“Dota is played at such a high level, it’s become more than where the game is, but how the teams play” – Tsunami and Synderen’s ESL One Malaysia AMA

1Play DOTA2 News
Sep 07

During ESL One Malaysia, Esports.gg got a chance to sit in on the AMA of Tsunami and Synderen. Tsunami and Synderen have quickly become some fan favorite personalities and casters in the Dota community. Throughout the AMA, tons of questions were asked about motivation, the patch, their careers and even Techies. Here are the most memorable points of the AMA.

Tsunami and Synderen have been in the Dota community since the early days of the game. A former former professional support player with tons of in and out of game experience, fans now know Synderen best fopr his great analysis, quality memes and as one half of his casting duo partner, Sunsfan. Tsunami on the other hand has had quite the journey. From publishing a YouTube series called “dealing with” and Dota 2 shorts to a dedicated panel member. It’s been a Cinderella story of how he’s come into his Dota fame.

Tsunami: It may sound cheesy but, moments like this are immensely satisfying. Being able to attend events is a completely different feeling than the online tournaments. Because you are able to put a face to the crowd and hear them cheer as opposed to just seeing twitch chat and the numbers there.

I have not done that many crowd events, so being able to experience that, gives me the juice that I need to keep going. I was once a casual fan, attending the LAN, and I would be eager to see my favorite casters on screen, and see how they interact in real life. So moments like these are really gratifying.

Synderen: Yea I agree with Tsunami. I think one of the more fulfilling things is hearing from other epople that you make a difference for them. Whether it be through the podcast or through events. Sometimes it’s personal too, you know? People say that they’ve been going through a hard time and they watched your stuff and it helped them through the rough times. That feels great, because it’s doing something meaningful for others.

I would be surprised if not everyone in the industry in general would say that it makes a big difference to hear positive feedback from fans. It’s also important to get justified criticisms, if you are being biased or get something wrong. We wanna hear that so we can do a better job. But it’s just really nice to hear that cast you just did or I just love Dota in general and you are a part of that, so that’s cool, which is really fulfilling.

With the big downtime because of Covid, it’s been the longest break a lot of people have had. But LANs never get old. I’ve been to a lot as both player and talent, and once the event gets going and the crowd gets here, its just an whole new experience.

Tsunami: I was already pretty satisfied with the old patch. I know people have been chomping at the bit but every single time I watch a LAN, it feels like it’s a new patch in the way teams approach it. I’ll see new heroes emerge, it’s not like the old days of Dota where you have to ban these two heroes no matter which team is playing, you have to pick this hero if it’s not banned. There’s a lot more flavor depending on which team is playing which team. Obviously it’s nice to see new mechanics like the flagbearer or new neutral items and I was with most people in that I wanted more map changes.

But at the end of the day, The International will be a lot of fun no matter what patch we are on. Dota and the teams are at such a point that competition is not going to be a product of where the game is, but where teams are and how they look at each other.

Synderen : Something I really wanted in the patch was for the game to slow down. Over the past 2-3 years the game has gotten a bit power crept. Essentially, things like more passive GPM, neutral items and the rate of experience have sped up Dota. Like now, heroes are 6 slotted at 30-35 minutes. In the past, that was more a minute 50 thing. So myself and some pros that I talked to really wanted things in the patch to slow down a bit. Which is what we got, because things were getting a bit out of hand.

At the same time, I am losing something as a support because I am losing passive GPM. The kind of Dota I was best at and enjoyed the most was when the position 5 was sacked.

Tsunami: Do you wish observer Wards still cost gold?

Synderen: I wouldn’t mind it, but it’s fine this way. The important thing is that things got dialed down and other things are starting to take shape. Is this a good patch for TI? I think so, based on the games we’ve got so far, the game time has been about roughly the same but will probably increase a bit as the teams learn. We’ll be seeing more epic late game team fights which will be great for TI, we aren’t the biggest fan of the super stompy games. But it is a patch where teams can easily separate themselves from less good teams, and that’ll play a big part in TI.

