Arnab "Monk" Narang is one of the most experienced COD mobile players in India. He currently plays for Team Vitality.
Despite being a new team, Team Vitality has been excellent over the last couple of months. The side recently secured the No 1 spot in the Call of Duty Mobile World Championship South Asia and Middle East Stage 2. They were also the runners-up in the QSEC - Grand Final Championship after losing to Team Insidious in the Grand Final.
In a chat with Rishab Chakladar of Sportskeeda Esports, Monk discussed the team's plans for the future. Monk also talked about COD Mobile esports in India and the return of Battlegrounds Mobile India.
1) Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself and your journey? How was the experience from the very start to Team Vitality?
Monk: My name is Arav Narang. I go by the IGN "Monk." I am 19 and have been into video games since I was 6.
My journey in competitive FPS games started in 2010 when I got a PlayStation 3 as a gift with Call of Duty: Black Ops. I fell in love with it immediately and have not looked back since then. I have literally grown up playing Call of Duty.
I started playing COD Mobile in March 2020 when my best friend convinced me to get into mobile gaming. After lots of grinding and hard work, I represented India at the COD Mobile World Cup Regional Finals with Team Insidious.
After that, I went on to play for S8UL Esports for six months, winning the Goodgame1 Invitational and finishing 2nd in the Loco India Cup.
I got to know about Team Vitality when rumors about them picking up a team in COD Mobile did the rounds. I reached out to one of the officials at Team Vitality India via email, and the rest is history.
2) You have represented some renowned organizations in India, including Force One Esports, Team Ind, S8UL Esports, and now Team Vitality. How does it feel to play under the banner of these renowned organizations?
Monk: It's been an enormous privilege playing for some of the finest organizations in the country. I learned a lot while spending time with some of the premier personalities in the Indian gaming community.
It has been an honor, and I think I've been fortunate to have had the chance to represent them.
3) Recently, Team Vitality secured the No 1 spot in the Call of Duty Mobile World Championship South Asia and Middle East Stage 2. What was your reaction after securing the top place in the campaign?
Monk: We were all extremely excited. Retaining the No 1 spot in Stage 2 gave us a lot of exposure in the international community.
At the same time, we played from 5:30 AM to 11 AM continuously, so our celebration started and ended with us going to sleep.
4) From here onwards, it will be a long journey to the COD Mobile World Championship 2021. You will face some of the top teams in Southeast Asia. How confident are you guys as a team to face these top teams?
Monk: Yes, of course, we are looking forward to facing all the top-tier teams in the region. We're excited to see what they bring to the table.
After our run at the Jio Major, we're very confident about contending for the No 1 spot in the region again for Stages 3 and 4.
5) What is your favorite loadout combination going into the game, and why?
Monk: It's always been the DLQ-33 with a Deagle and lightweight in hand during S&Ds. That's always been my comfort zone.
6) COD Mobile Season 5: In Deep Water arrived last week. Activision has introduced various features from a gameplay perspective with new maps, game modes, and in-game events. What did you like the most about this update?
Monk: I'm personally in love with the new season just because of the addition of docks to the game. I have spent hours and hours doing 1v1's with friends on that particular map, and it's great to have it now in COD mobile.
The new CR-56 AMAX assault rifle was also something I was looking forward to. The new season hasn't disappointed me.
7) In September 2020, the Indian government banned PUBG Mobile. Do you think the ban had a positive effect on the growth of other mobile esports in India?
Monk: If we talk about COD Mobile, the positive was that it was recognized as a competitive mobile game after the PUBG Mobile ban.
But in terms of growth, I feel like COD Mobile never got a large audience from the PUBG Mobile crowd.
It's always had its own loyal OG fans, and those are the people who still enjoy and support the game.
8) Battlegrounds Mobile India has gained immense popularity in the last few days. Is this going to affect the viewership number of COD Mobile in the coming days?
Monk: I don't think so at all. COD Mobile never had the viewership that other mobile games like BGMI or Free Fire have. It has its own community, so views are not something a lot of organizers look at.
Our viewership peaks at 1.5K to 2K during majors in India, and I think that is something we're very proud of because we know the work it has taken to get there. The top-tier teams look at COD Mobile via an international scope since Indian sides do very well globally.
That is what drives us — our loyal fanbase and the hunger to lift the World Cup for India.
9) Monk, many young players currently possess a dream to come into the competitive scenario. What are your words of wisdom for those aspiring players?
Monk: Work hard and never give up! I had been dreaming of being an esports athlete since I was 12. My dreams came true seven years later when I least expected it — that too in the game I never thought I'd ever touch.
Keep believing and continue to find opportunities that might contribute to your dream of being an esports athlete. It's very cliche, but I have trained my heart and mind to believe in this one line — trust the process.