Join us as we sit down with Tsunami, and talk SEA DPC, how working as a talent has changed over the years, his handle’s origin and more!

Neal "Tsunami643" Khanderia is back in the Southeast Asian DPC scene and showing why he's such a beloved talent. Tsunami started his journey in Dota 2 as a contributor on Reddit, in 2011, and as a creator in the world of YouTube, but he is now entertaining people as a panel host of the Dota Pro Circuit with his light-hearted humour and oratory talents!

Why Tsunami643 ?

Tsunami643 is a seemingly random number to add a username like Tsunami, so what does it mean? Well, turns out it is completely random. The number 643 is one that Tsunami has been cursed with. At age 13 (or younger), he was making an AOL Instant Messenger screen name.

"I got out of science class, and we learned about tsunamis and other natural phenomena at the time. So I was like, okay, I'll pick that as my name. And then AOL was like, you can't have Tsunami, but you can have Tsunami 643."

Tsunami on the origin of his handle

Not knowing that he could change the numbers, he stuck to the username. Because of this, it's been his name for the past 20 years or so. While it doesn't seem to make much sense, everyone can now find him consistently on every platform, whether Twitch, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube, as Tsunami643.

How does Tsunami feel being back in SEA?

Tsunami started his career in the SEA region, due to working nights, resulting in him being awake at very weird hours. Tsunami was one of the few Western casters able to cover the online SEA and China tournaments, as most others would be asleep at that time. After gaining more prominence as a talent, more events became available for him as host, so it was a natural transition for Tsunami.

But even as an experienced caster and host of the region, Tsunami has been surprised at how slowly SEA has played its games this season. The average duration is five minutes longer than other regions, which are averaging between 37 and 39 minutes, while SEA is at 45 minutes. He finds it sad, as SEA had the signature of being reckless and very energetic, resulting in always being fun to watch. Despite that, Tsunami still thinks it's fun to watch the region at the moment.

How did he find his hosting style?

Tsunami has been a talent for the Dota Pro Circuit for coming up four years now, which has required a bit of testing to find his niche. He has found himself taking on what he described as a more irrevevant style than most hosts.

"I think that Sheever is the absolute gold standard for the professional host, and so I figured that there was no point trying to replicate that because I think most shows value contrast."

Tsunami on his hosting style

At the start, he originally tried to be the "smart" one and drop knowledge bombs as a panelist. But when he would be on a panel with professional players, he found that he had no purpose there. So he ended up finding his niche in comedy and entertainment, keeping things more light-hearted,.

What are some challenges that Tsunami's faced as a host?

Tsunami shared with us some of the challenges he has found as a host:

"I think that making panel chemistry work is something that is underrated, at least by the public. I think that there are a lot of individually, very, very strong panelists"

Tsunami on talent Chemistry

Tsunami points out that the right balance needs to be found to have good chemistry. For example, too many strong-willed, loud panellists in a singular panel may clash, but if you find the right balance, it is the perfect symphony. If there are three quiet panellists, the panel sessions would be low-energy and it's the host's job to find a balance between them.

Usually, if the panelists are low-energy, he finds the need to be more boisterous but usually, it's best if he's a neutral party.

What were his inspirations?

Tsunami's initial inspiration for getting into casting was watching Summit events, due to how low-key, casual, and light-hearted and (seemingly) unprofessional they were. Despite that style being fun to watch, he has found that he would hate it if every broadcast was that way, so we need organizations like ESL and PGL, where their production is well-presenting and (usually) consistent.

Tsunami & KBBQ at the Arlington Major
Tsunami & KBBQ at the Arlington Major

Would Tsunami bring back Summit-style events?

The biggest thing Tsunami misses from Summit-style events: "The seamless interaction between a pro player and the panelists." He elaborated, saying it's what was disappointing about the last TI: "During the finals weekend, we had opportunities during the draft panels but, sometimes, you need to just talk about the heroes instead of just a post-game analysis."

TI11's analyst desk was held remotely in Norway. This meant having eliminated players on the panel, as in past TIs and Majors, was impossible.

Meanwhile, Tsunami isn't sure Summit events are really viable anymore. He doesn't know if you can run a Summit with the current DPC structure. Although, BTS Pro League events continue.

Ultimately, Tsunami hopes that organizers will see the value in having pro players interact with the stream. As a host, he would love to have the chance to talk to them as a panelist. But it's a double-edged sword. He admitted he would be terrified they would take his job!

Stay tuned to for more interviews with SEA DPC Talents, Dota 2 news, and updates!

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