the next "Behind The Nickname" is out and this time we'll have a closer look at a Protoss, who is well known as a player and caster within StarCraft II community - it is Yoan 'ToD' Merlo, the French Protoss player from team XMG.
Behind The Nickname #3: Yoan 'ToD' Merlo.
TrAiDoS: At first I would like to talk with you about your life in general.
My first question is: How is life for you at the moment?
ToD: Life is great i have been traveling a lot visiting one of my best friends Rotti in the US, i played HSC & WCS Ro16 in which i played horribly but right after that i went to the US where i casted BattleGrounds NA, MLG & WCS America Ro16 which was super fun. i just flew yesterday from LAX to Germany and today i'll be casting WCS EU Ro8 in which there are 5 Protosses !
TrAiDoS: Lately you started producing quite a bit of video content. You have also been casting some events in the past few months. It this something you will do in addition to your job as a pro-gamer or is it just the next logical step in your career and how do you like casting?
ToD: i have liked doing both for a while now and i will continue to do so, i was quite burned out recently after i practiced a ton so i thought these days it's probably better for me to cast since as a player i'm struggling a lot more.
TrAiDoS: For you as a pro-gamer, where do you see the advantages and disadvantages when you start casting games? What kind of skills do you need?
ToD: Advantages are obviously the game knowledge which is what i focus on, it's not secret i'm mainly an analysis caster, playbyplay is a completely different story and requires another set of skill which i don't particulary have.
TrAiDoS: You entered the gaming scene at a time when you were very young and now you gained a lot of experience over the years. When do you think is the best time for kids or young people to start playing professionally? How should they proceed?
ToD: I would say if someone shows promise the best time to give progaming a shot is when finishing highschool ( so 18 ) A good way to do it is to try for a year and see how that goes, if it goes well continue if not maybe go back to school or try something else. After a year it's still decently easy to go back to a normal lifestyle but after many years it becomes a lot more difficult so that's something to keep in mind.
TrAiDoS: When you were younger, did you ever think you would be a guy who makes a living from gaming? What did you want to be as a kid or young adult after finishing school?
ToD: i hoped i'd be able to do what i love and possibly earn money doing it so yeah, i was always very naive and foolish though there are a lot of things that i believe in that i don't anymore.
As a kid i just wanted to do what i love, that used to be sports with a bit of everything and later on become videogames, no matter if it was development or gaming.
TrAiDoS: Talking about you as a kid, what kind of kid were you? Can you tell us something about the younger ToD please?
ToD: i was very agitated, didn't like school, got into a lot of fights and expulsed from multiple schools aswell, used to be horrible at self control and i still kinda am even if i have improved a lot more with that.
I have also always been passionate about what i love which has allowed me to ignore any negativity regarding my passion or the games that i like.
TrAiDoS: Did you enjoy school? Do you have any favorite stories to tell from school?
ToD: i did not particulary. Hmmm i remember this one time some new kid in the class which was like some kind of badass thug kept on bullying everyone and at first i let him talk shit to me but at some point my nerves got to better end of me as always and i told him to go screw himself. He was very surprised that someone finally stood up to him and he asked me if i wanted to fight him fully expecting i'd say no but i was pretty mad so i said yeah sure, so we set it up and met after class where no teachers could find us, there was some ppl observing too, fought for a bit and he got cut up at some point and bled a bit after which he pulled some scissors from his bag, i remember not even caring, but some people talked him into chilling and leting it go.
Eventually he went to the college head (dunno the name in English, principal in French) and reported that i had beat him, being usually the one everyone went to complain about they just thought it was funny that for once he was on the other end. they summoned me to office and simply told me not to do that again, had it been with anyone else i think i would have been in much bigger trouble.
TrAiDoS: After having decided to be a professional gamer, do or did you have a plan B? If so, what is or was plan B?
