Nuengnara "23savage" Teeramahanon is one of the most promising young Dota 2 players in the SEA scene. The young Thai currently plys his trade for Fnatic in the carry position and has already made heads turn with his crisp play.
AFK Gaming spoke to him about the new patch, the upcoming DreamLeague Season 13: The Leipzig Major and life as a professional South East Asian Dota 2 player.
What was your first encounter with DotA? How old were you when you started playing?
23savage: I played Dota 1 when I was ten and I started playing Dota 2 when I was thirteen.
Did you encounter any resistance from friends and family when you decided to pursue this path? Were you ever bullied in real life when you beat older players?
23savage: At first, they weren’t supportive but when I gained 6k MMR, they started to support me. If they can see that you can do something, they’ll support. Pretty sure that if I was 2k they would not support me.
At first, I was kind of nervous about defeating pros and so, but now everything is normal.
What is the Dota scene like in Thailand? How does it compare to another upcoming region like Indonesia?
23savage: Actually, Thailand has many highly skilled players but they have many problems like language and responsibility, which is why you don't see to many pro players from there. Indonesia has a larger number of skillful players. Many of them are in the top 10 of the leaderboard but I think they are facing the same problem.
How did you spend your first pay cheque after starting to play competitive Dota?
23savage: I didn’t spend anything, because back then it was so little that I couldn’t spend it!
You came extremely close to qualifying for TI with Jinesbrus. Walk us through how you felt at the end of it. March talked a little bit about how the environment affected your chances.
23savage: I don’t really blame the environment. I think it was just about the decision and how we were not persuasive enough at that time. It’s hard to explain because that game was something that could be decided in milliseconds. No one really talked, all I could think of was that we were going to go to TI.
It is kind of sad, but there is nothing you can do about it except learn from it. So I am just going to be strong and move on.
How did you end up joining Fnatic?
23savage: After TI9, Fnatic didn’t have a good result. Jabz messaged me asking if I was interested to join the team and I said that I was.
Image Courtesy: Fnatic
You’re one of the youngest players to have played competitively at such a high level. Does that thought make you nervous or conscious of your performance in any way?
23savage: Yeah, it made me conscious. Last time, at the Chengdu Major I was kind of flustered but I think it is getting better now. It takes time to get used to it.
You’re on a team with some of the most experienced SEA Dota 2 players. How confident are you about winning the upcoming major?
23savage: I am really confident that I am going to win the Major. If we train and we go through a bootcamp, I am pretty sure that we can win the Major.
The new patch changed a bunch of heroes, including some of your best carries such as Morphling, Juggernaut, and Terrorblade. What are your opinions on these changes?
23savage: I think Juggernaut is the worst hero, as the carry. It is so bad, no one should ever pick it. Don’t touch it. Morphling is okay, it is still good. Terrorblade is better I guess, but no one ever plays it, I think I might play it.
Do you like the new map layout?
23savage: Yeah, I like the new map, it is interesting. It is something new and fun to play, it is always fun to learn new things.
How do you think the meta will be developed as time passes by? Will pubs become slower or faster?
23savage: I think it is faster. Most people would give up after losing two outposts. Like, in 15 minutes if they didn’t have 2 outposts, they would just abandon the game. It is hard to comeback nowadays. 30 minutes is the average game length.
(Note: This interview was conducted shortly after the Outlanders Update was released in Dota 2)
What is your favourite change in 7.23?
23savage: Not sure, I don’t really like anything in particular because I like almost everything.
What is your least favourite change in 7.23?
23savage: They nerfed my Morphling. It no longer has two health bars and mana pools. Sometimes, I forget and I die, it is confusing. I want Morph to be the best hero.
If not Dota, what would you like to do with your life?
23savage: I don’t really know. But I think I am gonna be clubbing right now and have fun with life. So maybe I would want to be a rapper.
If you could change one thing about pub games in your region instantly, what would it be?
23savage: I don’t want to have Divine players or account buyers or people who trashtalk me in my games. Someone always randomly types 23garbage, I don’t reply but it's really annoying. I'd like to play versus high skill players only, so I can train. But sometimes I want to play against bad players as well when I have a red day so that I can win.
What advice would you give to young players who want to go pro and are considering a career in esports?
23savage: First, you should play solo MMR and get into the top 1,000 in the leaderboards. Then you should start forming a team with skilled players and after that, it kind of depends on each individual.
How many TIs do you wanna win?
23savage: Three. I want to beat OG.
Thank you for the interview 23savage. Do you want to say something to your fans? Any shoutouts?
23savage: I am streaming on Twitch. The name is 23savagezzz. Thank you, everyone, who is cheering for me: Thai fans, SEA fans and some EU fans I guess. I am really thankful for your support. I will do my best in the upcoming tournaments.