'We love SEA Dota!': Johnxfire, MLPDota describe meeting fans at their first LAN

Despite the chemistry seen during the matches, 2022's first Dota 2 Major of the year, ESL One Stockholm, was actually the first time this casting duo had met after years of working together online.

It was also the first time Jonathan "johnxfire" Nathan Fernandez and Mike "MLPDotA" Le Phoenix would run into gushing fans, giving them a taste of the celebrity life.

"We were literally outside just, I think we were drinking some coffee and some two Swedish dudes walked past. They were probably like 20 meters away from us just walking past and they ended up screaming like 'hey, I love SEA Dota! I love SEA Dota," said MLP.

"And it was just so funny cuz they had a Swedish accent as well. And it was like, they were just talking, they were just screaming that they loved us and they loved SEA Dota."

MLP also added that it was a surreal experience, but the pair have gotten more "a bit more used to it", and it was "really, really weird" for them that people wanted to take photos and get autographs for them at first.

Johnxfire and MLPDotA interacting
Jonathan 'johnxfire' Nathan Fernandez (left) and Mike 'MLPDotA' Le Phoenix (Photo: Yahoo Esports SEA)

On being friends with fellow casters

When MLPDotA and johnxfire first met their fellow Dota 2 casters, they were worried that it would be a competitive atmosphere, and that there would be tension from them all competing to cast the grand finals.

Instead, they were in for a pleasant surprise.

"When we first came in, everyone was really, really, really welcoming and it was quite sweet to see," said MLP.

"Every caster is essentially competing, right? But everyone's really friendly and they all just hang out, have dinner together, and play games together and laugh together. And it's like there's this unspoken rule of like, we know we're competing with each other."

MLP added that the hand of friendship that was extended wasn't something he "didn't truly expect" and that he was actually ready for war and "beat those guys".

However, it turned out to be cool and they both ended up making new friends.

The duo recently appeared during the Group Stage at The International 2022 in Singapore. The tournament took place in October, and was eventually won by Tundra Esports.

Aloysius Low is an ex-CNET editor with more than 15 years of experience. He's really into cats and is currently reviewing products at canbuyornot.com

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