As one of the fastest growing games on the market currently, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) is taking the battle royale esports scene over by storm. Live stream data collector Gamoloco found that PUBG was the second most watched game in 2017 on Twitch, and multiple esports leagues have emerged.
Just last month, eUnited announced the acquisition of 99 Problems, a PUBG team that consists of coach Timothy “Caymus” Kimbirk and players Andrew “GICE” Geisinger, Chris “JimmurTV” Keith, Jaden “Vegas” James and Tony “TonyV” Vargas.
Currently, the team is gearing up for Season 2 of the Auzom Premier League, an online invitational featuring top talent in the PUBG community.
Zachary Lange: Talk to me a little bit about how the team formed?
Caymus: In November I made the decision that I wanted to put together a team, and there were a lot of events that had recently passed or were going on at the time, so I put together as much video as I possibly could and scouted players from there. Eventually I came across Jimmur and GICE, alongside TonyV and a different player before Vegas came into the team.
When I reached out, I told every player pretty much the same thing; I can’t guarantee anything other than doing everything I can to help you win. If you want to win, so do I, let’s work together. Eventually after trialing with quite a few different players, Tony suggested Vegas and the rest is history.
ZL: How would you describe the team composition?
Caymus: It’s definitely an interesting mix. We have a well-rounded team that really hits every spectrum of personality.
As far as how it plays out in game, we have GICE as our captain, who is a strong overall player and a great sniper. Jimmur is our in game leader and coordinates a great deal of our strategy. TonyV is our “entry” player, and essentially he is the one who pushes in and secures kills for us early or opens up fights. Finally, Vegas is the youngest on the team but is growing into his role as our main rifler and all-out fragger.
While this is a rough outline of how the dynamic works, each of the players on their own is capable of carrying a game, and can take on the duties of the others at any given time. We operate as a unit, and prefer to not pay too much attention to defined roles.
ZL: Jimmur, how would you describe being an in game leader?
JimmurTV: The decision making is very important, especially early. Early in the game, you have to decide where your team is going to drop on the map, and you’re going to want to have that established and make sure everyone is on the same page as to where they are. During rotations too, being an in game leader, or having somebody there to direct the team on the path is extremely important.
But a lot of the times, it is a team effort. It’s not just me making decisions on the fly. I’m taking input for everybody and putting that together, and if I’m making a stupid call they are all free to call me off of it. If one of my teammates is like, “this is stupid and this is why,” Boom. Done. We’ll audible off of it.
ZL: Everybody here has experience playing video games, but what drew you into competitive battle royale esports?
GICE: It was really just the trill and the adrenaline rush that I got. The first time I got a chicken dinner (a win) in PUBG it was really captivating for me. Seeing a whole storyline of getting dropped wherever you want, everyone starts with nothing and it’s just the strongest and the best man winning at the end.
When I finally got the game and started getting better and eventually started to get my first wins, it was just addicted to the adrenaline rush of winning the game and I’ve been hooked ever since.
TonyV: Definitely for me it’s the camaraderie and the teamwork. It just feels so good when you and your team get out of a situation that you shouldn’t have. And when you get a high kill game and you win, it just feels amazing.
ZL: How does a battle royale game compare to other esports titles in terms of communication and teamwork?
Vegas: It’s definitely more about making smart plays rather than just raw gun skill. Positioning is very important. If you all four rotate together and you play as a team it doesn’t matter who you are fighting against.
ZL: What would you like to accomplish in competitive PUBG?
JimmurTV: We are rather new together and haven’t had a chance to prove ourselves as a team. But I want to establish that even though we may not have been together as long as some other teams, we can compete with the best in North America and globally.
Vegas: I want to play in multiple events, and eventually get a win or top-3, and just improve as a team to be one of the top teams.
GICE: I really want to just be recognized as one of the top teams. I want my name to be synonymous with being a top player, being a top team, and taking home championships on LAN is the ultimate goal.
Caymus: Personally I want to create the best environment for my players to succeed. Every player has their own goals, but the ultimate goal of winning must always come first, and with us, every player’s individual goal is also winning.
Outside of that, I am here to provide support to them in every way possible, whether it’s emotional or with advice unrelated to the game, and they know I have their best interests in mind. At the end of the day, if my players are happy and trying their hardest, that’s all I can ask for.
ZL: Outside of the game, what do you do for fun?
GICE: I like going to the gym. I’ve played sports my whole life and do summer volleyball leagues, or play in summer basketball leagues with my brother and my friends and I still play video games a lot for fun, even if it’s not competitively.
JimmurTV: This is going to sound bad, but PUBG is really what I do (laughs). I go out occasionally, but realistically I play PUBG casually and mostly competitively. I stream for fun, I consider that a fun thing I do. I can’t find any other games right now that are as captivating to me as PUBG is.
Vegas: Tony and I are the two that play a lot of other games together outside of PUBG, we play a bunch of other random games like CS:GO or (Tom Clancy’s) Rainbow Six Siege. We play with other pro players in PUBG together and just have random, fun games that we play as a group.
TonyV: I played high school football, outside linebacker and defensive end and I played basketball for senior year. Now, I just play basketball with my friends and go to the gym.
ZL: Is there anything you want fans to know about the PUBG team?
Vegas: I want fans to know that we are practicing every day and we’re going to be at the top pretty soon.