Interview with Valorant Observer, Dries 'Magnum' Magnus
Yoann: Hello everyone! Today, I'm with Magnum, observer for Valorant!
Magnum: Hello. My name is Magnum, I am 21 years old and I’m a computer science student from Belgium. And I do Valorant observing in my free time. Currently mostly for the Benelux region.
Yoann: When and how did you get into esports?
Magnum: Well, It's kind of funny because I have always been a gamer but I was always a Nintendo kid. I also played Minecraft and stuff, but my first real game was Counter-Strike back in 2015, and I watched my first esports event. It was Fnatic and NIP, I was like, I'm just going to pick one of these two teams and I'm going to root for them.
And it was Fnatic, which is really interesting because they won that and they won multiple events after that. Fnatic has a special place in my heart and I still root for them today.
When I started playing Valorant, I got really intrigued and I was kind of sucked into it, and I now watch quite a lot of Valorant esports.
Yoann: What is your job as an observer?
Magnum: The thing I usually say when I try to explain it to my parents or family members, is like, let's say for football, you have a GoPro on every player's head. Then I control which point of view, which GoPro of the player gets shown.
So that’s the “point of view” observer. And then you also have a “cinematic” observer, and that is the person that is controlling the camera in the air, which you do actually see in football.
Yoann: So what type of event do you work with today?
Magnum: I'm still a very young observer, I don't have that many events under my belt, but I'm mostly working with the Valorant Trinity trials right now, which is called “VRC”, It's sponsored by Riot.
So that's the main client that I work with, but last year I also done the Red Bull Campus clutch finals from the Netherlands, which was really cool because that was my first LAN event that I got to attend and it was a really cool experience!
Yoann: Okay that’s nice! What’s the difference between observing at home and in a studio for you?
Magnum: I enjoy being in the studio, but the workflow is different because it's like playing at home versus playing on a LAN. It feels more serious when you're in the studio, and I really enjoy that vibe because you can also see the people you are working with. You can see the talent, the casters, the graphics designer and the producer. Workflow wise, it's usually actually easier in the studio because you have multiple computers, and you can work on multiple screens.
Yoann: What would you say to players that want to commit to a career in esports?
Magnum: I’d just say just work on your mental mostly. I think the most important roadblock, for most players is just either not being motivated enough to go past the ranked mindsets. Just playing in a team environment, even at low tier three is completely different. Try to be humble about how good you are because you are not that good.
Mental is like the biggest one and, you should actually play as if you don't get paid, even if you are because motivation is everything.
Yoann: And what about an observer?
Magnum: As an observer, it's actually depending on where you live. Because there are more local tournaments or circuits in NA, here in EU you just have a lot of Riot sponsored stuff.
You just gotta ask permission to the admins if you can stream the qualifiers. Qualifiers usually don't get streamed at all because that costs money and not that many people really watch. And then you just practice your solo observing. You can just do whatever you want and have a community stream and just build up that experience and game sense. You cannot practice observing in Valorant, in Counter-Strike you can download a demo and just practice, in Valorant we don't have that. You can only practice in an actual game.
Yoann: What's the best clutch you have ever witnessed on Valorant?
Magnum: I have a perfect one for that! It's from last year's tournament.
Yoann: Are you playing Valorant in your free time?
Magnum: Yes, but I don't have that much time anymore, mostly because of school. I actually watch more Valorant content and esports than actually play.
Yoann: What are your short-term and long-term ambitions?
Magnum: Short term. I really want to finish the splits without regrets, without looking back at it like, I did that really wrong or whatever. I just really want to enjoy observing and get the most learning experience out of it!
And then for the long term, if I get to do a couple of Tier two events by the end of the year, that would be really cool. And of course maybe someday some VCT events would be really cool too!
Yoann: Yeah, that’s for sure! Would you like to add something to this interview?
Magnum: Yeah, I'd like to shout out @Yehty_ He's an in-game director and cinematic observer for tier 1. He's like one of the best ones. He recently did the Ludwig & Tarik invitational and he's doing pretty much all of the masters and champions events!
He has been helping me massively, and he's continuing to help a lot of new observers with their careers. He’s a really cool guy.
Also thank you to my friends @express_val, @GrudgeVAL, and @secci000 for helping me become a better player, observer and get better at understanding the tactical side of Valorant!
Yoann: Thank you so much for your time! Best of luck in the future!
Magnum: Thank you!