Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka has had an illustrious esports career, including the fact that he has won back-to-back The International Dota 2 world championships with OG.

Winning TI8 and TI9 netted the 30-year-old Finnish player over US$5 million. However, despite the achievement of winning Dota 2’s most prestigious award twice, JerAx has said that his time playing at The Manila Major in 2016 was the peak of his career.

The highly accomplished Dota 2 pro came out of retirement and joined Evil Geniuses right before the start of DPC 2021-22 DPC season. Under the EG banner, JerAx qualified for the ESL One Stockholm Major as he made his return to the international stage.

JerAx reminisces about his time playing at The Manila Major in 2016 with Team Liquid

SirActionSlacks interviews Team Liquid JerAx
Credit: PGL

Evil Geniuses were ultimately eliminated from the Stockholm Major after the team finished with a 2-10 record in the group stage. While at the tournament venue, JerAx joined John “johnxfire” Nathan Fernandez and Mike “MLPDotA” Le Phoenix on their Dota 2 podcast where he shared some highlights from his esports career.

When asked by Filipino commentator johnxfire what his favorite memory was from Southeast Asia, JerAx said that The Manila Major stood out to him the most.

“Manila Major was very exciting times,” he said. “I would say it was the good times of Majors. Not to flame the nowadays ones. That was definitely the peak of my career experience, I would say.”

JerAx, who was playing for Team Liquid in 2016, said that The Manila Major had a huge step up in regards to tournament venue accommodations and how the players were treated at the event.

“The scene started to become more professional,” he said. “It was very noticeable, and the Filipino fans are just crazy.”

Seven years since The Manila Major, JerAx still remembers how loud and passionate the Filipino fans were at the event which was held at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

“What was most memorable were the times when you would come on to the stage, they were just screaming,” he said. “They didn’t stop screaming.”

Before he even made it to the main stage of the event, Filipino fans would already be cheering for the teams and players as they arrived at the venue.

Capitalist and Nahaz say The Manila Major was the best esports event they've attended
Credit: Capitalist and Nahaz

Dota 2 host Alan “Nahaz” Bester and Austin “Cap” Walsh, who worked the event, has said that The Manila Major was the best tournament they’ve been a part of. Valve hosting another Dota 2 event in the Philippines would certainly be an event to remember.

After ESL One Stockholm Major, Evil Geniuses and JerAx decided to mutually part ways. This means the two-time TI champion will not be at The International 2022 since Valve announced there will be no open qualifiers this year.

JerAx has yet to announce his future plans on joining another roster or if he is going back to retirement. We do look forward to seeing what he does next.

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