Philippine esports

A Filipino shoutcaster’s legacy in ‘Dota 2’

A Filipino shoutcaster’s legacy in ‘Dota 2’

Dunoo or Kuya D.

Dunoo Facebook page

The late Aldrin 'Dunoo' Pangan's shoutcasting, together with partner Marlon 'Lon' Marcelo, are a part of 'Dota 2' lore. Here's why.

Esports shoutcaster Aldrin “Dunoo” Pangan died of COVID-19 last Friday, August 27, with Dota 2 esports team TNC Pro Team making the announcement on their Facebook page.

Dota 2 fans in the Philippines, along with international Dota 2 teams, paid their respects to who had been a key figure in the scene. 

Aldrin “Dunoo” Pangan’s career as a shoutcaster, along with his partner Marlon “Lon” Marcelo’s, had been intertwined with the TNC Pro Team, which remains the country’s winningest Dota 2 team.

Their playcalling of TNC’s 2016 match against powerhouse team OG – which would later be the first organization to win back-to-back titles at The International, Dota 2’s premier annual tournament – would be as memorable as the actual TNC victory that would give it its best-ever and still-unmatched finish in the tourney. It was the first time that a Filipino team was playing in The International since Mineski first did it in the first edition of the tourney in 2011. 

The context then was that there was no way this Filipino team would win against OG, which featured Notail who would later become the most decorated Dota 2 player with four Major and two The International trophies, and Miracle, who at the time, was the number 1 ranked player in terms of MMR score (matchmaking rating). But win they did in what is still regarded as the biggest upset in the history of the game. 

The soundtrack to that win? Dunoo and Lon going completely insane in their commentating as TNC ends the game with a perfect Chronosphere – a move that renders characters unable to move inside it – and gives the team the 2-0 win. That moment was the knockout punch in what was nothing short of a high-stakes prize fight. The monetary value of that win? More than $500,000 or around P25 million.

Watch it here:  

Sometimes, games like Dota 2 can be tough to keep track of, and it’s up to the shoutcaster to really give you a sense of what was happening. Lon and Dunoo punctuated exactly what was happening then: Filipinos winning big on the international stage. It was the kind of sporting moment that brought tears to fans. And even if you’re only a casual observer of the game, such as myself, the energy really drew you in, and helped you understand the moment. 

Later on, the duo’s play-calling would get a shoutout from legendary game developer Gabe Newell himself – and president of Valve, the company behind Dota 2 – as Newell spoke at The International 2018, saying “Lakad matatag to Canada.” (Walk strong to Canada.) 

The Filipino phrase, among others that the duo had literally shouted, had become a meme, an in-game chat wheel option, a part of the lore of the competitive Dota 2 scene. Funnily, it was also deployed as a weapon of sorts in The International 2018 with eventual champions OG spamming “Lakad matatag” that had their opponent LGD muting them – which in traditional sports would be the equivalent of getting into your opponent’s head with constant trash-talking a la Reggie Miller, formerly of the Indiana Pacers.

OG was also among those who paid tribute to Pangan, giving credit to him for helping them win their two Aegis, the shield trophy awarded to The International champ. OG won it all in 2018 and 2019, with total winnings of about $26.8 million or about P1.3 billion.

There’s a derogatory term associated with Filipino esports players: “Peenoise.” It’s a portmanteau of Pinoys and noise, and an insult for some Filipino players’ propensity for being, well, quite chatty during games. Who knew that sort of chattiness would eventually be wielded as a psych-out tool on esports’ biggest stage?   

The shoutcaster’s passion, as punctuated by these highlights, are just some of the reasons why Dota 2 esports fans both here and abroad, including professional teams, are mourning his untimely passing. –