20+ – Countries played in
19 – Premier/Major Medals
904+ – Games played
20+ – Countries played in
Jesse "JerAx" Vainikka
JerAx professional Dota 2 esports career started in the early days of 2013, when Jerax moved to Sweden to join QPAD Red Pandas in Stockholm. The team didn’t perform as expected, which quickly led to the departure of the core players, including JerAx…Read my full story below
QPAD Red Pandas2013-2014
It all started in the early days of 2013, when JerAx moved to Sweden to join QPAD Red Pandas in Stockholm. The team didn’t perform as expected, which quickly led to the departure of the core players, including JerAx. Still hopeful after his big move, JerAx stayed in Sweden trying to build a new team. This also did not work out, thus JerAx returned to Finland in the end of 2013.
Looking back, what did living in Stockholm teach you?
It really was a huge step forward for me as a professional. For the first time I had the chance to see, hear and actually feel what playing Dota for real was like. After that, I knew I wanted to continue focusing on only one thing: Playing Dota.
Next stop, Korea2015
In the end of February 2015 JerAx ended up talking with Heen, the captain of MVP.HOT6IX. After the discussions, the decision was done: JerAx would pack his things and move to Korea, all in just 4 days time. The 4 months JerAx spent in the Korean summer lead up to his first The International. JerAx and his team ended up taking a shared 13.-16. place.
What do you cherish the most about Korea?
Definitely the memories with the players from both MVP teams. Even though most of our time was spent playing, we would still have time to have quick and concise discussions. These conversations were the only free time we had, so they were essential in forming our chemistry and keeping up the humour in the house.
The International 62016
In 2016, JerAx joined Team Liquid, and headed for his career’s second The International as one of the favourites to win. However the group stage did not go as planned, and Liquid ended up as second-to-last in their group.
In the main event, Liquid and JerAx managed to snag a few rounds in the lower bracket, but ended up resorting to 7.-8. place. After the tournament JerAx joined a new team: Team OG.
The International was your last tournament with Liquid. What was one of your favourite things from those times, and why?
The EPICENTER tournament from 2016 is a really fond memory. It was a time when I really felt that I was in sync with everyone on the team. Of course, winning the tournament was especially fond, as we won 3-2 over the – at the time nigh-unstoppable – Newbee. I just couldn’t have been more proud.
The Boston Major2016
For JerAx, the first Valve-sanctioned tournament win came in the form of the Boston Major in 2016. In the finals, JerAx’s new team, OG, won over the dark horse Ad Finem 3-1. JerAx was considered by most as the best player of the tournament.
Your first Major-win combined with an MVP-level performance. Do you think the Boston Major was a peak for your career then?
I didn’t really think about it, but I personally did not think I was playing at any special level. We had properly prepared and planned for the tournament well beforehand. We had lots of new ideas, and they really worked in Boston. That’s what was behind the win for sure.
The Kiev Major2016
The second Major-win for JerAx came from Ukraine, when the breathtaking thriller between OG and Virtus.pro in the finals ended up as a 3-2 win for OG. Valve even made a mini-documentary about the finals, which has been viewed 1,5 million times on YouTube. JerAx still feels the Kiev Major was one of his biggest moments in his career.
Link to documentary
Why was winning such a big thing compared to Boston? What really stuck out from the tournament, in addition to winning?
We had had lots of practice games against nearly all the teams in the tournament beforehand, and they were really really even. The way we managed to up our game during the tournament was a miracle in itself. We even won games where we had to really overcommit and force the enemy to make mistakes. I also remember that some friends who had come to watch the game managed to get the afterparty to play the Finnish “Urheiluhullu” song.
JerAx, with his team OG, was heading for his third International as one of the winner favourites. However, their performance in the group stage was not the best, and their lower bracket games were a hit and miss. In the end, JerAx had to resort again to the 7.-8. position. It was huge disappointment for both JerAx and OG.
Why did the path of OG end so fast before the finals? What did you discuss with the team afterwards?
The new patch before the tournament changed a lot of things and it took time for us to adjust. We just couldn’t find our stride, and that became a problem. We came to the tournament, but the ideas we had prepared did not work out, so we tried to adjust. Dropping from the tournament was of course a bummer, but most of all I missed the fact that we just couldn’t find our way to play Dota.