Road to Istanbul 2022 – Get to know Karenlyl

Road to Istanbul 2022 – Get to know Karenlyl

9 min read | 7 Dec 2022

As the 2022 Global Esports Games in Istanbul are fast approaching, we sat down with some of the players representing Team Great Britain to learn about their journey in esports so far. 

Karen ‘Karenlyl’ Liu from the Women’s Dota 2 team works as a broadcast journalist for Greatest Hits Yorkshire Coast by day, but took her first steps into competitive gaming earlier this year after being selected to represent England in the 2022 Commonwealth Esports Championships.

From here, she was able to blossom in the Dota 2 scene, and has worked with the rest of the Esports England squad to qualify for the Global Esports Games in Istanbul.

We asked Karen an assortment of questions about her time in esports as well as Dota 2 mechanics, and here are her responses.

Q – How does it feel to be representing Team GB?

“It’s a massive privilege to be representing Team GB, as it’s not just for one nation, it’s for Great Britain. There is pressure, but I think because I’ve experienced it already as part of Team England, it should be fun.”

Q – What has been your biggest highlight of your career so far?

“Probably getting Silver at the Commonwealth Esports Championships. It was my first, sort of, competitive experience because I hadn’t played on a stage before, but just the whole experience in general was something I will never forget. And, the fact that we managed to get a medal to actually show for it, and going beyond our expectations was insane.”

Q – What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into esports?

“If you’re wanting to take it seriously and get money out of it then I think you need to mentally prepare yourself to put in the hard work for it. Because a lot of us, especially for the Women’s team, have full time jobs, it’s sort of hard to organise time to practise with all five of us, and I know that a lot of pro players have dropped out of education to focus on their careers.

“So, I think it’s something that you need to seriously think about doing, and when you do it, just enjoy yourself! Hopefully you can start small and kind of get to the point that you want to and get onto a pro team.” 

Q – What’s your best advice for someone new to Dota 2?

“It’s a big learning curve, so I would probably say do the tutorial, and then start off with a few bot matches, randoming heroes trying to see which sort of hero that you like.

“Try and have four or five heroes maybe in each position that you like, and then just gradually go from like bot matches to playing normal PUBS (Public games). Everyone who is in the same game as you, apart from bots, are the same skill as you, so we all start from somewhere. Just don’t be disheartened if you lose, because it is just all a learning curve.”

Q – How can someone improve their gamesense in Dota 2?

“I would say just by playing. It’s literally practise makes perfect, and I’ve still got so much to learn myself and I’ve just hit 10k hours” Just keep playing, and you’ll just eventually pick up all of these little mechanics or little things you couldn’t spot before, and then you realise ‘oh yeah this is what you do’ and ‘this is the right move or the wrong move’.” 

Q – Who do you main, and how can someone get better at them?

“So my main hero in Dota is Witch Doctor, I’ve got over a thousand games on him, and I just enjoy him! One of the main things is just finding a hero that you enjoy, and I think the reason that I have so many games on him is because I enjoy playing Witch Doctor – you can solo carry with Maledict, the Cask, and the ult, and it’s just really fun. 

“In terms of Position 4, which is what I’m playing for Team GB, I would probably say my main is Hoodwink, and again, she’s really fun to play and she can also solo enemy heroes, but I don’t have 1k games on her like I do with Witch Doctor!” 

Q – Who is the hardest character to play in Dota 2?

“I would probably say it’s either a micro hero, or Invoker, because for Invoker you need to learn all of his spells and do it from muscle memory and know what spell to use at a certain point in the team fight.

“On micro, you have got to sift through all of your other units, and you have just got to get the hang of it, so you just have to keep playing to get that right. I am awful at micro and Invoker, but I mean I could learn how to play them but I don’t think I’m ready for that yet even though I have a lot of hours in the game – I’ll just stick to what I know I think!” 

Q – What is the best game you have ever played?

“The best game I’ve ever played is probably Team Fortress 2. When I first started playing on PC, I spent so many hours playing TF2 that I think it’s just one of those games that brings me back with nostalgia, and I did enjoy it before I discovered Dota.”

Q – What is the worst game you’ve ever played?

“Payday 2 but that’s just because I played it for a little bit and I did find it fun, but I uninstalled it quite quickly because it gave me motion sickness. It literally knocked me out for like a day!”

Q – What is your favourite gaming snack?

“It’s currently dried mango. I absolutely love dried mango, but usually I would have a cup of tea and a biscuit. It’s just a mix, I like any sort of snack really.”

Q – If you could become any character from Dota 2, who would you be?

“I would probably be one who has an ability to teleport, so thinking of Dota, I would probably say Nature’s Prophet because he can teleport anywhere, and that would just save me a lot of time driving and travelling places when I could instantly TP there.”

Want to stay updated on all of the Global Esports Games 2022 content? Make sure to check out the GEG Homepage to learn more about the teams, players, and fixtures taking place at the event in Istanbul. 

You can also sign up to the free British Esports weekly newsletter to follow the journey of Team Great Britain as they head to Istanbul on the 14th December 2022 to compete.

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