Introducing our newest Legend: Mendokusaii
August 13 2019
We’d like to introduce you to Mendokusaii, the former record holder for the kill record in Apex Legends who wracked up an insane 36 kills in one match. He has built an incredible community over the years on twitch and we highly recommend you check him out, which you can do here. We’re very excited to help him continue to grow and help him flourish as a member of our family in Apex Legends. Mendo is a tremendously skilled player who has won numerous tournaments in Apex Legends and you can watch him play live tomorrow during Twitch Rivals.
I'm extremely excited to be working with Mendo. Having just known him for a short amount of time, I was able to instantly tell the perfect balance that he has when it comes to competitive play and creative aspects that he's going to bring. I'm looking forward to working with him moving forward and I know he is going to be an amazing and valuable player to Team Liquid - Nicholas Cleope - Apex Team Manager
Mendokusaii has incredible game sense and his competitive drive is second to none while at the same time he manages to be an incredibly entertaining streamer. We had the opportunity to sit down with Mendo and have an at length discussion about what got him started in esports, why he started playing Apex Legends, how he built his following, and why he decided to play under the Team Liquid banner.
Interview With Mendokusaii
Firstly, welcome to Team Liquid! You’ve had some time to go through the AWTF, what do you think of the facility?
It’s crazy. It’s an office that doesn’t feel like an office. It feels really welcoming, sort of like being at home, everyone is friendly and the layout is super cool. It doesn’t feel like you’re here to do corporate business, it feels really good to be here.
What do you think the difference would be between playing from home and playing at the training facility?
From home, I’ve already taken certain measures to make sure I have a separate place to play from, I have a different room. I have my office room that I play from and I feel like that’s what they’re trying to establish here too, having more of a work space where you can distance yourself from work when you go home so you aren’t always working. Being able to separate your work life and personal life is really important and providing a place to do that for staff and players is definitely healthy and I think it’s a really good thing to do.
What were your biggest motivations to switch from Overwatch to Apex Legends?
Overwatch is a game that I think everyone loved when they started playing. It was a game that I think people still have passion for and my passion for it is still there but the Overwatch that I still have passion for doesn’t exist anymore. The game has changed too much, it doesn’t really feel like an FPS anymore, it doesn’t feel like a shooter. It’s much slower paced. Then I started streaming Apex and it’s fast paced, it’s fun, and it’s got a lot of mobility. It’s just an enjoyable game. So I played Apex and my viewer base liked it and they enjoyed watching it and playing the game themselves.
Then I got lucky and got the world record for solo kills and my stream kind of blew up even more and when that happened I asked my community on discord, my long time subscribers, my mods, my youtube channel, my twitch chat, I asked everybody if I should stick with Overwatch or switch to Apex Legends and pretty much everybody said they want to see me play Apex Legends. I owe my entire life to my fan base and my community for giving me a shot and supporting me so I wanted to honor that they wanted to watch me play Apex. I committed full time to it and it worked out really well. Not that Overwatch wasn’t working out either but Apex is what my community wanted to see, I enjoyed both games and I took the jump, the risk to play a game I hadn’t played much before and it's been working out really well.
Over the last year, what are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned about being a content creator?
It’s definitely that you have to stay true to who you are, your persona and your personality but also stay true to the content you can create. The content I create might change but who I am and the content that I want to create for my community and that my community finds enjoyable, I always stay true to that. I always want to stay the same person, I don’t want to change as a person and suddenly become really passive or way more aggressive than I usually am. I just want to be myself so people can experience me experiencing a game. I definitely had to find a good balance of incorporating my community and my fan base into my content and doing it in a way that is enjoyable for everyone.
My chat is an active, large part of my stream, and I think that’s extremely fun because they like to play around and get involved. There’s a lot of banter, a lot of shit-talking for fun on both sides. I have my community figures that everyone knows, like there’s one guy who queues up and snipes me whenever I go afk. He always ends up in my game and shit talks me. I want to incorporate that kind of thing into my own content and create content that is fun for my community to watch and is fun for me to create. I don’t want to force myself to make something that is really not enjoyable to create or watch. It’s about finding a healthy balance and creating content that I enjoy creating and creating content that other people enjoy watching and not steering too heavily to either side.
I saw you say recently that you mostly use the Wingman because it’s better for the stream and viewers, instead of the Longbow.
Yeah, I’ve played a few games with the Longbow and it’s much easier to win but the play style, it’s not enjoyable to watch I don’t think. The content I create when I use that weapon… I play to win and there’s nothing wrong with that but it’s definitely more exciting to see me using a weapon that is used in close range and see me demonstrate movement or cool maneuvers or cool jumps or rotations and see me pushing teams with my teammates instead of sitting high ground with a sniper.
