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New Expert - Marakar

By ~JoKeR~ - 6th May 2022 - 19:31 PM

After all the speculation, all the countless topics & posts contemplating who the next Expert would be, its finally time to honor a player of the latest generation of Zero Hour players, one who rose to prominence just recently. Today we are proud to announce that Marakar has become the newest recipient of the esteemed Expert Badge!

The Council of Experts have finally casted their votes!

On behalf of GameReplays, -Phoenix had an interview with him.

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GameReplays: Congratulations for becoming our new Expert Level Player. An improvement not many people have been expected 1 year ago. Tell us something about your Zero Hour career. You could be a Zero Hour Expert for mods by the way:D

Marakar: So I started playing Zero Hour in 2007 on a Dell Laptop shared between my brother and I. We would just play skirmish matches, generals challenges, and the main campaign missions and that was more than enough for me to enjoy the game at the time. Over the years, I'd look back at ZH and reminisce over it since it's one of the few games from my childhood that I hold dear to me a decade and half later. I'd have periods of time where I didn't feel like playing, but would instead watch gameplay of it on YouTube. I remembered later discovering the Generals Gentleman on YouTube and would watch ZH matches that stemmed from early 2005 to 2014 (one historical one that comes to mind is a Stealth/Demo game featuring Karro vs Radix on Wasteland Warlords). I basically binged their casts when I was bored and wanted to see ZH.

When I discovered that online play was still alive in 2015 from a Zero Hour Mod Stream showing the mod 'Rise of The Reds,' I immediately reinstalled ZH on a newly formatted computer and installed Rise of The Reds. At first I was really surprised with how I played, because I kind of just mimicked how people played from replay casts and did surprisingly good for the community, to which in about the span of a year I became the best player in the Rise of The Reds community (and still hold that title today). I discovered more mods like Contra along the way, and played those as well and also got to an expert-equivalent level of skill in those too, to which I'd say I've hold the title of best modded ZH player for quite a while now.

Later in 2015, I remember playing my first ZH game on Revora and was a bit demotivated at first. I got owned super hard by an airforce that B-2 rushed me as China on Wasteland Warlords, but when I essentially got the top spot in the modded community, I wanted to challenge myself to try and reach at least Pro level status within the span of 3 months. Although I didn't really actively play ZH again until 2020 during the pandemic when I was on break from university, when I got back into playing ZH online, I got noticeably good among many people who didn't really know my background in ZH Mods. I noticed that a lot of people threw the word "potential" when describing my skill, so I was kind of curious to see how far I could go with my skill level. It wasn't until July 2021 where I took my first tournament vs an expert (Logica in the Iranian Generals Tournament), and that moment was honestly very exhilarating for me since it was the motivation for me to keep trying further to see where i'd end up (I wasn't planning to stop anytime soon, but I am a competitive person at heart).

Time passed by, and when I was on my winter break from university in 2021, I played a lot of experts in a short period of time and had some very promising results. That's when the expert discussion I think took a more serious consideration among people and I felt personally that I too was very close to reaching that status, so I just kept doing my thing and here I am now being interviewed as the new expert 😄

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GameReplays: Marakar means Lion of the Baltic sea or something, right? Where did you get the name from?

Marakar: So Marakar does actually mean something along the lines of "Lion of the Arabian Sea" but that's not how I actually got my name!

My brother Khalid and I were very much into fantasy genre games growing up, and his alias he'd use online was Khalzar (combination of Khalid and -Zar was just a cool part added to the end to make it sound like a wizard name). I wanted to do something very similar as well, but it didn't roll off the tongue with my name (Amr), so I decided to do use a Viking Name generator (because I was very into Viking mythology at the time) and rolled the name 'Marakorr.' I basically swapped our the -korr for -kar and that's how I ended up with Marakar.

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GameReplays: How do you approach Zero Hour? The same way you are doing in your job in a hospital?

Marakar: I don't work in a hospital just yet haha, still in the midst of studying in Med School!

The way I approach Zero Hour is I treat it as a hobby at the end of the day. I think it's very easy to get fixated on the pride, money, and fame that comes with getting good at any competitive game. While it's not a bad thing to get those things per se, it sometimes leaves people disarrayed in such a way where they start losing sight of why they play the game in the first place. My desire for ZH comes from a place of fun at heart, anything extra that comes with it is a bonus but isn't a must for me personally. I like the competitive thrill I get playing tournaments, challenges, and casual sets, so it fuels my competitive drive as well.

