Marcus “Revenant” Tan has been a mainstay in the Singapore and Southeast Asia competitive eSports scene ever since he made a big splash in Warcraft III. After his win at the WCS Singapore Nationals, Revenant shares his thoughts about how he practiced, and where he sees his game.
At the age of 20, Marcus ‘Revenant’ Tan is one of Singapore’s most celebrated pro-gamers. He won the Singapore World Cyber Game (WCG) titles in 2009 and 2010, following that up with a host of international experiences at events like the International eSports Festival (IESF) and WCG Grand Finals. The description on his own page says, “Revenant has been revered for his mechanical precision and penchant flair for RTS games.” and to most, there’s likely no better way to describe him.
The Life-Changing Decision
By 2010, however, the Warcraft III scene had begun to wind down. Events were less common, and professional teams were frequently releasing their talent to pursue other titles. It was no different in Singapore, and the local team Revenant was in at the time had also announced its intentions to disband. This development left some of Singapore’s brightest eSports talent looking for their next step, but none more so than Revenant, whose career had just begun to take off after winning his second major WCG title.
With the release of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty in 2010, the then 19-year old Revenant made the decision to switch to StarCraft II, and it paid instant dividends. Revenant’s talent in Warcraft III immediately translated to StarCraft II, and just a few months after the game’s release Rev would emerge victorious at both the Singapore StarCraft League and EPIC Gaming Convention.
A New Home
Despite the success Revenant enjoyed in the first few months of the game’s release, he was without a team as the Singaporean eSports scene entered a state of flux. But that wouldn’t last for long, as shortly after observing his successes, and wanting to move into the StarCraft II professional scene themselves, newly established Singaporean pro-team Flash eSports made Revenant the first marquee signing of the team.
Building a Partnership
It was a partnership made to last as Revenant would go on to bag numerous wins later that year; he beat his teammate Ian ‘MUSE’ Ang in the IESF finals in September, and enjoyed a slew of online cup successes at the regional community site SC2SEA.com.
By this time Revenant was already recognized in the community as one of the most prolific players in the Southeast Asian region, and what followed next would firmly entrench him as the best.
The newly branded FlashRevz made a brave decision with his team to travel to both Thailand and Malaysia for the Electronic Sports Thailand Championship (ESTC) and Cyberfusion eSports League Season 1 (CESL).
He defeated highly regarded local heroes MiTH’s RedArchon and Duskbin’s Cobo at both events, adding both championship titles to his cabinet along the way. The saying goes that form is temporary, class is permanent, and Revz’s class showed as he repaid his organization’s faith in him at a time when he had narrowly missed out on a hat-trick of consecutive WCG successes.
Revenant’s Career-defining Moment
If 2011 was the year Revenant established himself as one of the top contenders in the scene, 2012 would forever be remembered as a defining year in the history of his career. Newly appointed as the captain of his StarCraft II team, Revenant would go on to shortlist three potential players in the scene to join the team: Drake, Kyzer, and Blitz.
The New Flash.SC2 Team at WCS
Although a very new and fresh team by the community’s standards, Flash managed to shock many neutral observers and rival teams in the Xeria Gaming Team League (XGTL), after nearly upsetting one of the league favorites, Wayi Spider, losing narrowly 2-3.
It was also during this time that Revenant would travel to Korea for a month. He would stay at the Fnatic team-house and train with some of the best pro-gamers in the world; illustrious names like Alive, Oz, Rain, Moon, Nightend, ToD and many more. He gained insights into the pro-gaming culture that no one in SEA had access to, returning as a player like no other in his region.
The improvement immediately showed as his win rate in the XGTL increased significantly, and he took down one of Taiwan’s top players, Wulong, in the clutch match against Storm. It would be his next offline competition, though, that everyone was watching out for: the World Championship Series Singapore Nationals.
Same Champion, Different Mentality
On July 28, Revenant, together with his team Flash, would participate in the biggest RTS competition in Singapore to date; encompassing a prize pool of $10,000 USD. The World Championship Series Singapore Nationals would see over 60 local players participate.
With the experience he’d accumulated over the past two years, Revenant swept through the brackets with relative ease. Even when he subsequently dropped maps against Binu and Yekke, it was obvious that Rev was still favored to win it all, and he did, recognized as the best StarCraft II player in Singapore.
INTERVIEW WITH THE CHAMPION by FLASH ESPORTS
Hi Marcus, it's been a while since you've sat down for an interview with your own team after all the extensive media coverage! Let's start by having you educate our viewers about your brief competitive history.
Revenant: Hi, I'm Marcus Tan Sin Yik, going by the Game Handle/IGN "Revenant" and I'm 20 years old this year from Singapore. I started playing competitively from 2008 for Warcraft III, and continued for around three years before switching to StarCraft II as it absorbed the Warcraft III community. From then till now, I've been playing StarCraft II competitively and occasionally travelling overseas to compete in tournaments, too!
The first thing we have to talk about has to be the Korea trip. What did you feel was the most valuable lesson you took away from there?
Revenant: The most valuable lesson was definitely an ideal structure of how to make one's team as productive as it can be. I feel that I applied that knowledge quite well on the one week WCS bootcamp that we had, and I hope it helped all of my teammates as much as it helped me.
Give us some insight into the players in the Fnatic roster. Any comments regarding any specific player, and what were they all like in general? What is the secret to their success?
