Fortnite competitive is one of the most exciting esports games and each season the game hosts the FNCS tournament, pitting the best of the best against each other to see who will be crowned the greatest players in their regions.
The Chapter 2 Season 5 FNCS tournament concludes this weekend, March 12th-14th with a prize pool of $3 million.
We recently got a chance to sit down with MonsterDface ahead of the FNCS Grand Finals to discuss the state of Fortnite competitive, how to become a pro player, and whether there will be a Fortnite World Cup in 2022.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with me Monster, why don’t you tell the readers a bit about yourself, as you have your hand in a lot of different parts of Fortnite competitive.
MonsterDface – As you know, I’m MonsterDface, I’ve been a part of the Fortnite competitive scene, and Fortnite in general, since the game’s early release.
I’d say I bought the game when you had to pay to play it, so this is right as they announced the BR feature from Save The World Fortnite.
I’ve been a full time Twitch streamer, content creator, partner on the platform for about 8 years now. So, my space within the ecosystem of the esports industry is going on about 9-10 years, I was here long before Fortnite.
Now, what it is that I do for Fortnite competitive, at this point I just try to really position myself to be a leader in this space, a voice in this space for positivity, and to be more like a role model for a lot of the scene here.
To teach people that you can build a business out of your own personal brand, and also just how to do things right, and how to find longevity in the space here as a content creator, as an influencer and whatever it is that you want to achieve in the space.
So that’s why we run things like the Practice Server, Open Scrims, and of course commentate and all of that other good stuff.
That’s awesome man, so focusing on the Practice Servers for now, how did you get involved in running the practice scrims for pros? Were you involved in competitive gaming before Fortnite?
MonsterDface – It was shortly after the World Cup where I realized that “Ok, commentating will probably not last forever”. And even if it did, I’m kind of on the whim of needing Epic [Games] to hire me, because at the time Epic was the only company running competitive events at that scale, and they were the only ones sustaining that income cash flow on the high level with commentary and these big events.
So, I started to try and figure out how to position myself to be in a driving position where I didn”t need Epic to host a big event, and I could host my own event and bring in my own talent and my own resources to the table.
That’s where I discovered Open Scrims, and this is before it became Open Scrims, this was T1 Scrims. So I jumped on board as an administrator/management help for T1 Scrims and the Practice Server and I rebranded it to Open Scrims, branching away from the esports organisation and becoming our own entity.
Then at that point I took my expertise in commentary and competitive esports and I applied it, I launched my own production business alongside the Practice Server and Open Scrims. That’s how I got involved with running the practice for the pros.
I was always a part of the scene because I was a pro player early on when things kind of kicked off.
I then transitioned from doing commentary and being an influencer, to going more behind the scenes was more like a natural transition, but also a transition to position myself for the bigger picture.
How do I facilitate sponsors and make this become more of a platform that we can utilise to lengthen our space within the esports scene, and make sure that the Practice Server and Open Scrims lasts for a long time.
And was it your work on the Practice Servers that led to you working with Epic Games as an official Fortnite caster?
MonsterDface – No, my work with the Practice Server came long after my skill as a Fortnite caster. And even now I’m still growing as a Fortnite caster but I’m very much one of the growing faces and voices of the Fortnite scene.
What led me to work with Epic was a friend of mine, long before Fortnite, did mobile gaming and that was a niche that I tapped in to and loved.
Long story short, he worked for a side company that Epic happened to own, Chair Entertainment, he pitched his beta game to me, and when he saw me playing Fortnite years later he reached out to me and said “Hey, I see you like Fortnite, let me introduce you to some people at Epic”, and that’s how my relationship with Epic began.
But it was because I was open arms to any idea, and any person that had a passion for something, I was willing to sit down and talk with them and just give it a run and see what’s their project about.
And that’s what led me to link up with Epic, but it was my work as a YouTuber and content creator that led me to become a caster.
I was raw, I didn’t know how to cast, I didn’t have any professional casting experience outside of YouTube and live streaming. So they really trained me up and put me alongside some of the best.
What would you say the highlight moment has been during your time working as a Fortnite caster? Whether it was an amazing moment in a tournament or just something great you’ve experienced because of it.
MonsterDface – This is a tough one man, because as a Fortnite caster I’ve been able to travel the world, I’ve been able to buy myself a home and take care of my family, bring them on crazy trips.
For example, we went to Egypt, me and my wife got to travel to go cast some Fortnite. That wasn’t an Epic tournament, but it was a sick event that I was able to be paid to go cast and flown out of the country to do some really cool stuff.
But the highlight for me as a Fortnite caster was being able to go back to my home town, New York City, and cast at the Arthur Ashe Stadium up in Queens.
I’m from the Bronx, but the fact I was able to fill out a stadium at the World Cup, alongside all of the awesome talents, and then cast in my city and have my family show up and see what I’ve been working on for years in person, that was everything to me.
So the FNCS Grand Finals is this weekend, what’s your opinion on the state of Fortnite competitive right now? Do you think the Season 5 meta is good, is the morale amongst players high?
MonsterDface – I think the morale is definitely high in the competitive scene, as far as the state of the game, but I do also believe that the format is probably the only thing that’s a bit of a dark cloud hovering over the Fortnite scene.
I feel like the state of Fortnite competitive has really gone on an upward trajectory, down to like how the spectator client is capturing the content, to the way the pros are continuing to solidify themselves as the best of the best.
I think every scene has its high and low tide, but I’d say if anything, when it come to Fortnite competitive, we’re on one of the higher ends and its definitely because the Season 5 meta is pretty solid.
