling in Dota is a difficult job, but when done properly, can be the difference between winning a game and losing one.

While a dedicated jungler is not required in many games, picking a jungler provides a number of benefits, including securing a large amount of farm and the ability to gank lanes to assist a struggling teammate.

RELATED: Returning to Dota 2: A Brief Guide to 7.00's Map

In this guide, we'll go over which heroes make for strong junglers, how to effectively farm neutral creeps, and what to do to counter the opponents' jungle game.

Jungler Heroes

Junglers excel at efficiently farming neutral creeps at the beginning of the game. As a game progresses, other heroes become more than capable of taking down neutral creeps on their own, but the jungler is uniquely suited to clearing out neutral camps without much difficulty.

Broadly, junglers come in two varieties. They can either sustain themselves through the damage done by neutral creeps, or they can summon minions or convert neutral creeps to take damage in their stead. No matter what kind of jungler you pick, it is important to pick up items that increase health and mana regeneration, as they need to be able to stay in the fight for as long as possible without going back to base to ensure they farm effectively.

Junglers with a focus on survivability typically have one or more abilities that allow them to either heal through lifesteal, or are capable of dealing high amounts of damage in a short period of time. Ursa makes for a prime example with his Fury Swipes, which increase the amount of damage dealt with each consecutive attack. Lifestealer is another solid choice, as he can heal himself with Feast to remain in the jungle for far longer than other heroes.

Summoner heroes, on the other hand, excel at jungling because they don't have to tank creeps' damage in order to clear out camps. Enigma and Nature's Prophet are great for their ability to summon more units, while Enchantress and Chen can convert the creeps to their side.

Compared to other junglers, summoners can take medium and large camps earlier. In general, these heroes should prioritize mana regeneration first so that they can remain in the jungle longer and sustain their high cost abilities.

Creep Stacking

Creep Stacking is essential to proper jungling. In short, creep stacking involves pulling away the creeps from a camp shortly before their respawn timer activates. If the creeps are outside of the camp's spawn box, additional creeps will spawn,which you can subsequently kill. The more stacks on a camp, the more farm you get.

The recent 7.00 update changed the spawn timers for neutral camps, drastically changing how jungling works. Whereas the spawn time for camps used to be 0:30/1/2/3/4/etc., it is now 0:30/1/3/5/7/etc. The two minute time between spawns now means that speed is not as important as it once was. You now have enough time to clear out more camps and possibly execute a gank in between respawns.

To stack a camp, you must first either attack a neutral creep or walk close to their position, causing the creeps to chase after you for a short period of time. While the size of each camps spawn box varies, it is generally possible to pull the creeps at the 53 or 54 second mark to safely stack a camp.

While creep stacking is easy to pick up, there are other methods that can allow for even more efficient farming. A more advanced technique is creep pulling, which involves pulling a neutral camp into the path of incoming lane creeps. This is much harder to pull off, requiring careful timing, and is not recommended for beginners. Once it is mastered, however, you can use the lane creeps to take down harder neutral camps easily and without needing to worry about your survivability.


While having a jungler on your team is important to secure farm, it's just as essential to know how to properly shut one down and prevent the enemy from doing the same.

RELATED: A basic guide to warding in Dota 2

As mentioned earlier, neutral creeps will not spawn in a camp if there is another unit inside of it. This includes wards, which are invisible to the enemy team unless they are using a Gem of True Sight or are placing Sentry Wards to counter-ward their jungle. Placing a ward inside a neutral camp in the enemy jungle will lower their overall efficiency, though it is up to you whether you use Sentry Wards or Observer Wards for the job.

Observer Wards are great at providing sight range, but the limited amount your team has on hand combined with the fact that the most common spots to place them are often the most frequently de-warded means that they're often best used in other locations. That said, placing Observer Wards in the enemy jungle is a reliable way to both prevent additional creeps from spawning as well as potentially allowing you to see where the enemy jungler is, which could be used to set up a gank.

On the other hand, Sentry Wards do not provide much vision, with their only other use being to de-ward enemy wards and detect invisible opponents. These are much more difficult to spot, and can be used to effectively shut down a neutral camp without much difficulty.

Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

Nahaz: 'I would much rather have a double elimination Major announced months in advance'

Thumbnail image courtesy of StarLadder

In the second part of our interview with Alan "Nahaz" Bester, the Dota statistician and university economics professor discusses the single elimination format for the Majors, which teams are the most promising in Dota right now and his future career as an analyst.

Related: Nahaz on Kiev Major predictions

Speaking of Valve's decision making, the single elimination format is returning for Kiev. What do you think about it?

Obviously I would be happier in a double elimination, statistically. When you look at the steepness of the Major prize pools... First of all, I feel like most Dota prize pools are too steep to begin with in terms of the amount of money going to first and second place teams vis-a-vis the rest of the field. But when you look at the fact that, statistically, single elimination is still pretty meaningful for the top two, top four teams, you still get plenty of information there, but the rankings of the teams five and below is very noisy compared to double elimination. When you're talking about the amounts of money that are riding on the line, and when you're talking about the number, location and accessibility of LAN tournaments in Dota, it's hit or miss.

Sometimes you get a number of high quality LANs. Relatively speaking, we had a decent number of high quality LANs between Boston and now to base our decisions. We had relatively few LANs, almost none, between TI and Boston. For me, you want that information. When you talk about Wings not finishing in the Top 8, okay, they lost their opening series against EG and they're gone. Does that give you any information about Wings? That's the thing about invites. If you're going to talk about excluding a TI champion, if Wings had done what they did at Manila and absolutely flamed out and finished bottom four in a double elimination format... hmm, then you think about it. But if you're talking about losing a single elimination best-of-three series to EG, a Top 4 team, how much does that really tell you?

Do you think they'll bring back double elimination for TI7?

Absolutely. 100 percent. Single elimination, they wanted a couple of things. Number one, they the Majors to have a softer footprint in the rest of the schedule. Again, Valve being Valve, Valve doesn't want to announce their schedule of events six to eight months ahead of time. There were a number of tournaments that were severely affected because the Majors were announced three to four months out. If you look at the schedules for a double elimination Major, that's a two week commitment for most teams. When you talk about bootcamping, qualifiers, with a double elimination Major as you had last year, that's a full month out of the schedule, when they were saying, "Hey, we don't want to be competing in other tournaments." And there was a lot of uncertainty regarding when that month was going to be. When ESL is booking stadiums for their tournaments, they have to do it six to eight months or more ahead of time.

Most tournament organizers aren't Valve. Valve can just pour a pot of money on the problem and say, "Okay, we're willing to pay for whatever rate we need to because we want this particular venue and we're Valve." Most organizers can't do that and still make money on their tournaments. The single elimination format was an attempt to decrease the footprint of the Major within the overall schedule, especially for top teams. I don't like it, I would much rather have a double elimination Major announced months in advance. But again, Valve being Valve, they like to take their time and make decisions with as much information as possible. So much of how Valve runs Dota has been about how Valve has been successful as a company. As much as you wish it may be different in some respects, you can't ask the leopard to change its spots.

Is there any particular team that excites you right now in Dota?

B)ears. In terms of a team that is not counted among the very top right now, I am very excited about B)ears. I've told a number of people that I see the kind of upside in them as I see in 5Jungz and (monkey) Business, eventually would become Liquid and OG, I see that same kind of chemistry.

I think that if they continue to improve and stay together, I think Team Onyx could be very, very good. I've looked at that team a bit, and they're not where they want to be quite yet and I'm not sure that they can make the adjustments before the Kiev Qualifiers. B)ears has a chance to be, if they can come through that absolutely brutal EU qualifier, they have a chance to be good right away. If Onyx sticks together and keep improving through Ti, could be a Top 8 team at TI.

Really? Top 8 at TI?

Abed is really good. Jimmy has grown up a lot. A lot of people still give Jimmy shit, there's a reason for that, he's earned some of it, but he's a smart guy and a pretty good player. And he did not captain a team to the Top 8 last TI by accident. And I still, I've said this and I've continued to say this, you ask me who the smartest guy in Dota, who would I bet on in any kind of theory crafting or drafting contest, it's gonna be BuLba everytime. Everytime. It doesn't always necessarily translate to success in game, but in broad Dota IQ, I'm telling you BuLba is.

