Retired Dota pro now dominates Pokémon UNITE

Raunak “Crowley” Sen was nine years old when he started gaming. Back in the early 2000s, his brother invited him to a gaming cafe near his house for a gaming session to play Counter Strike 1.6. More than 15 years later, Crowley is now set to compete in his second international LAN event for Pokémon UNITE, the Asia Champions League in Malaysia.

So how did the player go from CS 1.6 to Dota 2 to now being one of the best in Pokémon UNITE? got a chance to talk with the player and find out.


Raunak “Crowley” Sen

From Counter-Strike to Dota and then esports, the journey to competitive gaming

In the early days of Crowley’s life as a gamer, he, unsurprisingly, played CS 1.6. Esports was a new thing at the time around the world and the shooter was one of the most popular games around the world – and in his gaming cafe.

However, Crowley had one more game he used to enjoy, and this was Warcraft III. The game had received a new mod around this time, Dota, which piqued Crowley’s interest.

“It [Dota] was really intriguing with the itemization and everything. You had to use your brains to win the game basically, whereas in CS at that level, you just needed raw skill.”

Crowley enjoyed the game as a casual gamer for a few years – balancing gaming while completing his schooling. Once Dota 2 got released is when esports really picked up for the game. While good at the MOBA game, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to become an esports player. Esports as a concept was just picking up around the world, and in a developing country like India, it didn’t have a lot of tournaments.

What really got him into esports ultimately, though, was peer pressure.

“Everyone told me that I am winning already, why don’t I do it professionally? So that’s how it went down.”

Then, in late 2016, Nodwin Gaming announced the ESL India Premiership – a yearly esports tournament that also included Dota 2. From then till 2020, Crowley won scores of tournaments representing organizations like Reckoning Esports, Team Signify, and even Global Esports.


Unfortunate retirement, and opening to new horizons

However, with the pandemic hitting, and the growth of mobile gaming in India, the future of Dota 2 esports wasn’t looking good. Crowley saw this coming and decided to retire from Dota, but chose to continue pursuing his passion in gaming and esports, albeit on a different platform.

“Covid happened and in general, there was nothing happening in Dota for over a year. The scene was dead in India also so it was a natural decision for me to move on. I didn’t know which game to move onto, but I could tell that mobile games are big in the future, so I decided to do some mobile gaming.”

Being a MOBA player, there weren’t a lot of options available for Crowley. The Indian government had banned the two most popular mobile MOBA esports, Arena of Valor and Mobile Legends, for data privacy concerns.

At the time, Riot’s upcoming mobile MOBA, Wild Rift, provided a glimmer of hope for Crowley. Being a MOBA, the learning curve wasn’t much for him. Additionally, Riot had demonstrated its ability to grow an esport from scratch with its tactical shooter, VALORANT.

While Crowley found an org for Wild Rift in Noble Esports, there was another problem. After repeated delays, there were no signs of the game releasing in India. In fact, even now in March 2023, Riot hasn’t released Wild Rift officially in the South Asian country.

So Crowley decided to switch games again.

“When Pokémon UNITE was coming in July 2021, there were only community tournaments happening in Wild Rift and they were just delaying the India release forever. So one of my friends who actually works in the esports scene told me a lot of good opportunities are going to come in Pokémon UNITE, might as well make the change.”

That’s exactly what Crowley did and it has paid off. He joined Revenant Esports in June 2022. Since then, the team has been dominating locally. They even won the Pokémon UNITE Championship Series – India to make it to the first-ever world championship for the game in London. Here, they faltered, finishing in last place. Crowley said that this was mostly due to a lack of LAN experience by the team who felt their nerves in key moments.

Now, though, Crowley and Revenant Esports are getting another chance to fight for international glory.

Pokémon UNITE Asia Champions League – a chance at redemption

Revenant esports Pokemon Unite

The team completed a dream comeback through the lower bracket of the India Qualifier. Now, they are headed to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the Asia Champions League. Here, they will face the top teams from across the continent, fighting for glory and a prize pool of $60,000.

This time, Crowley really fancies his team’s chances.

“Now, I think the players are more accustomed to LAN, they have played like three LANs in India already. This time, if we make it out of groups, I am confident of placing in the top two.”

You can watch Crowley live in action with Revenant Esports on the official Pokémon Asia English channel. The tournament will take place on March 18 and 19.

Read next: Pokemon Unite - Full Event Calendar for 2023

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