It's interesting to actually compare working in a hospital to playing ZH however, because in some ways you do have some skill overlap if you look at it from a certain perspective. Resiliency, critical analysis, and being adaptable both in terms of work as well as just general life management is something that I have to do a lot in my medical journey, and some of those words come into fruition in how I conduct myself both in and outside the game.

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GameReplays: In your last interview you have been asked if you are about to become an Expert. Just a few moments later you are an Expert. How does that feel?

Marakar: It feels great because I did feel like I was in the expert boat for quite a while but a lot of people just haven't really come to that same conclusion. I would see a lot of people on livestreams of mine and other ZH players ranking me as among the Top 5 of current players. While it was very flattering for me personally to see people cheer me on like that, I think the main satisfaction of being an expert comes from the self-realization that I was expert level as opposed to actually getting the badge. With that said, it still is very nice to finally have the badge and be recognized as one in the official sense, because I do remember telling some Modded ZH friends that I reckon I could achieve expert status once people started recognizing me as a pro.

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GameReplays: The way you play is kind a different to other playstyles. Do you think you have an advantage due to your activity in Mods such as Contra?

Marakar: I think it's a matter of the fact that I played from a very different background compared to most ZH players, so I view things in a very different way compared to most people. The problem I think most people run into when playing a game is they try to just follow what's standard and don't really deviate beyond that. For me, my idea of standard play was quite different from most people's idea of standard, so I was already working from a different starting point from most people. As opposed to starting from scratch to learn the game, I tried builds that were more akin to what I was used to in Modded ZH and slowly molded those overtime such that while a lot of my gameplay is for the most part 'Standard,' there will be things that I do from time to time that people don't really see everyday; I do that as both a creative flair to mix-up strategy and also because I try to think of matchups more in terms of player playstyles when possible. I don't think most people for example think its a good idea to go Commanches/Vanilla Raptors vs GLA if you're not airforce, but I do it quite consistently and it provides a very niche but helpful function to my playstyle.

I think overall it's an advantage because I remembered talking to an expert about this once and we were discussing weaknesses of various experts and pro players. We described weaknesses with descriptions like micro/macro-focused, predictable, or weak in various matchups. When this expert went to describe how he'd prepare for me in tournament, his honest answer was "I don't know" simply because I didn't have a set playstyle and was very adaptable to play essentially anything (this is what I mean when I say being adaptable in my studies helps with ZH!) I'd say the absolute top players are the ones who are able to play out multiple playstyles on a variety of maps, whether they're suited for shorter or longer games, low/high eco games, or even gimmick maps that deviate far from the standard formula of most maps.

Adaptability is key to success.

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GameReplays: And a few short questions, because you already told us a lot of things in the past interview. Generals Gentleman or cncHD?

Marakar: Generals Gentleman for sure, since I grew up watching their content more and love their hype casting moments. I don't think I would've found as much hype in online play if it wasn't for their casts. cncHD is also a really great YouTuber in his own right though.

GameReplays: Fargo or Hawky?

Marakar: I really don't want to pick either of these, but I will say Fargo just because he offers some pretty competitive games when we do play (With Hawky I actually remember one of my first games on Revora in 2015 was my Stealth against his Tank on Homeland Rocks, and he outecoed me and lix spammed me calling me a noob (granted I had no clue of any online strategy in ZH a this point in time). It was nice to claim however a win versus him in a recent tournament as lighthearted revenge 😛 )

GameReplays: China against Tox or Nuke against Air?

Marakar: China/Tox by far, so much so where I don't mind this matchup nearly as much as people do. I honestly don't see it as awful just because on maps bigger than TD you are actually given quite a few options as China to beat out the tox (although they're very high risk oriented which is something I don't mind), but with Nuke/Air it just feels awful playing Nuke no matter how you play it out.

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GameReplays:
Thanks Mara for your time and really a big shoutout from us for your deserved badge.

Marakar:
Thanks guys. Peace <3

CW-Stats Playercard

Some Tournaments:


Christmas Special 6-1 vs SiZe
Not an Expert? Winner 7-5 against Basketball
Van Gogh Tournament Third Place
ReLax underplayed 1 vs 1 Map Tournament - First Place against Excal
Winner King of BO1 Tournament
1.04+ 1 vs 1 Single Elimination Tournament Winner
2 vs 2 CxN Megabonanza Finals

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And the part you actually want to see—special interview with AnT1_Pr0








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