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Player interview: Marakar

By -NickName - 10th October 2021 - 18:35 PM

Player interview - Marakar



Hello Comrades!

Another Player of the Quarter has ended, and we have another interview with someone who is knocking on the door of the ZH experts and pro's: Marakar.

In the fourth quarter of 2020, Marakar shared spot #13. The quarter of that, he almost made it into the top 3 (he finished as fourth). In the second quarter he got out of the top 20, and he found himself on spot #23. The latest quarter, Marakar is back in the top of the list. He finished as 7th in the Player of the Quarter. You can check out the complete list here.

Marakar is a player who has shown a steady increase in his performances and skill level. You can see him in action more and more. He participates more in challenges, gets further in tournaments. A great moment to have an interview with the man, so we all learn more about him.

On behalf of GameReplays, Nick Pine had an interview with Marakar which can be read below. Have fun!

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GameReplays: Hello Marakar. Where are you from? How old are you? Do you work/study?

Marakar: I am from Egypt, I am 21 years old, and am currently studying my last year of pre-medical in preparation for medicine!

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GameReplays: When did you start playing ZH?

Marakar: The first time I played Zero Hour itself was around 2007 when my brother introduced me to the game on our shared laptop at the time. I would only play Skirmish games or the Campaign/Generals Challenges, but I had a lot of fun playing those so I would play them over and over again.

In 2015 I discovered that an online community existed for Zero Hour through seeing a Rise of The Reds Livestream (a mod for Zero Hour) and then shortly after discovering that there are also people who play on Zero Hour at that point in time. I played a few games of Zero Hour on revora and then played a bunch of Modded Zero Hour. Once October 2020 came around, I was interested to spam a load of Zero Hour and see how far I could go with the competition around so I just started spamming clanwars, tournaments, and player challenges and here we are!

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GameReplays: Are there more RTS games you play or did play?

Marakar: I played some other RTS games here and there though I think Zero Hour is by far the one I play the most. I used to play a lot of Rise of Nations and was interested to try and get good at that, though I got burnt out from the game. I like watching Age of Empires 2 tournament games but not have not played much of it, and was interested to try out Starcraft 2 but I haven't gotten around to it.

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GameReplays: Besides those games, what games do you also like to play?

Marakar: Before I spammed RTS, I used to be really big on Team Fortress 2 and played a bit of competitive highlander in that. Nowadays, I'd say I mainly play RTS but I do enjoy some casual card games with friends or Civilization VI.

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GameReplays: You are a strategy specialist for the Contra mod and are quite known in the world of the mods. What do you like so much about the Contra mod?

Marakar: I'm personally very captivated by the hard counter system Contra has in place since it makes a lot of seemingly miniscule movements where you get an extra bullet shot/rpg shot in Zero Hour for example become very pronounced. It carved out a whole new game in my eyes despite being built on the same engine and having many similar units to Zero Hour, but I'd say the big 3 things that stood out to me for Contra was the unique gameplay, the new units and factions that have very distinct playstyles, and the Contra team is very enjoyable to play with both internally and externally!

On the gameplay specifically, Contra's gameplay can range from being extremely aggressive early on if a player decides to go for an all-in build with some kind of turret rush to very macro-esque, and I have been on both ends of the spectrums for these playstyles so there is a lot of ways to mix up your play in Contra and not feel like its too repetitive.

Also can't forget the fun with Super Units. They're awesome and the Nuke General one is my favorite one to play with (since it also says my name!)

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GameReplays: What is better in terms of game play / balance: Zero Hour or Contra?

Marakar: When I was starting to spam Zero Hour I would definitely say Contra, and I think my answer hasn't changed though the degree of imbalance of Zero Hour I feel like can be counteracted a lot by just playing really well, since Zero Hour's skill capacity is incredibly high in my eyes and has arguably not even been reached yet. Excal has done an amazing job highlighting how that skill level can be raised over the past couple months, but I still think there are some improvements that can be made to everyone's play and hopefully I can introduce some of those novel changes to the metagame whenever I try to adapt some Modded strategy play into Zero Hour.

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GameReplays: We see you more often in challenges, you team up with some experts. Who do you like to play the most with?

Marakar: I have to split this between the calls and the gameplay itself because the calls are a whole other side of fun for me personally. In terms of gameplay, I really liked playing with Vivid, Excal, Logica, and Size since they're very well versed in general play and playing with some of the top on a voice call is pretty awesome. I do also enjoy playing with people outside of the expert circle like with PeaceLover (both 1v1s and teamgames) and Reznov (particularly in 1v1s). I played once with Rage in a team game challenge and I really enjoyed playing with him considering I used to watch a bunch of his games back when I was just a viewer watching Zero Hour on the GeneralsGentlemen on YouTube.