ToD: i thought that if i didn't succeed as a progamer i could just go back to school or find any kind of job in something i enjoy, i don't think i need too much to be happy in life, i'm content with what i have and as long as i can play the games that i like, watch the movies that i want and hangout with my friends i don't think the rest matters too much, i don't need to be a millionaire, or the smartest guy on the block, or to brag about anything, i'm just focusing on enjoying.
TrAiDoS: What is the most outstanding experience you gained from your life as a pro-gamer?
ToD: I think living abroad for as long as i have, over 2 years in total in Korea and same with China was one of the best experience in my life. It felt great to discover new cultures, people, make friends everywhere and to learn a bit of Korean and Chinese too along the way.
TrAiDoS: A lof of people only see the bright side of a pro-gamer's life but what are the shady sides of such a life and what kind of trouble do or did you have to deal with?
ToD: The progamer's life is actually filled with stress for me, there is always this need to perform which on a game like sc2 is incredibly difficult. It's so competitive yet only the very best seem to be making a good living or get the recognition they deserve. Also there has been a lot of unpaid prizes/salaries throughout my career, i think there are many organisations/people who abuse the fact that progamers are so young/inexperienced in an actual work environement to hustle them, for as long as i can remember there has always been a lot of payments not being made when they were suposed to in esports.
I got a lot better in dealing with it, and nowadays i only associate myself with companies worthy of trust and which i believe will pay me when i'm owed money,
TrAiDoS: Now I would like to talk a bit more about you as a gamer.
How did you pick your nickname?
ToD: Long long ago, i used to play Broodwar, i started with team games on BGH then moved up to 2v2's and later on to 1v1, clanhopped for a bit then i finally met a group of very good players in my city Marseille and wanted to be part of a clan with them, but there was split across a few, eventually some day they decided to make 1 together and called it MaSsE. A lot of them tried to make funny names for example 1 of them was MaSsE-TuRbAtIoN ( pardon the mixed cases we were young ) Eventually after much practice and convincing ( read begging ) they let me join as i wasn't one of the stronger players in the city yet at the time, and i decided to be MaSsE-ToDoNte ( http://s4.e-monsite.com/2011/06/15/09/Mastodonte.jpg (this is it in case you wonder )
I got a lot better eventually and started playing in the nationwars for France in 2v2s and my teammate DK-[sL] always called me ToD so i ended up just keeping that. It's funny because ElkY used to be ELKANTAR (yeah all caps) but since it was too long i ppl called him ElkY and he just kept that too so his story is similar
TrAiDoS: In WarCraft II you played Human, in Brood War Terran. Why did you switch to Protoss in StarCraft II?
ToD: In BW my main race became Terran at some point and then it never changed. Actually in 2009 i lived in Korea just before retiring from WC3 and i remember always seeing BW on TV and really wanting to play, so at some point i did just that and started playing on ICCUP, coachtosis gave me a bunch of builds and my weakest matchup which was TvP at the time got a bit better but it was still my worse by far. I remember losing a lot using mech to endless streams of Zealots which was very frustrating :D i think i got up to C and later on when i moved back to France i stopped playing but always remembered those endless streams of zealots not even caring about mines and vultures or tanks.
Earlier than that i attended Blizzcon in 2007 where i took part in the Warcraft 3 tournament and where SC2 could be played for the first time for everybody. After the event, Blizzard booked everyone's trip 1 day later so that the players from WC3 and BW could play some games of SC2 to test the game. I played against guy the who was balancing the game a bit ( back then i believe it was Pillars ) and he beat me a bunch of times with Protoss when i was Terran, and later on we played some 2's and i was against KiWiKaKi every time who played Protoss and had studied the game a bunch with all the battle reports so he knew what he was up to, i was mostly going Marines+Tanks since i hadn't studied the game at all and didn't know what else to make, i got some reapers here and there but i remember losing every single game and back that i guess i must have unconsciously decided that if i ever was to play Starcraft 2 it would be as a Protoss ( i had no plan to become pro on another game than WC3 back then ) So yeah with those 2 stories colliding, when i started playing SC2 i played a very few games as random and quickly picked Protoss after that, i really liked the fact that a lot of the units had spells you can cast ( sentries / hts ) and also thought the race has a lot of strong & cool units. I remember opening Voidrays every game in the start, later on i discovered Collo & Immortals and thought they are the best thing ever, and when i went pro i had this long Phoenix phase where i was opening with them almost every single game vs T & Z too. I liked and still do like Terran a lot too but i thought it would be bad for me to play 2 races so i decided to commit all of myself to Protoss and became a Brotoss. THE END.
