We spoke with Militant Esports (MLT) manager Divyanshu “L0NE” Singh and heard about the team’s quick rise to form and making the main event at VCL South Asia Split 1.
INDIA – Militant Esports (MLT) will be one of the contending teams at the upcoming VCL South Asia Split 1 after finishing third in the qualifier. This achievement is a significant milestone for the Bangladeshi organization, and in a recent interview with Divyanshu “L0NE” Singh, the team’s manager, he shared his thoughts on the team’s journey, MLT’s decision to re-enter the scene with an Indian roster, and the hiring of a team therapist, among other topics.
Militant Esports returned to the VALORANT scene at the beginning of the 2023 VCT season, which offers a more expansive and organized circuit for South Asia. “We previously had a Bangladeshi lineup which was challenging Exceeli Esports for the No. 1 position again and again, but due to visa issues for Bangladeshi players, we decided to bench the players and move to India,” L0NE said.
The organization’s intention to return was also fueled by the game’s rising popularity and desire to broaden its reach. As L0NE explained, “There are many players who play esports professionally and want to make a career in it.”
The South Asian Challengers League is “really important for players and organization,” especially considering its prestige as a direct path to the Ascension league and, eventually, Pacific League. Additionally, a prize pool of US$140,000, the highest in the VCT sub-regional category, holds even greater significance for players and organizations. To bolster their chances, numerous teams even recruited players from overseas, a topic which we will delve into further in the next segment.
Alongside Anaadi Army and Medal Esports, Militant Esports advanced to the main event of VCL South Asia Split 1 after defeating Team Ethics, GA, and OR5. “Our boys were all ready and excited,” L0NE said about how the open qualifier went down, adding that the team had a confident yet grounded attitude toward their chances. “We thoroughly analyzed each and every opponent and were ready both on paper and in-game.”
About the team
“In the team, we have Atharv “Rio” Ahire, a well-known in-game leader in the Indian VALORANT community. He was the IGL for his ex-team, Reckoning Esports. He showed remarkable skills as an IGL in his past matches. He got lots of experience.” L0NE also mentioned Saharyar “BadmaN” Shaikh, another notable IGL in the community with a wealth of experience playing with teams like Enigma Gaming and FS Esports. “He is no doubt one of the most experienced players in the Indian community, and he is the most senior member of our team. Players look towards him as a guardian who knows how to handle his team in worst situations,” said the manager.
He also spoke highly of Abhay “KnightRider” Mulchandani, a fan favorite who was seen on Jett and Chamber versus South Asian powerhouses such as Velocity Gaming and Global Esports in VCC 2022. “No doubt, he is one of the best players out there who deserved an org to call it home.” Jay “BADlove” Patil was also mentioned, with L0NE saying that “whatever we say about him will be less. People saw him playing in big events, [and he is a] young but very experienced and talented player.” Finally, Venkatesh “Venka” Sharma, the team’s youngest player at only 16 years old, was described as “an insane player” who “made even 30-year-old players stand from their chairs.”
He emphasized that the team is perfectly balanced, with Venka bringing young blood and in-game aggressiveness, KnightrRider bringing his skills, BADlove and Rio providing the perfect mixture of experience and skill, and BadmaN holding their back when things go wrong. The team’s backend, including AKG, R3nato, Zeus, and himself, was also mentioned. MLT’s management crew is relatively large, with over 20 people dedicated to handling the team’s operation.
Nevertheless, MLT Esports’ current starting composition changes from the roster that played in the VCL South Asia qualification. Instead of BADlove and Rio, it was the Filipino pair of former NAOS Esports player Simon “Blas” Blas and former Alpha Esports Pro and W Streak Esports player Troy “Yort” Hiramia. “It’s a single-line answer, visa issues,” L0NE said when asked the reasoning for switching back to a full South Asian lineup and dropping their imports. “Due to agreement [with Riot Games], we cannot tell in detail, but the tournament will be starting soon, and the time we needed to make visas was very far.”
Team therapist at MLT Esports
The announcement dropped by MLT Esports on Friday last week was not something that everyone expected. The organization decided to hire a team therapist, which may seem unconventional for a small-to-mid esports organization. However, MLT Esports believes that investing in the players’ mental health can improve their overall performance and strengthen their relationships with each other.
L0NE further elaborates, “Players stay in bootcamp for long periods of time, and it’s very common for them to dislike something about other players.” Sometimes players are able to work through these issues on their own, but other times they need someone to facilitate the conversation and help them understand each other’s perspectives. That’s where the therapist comes in, according to him.
Despite the cost of hiring a therapist, MLT Esports believes that it is their duty to invest in the mental health of their players. “We were capable of affording a therapist, so there was no point not trying this idea. If players spend their whole day practicing for org and team, then it is our duty to invest in things that can help their mental health,” L0NE explained.
“There will be regular sessions with the therapist for players. Other than that, the therapist is also in our official WhatsApp group, so if any player wants to approach him, they can directly text him for a session. We know many hesitate to contact therapist. In that case, we are making compulsory sessions in starting, and when players get used to it, we will make it an ‘on your wish’ session system.”
To end the interview L0NE emphasized that the VCL South Asia league is a significant challenge for all the teams, and they cannot say anything certain about their expectations. However, they are prepared and ready to make the most of the opportunity. “It will be a learning experience for us, and we will try our best to make it a remarkable one,” he said.
Militant Esports are:
- 🇮🇳 Atharv “Rio” Ahire
- 🇮🇳 Venkatesh “Venka” Sharma
- 🇮🇳 Saharyar “BadmaN” Shaikh
- 🇮🇳 Jay “BADlove” Patil
- 🇮🇳 Abhay “KnightRider” Mulchandani
- 🇮🇳 Kunal “AKG” Ghai (Coach)
- 🇮🇳 Divyanshu “L0NE” Singh (Manager)
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Cover photo courtesy of MLT Esports