In Conversation with Nicholas 'NiKo' Soldatos - IGL of Tempo Storm
Cover and thumbnail via: @Tempo Storm
When it comes to mobile titles, North America is not the region you'd think of as front runners. From shooter titles like PUBG Mobile and Free Fire to MOBAs like Mobile Legends and AOV, regions like SEA, South Asia, China and South America have led the way for a while now. However, while the NA mobile gaming community might be relatively small, it is one that is passionate and dedicated. And organizations like Tempo Storm, Spacestation Gaming and more recently, Cloud 9 have begun to realize the importance and the value of entering the mobile space. The PUBG Mobile Club Open or PMCO saw some of the best North American teams fight it out for a slot in the main event. While Tempo Storm may have fallen shy of the top spot, they did secure second place and with that a spot in the Prelims. Now they have long journey ahead of them, as they go up against some of the best teams in the world, twice, in a bid to prove their mettle in what is arguably the toughest PUBG Mobile tournament in the world. We caught up with their IGL, Nicholas Soldato aka NiKo to see what the the team's journey has been like and how they are preparing for the upcoming tournament.
Hey Niko, thanks for your time. Congratulations on your qualification to the Prelims of the PMCO Fall Championship. Please introduce yourself for our readers.
I am the in game leader for team Tempo Storm. Under Tempo, our team has won numerous events, including ESL One NY, and have now qualified for PMCO prelims after placing second in the North American finals. Previous teams include Ruthless Killers and Existence.
Tell us a bit about how you discovered PUBG Mobile and what got you interested in the esports scene in the first place.
I have been playing PUBG Mobile since the first day it was released on the App Store. After topping the leaderboards season 2-3 with some friends including memo, trey, quip, cGut proshots, and misake. We signed up for Wicked’s Div B league as team Existence. At the time, I didn’t use a mic, communicating via text instead.
How did you meet your teammates and what when and why did you decide to join the TS organization?
I knew Chica since before he was Tempo Storm. After signing with Tempo, thanks in large part to our manager Monica, that’s when I met spec, and later Rain. I decided to join Tempo Storm because the organization had a lot of the same goals in mind as myself, primarily winning and traveling to LAN events to compete.
How confident are you with your preparation for the Prelims stage and how are you and your team preparing for it? Have you had a chance to watch the qualifiers in the other regions and if so which teams stood out to you?
We have taken the time to review other regions in preparation for Malaysia. Considering this will be our first time on the global stage, we have taken a large amount of time to review game footage.
Image via @Twitter
What are your thoughts on the meta in North America and how it is different from that in SEA or South Asia?
I believe that the metas are similar between the regions of North America and South Asia. However, I believe that South Asia is a bit more aggressive.
What's the best and worst thing about being a professional gamer?
The best thing about being a professional gamer is being able to compete in large events and travel the world. The worst thing about being a professional gamer would have to be the amount of time needed to be the best in your region/the world. Sometimes it can be difficult to balance school and and gaming obligations.
What's the hardest thing about being an IGL in PUBG Mobile?
The hardest thing for me personally as an IGL might be different that most IGLs as my case is a bit unusual. Originally, I singed with Tempo as a fragger/entry, only later did I assume the position of IGL. This fact led to unique struggles that most established IGL’s never had to face. So for me personally, gaining the respect of my fellow teammates to lead them through thick and thin was the hardest challenge I faced.
What do you think was the reason that Chinese teams managed to dominate the Spring Championships, and why all the other regions lagged behind?
The reason why the Chinese teams did so well in the first split of PMCO is two fold in my opinion. Firstly, the player base is much larger in China, as more people play the game. Because of this, more talent to rises to the top. Secondly, Chinese teams experience far more LAN events than most other regions along with far greater competition.
If you could pick any 3 players from anywhere in the world to be in your team other than your current teammates, who would you choose and why?
My teammates are some the best players in the game. Honestly, there are not 3 other players I could put above them. The only player that I would like to compete with would have to be Beowulf from Cloud9. I would say Beo because having a team member that can make decisions effectively on their own, while also carrying their own weight fragging wise, is very important and I believe that Beo does well in this regard.
What aspect of playing on LAN are you looking forward to the most and what aspects are you dreading?
Playing on stage is always an invigorating experience. The only thing I am dreading is having to play on a new phone. Practically every LAN has a different phone. Staying consistent throughout the different hardware is very challenging.
Help us understand what sort of resources Tempo Storm has been providing the team and how it has made your life easier or more convenient?
Tempo has been the best organization one could ask for, and I don’t say that lightly. They have supplied us with RedBull, merch, streaming assistance, and anything else we could ask for. I am very excited to be repping Tempo in Malaysia.
If you could send one message to the rest of the teams who you are going to face, what would it be?
One message to the rest of the teams...I would say that the North American region has been the fastest growing region in terms of gunskill and strats. I think the longer we play and the more LAN events the top NA teams get under their belts, the better we become.