“Learning” the art of gaming and excelling in it is quite difficult. In the world of mobile gaming, Jash “Learn” Shah is here to prove that this mission is not impossible.
Learn began his journey with Counter-Strike 1.6 and now channels his passion into playing COD Mobile. His list of competitive wins in COD Mobile has made him the second Indian gamer to be nominated for the Esports Awards 2021, after MortaL, nominated for the Streamer of the Year category.
Much to the excitement of Indian mobile gaming enthusiasts, Learn is the only Indian professional player to make it to the Esports Mobile Player of the Year nominations. In an exclusive conversation with Sportskeeda Esports’ Debolina Banerjee, Jash talks about his trials, tribulations, and success in the world of professional mobile gaming.
Q. Congratulations on your nomination for the Esports Award 2021. Tell us about your journey in the esports world and what inspired you to take up gaming as a profession.
My journey in esports started in 2012 when I used to play Counter-Strike 1.6. Since esports was not prevalent in India then, I had to quit and focus on my studies and job.
After quite some time, I started playing the mobile game, Critical Ops, and I won quite a few tournaments as a part of the CsPG team. Then, PUBG Mobile came, and the esports industry boomed in India.
I started playing PUBG Mobile, but I had to quit and again focus on my job due to lack of a proper device. Then Call of Duty: Mobile was released, and since I followed the franchise for a long time, it piqued my interest.
Initially, I used to play COD Mobile casually. Gradually, I formed a group with my friends and enjoyed titles like PUBG Mobile and Critical Ops together, along with COD Mobile. We had a good synergy as we had known each other for a very long time.
Q. Esports as a profession is still frowned upon by Indian society. Did your parents support you from the beginning in your decision to become a professional gamer? What were you pursuing before diving into the world of esports?
Unfortunately, my parents did not support me, and they still do not. I am passionate about my profession, and that is the only reason I do what I do. I had to make quite a few sacrifices along the way.
I took up a job so that I could pay for my expenses and continue gaming. I had a three-year internship in a diamond company, and I would have gotten a good placement after my tenure. However, I quit my job after one and a half years when I realized that I had the potential to earn as much as I needed via gaming.
Q. From Call Of Duty: Mobile India Cup - Pro with Team Mayhem to the QSEC - Grand Final Championship, you are the star player of 2021. How much time do you dedicate to prepare for a tournament? How important do you think winning is when it comes to major competitions?
My ambition in any international tournament is to get the trophy for India. When important competitions are close, we do not even have the time to eat sometimes. The average time ranges from thirteen to fourteen hours a day.
I believe that winning is not everything in an event. Losing is better than winning because it will teach you important aspects about competing. It does not matter if you win or lose; ultimately, you will have to do away with your mistakes. Moreover, experience makes you a winner!
Q. Your in-game name is Learn. What is the story behind such a unique name?
When I used to play Critical Ops, we used to play tournaments against a team called Learn From Past. They used to outplay us, so I had the idea of keeping “Learn” as my in-game name.
Q. COD Mobile has a good audience in the Indian gaming community. What inspired you to choose COD Mobile over other battle royale games like Free Fire, BGMI, etc.?
Actually, I have been a fan of the Call of Duty franchise for a very long time. Moreover, COD Mobile never gets boring.
BGMI and Free Fire are very redundant in terms of gameplay, whereas COD Mobile is more dynamic. It introduces guns and maps with significant updates, so players have to evolve with the game. That’s what makes Activision’s flagship title outstanding.
Q. Now that PUBG: New State is on the way, and Free Fire MAX is already out there, do you feel that COD Mobile should come up with a sequel to grab the Indian mobile gaming market anew?
Yes, I definitely think so. Call of Duty: Warzone is likely making its way to the mobile gaming platform, and everyone is ardently waiting for it.
Q. You are the in-game leader on the COD Mobile roster for Team Insidious. What responsibilities do you have to carry on your shoulders as the leader of the team? Who is your synergy with the best?
Being the in-game leader (IGL), I need to ensure that my team has the best synergy. The communication should be on point, so that team members understand what they have to do in an intense situation. I also ensure that I spectate each and every match that my team plays to make proper calls.
My synergy is the best with Zeel “Neutrino” Patel.
Q. You were a part of Aesthetic X and Team Mayhem before you joined Team Insidious. What do you miss most about your previous teams?
I do not miss much about my old teams as I have a good relationship with everyone there. We are still good friends despite not being on the same team.
Q. Being the only Indian professional esports athlete nominated in the Esports Awards 2021 is a big deal. Tell us about the toughest tournaments you have participated in and the best takeaways from those competitions.
The toughest competition was the CODM World Championship 2021. I learned a lot from the event. I usually watch matches of other regions and try to adopt their playstyles and strategies.
Q. You have been nominated alongside stalwarts like Zhu “paraboy” Bocheng, Brian “Tectonic” Michel, and more in Esports Awards 2021. Who do you think is your most formidable competitor?
I would say that it’s Zhu “paraboy” Bocheng as he is more experienced and is grinding way harder than I am. He is improving his gameplay daily, so he is my toughest competitor in the 2021 Esports Awards.
Q. If you had to choose one Indian professional gamer who also deserves to be nominated for the Esports Awards 2021 in the Player of the Year category, who would it be and why?
I believe that Jonathan deserves the position. He’s one of the best BGMI players in India.
Q. Lastly, what words of wisdom would you like to share with the budding COD Mobile players who want to take up esports as a profession?
I always encourage smart work over hard work. Since every month the meta changes, they must keep abreast of the situation. Aspiring professional gamers must also try correcting their mistakes from their matches and find ways to improve.