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Interview with Ankit “V3nom” Panth – Red Bull Athlete and Pro Gamer

[paragraph] Red Bull R1V1R Runes Finals, India Edition recently concluded in HICC Hyderabad, where we interacted with an Ace Pro Gamer of the country who needs no introduction Ankit “V3nom” Panth…[/paragraph]
Q1) How did you get into professional gaming? And how things have changed over the past couple of years for eSports and Pro gaming in India?
Ankit: I was a random gaming cafe player. Slowly I got better at playing counter strike and people started calling me cafe’s best player. One day Aakash ‘RiX’ More who is also my current teammate came to the cafe where I played. It was him who gave me a chance as a substitute in his team called wolf. We played a couple of tournaments together and became good friends. In 2008 I told him let’s make a new team because the others were not that serious about gaming. That’s how Brutality was formed. Earlier tournaments didn’t have big cash prizes. We used to get mousepads and CDs as gifts. Also there were no sponsorships. Today things have changed. The prize pools have increased, more teams have come into the picture, competition has got tougher and sponsorships have jumped in. This is just the beginning. We still have a long way to go but it’s a good start I would say.
Q. What is the best way, according to you, for a player to get better at CS: GO?
Ankit: The first thing is you need to get better with weapons in the game. Practise your favourite weapons with bots and deathmatch. It will help you understand the recoil of weapons. Also learn official maps which are played in tournaments. Watch international tournaments, your favourite player pov’s, analyse your own matches… these things will definitely help you improve in CS:GO.
Ankit “V3nom” Panth,( Red Bull Athlete and Pro Gamer
Ankit “V3nom” Panth,( Red Bull Athlete and Pro Gamer
Q. What is your opinion on Indian gamer’s inclination towards mobile gaming? And do you think it will benefit PC gaming in the future?
Ankit: The only reason I see is easy accessibility. Every parent is going to buy their child a phone because they want to know where their kids are all the time out of concern. One more thing would be because they are affordable. Smartphones these days can be managed pretty easily I feel. I have not seen a kid without a smartphone, to be honest. On the other hand, when it comes to pc, the budget gets increased massively. That’s one of the reasons buying a PC takes time and planning. I remember even I had to save a lot and cry for months to convince my parents to buy me a PC. Eventually, I feel mobile gamers will shift to pc because the options for mobile games are still very limited. When it comes to pc you have multiple choices. But again it’s a good thing that mobile gaming generated so much hype. It is only going to benefit gaming in India and that’s what I am happy about.
Q. Best moment you would like to share in the journey of your professional gaming career?
Ankit: There are so many moments that I want to share. Mainly 5 of these have been life-changing for me. When we won the Chitkara tournament in 2010 and got 1 lac cash. That was the time when everybody started noticing us. In 2018 I became the brand ambassador of Alienware. This announcement brought a sense of assurance to my family. This year I became the brand ambassador of Intel and a Red Bull athlete. Last but not least, my recent BBC World interview which happened last month. These announcements have got a lot of hope for Indian Esports and also to my family.
Q. What are your plans for Team Brutality in the future?
Ankit: We plan to expand into other genres of games, make academy teams but we are still waiting to see how the scene progresses. There have been some investors who are looking to invest in us but we have asked for some more time. We just don’t want to jump into things without proper planning.
Q. Any particular team or player you would like to play against?
Ankit: I would love to play against pashabiceps, fallen, get right or forest.
Q. What are your current playing and streaming setups?
Ankit: My gaming setup is powered by Intel i9 processor, Corsair 680x cabinet (white), 64 gb of Corsair Vengeance pro RGB memory (white), Zotac 2080 AMP graphic card, Corsair h100i (white) RGB liquid cooler, Corsair 1920 gb M.2 ssd, Power supply – Corsair RM1000x,  Monitor – Alienware 25, 240 hertz, Headsets are Corsair K70 RGB wireless and Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless, Keyboard is Corsair K70 RGB special edition (white), Corsair T2 gaming chair, Elgato HD60 Pro capture card and Aorus x299 Master motherboard.

My streaming streaming setup has Intel i7, Corsair 500D obsidian cabinet, 64 gb of Corsair Vengeance memory, Zotac 1080ti AMP graphic card, Corsair h115i RGB liquid cooler, Corsair 960 gb ssd, Corsair RM750 watts power supply, Monitor – Dell 27 inch 144 hertz, Keyboard – Corsair K95 rgb, Mouse – Corsair Dark Core Wireless, Elgato Green Screen, Elgato Key Light, Elgato Cam Link 4K and Elgato Stream Deck which helps me switch my streaming scenes smoothly by just pressing a button on the Stream Deck when I am live on YouTube.

Q. Would you help us understand how the earnings work for eSports player if someone is working hard towards becoming a pro gamer, what his or her financial expectations should be from this profession?

Ankit:  There are multiple ways to earn through esports. Tournament prizes, sponsorship, streaming, brand endorsements etc. At the beginning you can only rely on tournament winnings. To get sponsorship you have to first win some tournaments, make a name for yourself and then approach brands. I can’t share the exact figures but to give you an idea every deal i sign is 7 figures and i can proudly say that i am able to take care of my family completely through being a professional esports player.
Q. Any message or advice you would like to share with aspiring esports players in the country?
Ankit:  I would suggest gamers to not quit their studies and completely rely on this. It’s a sport and you have to understand that the competition is getting tougher everyday so winning every tournament would be difficult. Player salaries right now are somewhere between 25,000-35,000 or maybe 40,000 but you have to understand that the moment you stop performing you could be kicked out of the team, so having leaving your education to get on the Esports hype train is not advisable. Also these salaries, only the top 2 or 3 teams are getting at the moment. Gaming will keep growing and if you feel you have it in you then you will get a chance to prove yourself. You just have to learn how to manage things in life and everything will fall in place.
Q. Red Bull is attracting a lot of players and in fact skilled players to R1v1R Runes from across India with the event happening across 20+ cities in India and the online tournament. How do you think it’s helping Indian players up their game and prepare for global competition?
Ankit: I really like the Red Bull River Runes format to be honest. In India making a team and finding players is still very difficult so this tournament gives individual players an opportunity to showcase their talent. Who knows, top organisations might have an eye on you and if you win this tournament then you could get picked. I just hope we can do something like this for Counter Strike also. I am 100 percent sure my fans would love it.