Now that all the hype has settled from the Paladins World Championship and Natus Vincere has won the world champ title, we thought it was high time we get to know some of the elite players who made Paladins esports history earlier this month. Lucky for us, Na’Vi took the time to sit down with one of their star players, Teemu “spunkki” Tenhunen for an extensive interview in which he shares his feelings about becoming a world champion and touches upon his future goals as a Paladins pro player.
This interview was originally published in Russian on Natus Vincere’s official website, but we’ve translated it for the rest of you here. Enjoy!
Q: Some time has passed since the tournament and your emotions aren’t probably as strong now. How does it feel to be the world champion?
A: It feels really good to win again, but, to be honest, everything you do for the first time always feels the best. As for me, the first world championship I won felt much better, even though we might have had harder games; then we went to the seventh game, and this year we had only four.
Q: What were you and your teammates thinking about on the eve of the grand final? How did you tackle your emotions?
A: Don’t really know what they were thinking, but I was calm since the semi-finals were like finals already.
Q: Many prominent esports figures say that they lost motivation to fight on after they achieved the main goal in their career. Furthermore, they also lost a part of themselves and feel empty. Are you experiencing anything like that?
A: No, I’m not.
— PaladinsPro (@PaladinsPro) 7 januari 2018
Q: What was the key lesson that you’ve learned from your trip to Atlanta?
A: Never EVER to lose focus before the game is over. There were many moments where (not just in our games, but with other teams as well) you think that you are about to lose, but somehow pull off a retake or defend from a retake.
Q: What are the next goals for eu Natus Vincere and you personally?
A: To be the best team in the world and in my case to win the third championship.
Q: Who was the first person you told about the success of taking the cup in your hands?
A: I told some of my friends about it since I knew that most of my family and friends and my wife were watching the games already.
Q: By the way, older generations often perceive esports negatively, because it’s new and they know little about it. How does your family treat your hobby, which became your work? Did you have any arguments in the beginning?
A: My mom and dad were first really skeptical about gaming being a “job” and replacing normal day job but now they are fine with it and actually stay awake at nights to watch our games.
Q: What can you tell about the organization of the World Championship? Did you experience any problems? What did you like the most?
A: For me, everything has been really great, and I haven’t had any problems at all.
Q: Can you compare your previous experience at LANs and the trip to Atlanta? Have organizers chosen the right direction?
A: Personally, I feel like every LAN gets better than the previous one in some way.
Q: Competitive Paladins has one drawback: their viewership isn’t big. Do you have ideas on how to increase it?
A: Hirez is a bit stubborn when it comes to thinking about what’s best for the game and should listen more to the community and pro players about the game’s pros/cons.
Welcome your #HRX2018 champions: @Faenex @_spunkki @creativs2 @Mutustiina @RealUnbelivable @N1ghtEnd! #GONAVI
GOOD GAME AND WELL PLAYED to @FNATIC, thanks for the game!
A massive shout out to all who rooted for us! 4:0 – THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/W7yYbZdYKH
— Natus Vincere (@natusvincere) 7 januari 2018
Q: You’ve come to esports at the age which community considers to be close to that of the career end. Do you agree with this opinion or do you think that age is of no importance and it’s only will and motivation that matter?
A: For me, personally, age doesn’t matter, if I’m performing the way I want and my team needs me to perform. I always look at the pl Virtus.pro’s CS:GO team as an example. They are at the top, even though most of them are already 30 or more.
Q: How long are you planning to go on playing professionally? What are your plans for the future?
A: This is my dream job. I will try to continue as long as I can.
Q: After the victory at the World Championship, the popularity of your team among the fans of eu Natus Vincere has increased significantly. Can you tell us more about yourself and your hobbies?
A: I’m a very simple man, so there is not much to know about me.
Q: What were you doing before becoming professional esports player? What’s your education?
A: By education, I’m an electronic technician, but I went to work at the warehouse when I turned 19; it was easy to do and didn’t require much thinking, so I could keep playing games after work.
Q: How did you decide to dedicate your life to video games? Who or what influenced your decision to choose this path?
A: I just enjoyed playing video games and have been competitive all my life.
Q: Never judge people by their appearance – that’s the statement that fits you perfectly. People would say that you look fearsome in your photos. Do such statements offend you or do you take them with humor?
A: Life should never be taken too seriously or it will mess you up. So no, it doesn’t offend me.
Q: Paladins are often compared to Blizzard’s project — Overwatch. Do you think such comparisons are correct? What are the main differences and advantages of Hi-Rez? Why did you choose Paladins?
A: Paladins and Overwatch are similar, yes, just like Dota 2 and League of legends. Overwatch has many game modes, while Paladins has only one, which combines all the game modes of Overwatch. At the start, I chose Paladins for really simple reasons: I could see the damage I did to enemies (since I’m a big fan of MMOs) and because the gameplay felt much better and is less janky than in Overwatch.
— Natus Vincere (@natusvincere) 13 januari 2018
Q: What can you say about other titles? Have you ever wanted to try something new? Are other games just a hobby?
A: I have tried many different games, but not at the competitive level.
Q: Battle Royale has become very popular lately. It will be introduced to Paladins. Do you think this mode and competitions based on this mode will be interesting to viewers?
A: I think it’s a really fun and cool game mode, and people will be interested to watch streamers play it. But from the esports point of view, any battleground game is really bad to watch.
Q: Supports watch the team more than others both on the battlefield and beyond it. That’s why we ask you to say a couple of words about each of your teammates.
- Creativs2 is the guy who makes plays and fails sometimes :).
- Unbelivable is our defensive point tank who I need to babysit the most.
- Mutu is the guy that plays a bit more carefully but can be insanely aggressive when needed.
- Faenex is the aggressive flank tank that goes where Creativs2 and Mutu go.
Q: Do you have shoutouts to fans and friends?
A: Big thanks to the fans and whoever is supporting us, maybe someday we will be as big as CS:GO and Dota. And then to my old friend Fass and his lovely girlfriend.