Interview

“The cosplayers have become more daring, choosing more unusual heroes to cosplay” - Meruna talks Dota cosplay, ESL One Hamburg and shares cosplay tips!

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ESL One Hamburg powered by Intel will be the first Dota 2 Major of the upcoming season, with eight top teams competing for a US$1,000,000 prize pool. Besides world-class plays, roaring fans and an amazing event atmosphere, ESL One Hamburg will once again welcome many talented cosplayers who will enrich the event with their crafts and also partake in our official cosplay competition.

Sign up for the cosplay competition here!

Ahead of the event, we chatted to Meruna - an ESL One cosplay veteran who:

  • was a cosplay judge at ESL One Frankfurt 2014
  • took third place in the cosplay competition at ESL One Frankfurt 2015
  • won the cosplay competition at ESL One Frankfurt 2016

This year, Meruna will be one of the cosplay judges at ESL One Hamburg.

ESL: Hello, Meruna! Nice to be chatting with you again. What have you been up to since ESL One Frankfurt 2016?

Meruna: Hi! I participated in some more cosplay competitions, placed here and there, judged some events, had photo shootings, travelled to other countries – the usual cosplay craziness. I also finally graduated university with an M.A. degree in Communication. Now I am just happy to finally have more time for cosplay again.

ESL: Let’s go back to our last Frankfurt event where you won first place in the cosplay competition - tell us about that experience.

Meruna: Since it was my first time winning a 1st place, I still remember it quite vividly. We were told the top 10 placements prior to the stage appearance, and more and more amazing cosplayers were being called forward. I remember turning to the Necrophos cosplayer (who eventually won second) and saying to her "I think you won". It was a crazy feeling when they announced me as first place, and I haven't ever been prouder! I also recall that the taxi driver was very confused when he loaded my cardboard cheque into the trunk.


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ESL: Tell us more about your Wraith King cosplay which wowed the judges and earned you first place.

Meruna: I decided on the Wraith King set “Relics of the Sundered King” by ChiZ because I loved the little rivets and details all over the armour. I had already finished the cosplay for an event prior to ESL which gave me some extra time to polish it up for the contest in Frankfurt. Big costumes tend to have issues the first time you wear them so I am glad I had a 'test run' at the other event. Wearing Wraith King is quite different from my usual, more feminine outfits, but it's actually pretty comfortable. I wore it to a few other contests after ESL and now it has retired and lives happily ever after in my basement.

ESL: How do you find the level of competition over the years in Frankfurt? Do you think the judges will have an even more difficult job this year in Hamburg?

Meruna: The Dota cosplay scene has definitely evolved over the years and it's very visible when you look at the previous competitions at ESL One Frankfurt. The cosplayers have become more daring, choosing more unusual heroes to cosplay and take creative approaches to adjust designs if necessary – e.g. by genderbending a hero. The quality of cosplay has been increasing every year and I am glad to have two judges by my side to make sure we make the best decision to crown this year's winner.


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ESL: Speaking of judging, you will be one of the judges at ESL One Hamburg. What are you most looking forward to?

Meruna: I love events for the aspect of meeting everyone, both old friends that live far away so you only ever see them at events, and new people and hearing their cosplay stories. Additionally, the atmosphere and appreciation for cosplay at ESL One has always been fantastic, and I can't wait to experience it again.

ESL: Are there any particular heroes you would love to see others cosplay?

Meruna: Every cosplay is an effort for those making it, whether they are newcomers or experienced cosplayers, so I appreciate all of them! Personally though, I like seeing creative solutions to complex parts such as wings and tails (Naga Siren has some beautiful sets) or bad-ass huge weapons

ESL: What are your top tips you could give to cosplayers coming to ESL One Hamburg?

Meruna: My first tip is probably old news, but try to not leave everything until the week before the event! There is less than three months left now, so make sure to plan out your crafting and sewing so it stays fun and doesn't become too stressful.

My second tip goes to new cosplayer or those that haven't been to ESL's Dota events before: Don't be afraid to ask others for help, either prior to or during the event! The community that has formed over the years is very supportive and inclusive, and will help you if you need it. There is always someone who will borrow you a hot glue gun or give you a pat on the back if you need it – we've all been there :).

And lastly, enjoy the event! Sometimes you can get caught up in the contest and focus too much on the competitive aspect of cosplay, but if you attend to have a good time, you will not be disappointed.


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ESL: Thanks so much for your time! The last words are yours.

Meruna: Thanks for having me! I wish all the cosplayers good luck with their preparation for the event and look forward to seeing you there.

Follow Meruna and her work over at her Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Be sure to join us at the first Dota 2 Major of the new season and head over to our ticket page where you can choose between regular Weekend Tickets, Weekend Plus, Premium or the exclusive Aegis Experience lounge. Remember to stay in touch via Twitter and Facebook to be the first to hear about our direct invites after TI7 and the post-TI shuffle.