Amidst a busy ESL One Kuala Lumpur schedule, SirActionSlacks talks about his crazy ideas like reviving the legendary Midas Mode.
Jake "SirActionSlacks" Kanner returned once again to Malaysia, bringing the hype for ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023. From the very first day of the event to the ceremonious moment of Azure Ray bringing it back home for China, Slacks endlessly induced waves of energy throughout the arena to keep spirits high among the fans.
In between a fully-packed schedule, esports.gg managed to catch Slacks at the venue for an interview. True to his nature, Slacks didn't shy away from sharing his anarchic ideas — whether it is using the psychological art of "Pen Theory" to manipulate players in pubs or potentially reviving Midas Mode for the third time.
We also wanted to find out how Slacks had been throughout the year before the night of Frostivus Christmas.
Has Slacks been naughty or nice this Frostivus?
Tell us, Slacks. Are you on the naughty or nice list this Frostivus season?
Slacks: "I ain't ever opening that shit. Nope! Nope! It's a Pandora's box. That thing is Schrödinger's cat. I don't know if anyone has any kind of vendetta, but listen — don't open the box. What are you going to get? A common Kunkka Shoe? Some people have taken the hit! Let it go! Keep that shit sealed. Alright. Don't let uncle Gaben get you."
Slacks' time at DotaCinema's Fails of the Week
Many know you from your Gyrocopter impersonation videos. However, I believe it was the Fails of the Week series with DotaCinema that put you on the map. Can you tell me how you got involved in that?
Slacks: "That started because there was some stuff with SUNSfan and Reaves. They were deciding to split and SUNSfan contacted me and said, 'You know, I think that you could be a stand in for a little bit until I find someone better.' And I said, 'Ouch.' Then he said, 'So I'm not going to pay you. You're just helping out.' And I said, 'Great.' After several years, I was never paid. He never found anyone and then they stopped making it. So thank you, SUNSfan. What an incredible tale!"
Slacks: "By the way, I only stopped doing my Gyro voice because I had like a 30% win rate. But in case you haven't been watching, Gyro support is now hype and I instantly started playing it again. I'm doing that in pubs again now, and it's really fun."
Which Fails of the Week episode is your favorite?
Slacks: "Favorite episode was the worst episode we ever made. We decided to make one where we just had these very dumb voices the entire time. And Cliffs of the Week. I had to go through the lists every week. And 20 out of 2000 clips were horrible. No one liked it, but the ones that were terrible were my favorite."
Do you remember which episode number that was?
Slacks: "The number? What the hell is wrong with you? Of course not! Episode number 69 to 420. Ayy!"
Psychology 101 with SirActionSlacks
You've cemented your role as the master of ceremonies of Dota 2 tournaments. What would you attribute your success to?
Slacks: "Annoying perseverance. You know that guy who always sends you invites to play with him like a dog? And then you play with him and he plays offlane Wisp? That's me. I just keep annoying people and they're like, 'Fine, fine.' Because if I'm not a host, then I'm a panelist. And you can't have that. And me as a caster? That's awful! So this is the least cringe, quickest job they could give me. And that's why I'm here."
We know that you have a degree in psychology. Would you say your degree helps you in your career?
"In every aspect of my life. I abuse psychology in my pubs. I abuse it to get hired. I'm abusing it in this interview right now."
Slacks: "I play video games for a living. I use psychology a lot. I've tricked a lot of people in my time. That's how I get hired to events — psychological manipulation. In every aspect of my life. I abuse psychology in my pubs. I abuse it to get hired. I'm abusing it in this interview right now."
The Pen Theory
On that note, tell me one trick you use to get answers or interactions from the toughest audience and players.
Slacks: "Okay. I will actually teach you something about psychology. This is called the Pen Theory. Have you ever been in class and someone asks you to borrow a pencil or a pen? What's your first thought about that person?
It's just a pen, so I'll lend it. But I would say that person is sloppy and needs to learn to bring their own stuff.
Slacks: "Maybe you don't even like or even look down on them because they asked that. But did you know that our brains are hardwired to actually like that person more for asking you for that pen. You see, we are built as a society of hunter-gatherers. And in a limited society, we would only share things with people from our tribe. Now, I've tricked you because I've asked for something insignificant. But the act of you giving me something means that part of your brain activates and you actually like me more. Because you would never give something to someone you didn't like."
Slacks: "So this is a great way to trick people and manipulate them. Even in pubs. If I'm a pos 4, I'll ask for that stupid pos 5 role that nobody wants. Now he's mine and I can then turn him against the rest of the team and eventually own the entire team to do whatever I say."
