The Nationals, the Philippines’ biggest esports tournament, has allowed quite a variety of talents to show the nation what they do best. From the different players to the VJs, correspondents, and casters, each has shown their passion and love for esports and their respective craft.
One of these is the Dota 2 caster Rain Zerlyn Manaig or Rain. Rain began playing the game in high school. Eventually, she started playing with a friend who was friends with Nico “KuyaNic” Nazario. At the time, she was in Singapore about to begin her studies as an Engineer, with a scholarship to boot. She decided to try her hand at casting and she began her journey after telling KuyaNic that she wanted to try it.
“At the time nasa Singapore ako, three to six months na ako nandun. Okay na ako dun kasi may scholarship na ako for Engineering. Nagsabi ako kay KuyaNic kung pwede ko bang itry magcast. Sabi niya “Okay lang, uwi ka.” Tapos sinabi ko sa kanya na kung walang nangyari, balik nalang ako ng Singapore para mag-aral ulit.” [At the time I was in Singapore for about three to six months. I was good to go because I had a scholarship for Engineering. But I told KuyaNic if I can try out casting for Dota 2. He told me, “Sure, come home.” I told him if nothing happens, I’ll just go back to Singapore to study again.]
Being a shy girl since her childhood days, she struggled to find her footing early. It was a rough beginning with KuyaNic even admitting that he was close to letting her go as a caster. But with the combination of the patience of KuyaNic and Michael Angelo “Alo” Zomil and her willing to improve as a caster, she soon found her role in the WomboXCombo team as an analyst.
“Nung nagca-cast na ako, si KuyaNic at Alo talaga yung tumulong at nag enhance sa akin. Sila yung nagturo kung ano ako ngayon, analyst. Binigyan nga nila ako ng sarili kong branding bilang Stats Girl Rain. So yun, naging analyst ako ng WomboXCombo.” [When I started casting, it was KuyaNic and Alo that helped me and helped enhance my casting. They taught me to be what I am now, an analyst. They even gave me my own branding as Stats Girl Rain. That’s how I became an analyst in WomboXCombo.]
As a gamer, Rain sees casting as the best job for her and despite the different esports titles coming out, her goal is to focus solely on Dota 2 for now. She looks to improve and become an even better caster and analyst before dipping her toes in other games.
“Hindi pa naman ako ganun talaga kagaling so para sa akin mas okay na pagbutihan ko muna kung nasaan ako ngayon bago ako lumipat sa ibang games.” [I’m still not that good, really. For me, I’d rather focus on where I am right now and improve before I move on and cast other games.]
Analysis is no easy task and for her, it’s the shift that Dota 2 games went through, from bloodbath games to calculated moves and well-timed objective-taking around the map that makes analysis and stats more important than ever.
On top of improving her casting, Rain does quite a lot of research to prepare for a game as an analyst. This process includes watching a lot of replays, even watching and rewatching one or two times.
“Nagreresearch ako at may stats na naka Google Sheets. After a game, papanooorin ko yun ng isa o dalawang beses o nanonood ng English casters kasi ang daming ko ring natututunan sa kanila.” [I really do my research and I even have the stats in Google Sheets. Usually, after a game, I rewatch it one or two times. I also watch English casters because I’ve learned quite a lot from watching them as well.]
“’Pag nakakita kayo ng cast na puro numbers ang sinasabi, ako yun! Yung mga kill participation, win rate, etc, yun talaga naiaambag ko.” [Whenever you see casts where they mention a lot of numbers, that’s me! Stats like kill participation, win rate, etc, that’s my contribution.]
When it comes to teams with no data online, like LAN tournaments, the process changes for Rain. It goes from doing research and watching VODs to talking to the teams, especially when it comes to their respective hero pools and comfort heroes. And while not a lot of information makes it to the actual broadcast, the extra information on the teams helps when the teams do actually decide to play the heroes that were mentioned.
“Pag tipong LAN tournament dito, ang ginagawa talaga namin ay nilalapitan yung mga players. Tinatanong namin yung mga nilalaro nilang heroes o yung mga comfort heroes nila. Tapos pag ginamit nila sa laro, saka ko nalang sasabihin sa cast yung info na nakuha sa player mismo.” [For LAN tournaments, what we really do is we approach the players. We ask them which heroes they play or we ask who their comfort heroes are. When they use them in a game, that’s the only time that I share what I’ve learned from the players themselves.]
The Nationals, for Rain, is a gateway for talents and even those that have yet to get into gaming and esports. It gives everyone a starting point in the world of esports, especially in the Philippines.
“Malaking gateway siya sa mga aspiring na talent, caster, host. May mga tao kasi na di tinatatanggap pag di ka naglalaro ng game. Yung The Nationals, maski di ka gamer, pwede ka matuto. Another way of learning something new. Opportunity talaga siya para sa mga tao na gusto talagang pumasok sa esports pero di alam kung saan magisismula.” [The Nationals is a massive gateway for aspiring talents, casters, and hosts. There are people that don’t give you a chance if they know you don’t play the game but The Nationals changes that because it allows everyone to learn. I guess you can say that it’s another way of learning something new. It really is an opportunity for those people that want to enter esports but don’t know where to start.]
Rain sees The Nationals as a challenge as an analyst and caster. Aside from managing her schedule that involves casting and streaming, there’s researching on the different teams and their respective players. While this isn’t something new for the Stats Girl, the format is new and will take getting used to. A challenge that she looks forward to overcome.
“Tingin ko sa The Nationals, mahihirapan ako kasi ang dami nila. Haha! Pero syempre, kakayanin!” [I think preparing for The Nationals will be tough because there’s quite a lot to do. Haha! But of course, I’ll be able to handle it and I’m excited!]
Watch Stats Girl Rain and the rest of the DOTA 2 casters and courtside reporters at The Nationals, the biggest esports tournament in the Philippines.
Catch the action on 5 Plus, the home of esports on free TV every Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. You can also watch the livestream via the 5 Plus website, and on OneSports via CignalTV for paid TV.