With just two weeks until the PGI European qualifier finals in Leicester, UK, we caught up with the captain of Team Singularity — Kjetil “ToWzErA” Hytten.
For Team Singularity the journey to the biggest PUBG event to date has been in no way easy. Out of more than 600 teams that participated in the European qualifier, they managed to make it all the way to the Final 20, knocking out more established teams like Team Vitality, ALTERNATE aTTaX, and Finstack on their way. But it’s not over yet.
The final part of the qualifier will begin 29th of June in Leicester, UK, where twenty of Europe’s best teams will battle it out for $100,000 in prize money and three spots to PUBG Global Invitational 2018 — the biggest event in game’s history with $2 million on the line.
And according to ToWzErA, anything can happen there.
Vie: So tell us, who is ToWzErA?
ToWzErA: My name is Kjetil Hytten, I am 24 years old and I come from a west coast city in Norway, called Haugesund. I am the team captain of Team Singularity. I am a guy that is really dedicated to what I do and I put in a lot of work to make what I use my time on the most successful possible. I am passionate about esports and sports in general.
Vie: How does your family feel about your career in esports?
ToWzErA: My family has always been sort of conservative about gaming in general. We have had many discussions about the time I use in front of a PC. A tip for other people who want to compete professionally in esports is to keep a dialogue with your parents, try to make them understand. Update them on your results, let them take part [in it], as they would if you played football, for example. They have been more supportive as of late since it gets more mainstream attention in the media and such. They are for sure skeptical, but they are really interested in it, and they want to follow my journey.
Vie: As far as I know, Singularity is your first professional team, but you have played for several top teams before, like TINDERGULD. Shed some light on what your journey through competitive PUBG was like.
ToWzErA: My journey has been somewhat challenging and hard. It all started with me playing alone. I got my closest gaming friend, C4LVINKL3IN to join me, as I didn’t see potential in the solo feature of the game. At first, I thought that duos was going to be the most competitive mode, but I quickly realized that squads was where it’s at, which I am glad about today. Of the two of us, I think I was the only one who really saw the potential in the game as an esport. He had several breaks during our grinds, where he played other games instead. And I had one final talk with him and said that I really believed he can become nuts in this game and that he already was at that time. I am really glad he listened to me because as of today he is definitely one of the best fraggers in the game.
The next task for my duo partner and I was to find someone to play with, who we felt could be of equal level as us. We contacted multiple people, but MILLAWxD and Taylor were the obvious choice for us to continue playing with. We played some casual games with them and I think we scrimmed a bit as well, but not much. We managed to place one spot away from traveling to IEM Oakland. After that, we realized what a huge potential we actually had.
After that, a new chapter began for C4LVINKL3IN and I, as Taylor and MILLAWxD left us. We tried to find players that could fit us, and we ended up with two Germans, zPAlex and DoDoUncut. We quickly understood that this team was short term, as we were disagreeing about almost everything. We played the IEM Katowice qualifier with the team, and managed to get to the close qualifier and placed 10th. We talked together as a team and decided that we needed
a change, and replaced DoDoUncut with PHRZER. This made the team stronger from day one because he had more of what I was looking for as a team captain. Then as a leader, I took the lead and decided that I wanted the fourth player to be Norwegian as well. This was because TDove was on the market, and he would be a really strong addition to the already strong trio. I had to offer him the opportunity, and he took it.
The ride from when we picked up TDove and PHRZER has been nothing else but fun. We share a lot of opinions and we have some interesting discussions within the team, and I think we all learn from each other.
Vie: Was playing professionally something you knew you wanted to do when you first started playing PUBG?
ToWzErA: The first thing that came to my mind when I started playing PUBG, was that I want to become the best in this game. I soon realized that I was a bit late to the party, as people already had 500+ hours in this game from alpha and such. I still have a competitive mindset, and I was thinking that this is the chance of being a pro in a game for the first time. I realized that it could be an esport when I realized how many people played it.
Vie: The growth in the past few months has been insane. It’s like six months ago everyone’s been playing for honor and now there’s a $2 million tournament on the way. How do you deal with that kind of change as a player? Can you really feel the pressure now?
ToWzErA: It is amazing to be a part of. Big money shows big potential and great future for the game. This is only the beginning and that’s what motivates me the most. We are at the top of the mountain, but we’re really only halfway there. We were all prepared for PUBG to show dominance in the prize pool and they lived up to it big time. I personally don’t feel any pressure at all. I know we are performing well versus all the best teams in the world, and that’s really all that counts. I am not letting anything affect my confidence going forward to the minor.