TrAiDoS: Do you have pro-gamers you are looking up to? If so, who are these players and why do you look up to them?
ToD: I think for me like for a lot of ppl BoxeR is a great inspiration, he is a guy who has everything, charisma, work ethics, good manners etc.
In SC2 i have always liked WhiteRa, or people like Snute who have a warrior's mindset, endlessly grinding for tournament wins while keeping a positive attitude.
TrAiDoS: What is your favorite unit in StarCraft II and why?
ToD: it changes often but right now and in general probably the Dark templar !
TrAiDoS: With whom and how do you like to practice the most?
ToD: Anyone that i genuinely like in & out of the game and my teammates ofcourse !
TrAiDoS: A lot of players, viewers and casters are sometimes very bewildered when you leave the game without saying „GG” - they rate it pretty often as bad mannered. I'm sure you don't mean it like that but what is your train of thought about it?
ToD: Hmmm i've always thought it was a bit silly how a lot of ppl get worked up over that. And never considered it to be a "MUST" in terms of things to do in a match. In Warcraft 3 i remember having a very hard time dealing with losses but eventually always going to congratulate my opponent when i had dealt with the loss which usually is not right as the game ends. Back then it was actually considered pretty bad manner to go and shake your opponents hand right after you had beat him, it was more the loser's choice to decide if he wanted to go and shake the winners hand. At least that's how i remember it.
Whereas in SC2 Winners always go and shake the losers hand which i have always have a hard time adjusting to. There are also players who pretend to be mannered in public, but in game lobbies write the biggest bullshit, or in real life before matches just to play mind games and i firmly condemn that. So rather that forcing myself to do something like writing 2 letters at the end of the game i decided to be real and just be myself, if i think my opponent deserves praise, he will get it at some point. If i want to congratulate him ( which again happens 99% of the time ) i will go and congratulate him in person. The same goes on internet, i dont want to put on an act in game and write gg for everyone to see i rather speak directly to whoever i just faced in the bnet chat or on skype.
If someone wants to think that i'm bad manner because of that it's their right and i have nothing to say to them ^^ I do actually think that i have some pretty bad manners in me which i have never been able to fix but at least i dont pretend it's otherwise, and if i offend someone and they later on talk to me about it i will usually apologize if i said anything bad, but not for not saying gg at the end of games though.
When i go to an offline event i'm friends with everyone there with a few exceptions, if fellow progamers really have a problem with this then they will talk to me about it and i'll explain to them my point of view on it but i think most are fine with it. I personally couldnt give less of a fuck if someone said gg or not after i beat them. On a related note i have always been very forgiving with sore losers being a huge one myself, what i cannot stand however are bad winners, people who rub it in when they win, being with any kind of comment or even stuff like proxy hatch or dancing units and even manner mules, i think that a progamer who dedicates his life to practicing a game and then must deal with a loss in a tournament shouldnt have to deal with the extra frustration of those things, so unless it's meant in a friendly way say like if 2 very good friends play and 1 of them dances at the end then fine. But otherwise i will usually think very little of someone who just tries to make their opponent feel even worse after beating them. that's also a huge part of why i don't say gg, i think it's very silly there are all of those unwritten rules like you have to say gl hf , and then gg every game yet manner muling is fine.
TrAiDoS: A lot of people call StarCraft II a ”dead game”. What is your opinion about that? How do you see the future of our scene in terms of rising numbers in League of Legends, DotA 2 and Hearthstone?