(Further research suggests that Slacks' Pen Theory may be a reference to influential psychologist, Hans Eysenck's PEN Model).
Other projects and about being the face of DHL
Thanks for the Pysch 101 lesson, Slacks. Going back to Dota 2, are you hoping to become an even bigger part of its future? Or do you feel like you're ready to explore other avenues?
Slacks: "I think Dota is a game that you can't escape. Whether as a talent, as a player, as anything. It's home! Once you get Dota, every other game sucks. Sure we'll play some PUBG, Among Us, or some other garbage. But then we'll always come home. There's no hope for us. We've been infected. It's over. So yes, I think that I hopefully will always be part of Dota's future. I haven't done anything to cancel myself, so I should be good. I am here as long as the community will have me, and I hope that's for a long time."
Let's talk about some other projects that you are a part of. One thing I've noticed is that you've sort of became the face of DHL. Can you tell me how you got involved with DHL and why are you in all their commercial videos?
Slacks: "I don't know. It all goes back to one group of guys. I was talking to them in Berlin. And DHL had sponsored a Dota tournament for the first time. I was walking over there and they asked me to hand out some boxes. And these five wasted dudes, completely obliterated, were just screaming, 'DHL! DHL! DHL!' And the entire stadium started doing it. So now I do it, too — wearing red and yellow. And I really love it. DHL are cool peeps. I like them a lot and this is a good gig."
What ever happened to Nounsvitational?
I want to talk about the Nounsvitational proposal. What ever happened to that?
Slacks: "Nothing [laughs]. Listen. I try to do stuff for Dota. I try to get non-endemics [third-party companies] to get into Dota. For Midas Mode 2.0, I got NASA [Kennedy Space Center] to sponsor it. I'm always trying to find non-endemic people to discover Dota. This [Nounsvitational] was an attempt to make a Dota tournament, get it funded, pay the players and talents, and all that jazz."
Slacks: "Typically, when you do something like this, it will be behind closed doors. However, they [Nouns Esports] just tweeted it, which was strange. But that's okay. Anyway, this was like a big community thing where they all vote on stuff. Unfortunately, they voted against it. Though I do hope to have an idea of locking a hero [program] to a team and they keep it forever. In fact, I'm really starting to think about doing another Midas Mode or something like that. I'm getting very excited to do something like that."
There you go folks, you first witness here on Slacks' plans on reviving the legendary Midas Mode.
Slacks: "I mean seriously. I thought I would never do it again until I can forget how painful doing the last one was. It's been like five years? But yeah, I'm actually now really thinking about it."
Slacks' take on the future of Dota as an esport
We are so looking forward to it, Slacks. Then what is your perspective on Dota in the future as an esport?
Slacks: "I think esports is having a rough time right now, and Dota will be the only survivor, and I know you think I'm crazy. I know you think I'm stupid. Dota's entire ecosystem has always been like this isolated island, and it's been such a negative thing. There's no overlap. Riot fans watch League, Valorant, and some even watch Counter-Strike. If you're a Dota fan, you don't do anything else. It is a horrible system; until the apocalypse hits.
"Dota will actually live forever. I'm not even kidding. As long as IceFrog makes good patches."
Slacks: "Now we're the only survivors on that very small island while the nukes go off everywhere else in esports. We're going to be the only ones left! So, I really think that as long as the patches are good, Dota will actually live forever. I'm not even kidding. As long as IceFrog makes good patches."
What about yourself? Do you have any other bright ideas for Dota?
Slacks: "I've had a lot of ideas. None of them are bright. Alright, a lot of them were bad. Remember Lycan Wolf Bite? Black Dragon on Dragon Knight? Centaur Cart? Yeah those aren't good ideas. So, I have a lot of ideas, but they're bad. They're very bad."
A special announcement to his fans
So says the mad scientist himself. But we love his ideas anyway. Finally, is there anything you wish to say to all your fans out there?
Slacks: "I would like to address recent allegations that have surfaced. I'm not a bad person. Do not listen to the recent allegations against my name. They are false. I'm innocent! There has been nothing going on. But in the future if anything bad ever happens, I am innocent! Nah, I'm just kidding [laughs]. My fans are great. Sorry I don't make Loregasms as often as I should. They cost a lot of money and time."
Thank you Slacks for an interview that is nothing short of excitement and chaos. We wish you a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones and look forward to all your shenanigans in the future.
Stick around esports.gg for more ESL One Kuala Lumpur interviews!