PUBG Mobile is one of the most played smartphone games in India. Since the COVID-19 lockdown has been imposed in the country, many major esports tournaments have been organised in the country. The most recent such tournament was the SkyeSports Grand Slam Finals held two weeks ago and was won by India's most favourite team IND.
Team IND has been in the esports scenario for a very long time. The team is mentored by Vagish Sharma, a.k.a. IND Krantiveer, who is an ex-esports competitive player. Vagish has represented top esports organisations like Hydra and is considered to be one of the critical components of Team IND. Currently, he is the Analyst, Coach and Media Manager for Team Insidious.
Team IND recently won a PUBG Mobile tournament that had a prize pool of Rs 2.5 lakh. With the PUBG Mobile India Series, as well as PMPL South Asia, around the corner, Sportskeeda decided to have a conversation with the coach himself.
In this exclusive interview, Krantiveer talked about his life journey, the esports scenario in India and also revealed some funny stories from the PUBG Mobile Bootcamp.
Excerpts from an exclusive interview with PUBG Mobile Team IND's coach Krantiveer:
Q: Hello, Krantiveer! Congratulations on winning the SkyEsports GrandSlam Finals 2020. How is the environment at the Bootcamp right now?
Krantiveer: SkyeSports was a prestigious PUBG tournament in preparation for PMPL South Asia. We played quite aggressively, and it undoubtedly gave us good results. Apart from a few minor mistakes, the PUBG tournament went well for us. All the players were very positive after the competition, and the morale of the Bootcamp is high.
Q. Most people are unaware of the fact that you have been a part of Team Hydra in a competitive esports scenario. Tell us more about your journey from a regular guy to a competitive PUBG Mobile player? How did your family react to this?
Krantiveer: I was an engineering student, doing a major in Telecommunication, back in my graduation days. I love writing, guitar and eating new dishes every week.
I am from Patna and shifted to Bangalore seven years ago. I tried my hands in a startup. After a few ups and downs, I decided to try my luck in mobile gaming. I returned home and started exploring the PUBG Mobile community on Discord and other social media platforms.
In 2018, I joined a clan and improved my PUBG skills. After some time, I, along with my Clash of Clans friend from America, decided to play together. Daylight Secret Service was our first team together, and it fared the way we wanted it to. Bhishma, Drigger, Godkill, Joker, and Kunal were my friends from that day.
After this, we joined Hydra and played the PUBG Mobile India Series 2019. Initially, my parents were not aware of the fact that I was playing competitively. After returning from New Delhi, I had a conversation with my parents. Like typical Indian parents, they were also in favour of me having an office job first. But they have been very supportive of me during my PUBG Mobile journey in the competitive scene.
Q. From HydraKranti to IND Krantiveer, tell us more about your experience from being a competitive eSports player to a manager of one of India's most loved esports organisations? How did this all happen?
Krantiveer: Bhishma and Joker, who were in Hydra, joined Insidious (it was called INS then) and formed a lineup with Smokiee and Cartoonz.
At the same time, I decided to take a break from the competitive scene and decided to settle down with some management roles. I was invited to mentor Insidious for a PUBG Mobile tournament, and I accepted the offer with a smile.
Together we played PUBG Mobile India Tour (PMIT) where we came third and PUBG Mobile Club Open Fall Split 2019 where we came fourth.
Q. PMPL South Asia Region and PMIS 2020 are the next two mega PUBG Mobile tournaments that Team IND has been preparing for. However, since the COVID-19 lockdown has been imposed, it has been difficult for players to gather around in Bootcamps. How has this affected the game-play of Team IND players?
Krantiveer: Somehow, the lockdown and COVID-19 has impacted the performance of the team.
Nowadays, we are locked inside a room and can't hang out to relax our minds. But as an alternative, we play cricket in the PUBG Mobile Bootcamp's rooftop and chill out with some basic childhood games.
As a coach, I always try to be with the team as a friend. We all are like best buddies and like experimenting with new things in the PUBG Mobile game.
Q. Most of the fans and esports PUBG Mobile experts say Team IND is the most consistent team right now in India. How do you see this aspect from a coach's point of view?
Krantiveer: As per my point of view, winning is the ultimate goal of any team. But you can't always win in a game like PUBG Mobile where the zone can never be predicted.
I know the strong points of every player in Team IND and decide who is the best fit for a particular role. The overall best efforts of a coach and players makes a team consistent in PUBG Mobile.
Q. The environment at IND Bootcamp must be very friendly. We have never seen players getting involved in conflicts or any controversies. How is your friendship with Kratos, Lucifer, Snax, Slayer and Trance?
