Interview With Team Vitality COD Mobile – The Journey So Far
Challenges and triumphs faced by Team Vitality COD Mobile roster since their formation up until now.
The Vitality CODM lineup consisting of MonK, Moonscope, Argon, DEATH, JOKOs, and SAMs, talk about the problems and triumphs faced by them in the last few months.
Vitality COD Mobile currently stands as the top-ranked team across South Asia and the Middle East regions.
French esports organization Team Vitality had initially announced its entry into India on 26th October 2020, but it wasn’t until 4th December that it officially made moves in the country by signing four YouTube livestreamers/content creators. However, when it comes to esports in India, Vitality started its journey by signing a Call of Duty: Mobile roster on 26th March. Since then its lineup has come a long way and in only three months the squad currently stands as the top-ranked COD Mobile team in South Asia and the Middle East region. This was achieved on the back of their ‘30-0’ win streak at the recently concluded Stage 2 of the Call of Duty Mobile World Championship.
Vitality India: Getting Started With COD Mobile
The six-person lineup representing the Vitality COD Mobile team that achieved this feat is as follows:
Arav “MonK” Narang (IGL)
Armaan “Moonscope” Dharni
Akshan “Argon” Madhani
Priyank “DEATH” Birajdar
Samartha Ganesh “JOKOs” Ghadge
Samruddha “SAMs” Ghadge
Currently based in Mumbai, India, all six players practice and play out of a bootcamp that the org has set up for them. The players moved in right after they were picked up by the organization and have been competing out of it ever since.
But it’s far from just fun and games at the Vitality India bootcamp. Playing out of a training facility means that the players have to follow a disciplined routine. A typical day usually starts a bit late for the CODM players with practice commencing by 13:00 IST. The session goes on for the next ten hours till around 23:00 IST. However, during this period, the players do take multiple breaks of varying durations. After the training session is over, the team gets together to relax and watch a movie, which also promotes team-bonding among the players.
Speaking to AFK Gaming, Vitality CODM’s in-game leader (IGL), Arav “MonK” Narang, points out that their training schedule remains consistent on a daily basis. He asserts that the bootcamp is not an option but a necessity for the team.
Indian teams require a bootcamp in general when compared to other regions because of the limited availability of good internet service providers, which directly results in packet loss and ping issues.
Arav “MonK” Narang – Interview with AFK Gaming
While the facility resolves such infrastructural problems, it also helps Vitality India’s team manager, Melson “mello” Miranda, keep an eye on the players both within and outside the server.
To be an effective and motivated esports athlete, simply playing well and practicing for long hours is rarely enough and often leads to burnout or other health-related issues. To prevent this from happening, esports players need to undergo a fundamental lifestyle change.
MonK’s personal experience reflects this. He revealed to us how his life changed from being a person who used to fool around with his friends while playing COD Mobile, to becoming a proper esports athlete.
For someone like me who is very lazy, I had to go and workout, change my sleeping habits, wake up on time and stick to a schedule. All these things in the last three months have changed me as a human being, from a person who is simply living with his friends to now being responsible and representing an organization like Vitality.
Arav “MonK” Narang – Interview with AFK Gaming
Rough Beginnings for Vitality India CODM
The disciplined schedule and healthy lifestyle changes introduced by Vitality India seemed to be helping the roster deliver results, as they placed third at QSEC – All Star Aces, their inaugural COD Mobile tournament under the Vitality banner. However, their next couple of performances weren’t as hot as they crashed out of Asian League – Season 2 and XO Champions League – Season 2, attaining a 7th-8th finish at both these tournaments.
The lineup was still adapting to all the changes. At a time like this, the usual strategy is to grind with a focus on playing as many scrims as possible to get more practice and improve. But to Akshan “Argon” Madhani’s surprise, Vitality approached this situation differently as they shifted their focus towards improving the quality of gameplay and team synergy.