Tsunami: It will be a dark day in hell that I would ever prefer old Techies over anything and everything in any video game. It does not matter. Old Techies changed Dota, you weren’t playing the same game at that point, you were playing Techies’ game. Now at least Techies is somewhat a Dota hero. You don’t need to play minesweeper, you can actually have a 5v5 engagement rather than say I haven’t seen this guy for the past 30 minutes, we can’t siege high ground because we past the point of no return. So I hated the old techies. And I don’t use the word lightly, but I hate Techies.

Synderen: For me, funny enough Techies was my favorite hero for one week in 2004. It was pretty fun. The spells were different. It had Suicide Squad attack, which was a melee ranged explosion that did half damage past a certain range and full damage at close range. So back then Dota was a lot more meme-y, so the combo would be to toss him in with Tiny and then suicide, that kind of stuff. As I got more serious about the game, I lost interest in the hero because he impacts the game wasn’t in a generic way.

As you say, I felt like I wasn’t playing the same game, which is both the appeal for most players if you are playing with, against or you are playing Techies yourself. But people who love it, loved the difference it made. I personally didn’t enjoy that for a long time, so I’m a fan of the new version.

I can see why a lot of players don’t like the rework, because you can’t be a terrorist in the game and just ruining it.

Tsunami: I can sympathize because if I did truly love that hero, there was no other experience you could get in Dota like that. I think that nobody would ever stop playing Dota because of the old techies but I do think that if you were a Techies fanatic, he isn’t the same hero you were in love with.

Synderen: Techies has become a lot more streamlined with the game itself. It makes more sense in the universe of how Dota heroes work.

Tsunami: Yea, in general there was no place for Techies. I mean, split pushers in general like Ye-old Phantom Lancer were you would send armies of illusions down lanes have been eliminated. Now as much as people are critical of it, of Dota becoming more of a Brawler like HON, teamfights are still fun and it’s fun to have 5v5 team fights.

Synderen: I will say, the new design still needs some work. I don’t think I like reactive Taser that much as an ability. I think you could make something more interesting. But I am happy that the whole slow, map control playstyle is gone. What was really bad was casting while Techies was ahead. Because you’d take control over 2/3rds of the map and you’d corner the enemy team.

The single hardest game I had to cast was at ESL Frankfurt 2014 or 2015 and Team Secret had a Techies that won the laning stage against a team with Mushi, I think Fnatic. It was so hard to cast because Analysts like to analyze and explain what the next moves are or what can people do. But I could only talk about is how there were F-ing mines everywhere.

Synderen: We have a lot of plans… I will find out what they are soon. What was the last thing we ran? I think it was Midas Mode 2, which was in 2019. I think the easiest way of looking at it was that Moonduck was a group of people getting together to try to run some things and give ourselves better conditions for finding work.

A big part of what stopped it was Covid but also the inside people went in different directions and it became second priority for people. So we all had our own stuff, like I was kind of playing professionally and people had their own projects/streams. Moonduck became kind of a background thing and it was more of an ideology more than a studio itself because we had no structure or management, it was more trying to empower each other.

So to answer your question, Moonduck is pretty dead. But we still have a team on twitch and a couple members.

Synderen: When I’m done analyzing? I’m not sure. Sometimes people ask what I’ll be doing in 10 years, and my approach to what I do is that I live in the present as cliché as it sounds. If I’m enjoying what I’m doing, there’s perspective in it, I can live off it, I don’t get bored and there’s meaning to it, then I’ll keep on doing it. If I lose touch with Dota or the game dies, then I don’t know. I’d like to do something with video games because I enjoy them so much, so maybe I’d look into casting another game or streaming more variety.

If for some reason I don’t want to do something in gaming, I have a Bachelors degree in English and I do love teaching. So maybe something along those lines. Another entertainment line would be in television. I did cover a tournament on Danish television which was a really interesting and good experience. So maybe something in entertainment or TV would be something I could do.

And that’s it for the AMA of Synderen and Tsunami at ESL One Malayisa. For more Dota 2 content, stick around on Esports.gg!

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