ToD: Negativity is not something that started recently, sure Starcrafts numbers are not as high as they used to be but there are still plenty of ppl playing the game and watching it, and as long as we have passion for it the game will be far from "dead".
I'm not sure about the future, it depends on a lot of things i guess which are all out of my control and on which i have little to no info about. I'll work on doing my part by making my casts/games as entertaining as possible and i will keep on enjoying the game no matter what. whatever everyone does is up to them, i just know that for me SC2 is the best game by far and theres nothing else i would rather play.
TrAiDoS: What was the best and the worst experience you have ever made at an event?
ToD: Usually for me what matters the most is playing conditions, problem is there is no tournament that has perfect ones, but my favorite matches ever are those played on a stage, in a booth with an AC.
In terms of accomodation there are a lot of good experiences, NASL's sunday showdown was great, WCS also.
TrAiDoS: What is the weirdest thing you have ever signed?
ToD: A forearm ? xD
TrAiDoS: A lot of people know that you and RotterdaM are very good friends. Is there someone within the gaming scene you have a comparable friendship to?
ToD: Hmmm probably not, i used to be quite close with some Korean players from WC3 but after they went to army it became pretty hard to get any news from them, it's sick to think i'm stuck with this degenerate :DDD
TrAiDoS: What are you proud of?
ToD: My tournament wins & doing what i love.
TrAiDoS: Alright, we finished the more serious part of the interview now. Get ready for random questions. ;-)
What kind of super power would you like to have? What would you do with it and would you use your power for the good or evil?
ToD: being invisible would be sick, evil of course.
TrAiDoS: If you would write an autobiography what would you title it?
ToD: #YOLO : you can't spell Yoan Merlo without YOLO. Autobriography of a French douchebag
TrAiDoS: What song describes you best?
ToD: hmm tough one, i'll tell you what song i'm listening to as i'm writing this : Jose Gonzelez Step Out (The Chainsmokers Remix)
which i guess if you have seen the life of walter mitty you will remember, it's a beautiful song i think, of a movie that celebrates life and living pretty well so i guess that describes me decently !
TrAiDoS: What is your favorite word?
TrAiDoS: If you became president what is the first thing you would do?
ToD: fix this http://aupresident.c-net.fr/dette/salaires/Diapo_08.JPG , then turn my attention to big problems like unemployment
TrAiDoS: What was your worst date like?
ToD: The girl wasn't showing any interest in me when she had been previously the first time we met which confused me a lot and made me friendzone myself. FML
TrAiDoS: Which question in an interview do you like to get asked the most and which the least?
ToD: Just any interesting question that doesn't usually get asked, for example in this one it would be the one about the life as a progamer and it's shady side, or the one about the fact i don't call gg. and the least probably the one about my ID which i answered many times already :D
TrAiDoS: What was the best thing before sliced bread?
ToD: Croissants, wait was that after ?
TrAiDoS: What do you prefer: being caught in a room with 10 RotterdaMs or only playing against Swarm Hosts every single game on ladder and why?
ToD: Swarm hosts, cause then i would become sick vs it and i dont think i could handle 10 Rottis 1 degen of his kind is already enough for this world & me.
ToD: Shoutout to my team XMG ! Best gaming laptops ez ~ check out http://www.XMG.GG (yeah there is a gg unlike in one of my games ) and follow twitter.com/XMG_Notebooks.
If you wanna follow me best way is twitter.com/XMGToD , i also have a FB, Youtube & Instagram facebook.com/YoanMerlo http://www.youtube.com/Todstarcraft instagram.com/yoanmerlo peace
Big thanks to ToD for his time and effort.
As he already said, make sure to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram - it is worth it!
Please make sure to follow me on Twitter as well, I am @TrAiDoS_
Thank you guys for the read! :-)
Snute Interview - Behind The Nickname
Dayshi Interview - Behind The Nickname #2