Vie: You guys played out of your minds in the PGI quals, but for most of you, it will be your first offline event. How are you preparing for that?
ToWzErA: A lot of people might say we played out of our minds in the PGI Quals, but to be completely honest, we played as we should. We actually should have done a lot better, but we did mistakes that ruined some rounds, and we learned a lot in that qualifier that made us a stronger team. It will be our first offline event of this size, yes, but we all have some sort of LAN experience from CSGO and PUBG in less size. It will be the first offline event for the team, and we will prepare with a bootcamp. The bootcamp will make the chemistry better, and we will practice a lot, both day and night.
Vie: But do you feel teams with more LAN experience will have an edge over you in Leicester?
ToWzErA: Nobody will have an edge in Leicester. It is completely up for grabs. Some top teams are not scrimming nearly as much as we do, and we will use our practice to our advantage. As long as we come there mentally prepared to bring the trophy home, we will have a big chance of actually doing it.
Vie: PGI offline qualifiers are just a few weeks away. Which teams are you most concerned about? Who will you be looking out for?
ToWzErA: When you say that you make me so excited! This question makes me actually think a lot, because us having to play 20 teams doesn’t only come down to how skilled you are in 16 team games, but also how adaptive to changes you are. Some teams are less adaptive to this change, and that might give some surprises at this event. FaZe is the obvious contender, they are the team everyone strives to play as. When that is said, we also really need to look out for at least four other teams: PENTA Sports, Liquid, Knights, and Team Kinguin. I also really believe that Team Redzone can pull it off, but then they need Sellis to be on fire.
Vie: Expand a bit more about the 20 team matches. How differently do you have to approach the game as a team?
ToWzErA: Playing with 20 teams means that we have 16 more players on the server. Theoretically, that can mean that 16 more compounds get taken early game in the circle, depending on how many teams do the 1-1-1-1 split in the beginning. But we think we have found a good way of playing vs 19 other teams, so we are confident even though it’s not our normal game mode. If we manage to transfer our online rotations to LAN, we are going to do well, really well!
Vie: The Global Invitational is a giant leap forward for PUBG esports, but there’s been a lot of “doubts” in the community surrounding the qualifier process. Should the top teams be granted special treatment or should everyone be treated equally?
ToWzErA: To be honest, I am glad. It’s an eye-opener to all those teams that normally get invited to the events, just how hard we actually have had it in the past. I am all for a closed qualifier, but that has to be when we actually have an official rating of the teams in Europe, made by an objective third-party, like CS:GO has. Before that happens, I think it’s only fair that every team goes through the same path.
Vie: Another debatable issue is the separate TPP and FPP tournaments. What did you think after first seeing PGI will feature both?
ToWzErA: In my opinion, it’s the best scenario possible for this event. We meet on the halfway, and we really should be satisfied with it. FPP players are generally stronger in shooting games, so we are probably going to see an FPP team win both FPP and TPP tournament. I think it’s healthy for the scene because it brings the two parts together. It’s not healthy in the long run, so we really have to hope that the majority of the Asian scene adapts and can play FPP, which is really the way a shooter should be.
Vie: Performance issues and competitive aspect aside — what do you think of the latest changes to the game? The scopes, the grips, the shooting, and now the nades, how are you enjoying all of it?
ToWzErA: Nades — love it. It is what I always wanted, a more tactical approach to the game, with flashes actually being worth it, molotov to deny camping, and frag grenades now being balanced. I am all for the scopes and the grips, makes it more customizable, and preference based. The gun nerf and buffs I have really split opinions about. On one side i really like what they did, so that it’s actually a point of picking up UMP or a Vector, but on the other side, I feel like at least in competitive, AR should be the go-to for a victory. It also doesn’t feel satisfying killing people with a gun with basically no recoil.
Vie: It feels like there’s a new Battle Royale game around every corner — Battlefield, CoD, Realm Royale, etc. What do you think that means for the future of PUBG?
ToWzErA: PUBG is the ultimate battle royale. I think for sure people will try out the other ones, but it will not take over. PUBG is here to stay, it’s not just a hype as people say. Games are going to challenge them all the time, but PUBG Corp are getting better and better at handling pressure.
Vie: Thank you for your time. Any shoutouts?
ToWzErA: Shoutout to Team Singularity for believing in us. Shoutout to everyone that has supported us so far on our journey!