It’s balanced, especially with the removal of the Shockwave Grenades, so I think it’s in a really balanced state. But coming into Season 6, who knows what’s going to happen. We’re expecting some shake-ups, Epic are taking things a little different lately, but I think we’re going to continue to go in a good direction and I think the morale will be very solid.
What do you make of Epic’s decision to only put prize money into the Grand Finals rather than Heats as well? Do you think it was the right choice or do you feel it demotivated some players?
MonsterDface – I think it was the right choice. Personally, I don’t think anyone should be given a handout for the Heats competition. I think all of the money should go into Grand Finals to make it feel big.
I also like how it runs a little bit deeper now, top 15, top 20, you’ve got to break into those thresholds and give people more of a reason to try. So there’s no reason to go “Hey I’m at the back of the tournament, I can’t get 1st so I will just go grief someone else’s tournament”
You have a reason to try because the money jumps up in pretty substantial increments as you get closer to the higher placements. So I’m all for where the prizing is right now, I don’t think its an issue that Heats doesn’t have prizing and I don’t think it should have been a thing in the first place. Players have been spoiled and it’s unfortunate that they took it all for granted.
And something that is on everyone’s mind, do you think we will see another Fortnite World Cup?
MonsterDface – Absolutely. I think we will definitely see another Fortnite World Cup, its obviously depending on the pandemic situation. Epic just wants to do it right and take their time. We know other scenes like Valorant are already jumping back into LANs in late May.
I think Epic is doing the right thing by taking their time, I wouldn’t feel comfortable if a World Cup was in two months, I’d rather wait.
Circling back to the Practice Servers for a minute, do you have any advice on aspiring players wanting to get into competitive? What should they do to start getting involved and hopefully compete in tournaments?
MonsterDface – This is a really good question. I think for pro players that want to get involved, definitely get involved in the Open Scrims and all of the events that our team is putting on at the Practice Server.
We host competitions for the scene, we cover competitions as a community service. These are a lot of things that are live-streamed on my channel, whether its the Solo Spotlight, or casting over some of our ladders.
But more importantly, play all of those third party events and take them seriously. If you take events seriously you will continue to grow. That is the honest truth, that is how you get yourself out and how you claim your own accolades and continue to work your way up.
What about a 30-year-old boomer like me? Am I too old and grey to get into competitive now?
MonsterDface – I think you’re too late to get into competitive now from a pro player perspective, you have to be freakishly good to keep up with the APM (actions per minute) in a game like Fortnite. Its going to be tough to keep up.
There’s a lot of pro players that depend on their knowledge of the game, but ultimately it comes down to how good is your aim and how good is your mechanical skill and being able to keep up with things. Your brain can know what to do, but if your hands can’t keep up then you’re going to get outplaced by one of these really good kids.
I wouldn’t say its too late, I just think you’ve got to be realistic and evaluate yourself as a player.
That’s only from a pro player perspective, I think there’s so much room for competitors, analysts, interviewers, and all kinds of stuff like that.
I think that anyone with a good head on their shoulders can come into the space with respect and optimism and have a bright future ahead of them.
That’s some great insight and knowledge. I might make it my goal in Season 6 to get into Arena more and try be more competitive, at least on a casual level.
So where can people keep up to date with you and check out everything you’re involved in?
MonsterDface – That’s awesome dude. You can check me out @MonsterDface across all social networks and find @PracticeServer on Twitter or Prac.gg for the website to see what it is that we’re keeping up with.
Or you can check out OpenScrims.com if you want to jump in as a competitive player and get into scrimming.
And a couple of quick questions, sorry to put you on the spot here, who are you rooting for in the Chapter 2 Season 5 FNCS? We’ll say EU, NA-East, and NA-West to keep things short and simple.
MonsterDface – Oh, this is a tough one. I’m in the hot-spot here, I’m going to have to go with any team that Tayson and Th0masHD is on when it comes to EU. Those 2 trios are going to have some serious firepower going on.
For NA-East, I’m going to sell-out here. Bugha, Bizzle, and Clix are by far the most dominant trio, but I do feel that we’re going to see some new blood rise to the top of the NA-East scene. Whether that be someone like Chimp, Tabnae, and Tayo. Or Sprite, Tahi, and Gabe, I do feel like there’s going to be some up and comers that have been working in the shadows and keeping their heads down and they might come out victorious on the other side. Especially Degen, Ajerss, and Skqttles, there’s just so many, NA-East is a really tough one to put my finger on.
When it comes to NA-West, we know that Arkhram’s team is probably going to come out on top alongside EpikWhale and Rehx. I’d say keep your eye on Wavy Jacob, and then you have Symetrical and Zinqxz teaming up and I think that’s a pretty scary trio.
And who do you think players should be looking out for in future FNCS tournaments? Who’s popping off in scrims right now?
MonsterDface – Degen, Ajerss, and Skqttles are by far one of the scariest teams in NA-East. Then you have Chimp, Tabnae, and Tayo who are just getting better and better, the more FNCS Finals and stages that they get to put themselves in I think they will eventually get the ice in their blood and then there will be no looking back for them.
There’s some scary players out there, but I think nerves will definitely be the demise for most.
We will definitely keep an eye out for them. Once again I just want to say thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to chat and I look forward to watching you cast the FNCS Grand Finals and you might just find me in Prac Servers next season. Have a good rest of your day.
MonsterDface – Thank you man, thanks for having me.