I can play with both weapons and I definitely have a higher success rate playing with a Longbow but it’s definitely more fun to watch me play with a Wingman. I can use both guns and play to win and have fun but I know people want to watch cool shit, they want to see me hit head shots or clutch a situation out with my teammates, and playing a certain way with the Longbow doesn’t cause those situations to happen in the game and the content would become somewhat stale and repetitive.
I still try to use the Longbow as if it was a Wingman every now and then but the Wingman is just simple to play with because you can put a Digital Threat on it and push really aggressively, I can play long range as well and play a little more passively and I have the opportunity to make it look more fun and cool and have it be more enjoyable for my community to watch.
You’ve said that you really enjoy playing against Pathfinder and Wraith, why is that?
I think those characters are cool because they promote situational utility. Where the utility is movement based, rotational based, like the ‘oh shit’ button for Wraith. It means that when you play those characters, the play styles you can adopt and you can adjust to when playing the character and other people are playing those characters too, means that you can play the character in so many different ways and it’s still viable. You can play Wraith and there are so many cool portals you can do, where if you’re playing Watson her abilities really only promote sitting in a building or fencing off high ground.
You can try but if you try to play her in a different way she just doesn’t have the same situational utility or usability as Pathfinder and Wraith. Their abilities just allow them to provide more support for their team in more situations and it’s more fun to play and more fun to watch. It's also more fun to play against because alternatively it’s like, “oh I’m playing against a Watson in a building” I’ll know exactly what to expect. But when I play against a Wraith or Pathfinder there are way more things that can happen and you have to adjust on the fly. It’s kind of the charm of Battle Royale games. BR games are random, you have to find your loot, and it really highlights how players have to make decisions on the fly depending on the situations they find themselves in and the gear they have and I think that’s really fun to watch and play.
I’ve heard you talk about this a bit, why do you think 2v2 and even to some degree solo play would better fit the current state of Apex Legends over the current 3 players per squad?
I think that right now a lot of the problems the game has with trio's can be fixed with weapon balancing and game balancing. I think duo’s would be a refreshing way of playing the game in a similar manner that is still different enough from trio's. Solo's are solo’s and people might just w key or just completely suicide or not play as methodical and some characters just wont be played in solo’s but duo's and trio's would be different enough where both of them could be competitive.
Even if it’s duo's in the future and trio's now and that changes up later, it’s still interesting because the way you would approach the game would be vastly different because you wouldn’t have both a Pathfinder and a Wraith to rely on when you are playing Watson. You would have to pick the characters against other duo's who would also have the same restrictions. With trio's it's kind of a thing where you can afford to pick a slightly bad character, because every character has its strengths but you kind of get forced into a perfect meta because of how you can have mobility, situational utility, and super strong one dimensional camping, where if you only have two people you would have to risk more on pushing for a play style. So if you have Watson and Wraith you won't have a Zipline for vertical utility but you will have a portal from Wraith, so you’ll have to make those decisions.
I have a bit of a controversial idea to promote Apex a very fun viewing esport and to incorporate class based picking it would be interested to have a game mode to try out competitively where every team that plays gets to see the progression of the circle before they pick their character. There would need to be circle changes for that to be viable of course but the idea is to know what you are expecting before a game and build a composition around that and the play style you want. You could go straight to the final circle or loot early and play a lot of rotation, you could see and craft a plan before the game and craft a plan around that. It would be cool to watch, I think it would be cool to play.
It’s not really traditional BR but I feel like it’s something that could really boost the viewer experience because you could see composition drafts and actual reasoning behind it instead of just ‘Oh I’m playing this character because it’s more situationally viable than this other character’ because we don’t know what to expect. Adding some consistency to a BR game has both upsides and downsides but I feel like you can do it in a good way where the upsides are worth way more than the downsides. In the current state though I think duo’s would be more natural and fun to play competitively because 1v3ing in the current state of the game is nearly impossible because of the time to kill, loot distribution, and the weapons.
It’s really really hard but 1v2 is much more likely. A good team in a 2v1 would never lose but there’s room for the 1 to make plays but I don’t think that will ever happen right now in 3v3’s because there’s just too many players. It becomes a game of ‘I dealt damage first so we have the upper hand while he’s healing’ and you can kind of zerg into teams, where in a 1v2 and your teammate is healing in a corner, you can still deal enough damage to kill two players by yourself, way more likely than if 3 players are rushing at you.
That also goes into what you’ve been saying about how they’ve been nerfing the stronger weapons and not giving as many buffs to the ones that are weaker.
