Meet Valhallan Esports Technical Specialist Deston "Bronzey" Nguyen

A Q&A with the pro gamer turned Valhallan guru.

Deston Nguyen has spent more than half his life dedicated to esports. From forming his own team, to streaming with the likes of iiTzTimmy and LuluLuvely to signing with the Golden Guardians—he’s learned a lot. And he’s ready to share his wealth of wisdom with the next generation of esports players.  

Q: What got you into video games?

My earliest memory playing video games was when I was five years old. My dad, who was a single father, got me a game for my fifth birthday. Grand Theft Auto on a PlayStation 2, which is a pretty rough game, but my dad didn’t really know that. I wasn’t playing any storylines, but I did run around. And from then on I’d get games as gifts and so on. Then, one day I finished a game on the same day it was released. So, I found the game on multiplayer, Modern Warfare 2, and from then on, I was hooked to online gaming.

Q: And were you always serious about it? Or did that come later?

I was always interested in the public figures in gaming, but I didn’t see it as my own opportunity until the release of Overwatch.

I hopped on Overwatch really quick to see if I could become a top player and potentially get signed. I didn’t realize that was a pretty common tactic in esports. At this point, I was playing 12 to 16 hours a day, just playing and I was good, but not good enough. That's when I picked up mouse and keyboard and I kept at it until and I reached Grandmaster.

Q: Is that when you started competing in a pro level?

No, I started playing in paid tournaments in 2019 when Apex Legends was released. I competed in the open sign-ups tournament with my friends. It was the perfect time for us. With the season two release of Apex Legends, the leaderboard came out, and we started climbing the ranks.

I was super dedicated to reaching the top five. I realized how important it was to get into the 500 and getting in the top 10 could change my career. I’d play 16 hours or more. Sometimes staying up a full 24 hours.

And in 2019, I signed with the Golden Guardians along with my friend, Timmy (iiTzTimmy) who helped me get on the team. That was my first time being signed with the salary performing at a high level. Unfortunately, it was a little rough at the first time because we had no experience no competitive experience.

Q: Gaming can be pretty cutthroat, but you were able to get on a team. What do you think sets you apart from other players?

I think I got a little head start due to how easy I am to talk to, communicate and connect with other creators and people was kind of scouted. Okay, first street. I started playing with these big content creators that are well known now. Timmy was definitely one of those people I connected with who helped me with my career. I streamed with LuluLuvely a while back—that was huge for getting my name out there. All these people are even bigger streamers now.

Q: So you took a break from gaming, and you’ve really pivoted your career in esports. What was behind those decisions?

I thought it was best to truly figure out what I wanted. My name is out there, but I didn’t really “make it.” I was getting paid, but it wasn’t enough to live on my own, and I started thinking long term.

In esports, the younger you are, the better, you have the faster reaction time, etc. It’s not like being in the NFL where you’ll actually get better after college. People don’t realize how much work goes into playing at a pro level. Practicing and playing a game at a high level takes a minimum of eight hours per day.

But I still love gaming. I still want to be in the industry. There are so many other career opportunities in esports beyond competitive playing. There are talent scouts, general managers, assistant managers, accountants, content writers, social media creators—any career you can think of, there’s a version of that in the esports industry. So, now I work for Valhallan, and it’s a much more normal lifestyle rather than waking up at 3 pm and playing until 5 am.

Q: But you still play competitively?

I do. I took a break in the second half of 2020. But I’m back into it in my own way. In addition to working at Valhallan, I’m also the Apex Legends team manager for Ghost Gaming, so I’m still in it.

Q: Having been a pro player and been in the industry for a while. What do you want to teach kids coming to Valhallan arenas?

I personally feel like I made a lot of mistakes that probably hurt my career. When I started out, I didn’t know how to act online. There wasn’t a place like Valhallan to get the mentorship I could’ve benefitted from. There’s a big problem in gaming right now with sexism and racism. I said things as a young player that I’m not proud of. I’ve made apologies, I have grown and I do know better. If I could have any influence on young players it would be to work with them to make gaming a better, more welcoming community for all.

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