We had the opportunity to talk with one of the most iconic old-school players in the SEA region, Meracle at ESL One: Mumbai. We spoke at length about his time in the Army, how he came up with the Radiance Naga Siren and his thoughts on the SEA region.
Gfreak: Hi Meracle, welcome to Mumbai. coL hasn’t really done well here, what went wrong?
Meracle: We weren’t really feeling bad coming into this tournament, but unfortunately we crashed out really early. Things didn’t go well, our lanes didn’t go well, I am not too sure about the draft but nothing went well for us so this was what happened.
Gfreak: What was the most memorable part of this event
Meracle: The crowd especially. The crowd is wow, everyone is so loud, it’s actually really amazing.
Gfreak: Let’s go back to the early days, you are one of the old school SEA Dota players. How did you get into Dota 2?
Meracle: I was really young back then, so I started really early. I started playing Dota 1 when I was 12 and I started competing (even though I lost most of my tournaments) when I was 13. Eventually, I came over to Dota 2 in 2012. It was still really early and I got the opportunity to get better. It was easier to improve here, from then on I just kept on competing in whatever tournament there is.
Gfreak: You practically invented Radiance Naga Siren, how did you come up with the idea?
Meracle: I believe this came to my mind back when we were playing Dota 1 with my friends. One of my friends was telling me about how his team was playing against ice (iceiceice). Basically, ice was playing around with his Naga with this build.
I was thinking about it, and this idea didn’t seem so bad. So I decided to give it a try and I really enjoyed playing it. Especially, in Dota 1 where it's much more complicated to play because, in order to control the units, you had to setup individual keys every time you summon an illusion. So it was really complicated and I really like to play complicated stuff.
Gfreak: So you really like micro intensive heroes like Meepo and Naga or even Invoker?
Meracle: Yeah, I do. I don’t really enjoy playing Meepo because it is too much responsibility. But all the other heroes like Lycan, Naga, Phantom Lancer, Terrorblade, basically most of the illusion heroes.
I used to really like playing Invoker but not so much now. I am not really mid player anymore, So I don’t really play it as much.
Gfreak: You were forced to take a break from Dota because of national service, did you miss playing Dota back then?
Meracle: I mean I was still playing, just not as competitive as before because I couldn’t really travel overseas and everything like that. But I still really enjoyed playing when I was in the Army. I was aiming to improve myself, finding different ways to improve myself while I was out there so yeah I definitely missed Dota 2.
Gfreak: If you were asked to make a Singaporean all-star team, who would you pick?
Meracle: Mostly my former teammates I suppose. I don’t think iceiceice would come back to Singapore just to play in a Singaporean team. We are not really that great.
So most of my former teammates from my time at Scythe, First Departure, all those teams.
Gfreak: You have made the shift to NA, how do you find that scene compared to SEA
Meracle: There’s a lot of difference. In SEA, for me personally, I feel like the laning stage is much stronger. But the SEA teams don’t play around the map like the American teams. Of course, this is only talking about tournaments.
The American teams like to play the map more. They aren’t really that good with their lanes. Some of the teams are pretty good with certain lanes but other than that the difference is one is more lane-focused, one is more playing-the-map-focused.
So it’s really different.
Gfreak: Do you have a wishlist for the next patch?
Meracle: Hopefully, Doom is not as strong as right now. I don’t really like to play against Doom. I don’t like that hero.
Gfreak: What about Atos?
Meracle: It makes the game a lot of fun. I see a bunch of heroes having crowns here and there. It’s nice.
Gfreak: Finally, do you have any shoutouts?
Meracle: Shoutout to compLexity for supporting us and all the fans in India. I love you guys, you guys are all like so energetic and amazing. Hope to come here again, next year.