Yeah, I’ve been talking about that a lot where the game was released and people loved it but instead of adding things to the game or making things stronger, they kept nerfing weapons or taking away mechanics. That’s game philosophy though and who knows what the right thing to do is but I strongly believe that if something is strong instead of completely nerfing it you should just nerf it a little bit and buff other things to be stronger because it makes it more fun. You have to make sure things aren’t too strong but also that they aren’t too weak. Especially when people like your game at the start I think it’s risky to take away from the game that people like and instead just be adding on to that and stir things up by adding things rather than removing them.
There’s a great mantra that comes from Dota which essentially comes down to “If everything is broken, nothing is broken”. Obviously you don’t want to take things to extremes but that sort of sounds like what you’re getting at.
Yeah exactly, and for a BR that isn’t hyper competitive that’s definitely more fun to watch and play as well.
How do you balance talking to your chat and playing the game without letting one distract you from the other?
It’s funny because you assume I have a perfect balance but I definitely don’t. I will admit I have definitely thrown games by reading chat too much and getting surprised. I think I’m very fast at reading chat and because I’ve been doing it for so long I can take a glance at chat and see a conversation or a question and not necessarily answer the question then but save it for later to be able to direct the chat conversation in an interesting way when I have more time to talk about something. Sometimes it’s just you know, my chat are being dumbasses and I think it’s really fun and I want to play along and I give them too much attention and then I die in the game. *laughs*
Sometimes I really want to focus and I don’t really talk to my chat but I’m really lucky and regardless of what I’m doing they will still be just as active and entertain each other and make jokes about me when I’m not looking at chat and have fun even when I’m not giving them constant attention. They’ve made the environment that they want to be in and they enjoy it, I enjoy it, and I can either pay full attention, pay no attention, or glance back and forth and I know it will be fine regardless of what I’m doing.
How did you grow your channel to promote that kind of thing?
So with Apex I think I got a lot of new viewers that hadn’t experienced me or my personality before and it’s really easy to see someone play a game for 5 minutes and assume that’s the type of person they are. When I started growing and when I noticed a significant growth in the channel for Apex specifically I played the game for a while and then made the conscious decision of really showing the type of community I want to have and trying to build that up by promoting banter. Like if people want to say stupid shit about me I think that’s fun and I want to promote that, people can say whatever they want.
So I made sure that I advertise my chat rules being that you don’t talk shit about anyone but me. You don’t be an ass to anyone in the chat except me because I know I can handle it and I know it’s not real toxicity but I want a community that can handle that sort of atmosphere without flaming each other or being rude to each other. I want to avoid racism, sexism, anything controversial, I don’t want any of that stupid stuff in my chat. I want a fun and engaging environment where people can have fun and I made sure that I pushed that in my stream and in my chat in a very direct way to advertise that if you come here you can expect a lot of banter. I started calling my subscribers brain dead because you know, why would you sub to this stupid Swede playing a BR game made for children. People really enjoyed that and then it becomes a thing, people think it’s fun so you push a bit harder on it and then people are like ‘yeah I’m a Mendo sub, I’m definitely brain dead, I’ve been losing IQ just watching this guy’ and then they’re like ‘oh yeah but you’re not as dumb as me!’ and it’s just a fun environment that I really consciously worked on building. I can’t take credit for it because I just got really lucky to have people that enjoy that too. They enjoy watching, they enjoy the chat, they enjoy the discord.
I have the same community figured from way back in Overwatch when I did the same stuff still. I just have to make sure I advertise myself on my stream in a way where people can’t join my stream and expect the most PC, super friendly, kid friendly stream. I kept getting messages asking ‘Why do you swear so much? You could have kids watching’. And I said well they probably shouldn’t be watching me, I have the mature filter on and I think their parents should probably check what they’re watching.
I initially got into streaming from a very young age because it was my deep passion. I don’t do it for money, or maximizing my revenue or anything, I do it because I love it and everything I say and do is authentic. Sometimes you know I lose a game, or a fight that I wanted to win and I’ll say that I’m sad and it’s because I’m actually sad because I really wanted to win it. I want my community to understand that I can handle banter, I can handle toxicity and I love that environment but I’m still just me, I do this because I have fun and it’s what I want to do and I love streaming. I complain about the game as much as I want but I still love this game and just don’t like certain aspects of it.
I can just be myself on stream and that’s what people really enjoy I think and I got fortunate enough to build that environment as I was getting into Apex into a position where I’m extremely happy with it and most people who watch are too. There are of course people who don’t like watching me and I totally understand that. There’s no blame on you if you don’t like very energetic banter, like calling your supporters brain dead, if you don’t like that you don’t like that and it’s totally fine but that’s the stuff I enjoy and those are the viewers I want with me because a lot of the time when streaming gets boring, streaming a game can get boring. Streaming a game when chat is really hilarious on its own makes everything way more fun and way easier because they entertain me while I entertain them too and it’s a really good environment for me to stream in.