I would say that he is a very talented drafter. I kind of wish that his time on Liquid went better. I think Liquid are fine with GH right now.

The other part about BuLba is that he's a strong personality. He's a strong and very unique personality and he needs the right team environment. And that Liquid roster, when he was a part of that team, they needed someone who was a little more low-key.

It's been awhile since you've attended a LAN event as an analyst. Should we expect to see you at more in the future?

I hope so. That's not up to me my friend, that is not up to me. Look, everybody right now, all the tournaments want the same top teams, and all the tournaments want the same top talent. For better or for worse, getting invited to TI is the kind of, you're in. Not getting invited to TI is, "Hey what's going on here?" So it goes in cycles. I have plenty to do, I'm going to be devoting more of my time in the next couple of years to doing esports related projects. I'm still going to be teaching of course, I still love what I do. I would love for some of that work to include LAN appearances, but that's not up to me. That's up to the community and the people that plan the events.

Have you ever had to turn down a LAN event because of your job as a professor?

Yes. I have had to turn LAN events down. I should have probably... I go back to last fall, or the year before last at Frankfurt, I got sick and I had to leave the desk. That was a long time coming, I was pushing myself too hard then, trying to teach a full schedule of classes and do multiple weekend LANs in the same term. The fall tends to be a very busy, very stressful period because you try to do as much of the course prep as you can for the year towards the beginning. By the spring I generally have most of the material for the classes set anyway, so the schedule is less crazy.

Have you found a better balance now?

For sure. It's unfortunate. I think if I had to do it over again, I probably could sustain that schedule. Honestly, for a number of these events I came in over-prepared. I was kind of riding the wave, I was really excited to be doing this, I was very passionate about it. And I would have all this stuff ready, and I would catch myself at these analyst desks, like, just trying to put all of that out there. And it's the classic mistake.

It's ironic because, when you teach PhD students, the first thing you teach them is not every regression you ran, every analysis you did. Your paper is the one that is relevant to the point that you are trying to make. I myself fell into that trap with a lot of these Dota events. I had so much that I would lose the train sometimes, and I feel like that's part of why it's nice having these videos and having some other outlets where I take a lot of the analytical problems that I want to work on, have an outlet for those. And when I do events concentrate more on the now and the super relevant stats that tell the story of where these teams are right now, rather than making these longer points at a desk that just don't fit.

Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

8 quick tips for Pudge

Thumbnail image courtesy of Valve

Pudge is one of the most recognizable and iconic heroes in Dota, thanks in part to his high pick rate in pubs. While he's usually played in the midlane, he's a surprisingly versatile hero that can play any role effectively.

Regardless of your role, it's important to know the basics and some advanced tips for this portly hero.

RELATED: A guide to Pudge

  1. You can deny yourself with Rot. It's common knowledge, but worth reiterating.
  2. Use Rot when last-hitting. The ability has no casting animation, so you can activate it at any time and it will not cancel your attack animation. The extra damage can mean the difference between getting a last hit or not.
  3. Hitting Meat Hook can be a mental game, so learn to bait out a juke by cancelling the animation. This is also useful even if you don't intend on throwing out a hook. It can function as a scare tactic or a harassment tool.
  4. If you have a Blink Dagger, in some situations it's better to initiate with an aggressive blink and open with Dismember, rather than taking the chance on a Meat Hook.
  5. Meat Hook can hit targets affected by Cyclone, pulling the target but not damaging them. This applies to the Cyclone effect of Eul's Scepter of Divinity, Invoker's Tornado and Brewmaster's Storm spirit from Primal Split.
  6. Meat Hook completely ignores ancient creeps. Keep this in mind for catching a jungling hero off guard, or fishing for a hook in Roshan's Pit.
  7. Learn the hitbox size for Meat Hook and the hitbox size for heroes versus creeps. The hero hitbox is significantly bigger than a creep's hitbox and you can surprise people who think they're safe hiding behind a ranged creep.
  8. Pay attention to the creep waves. Often you can time a hook based on a hero going for a last hit, this is much more predictable against melee heroes.

Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oracle a P90 my Souvenir Negev Discipline Priest Pharah. You can follow him on Twitter.

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