This was also a testing time for the players, as some of them were facing individual problems of their own. One of the best COD Mobile marksmen in the world and a member of the Vitality lineup, Armaan “Moonscope” Dharni, had to weave through thin ice as he faced immense pressure from his family about his choice to become a professional esports athlete in India.
Over time, the situation improved as he had been able to prove himself. Yet the string of defeats spelt trouble for the young player who could at any time face resistance from his family members. Moonscope best explains the situation by saying, “Family pressure is the main thing, which gets resolved as you keep getting better and prove yourself to them.”
Vitality India’s Road To Recovery: The ‘30-0’ Hustle
With a new perspective towards handling personal issues, and the team taking a new direction to focus on teamwork, the Vitality India COD Mobile team entered Stage 2 of the COD Mobile World Championship 2021. Despite the tournament being a ten-day event, the players decided to finish all their 30 games within the first day to secure the top spot.
Moonscope retold the hustle they all had to go through on the day, with the team waking up at 4:30 (IST) in the morning and playing 30 consecutive ranked matches, without a break! They only got up once all their matches were done which took them a total of six hours to complete. After a short break, the team was back to playing more competitive matches as they had another scheduled tournament to compete in.
“Honestly, there are a lot of teams that have the potential to go ‘30-0’ in Stage 2,” says Moonscope. “What set us apart was the fact that we took a collective decision to pull off this grind and saw it all the way through. This determination we had to wake up and grind was probably the biggest factor behind our success in Stage 2.” With this, Vitality India became the top-ranked COD Mobile team across South Asia and the Middle East.
The team has now set its sights on reaching the COD Mobile World Championship 2021. MonK is confident in his team, he knows they have the potential to face whatever challenges lie ahead. “This is a team filled with confidence, they actively work on improving themselves, and that is what drives them as players and as a team in general,” said the in-game leader.
The State of Call of Duty Mobile in South Asia
While the players are aiming high and gearing up for the future, the competitive COD Mobile scene within the South Asian region is also taking off at a gradual pace. Four tournaments have already taken place since the start of the year, offering a total of INR 56,99,570 ($76,543 USD) in prize money.
: The conversion rate used in the table above is 1 USD = 74.462 INR
Monk believes that the Indian COD Mobile esports scene is already at par with many other regions. He added that while EU and NA have a larger player base, India is ahead when it comes to the frequency and prize pools of CODM tournaments.
Talking about the level of competition within the South Asian region and the various teams that compete in it, Priyank “DEATH” Birajdar stated that teams TR and I2K are the rising underdog teams who are quickly climbing the competitive ladder. On the other hand, Moonscope highlighted how Vitality India constantly faces strong competition from local teams like Team IND, GodLike, and Force1.
When asked about the potential impact of the recently launched Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) on COD Mobile’s growth, the players’ response was largely positive. MonK said, “I definitely agree that BGMI would be one of the best mobile Battle Royale games in the world, but COD Mobile offers something truly different from it”.
However, BGMI’s presence cannot be ignored as its inaugural tournament ‘The Launch Party’ with an INR 6,00,000 ($8,042 USD) prize pool was able to achieve a and an .
Vitality India: The Road Ahead in 2021
After losing to Team IND, Vitality India’s COD Mobile team placed second at the recently concluded COD Mobile Aces – QSEC Grand Final Championship, winning INR 4,25,000 ($5,706 USD) in prize money. The team seems to be in good shape.
Gagan Gupta – Head of Marketing and Public Relations for Team Vitality, highlighted that they will be making more India related announcements soon,
We do have a plan to go beyond just having India’s best COD Mobile team. We want to get into more mobile esports options, but yeah these are the announcements that will be coming in the next few months.
Gagan Gupta – Interview with AFK Gaming
Speaking specifically about BGMI, Gupta pointed out that the mobile title is something that they would be looking into but not at this point in time. “It does have our interest as well and we just have to see how it would grow in India.”