Revenant: I believe their secret to success is how they lead their lifestyle; everything is done competitively, every task they tackle is seen as a challenge. There's just no room for being average.
Would you say that the main benefits you gained from the Korea trip was during the trip itself or actually after you came back to Singapore?
Revenant: I'd say both are equally helpful. The trip itself made me up my game and made me more self-disciplined than I ever used to be; I've probably made more games in that month in Korea than I did in a normal year! After coming back, I think everything I learnt could be applied in Singapore, which was great!
Coming back to Singapore, the team immediately attended a one week bootcamp prior to the WCS Singapore Nationals. Talk a bit about what you all did there and how you applied some of the principles you learned over in Korea during the bootcamp.
Revenant: With the knowledge from Korea, I knew that strictness and self-discipline must be the first to be imposed. A schedule was worked out so that my teammates may be able to clock 50 games daily and have adequate time for digesting what they learned.
What do you think your team absorbed from the bootcamp, and how much of that eventually translated onto WCS itself?
Revenant: I personally feel that the bootcamp was all we could have asked for to prepare for WCS and eventually getting three places in the top four spots speaks for itself, although not exactly what was hoped for, but it speaks volumes.
Also, I had a talk with the rest of the team over dinner after WCS, and they told me they finally understood why parts of the schedule were personalized in order to help them improve as a more diverse player. With other big events coming up, I think it's not too late to have realizations such as these.
Let's go back to your past successes at ESTC and CESL. Having been a well-travelled gamer during your career, what do you think is the key to doing well in competitions overseas as opposed to just local ones?
Revenant: I think the main reason why I did better in overseas events were mainly because of two factors. Firstly, it was because my playstyle is a rather macro-oriented style and suits playing against macro-oriented players better since I practice a lot against them. Secondly, it's because at an overseas event you feel more inclined to win for the organization that has sent you over in order to "give back" to them.
Who do you think in the current team has the best chance of representing Flash in overseas tournaments long-term aside from yourself?
Revenant: Kyzer is the player that's most suitable as he's the most consistent player and has produced the most results up to now.
Let's talk about WCS now. As the tournament with the largest prize pool in Singapore's RTS history, did the event live up to the hype?
Revenant: I think WCS definitely lived up to the hype; it was one of the best planned local events I've ever experienced, the staff also watched over the welfare of the players very well from my perspective. The only drawback I guess was that they did not have live streams of the matches, as compared to the WCS's in other countries. All in all, Blizzard and ESL have done a fantastic job to organize everything.
What do you think about the format of the WCS in terms of drawing one national champion and two from SEA for representation in the Asian continental finals, as well as the overall format of the tournament itself?
Revenant: I think it's a quite an interesting format. With the results that came out of WCS: SEA Finals, I believe Blizzard achieved what they were aiming for. With those two seeds, since all three of those countries (MY, TH, PH) didn't have one seed dedicated to them and Blizzard was kind enough to set it up for them, if what I've heard is correct.
As many people highlighted, you failed your objective of sweeping every map. Why do you think that's the case?
Revenant: I think it's because I got too complacent in the two maps I dropped.
On the map series against Binu, he revealed his innovative style of Phoenix + Dark Templar and mass cannoning, and I managed to deal with it with some ease. On the second game after he tried the same thing I thought I could just constantly trade units with his base's structures but it turned out he had a hidden expo and that cost me the game.
On the other map that I dropped against Yekke, I went for an all-in build and Yekke managed to defend rather flawlessly against it. After dropping this map, I smiled and told myself to stop trying to be hasty and just play it out.
As Singapore's most accomplished RTS gamer, define what has set you apart from the rest of the gamers out there trying to make it in the professional StarCraft II scene.
Revenant: Firstly, I feel that part of my accomplishments comes from my competitive characteristic where I always want to challenge myself to the best that I can handle.
Secondly, it's my persistence to always get up after a huge fall as I've lived my competitive gaming life around the motto "A person is strong not because of his capabilities to attain success, but because of his ability to overcome his failures."
Thirdly, it'd say it's my way of thinking. I try my best to not let stuff that you have no control over affect myself, stuff such as racial balances and statistics. Many people fall prey to this, and in the end it may be hard to think rationally, as most losses are blamed on such stuff. For example, Terran has had statistically the most wins and most representation for the first one to two years of StarCraft II in GSL, which is the most competitive and best tournament in the world. Because of this, many people blame their losses to terrans as "terran imba". To try to overcome this, I blame all my losses on myself even to an emotional extent so that I can push myself forward.
We notice that you keep a book by your side during tournaments. Is that your little black book of secrets?
Revenant: It's a notebook I bring along with me to every tournament I go. StarCraft II is so diverse that there are far too many strategies and playstyles to remember, so I use my notebook to remind me of key aspects of the game and strategies that I find are beneficial to me.
You are now on a different level compared to where you were previously. How do you plan to make further breakthroughs in your game? Do you see yourself matching up to players of international caliber?
Revenant: I personally can't feel that I'm on a different level to where I was previously. Although there have been notable changes, I still feel that there's so much more for me to improve on to become a better player and person. It's definitely one of my goals to be able to match players of international caliber one day, and I'm willing to undertake anything in order to make it happen.
Any shout outs?
Revenant: Shoutouts to our sponsors Cooler Master – CM Storm, Gunnar Optics, MAGES institute, Colosseum, Zepy Games, everyone from Flash e-Sports, friends and supporters!
Credits to: Terence Tan and Flash e-Sports for the writeup and interview!