Krantiveer: Kratos and Trance have known each other for the last eight years since their days in Kota and Engineering preparation. Kratos is in music, Trance loves football, Slayer is in the multimedia field and Snax is doing BBA.
Our relationship is more like that of brothers and less as that of a coach and players. We don't blame each other for mistakes that happen in matches.
Snax, being a new player in the team, soon became a friend. The reason why Team IND has never been involved in any controversy is that we don't comment on anyone and think a lot before we step in to an argument.
We are happy in our little world and focussed on performing well in PUBG Mobile tournaments.
Q. Team IND performed quite well in the PMPL South Asia vs. Southeast Asia Scrims. What different strategy did you guys follow for teams like Bigetron BTR and Illuminate the Murder?
Krantiveer: At the time of PUBG Mobile Pro League (PMPL) Scrims (South Asia vs. Southeast Asia), we were experimenting with our strategies and game-play. Since the format of the PMPL South Asia and Scrims is almost the same, most of the teams prefer to follow the same approach and rotations.
The Southeast team BTR were not showcasing their actual PUBG Mobile game-play. Contrary to what I learnt about their game-play in the PMPL Southeast Finals, they were just playing for fun. To be very frank, they took the Indian teams for granted and were not playing with their natural game-play.
Q. IND Kratos is one of India's best in-game leaders in PUBG Mobile. Why has Kratos been given the lead role, and what difference has he brought to Team IND in the last few months?
Krantiveer: Being an IGL, the brain of Kratos works very fast. He has played a lot of games in PUBG Mobile, and his muscle memory is very sharp.
Kratos is always good with zone predictions and movements in PUBG Mobile. Slayer is second to IGL and acts as a filter. My job has become easy with Kratos being the IGL of Team IND.
Q. You are one of the building blocks of Team IND. How much do you miss competitive esports? Any plans to step into the competitive world as a player again?
Krantiveer: To be honest, I still miss competitive esports. I'm 26, and I think there are a lot of newcomers who are better than me in terms of reflexes and skills.
India has a lot of raw talent, and I think I am a good fit to sharpen the skills and mentor those PUBG Mobile players. I am quite happy with what I am doing right now.
Q. What is the biggest lesson you have learnt as a competitive player and as a coach of Team IND? How has your life changed after joining Team IND?
Krantiveer: After coming into esports and Team IND, my life has changed forever.
If not for PUBG Mobile, I would have been a regular employee of a company, working 9-5 for a salary. I say the same thing to my parents that I am happy being in esports, and now people recognise me a lot.
Recently, I attended the Esports Conclave at BITS Pilani and talked about the esports scenario and how the esports industry is going to shape the future of youngsters in the next 5-10 years.
Q. What is the biggest lesson you have learnt as a competitive player and as a coach of Team IND?
Krantiveer: The first lesson is fundamental, Never give up. The second lesson is to adapt, improvise and overcome.
Although the dialogue is from a movie, it is very close to me. The esports world is getting more competitive, and you have to be consistent with your performances. If we don't work on our skills, someone else would replace us and take our place.
Q. You have told me that you attended the Esports Conclave at BITS, Pilani. Tell us more about that conference and its outcomes?
Krantiveer: The Esports conclave was a big opportunity for me. I discussed how one could make a career in esports.
Esports is not about just the game; it is much more than that. E.g., Scout and Mortal have become celebrities, and they have turned their skills into a business. I also talked about the drawbacks of the esports industry and advised youngsters to step into the competitive world. Attending such a conclave was a fruitful decision for a coach like me.
Q. How does the talent hunting process take place at Team IND? How can one join Team IND for competitive esports?
Krativeer: The esports scenario in India has been growing at a rapid rate. Just make sure that you make a mark in any esports tournament and events.
Tournaments like Dreamhack are competitive and have a lot of pressure. Playing in such an environment can help you step into the competitive world more quickly. We keep an eye on underdog players who perform well at such events and tournaments.
Q. The conversation has been so exciting that I would have wanted this to continue for a while. But due to a shortage of time, we have to come to an end. Anything you would like to say to Team IND fans and players who wish to enter the esports industry and try their luck in competitive esports?
Krantiveer: My message for them would be: Don't give up. Give your best in whatever you are doing.
If you are following someone, try to learn positive things from that human being and ignore the negatives. The esports scene is very competitive nowadays, so always have a second backup plan for your future.
From a career point of view, you would need to grind for days and nights. Keep working hard for your dream and live a life less ordinary.