As for the calls...I think the voice calls with Excal are pretty funny and there's plenty of VODs out there of me speaking very fast on call (and not getting a single word) with Excal so we usually enjoy our time on those calls too. Definitely think I enjoy playing with Excal the most.

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GameReplays: What do you think is your current skill level? Do you see yourself as a high pro?

Marakar: I'd consider myself a high pro (maybe lower than that at this point in time since I'm not spamming as much as I used to).

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GameReplays: You lost 6-1 vs Dominator in Strangelands IV, lost 4-2 in the Van Gogh Tournament vs Excal, 3-0 vs Logica in the tank mirror tournament, lost 7-3 vs Vivid recently in the CL. What expert player you had the hardest time against? If you look back to a year ago, do you think you have improved?

Marakar: I think I improved big time especially considering a lot of these losses I can pinpoint my own mistakes and figure out where I went wrong, whereas before I would just kind of lose and not even know what was going on in the game. If I compared how I played in October 1 year ago to how I play now, I'd say I improved a ton for sure.

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GameReplays: What is your biggest achievement in ZH?

Marakar: Beating an expert in a set in tournament for sure. Beating Logica (and then losing in the Loser's final) gave me a lot of personal motivation to keep getting better considering I would've never expected to win that initial set vs him simply because I never beat an expert in a tournament set.

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GameReplays: Do you think you will get the expert badge? Is this a goal in Zero Hour for you?

Marakar: I think I could definitely reach for it at some point, although it will take a good amount of effort to get there. I think I have the skill to prove it but when I want to prove depends on whether I can manage my other obligations first prior Zero Hour.

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GameReplays: Why did you pick the name Marakar?

Marakar: My brother made his online alias Khalzar (after his name Khalid) and I wanted to try to make a name similar with the -Ar part when I was younger. I just used a random viking name generator since I was into vikings at the time, had some name generate something like "Marakor" and then just swapped it to Marakar.

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GameReplays: What is your favourite army, and matchup?

Marakar: Favorite army has to be vGLA and Infantry. Love vGLA since they can basically do any playstyle and are pretty consistent across the board for matchups (and I love having access to saboteurs in general). Infantry is basically like a sledgehammer in terms of how you play with them since you just bash through the enemy with sheer rocket spam whether its on foot, through a helix, or an outpost. They also got the usual cool China perks too like Infernos, Nuke Cannons, and Migs.

Favorite matchup is by far any GLA mirror, to the point where my GLA mirror is definitely competitive with other experts i'd say. Each GLA Mirror also has its own different quirks whether its Tox Tunnels being hard breakthrough points in Tox Mirror or the sneaky nature of Stealth Tunnels in Stealth Mirrors. Out of all GLA mirrors I love Stealth Mirrors.

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GameReplays: Is there a tournament you like to see in the future? This can be anything. FFA, 2vs2vs2, 1vs1, team games, or even a tournament with the Contra Mod.

Marakar: I'd love to see a tournament in the future where a bunch of experts and pros from Zero Hour play against each other in Contra (without anyone else joining who's already played the mod a significant amount) just to see how they learn the strategies along the way and how they adapt to that sort of new metagame environment. It would be something i'd honestly sponsor as well since I reckon it could make for a good watch.

In terms of ZH Tournaments, I'll probably just be doing my thing in the usual 1v1 tournaments and the occasional teamgame tournaments as per usual business.

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GameReplays: You are participating in the 'Not an expert, not a problem' tournament. How good are your chances here?

Marakar: Given the top players in this tournament, I think I definitely have a good shot in my own right if I polish up my play in preparation so i'm not completely rusty.

Though I do think there are some players who could perform really well that you gotta look out for.

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GameReplays: SPL, Roll, Peace Lover, Reznov, those can be seen as favourite for winning said tournament. Who do you think has the best chance?

Marakar: I think out of those listed players, it's very tough to make a call because I know how all but SPL plays and i've seen SPL play extremely well when in form. PeaceLover and Reznov also play extremely well when on form, but I think out of the 4 names i'd say it's between PeaceLover and SPL, and i'm leaning more towards PeaceLover.

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GameReplays: Speaking of Roll, who do you think is the best active Arab player of the moment?

Marakar: Best Active Arab player at the moment is probably divided between me and PeaceLover. I wish I got to play with Google a bit prior his hiatus just to get a feel of his level of play too, but in terms of current activity PeaceLover is probably better than me at this point. If I get rid of my rust though, it may be a different story (albeit a close call still nonetheless). If Google was active, I think he would probably be the best still though.

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GameReplays: Thanks for the interview. Something else you want to add or share?

Marakar: Big shoutout to the community for keeping a childhood classic alive for over a decade.
Pretty awesome to be playing among the pros and experts that I used to just observe from casts and streams from way back in the day.





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