I saw this come up on one of your recent streams and thought it was really funny. So I figured I’d ask you the same question. Do you think twitch chat could raise a dog?
*laughs* I remember talking about that. See I think if my twitch chat…. They probably couldn’t because they would probably treat the dog the same way they treat me and that wouldn’t be very good. The dog probably wouldn’t think it’s fun but then again my dog is very similar to my twitch chat in ways where he’s pretty smart but he’s so stupid that you laugh at him and he just does stupid shit and he has such a strong personality. Maybe they actually could. Maybe twitch chat could raise a dog as long as someone is responsible to feed it. Chip in 5 a month to actually afford his food, just like they feed me for 5 a month.
How do you turn off from all this and relax?
So, it’s really weird. Growing up having your main hobby and dream and everything be playing video games. Growing up I was really depressed. My story is that I was super depressed at a really young age, for no real reason, nothing crazy happened but I was just depressed, I had depression. I had a good life but uh I played CS growing up and I told my dad this new game Overwatch is amazing and I think I’m really good to go pro, I practice so hard and my teammates say I’m really good and I’m really young and I think I learn and I can get better. And he told me ok you can take one year off school to pursue this, and you know he saved me at that point honestly, and then the day comes when he’s supposed to go sign the papers to let me take a year off and he comes home and he says you didn’t take a year off, you dropped out of high school. And I was like wait I thought I was just taking a year off?
He said, “I don’t want you to have a time frame on pursuing your dream, I never want you to look back at this time of your life and think about what could have been, and I don’t want to be that restriction in that potential future. I want you to pursue this with everything you have and I will support you for as long as I can support you, and you do this until you think you can’t do it anymore or until you make it.”
My only hobby you know was playing games, and I grinded and grinded and I still do but as you grow older and as it becomes a business, building a brand, it’s a job I do, and even though I still love it I need ways to turn off and take time off instead of always thinking ‘I could be streaming right now’ or ‘I could be doing something else right now’ I still need personal space as well. No matter how authentic and honest I am with my stream you can never really compare that to just sitting down on the couch and chilling or playing board games with your friends. I don’t go out a lot but I go out and eat dinner with my girlfriend and my friends.
Lately what we’ve been doing that has really helped is, I had to find something that I wanted to do that isn’t just streaming and playing these games because you can’t do it constantly without crashing or losing passion. It’s just burnout, average burnout, especially when you’re playing professionally too you have to balance it in a pretty good way. So we started playing Magic the Gathering and board games, and Town of Salem, and those other social deceit games. That’s something I never tried growing up because I was a kid shut in his room playing video games every day so I didn’t have many friends to do it with.
I still love gaming and still do but I had to learn to pace myself more, because during my Overwatch days I used to grind 18 hours a day for months and surprise surprise I kind of collapsed and started sleeping a lot because I didn’t sleep enough. Now it’s not just about playing games anymore, it’s about building a brand, it’s doing sponsorship stuff, representing other brands, and you have to have personal time as well where you don’t feel like ‘oh I need to be streaming right now’ because you need time for yourself. So I play board games now and watch shows, anime specifically obviously, I’m a huge weeb, but board games, card games, Magic the Gathering, that type of stuff I’ve started doing recently and it’s a ton of fun.
What separated Team Liquid from the other orgs for you?
It was really close honestly. Liquid, obviously, I’m contractually obliged to say they are the best org in the world *laughs*, but the offers I had, the people I spoke to, the org owners and team owners, I felt honored to be put in a position, to have an opportunity to represent everyone who gave me an offer. They are all great orgs and great owners and it was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life.
It was so close, there was a lot of back and forth and it was really hard to decide, but talking to Steve about how I was looking for a long time home really helped me make up my mind, that’s what I was looking for. I wasn’t looking for just representing a specific sponsor, or advantages in a contract, I was looking for a long term home. Not just for a year or a bit more, or even after my contract expires, I want a place where I can represent a brand that is looking out for me while I’m doing my thing, and I’m looking for a good relationship on both sides. I’m looking for a home where I can create my content and I can have support for that, and also help wherever I’m needed. After talking to Steve, well Steve and his perfect media training my god, he managed to really convince me that Liquid is exactly what I’m looking for. It was a tough decision, a lot of circumstances, a lot of back and forth but it was definitely talking to Steve, and also talking to six different Liquid players, both current and prior, and hearing nothing but perfect words, even when I talked to them behind the scenes. It definitely pushed me to make the right decision which was coming here.
Steve personally played a huge part, he wrote long long messages to me, books really, on Discord and answered any questions I had whenever he was awake. He’d send me answers to my questions and we would have conversations and discussions about different things. I could pick his brain on everything from running Team Liquid, to what Team Liquid means to him, and knowing how much he cares and the people who work here and everything that Liquid can offer, I know this is where I want to be for the future.