The Nationals, the Philippine’s biggest esports tournament, is now underway with its first Dota 2 conference, which features some of the best Dota 2 teams and players in the country. Apart from all the professional teams and players across its three featured titles – Dota 2, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, and Tekken 7 – The Nationals also includes other talents in the industry such as casters, hosts, correspondents, and more.
One of the relatively new faces in the industry who has nonetheless made a big mark in the few years he’s been casting and is now part of The Nationals casting crew for Dota 2 is Caisam Yvez “Wolf” Nopueto. He’s casted for some big events including the Philippine coverage of The International 2018, last year’s Road to The Nationals, and more. We asked Wolf a few questions about his journey as a caster as well as his thoughts on Dota 2 and The Nationals.
Wolf has been interested in getting into professional Dota 2 casting since 2013 but didn’t get his big break until 2016 when Mineski gave him the opportunity to cast for the local coverage of the 2016 Boston Major.
“I’m one of the, let’s just say, nerdy ones. I started out as a fan of the esports scene of Dota 2 and then in 2013 I told myself that I want to cast. It was me personally seeking for a chance to cast and it just so happened that Mineski gave me a chance to cast for the Boston Major in 2016, which was three years after.
Wolf also began his casting career by going against the grain and taking a more analytical approach to casting as opposed to the more energetic and comedic casting that was popular at the time. In Wolf’s own words, Dota 2 casting gave him the “license to be a nerd about the game.”
“I started out as one of the first, if not the first, analysts in the local scene, which was not accepted or famous in the scene. They wanted hype, they wanted the funny ones. It started out like that but eventually people started looking for analysis and that’s how I came about.”
He didn’t stop there though as he developed his casting technique to also be educational as he wanted to help people gain a better understanding of the game. Some of his influences included the likes of Purge, Merlini, and even Fogged, as they were the type of talents that people turned to when they wanted to learn more about the game.
“I started as a pure analytic guy with no hype and all and then kind of evolve so I would say it’s a analytic but educational. I always aim for it to be educational. I want to teach people how to play the game and understand the game more, so I think it’s educational.”
Wolf has also since expanded his casting repertoire to include other MOBA titles such as Mobile Legends: Bang Bang or even other genres such as first-person shooters and battle royale games. But when comparing those other games, specifically other MOBAs, with Dota 2, Wolf believes the latter is not only more taxing due to having longer games but also requires teams to have bigger playbooks and strategies. And spite of its ups and downs, Wolf still believes in the passion Filipino esports fans have for Dota 2.
“It’s an entirely different type of esports title. I think people would see if you compare Dota 2 to another MOBA game like LoL or ML, people would think they’re the same but it’s actually not. Dota 2 is so different from other games because it’s taxing as far as time goes. You have to have a playbook for Dota 2 compared to other games. You have to have a vast playbook. You have to have a lot of strategies because Dota 2 is, as cliche as it sounds, a strategy game.”
“If you look a few years back, the Philippines is a Dota country as far as esports go, and I think that’s the biggest part of why I stayed in the local scene because people are so passionate about Dota 2, all the good and the bad about it.”
Wolf feels like a league as big as The Nationals has been a long time coming, especially for Mobile Legends: Bang Bang as it’s still a relatively young esports scene, and that the league will become the go-to place for esports in the country. He also believes it’ll give opportunities not only to professional players but also other talents such as casters, hosts, and more.
“It’s about damn time we have this sort of big league. I know that, for now, as far as Dota goes, it’s not going to be as big as other tournaments for sure because it’s the first time we’ll ever do it for Dota 2. But for ML, I think it’s the best time to do it since the ML scene is very young. And as far as opportunities go, people will start to look at The Nationals as the go-to place for esports in the Philippines. Because we have to build our talents, it’s the biggest esports talent search, and I think it’s fitting that we are going to see this in the Nationals. It’s going to give opportunities for talents, not only with professional players but also for broadcasters like us and other aspect of the esports scene. I think it’s about time that we open up the opportunities for the talents.”
While Wolf thinks the Nationals will be really big for both the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and Tekken 7 esports scenes, the process for Dota 2 will be much slower as many of the bigger teams in the scene prioritize international tournaments. But he believes that the Nationals will be where local players can be nurtured to become competitive internationally.
“I think for ML and Tekken it’s going to be really big, it’s going to be super-duper big. For Dota 2 it’s going to be a slower process, I would say. Because people are still looking to compete internationally. But from what I hear, The Nationals will develop the talent for Dota 2 so it will be the prime training ground for us to actually have these internationally competitive talents. So I think over time, it may be slow, but it’s going to help us produce professionals that are really competitive and are going to make the Philippines proud.”
Catch Wolf 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.