Carlo ‘Kuku’ Palad is one of the most well known and accomplished Dota 2 players of Southeast Asia. This posterboy of SEA Dota 2, who hails from the Philippines, has had long stints with Mineski and TNC and is now plying his trade with Geek Fam. VPEsports caught up with Kuku to talk about Geek Fam’s new possible carry, the state of SEA Dota and the the current Dota 2 meta amongst other things.
Hello Kuku! How’s it going? How are the conditions there?
Hello! I’m feeling good, just chilling here in the Philippines. We don’t go out much because of the pandemic.
Let’s jump to the Dota 2 happening all around. How has it been going for Geek Fam? Is everyone staying together for all the online tournaments?
At the moment, four of us are still going to stay as a team (Raven recently left Geek Fam) and we will find a replacement for the carry role.
Any hints on who the new player replacing Raven will be or when we will find out?
It will definitely be an experienced player, but we are still scouting for a carry that will suit our style.
You have been one of the biggest names associated with SEA Dota 2, and have been playing for a long time. Do you think SEA Dota has gotten more competitive over the last 3-4 years?
It surely has. It has gotten a lot more interesting and competitive, and you can occasionally even see tier 2 teams take down tier 1 teams in SEA. I’m looking forward on the years to come.
According to you, who are the top 3 team in SEA right now?
For me, I think that Fnatic and TNC are the top two teams in SEA, in that order. There are so many player shuffles happening in SEA that it is hard to pin down a third team.
What are the next steps SEA needs to take to become as dominant as Europe or China in the Dota 2 scene?
Players need to cultivate the spirit of dedication and discipline for that to happen. But most importantly, everyone needs to trust each other like a family and grow as a team.
Let’s talk about the current meta. Do you like the state of the game right now?
Yes, I’m very happy with this meta as an offlaner. It is also quite a good meta for carry heroes, because they can really farm throughout the game and slowly scale into late game.
The 7.27 patch was just released (in small steps). What has been your favorite and least favorite change of the patch? Does it seem better than 7.26?
At first, I was really confused on how to interpret the changes and how to alter my game. The game has gotten slower because now, we can’t capture the enemy’s Outpost before taking down a tier 2 tower. Regardless, we will just adapt with the meta as it goes on. In terms of favorite and least favorite changes, nothing particular sticks out.
Any heroes that seem really strong in the current meta?
Doom! I think he is the best hero for me right now. Batrider is also quite good.
Recently, the bans in Captains Mode just went from 4-1-1 to 2-3-2. How do you think that has impacted games?
It impacts the drafting significantly, because if you have three or four solid heroes that your team can excel with, you always end up getting at least two, now that only two heroes can be banned in the first phase.
If you have second pick, you can abuse the last pick in the first pick phase, because you get to follow it up with two bans. It can narrow the choices into something very specific. It also impacts the later portion of the draft, as that will be a reaction to the strong heroes picked earlier.
How does the offlane feel right now?
Right now, the offlane does not feel too stressful and there seems to be a lot of room to do things. I can help my carry scale into the late game, but the carry has to be realiable.
You have played so many roles over the years – mid, support and now offlane. Which one has been your favorite?! Does it help your game a lot that you’ve played in nearly all positions?
Offlane is my favorite role, for sure. Having played a variety of roles over the years has surely helped me get an all-round understanding of the game. For example, sometimes I can read the mind of the opponent mid laner and predict their movement because I’ve played that role before.
When did you start playing Dota 2 and when did you realize you could make it as a professional?
I was studying in grade school when I started playing Dota 2, so it had been more than 10 years since I started. When I first joined Mineski in 2015 was when I realized I can make it as a professional in Dota 2.
Any other games you like to play besides Dota 2 to destress?
I like playing FPS games like CS:GO and Valorant.
What does Kuku like doing outside of Dota 2, when he’s not playing?
Typically I like going out with my family, but currently, that isn’t an option with the pandemic. Right now, I spend a lot of my time on my PC because we cannot go outside.
Thank you for your time! Any shoutouts?
Thank you Fams for supporting Geek Fam all along the way. Shoutout to all my fans out there! #PusoPinas